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Scholar of the Week

Karen Lloyd

Karen Lloyd

Karen Lloyd, assistant professor of microbiology, has been selected as one of 126 recipients of the prestigious 2015 Sloan Research Fellowships. Awarded annually since 1955, the fellowships honor early-career scientists and scholars in the United States and Canada whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars, the next generation of scientific leaders. Lloyd was selected as one of eight fellows in Ocean Sciences for her work with subsea floor mud and frozen Siberian soil. Thirty-nine past Sloan fellows have won Nobel Prizes later in their careers. The announcement appeared in a full-page advertisement in The New York Times and on the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation website.

Lloyd’s research examining how microorganisms influence marine geochemical cycles holds promise for understanding the physiology and ecology of marine microbial life. Her previous research has uncovered how microscopic life forms in the sub-seafloor called archaea eat tiny bits of protein, revealing clues about the absolute minimum conditions required to sustain life as well as the global carbon cycle.

In the past year, Lloyd has received several funding awards, including three from the National Science Foundation. Her other projects have produced groundbreaking results by expressing and characterizing the first protein from an uncultured archaeon, seeking to quantify uncultured archaea and bacteria, and examining extant and extinct microbial communities in the Siberian permafrost.

Lloyd is also actively involved in establishing an environmental field program for high school students at Malcom X Shabazz High School in Newark, New Jersey. The program allows students from this underperforming school to work one-on-one with university professors and produce publishable primary data.