Chisholm receives Agassiz Medal from National Academy of Sciences

May 13, 2010

By Denise Brehm
Civil & Environmental Engineering

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) awarded Professor Sallie W. (Penny) Chisholm the Alexander Agassiz Medal for original contribution in the science of oceanography, at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., April 25.

Chisholm, the Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Biology, was chosen for her “pioneering studies of the dominant photosynthetic organisms in the sea and for integrating her results into a new understanding of the global ocean.”

She was a member of the team of scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Harvard that in 1986 discovered Prochlorococcus, a photosynthetic marine microbe that Chisholm has since developed into a model organism that can be studied from the molecular to the global level. Thanks to the research of Chisholm and others, we now know that these are the smallest and most abundant photosyn