Rita R. Colwell, Ph.D.

(1934 -   )

Dr. Rita R. Colwell, Ph.D., is a microbiologist and marine scientist. She is active in national and international research and teaching. Much of her research has focused on the effects of bacteria on the Chesapeake Bay, in deep seas, and in recreational waters. She is a professor of microbiology at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is also a member of the National Science Board, which is appointed by the President of the United States. She has authored or edited 12 books and hundreds of papers and articles.

In addition to these many accomplishments, Dr. Colwell has devoted much of her time to raising public awareness to the importance of scientific research in Maryland and its many positive applications for the environment, economic competitiveness, and medicine. Her vision and commitment were critical to the creation of the Maryland Biotechnology Institute, made up of five centers to encourage scientific innovation and commercial applications around the State. Her lectures to audiences world wide have garnered international recognition for the Maryland Biotechnology Institute and the sophistication of Maryland science. Most recently, Dr. Colwell negotiated and established an agreement between the University of Maryland and the University of Tokyo recognizing "the need for mutual close cooperation in the fields of zoology, botany, microbiology and molecular genetics to promote the development of marine biotechnology, which is expected to serve human welfare in the future." 

As a result of Dr. Colwell's hard work and reputation as an internationally acclaimed scientist, the Institute's Center of Marine Biotechnology (COMB) competed successfully for a seven million dollar U.S. Navy grant. Dr. Colwell's attention and effort is now focused on making a permanent home for COMB in the Christopher Columbus Center of Marine Research and Exploration, a educational center proposed for Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

Dr. Colwell has demonstrated tremendous enthusiasm in communicating to International lay and professional audiences the importance of marine science research in Maryland.


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