Pre-Tenure Award Recipient: Erik Sperling (Stanford University)
Erik Sperling studies Earth history and the evolution of life, and the interactions between the biosphere and geosphere. He incorporates evidence from fossil data, molecular phylogenetics, sedimentary geochemistry, and eco-physiological data from modern organisms. Ultimately, the goal is to link environmental change with organismal and ecological response (across time scales) through the lens of physiology.
Post-Tenure Award Recipient: Tanja Bosak (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Tanja Bosak was born in Croatia and graduated from the Zagreb University with a degree in Geophysics. After a summer of research at JPL and a short stint as a meteorologist at the Zagreb Airport, she moved to the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, where she studied signatures of microbial processes in ancient sedimentary rocks and earned a Ph.D. in Geobiology. She spent two years at Harvard as a Microbial Initiative Postdoctoral Fellow, joined the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT in 2007 and is now an associate professor of Geobiology.
Tanja’s work integrates microbiology, sedimentology and stable isotope geochemistry into experimental geobiology to ask how microbes make minerals, shape sedimentary rocks and become fossilized. Her lab uses this approach to explore modern biogeochemical and sedimentological processes and interpret the record of life on the Early Earth. For this work, and her work with graduate students and undergraduates, Bosak received the Subaru Outstanding Woman in Science award by the Geological Society of America (2007), the Macelwane Medal from the American Geophysical Union (2011), the Edgerton Award for young faculty at MIT (2012) and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities for Undergraduates Mentor of the Year award by MIT (2012). Bosak is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union (2011) and one of the subject editors of Geobiology and Frontiers of Microbiology.
Distinguished Career Award Recipient: Dawn Sumner (University of California - Davis)
Dawn Sumner's research focuses on reconstructing ancient environments on early Earth and Mars and the early evolution of bacteria, including oxygenic photosynthesis. Her group studies everything from the environmental setting, geochemistry and morphology of Archean microbialites to the morphology, climate response, and genomics of modern microbial communities growing in ice-covered Antarctic lakes to the stratigraphy and geochemistry of sedimentary rocks on Mars. She is a member of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, helping the rover Curiosity explore ancient environments in Gale Crater on Mars. She also regularly shares her research and adventures with the public and is dedicated to helping students of all backgrounds prepare for careers in science. [Bio modified from http://geology.ucdavis.edu/people/faculty/sumner.php]