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Former EEB director receives lifetime achievement award

February 12, 2021

During his ground-breaking E. coli Long-Term Evolution Project (LTEE), Michigan State University experimental evolutionary biologist Richard Lenski has witnessed the beginning and end of more than one lifetime - 73,000 bacterial lifetimes and counting, to be exact.

Now the Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE) is honoring Lenski’s extraordinary life to date with the prestigious 2021 SSE Evolution Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his remarkable research, outstanding mentorship and noteworthy service to the evolution community. Lenski was the director of EEB from 2004-2009, and is a core faculty member.

Richard Lenski SEE award“What I love about studying evolution is that it encompasses all of life, from tiny microbes to the giant redwoods, and from dinosaur fossils to on-going changes that we can see happening in our lifetimes,” said Lenski, MSU John Hannah Distinguished Professor of Microbial Ecology.

The SSE, now in its 75th year, was founded to integrate and promote the study of evolution in the fields of genetics, paleontology, ecology and anthropology, among others. The society publishes the peer-reviewed journal Evolution that features this research and provides a shared evolutionary perspective and language across all life sciences.

“Congratulations to Rich for this prestigious and well-deserved recognition of a truly outstanding career at the forefront of research and education in evolutionary processes,” said Phil Duxbury, dean of MSU’s College of Natural Science. “His leadership at MSU and in his research community is uniformly innovative and supportive of positive progress in research, trainee success and outreach to the public."

Read more in the College of Natural Science.