Merchant Receives Moore Foundation Investigator Award

Congratulations to MCB Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology and of Plant and Microbial Biology, Sabeeha Merchant, on receiving an Investigator Award from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation! 

Merchant, along with a cohort of 14 other scientists, will receive five years of unrestricted support to pursue innovative, risky research that has a high potential for significant conceptual and methodological advances in aquatic symbiosis. 

Major symbiotic events have occurred in aquatic systems, most prominent of which is the origin of the eukaryotic cell. This event, which occurred almost two billion years ago, was a symbiotic integration of two different microorganisms and created the ancestor of all animals, plants, fungi, and protists. Aquatic systems are additionally of interest because of how flowing water and gradients of light and nutrients influence symbiotic interactions. Understanding symbioses of aquatic organisms where at least one partner is a microbe will enrich our grasp of the full range of symbiosis on our planet. 

By bringing together different research communities to learn how symbioses involving microorganisms function, evolve and serve critical ecosystem roles in marine and freshwater environments, the collective research is expected to move the community toward a more comprehensive understanding of aquatic symbioses. 

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative launched in 2019 and seeks to advance the understanding of aquatic symbioses that include microbial partners. 

To learn more about the initiative and the investigators, visit:
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Investigator Program
Professor Merchant's Investigator Page