Roth Receives ASM Lifetime Achievement Award

The American Society of Microbiology has named Distinguished Professor of Microbiology John Roth its 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award winner, ASM’s premier honor for sustained contributions to the microbiological sciences.

Roth’s award includes a $20,000 prize and recognition at the 115th ASM General Meeting in New Orleans May 30 to June 2. 

“I cannot think of anyone more deserving than Professor Roth for the impact of his stellar work and his outstanding mentoring of the next generations of scientists,” said Professor Wolf-Dietrich Heyer, chair of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.

Roth has spent his entire career doing genetics on the enteric bacterium Salmonella typhimurium. This organism has been used to approach problems of general biological importance that may also be relevant to pathogenicity.

His most recent work has been on recombination mechanisms that underlie formation chromosome rearrangements.

Thanks to the educational efforts of several remarkable post-doctoral fellows and colleagues, Roth’s work has been directed increasingly toward more evolutionary questions and the interface between genetic mechanisms and natural selection. His current work describes how amplification of near-neutral mutant alleles can speed genetic adaptation and mimic mutagenesis.

Teaching has been an integral part of Roth’s career. Most recently he has been teaching general biology with emphasis on origins of life. He has mentored 35 graduate students and 30 postdoctoral fellows.

The first 10 years of Roth’s career were at UC Berkeley, followed by 25 years at the University of Utah and the most recent 12 at UC Davis in the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.