UBC biologist wins NAS Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal

Caulerpa racemosa algae. Photo: Wikipedia/Nick Hobgood.

UBC biologist Dr. Patrick Keeling will receive the 2021 Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal. The medal, awarded every three years by the National Academy of Sciences, recognizes excellence in research on marine or freshwater algae.

Keeling is a leading expert in the study of single-cell organisms known as protists and in algal diversity. His research has given insights into the role of endosymbiosis in algal evolution. By bringing together genomics, cell biology, and biodiversity, his work highlights the importance of evolutionary microbiology. Nearly half of his 300 publications advance the science of freshwater and marine algae.

Keeling has also promoted and mentored the discipline, serving as Director of two major research networks in microbial diversity and evolution.

The Smith Medal was established in March 1968 at the bequest of Helen P. Smith in memory of her husband, Gilbert Morgan Smith. Smith was a renowned botanist, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and the first President of the Phycological Society of America.

Geoff Gilliard