Ed DeLong elected to the National Academy of Sciences

April 29, 2008

Professor Edward F. DeLong of the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Biological Engineering was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences today. DeLong, a marine microbiologist whose groundbreaking work on ocean microbes is internationally recognized, will also receive two other major awards this spring, from the European Geosciences Union and the American Academy of Microbiology.

DeLong is perhaps best known for his discovery in 2000 that oceanic bacteria can make use of a rhodopsin protein to convert sunlight into biochemical energy, revealing a previously unknown component in the Earth’s carbon and energy cycles. He is also considered a pioneer in the field of metagenomics. This new field focuses on the study of the genomics of natural microbial communities, greatly extending our understanding of microbial processes beyond that of lab-cultured microorganisms.

DeLong's election to the National Academy of Science recognizes his distinguished achievement in original research. Membership in the academy-- a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare established in 1863--is  considered one of the highest honors a scientist or engineer can receive. Membership is by election only; 72 new members and 18 associates from other countries were elected this year, bringing membership total to 2,041, i