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University of Iowa News Release

May 3, 2005

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Gibson Elected To National Academy Of Sciences

David T. Gibson, Ph.D., professor emeritus of microbiology in the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

Gibson, who retired in 2004, was among 72 new members and 18 foreign associates from 14 countries elected May 3 to membership in the nation's most distinguished scientific organization.

The NAS election was held during the business session of the 142nd annual meeting of the Academy in Washington, D.C. Those elected this year bring the total number of active members to 1,976. Gibson was chosen in recognition of his distinguished achievements in original research.

Gibson is internationally known for his biocatalysis research. In particular, his discoveries have revealed how bacteria break down environmental pollutants, toxic chemicals and naturally occurring compounds. His pioneering studies focused on understanding the mechanisms of microbial enzymes that open aromatic rings -- molecular structures found in many compounds including dyes, pesticides and explosives.

"Dr. Gibson is a world leader in the field of biocatalysis. His election to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences is richly deserved for his many outstanding contributions to science," said Jean Robillard, M.D., dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine. "The research that Dr. Gibson has pioneered is fundamentally important to the biotechnology industry. It provides the means and knowledge to develop environmentally friendly and economically viable biocatalysts that can manufacture useful chemicals and agrochemicals and clean up environmental pollutants."

Gibson received a bachelor's degree and doctoral degree in biochemistry from the University of Leeds, England, and he did his postdoctoral research at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He was on the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin for 21 years before joining the UI Department of Microbiology in 1988 as the Edwin B. Green Professor in Biocatalysis and Microbiology, the university's and the nation's first endowed chair in biocatalysis. As a professor emeritus, he continues to pursue research at the UI.

Over his long and illustrious career, Gibson authored and co-authored over 170 scientific articles and received numerous awards, including the 1997 Proctor and Gamble Award in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. He is a member of the American Society for Microbiology and the American Chemical Society and was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1994. He also is an elected member of the National Academy of Microbiology.

Gibson is the fifth current UI faculty member to have been elected to the NAS. Other UI faculty who are NAS members are Kevin Campbell, Ph.D., the Roy J. Carver Chair of Physiology and Biophysics and interim head of the department, UI professor of neurology, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator; Michael Welsh, M.D., HHMI Investigator and the Roy J. Carver Chair of Biomedical Research in the UI Departments of Internal Medicine and Physiology and Biophysics; and James A. Van Allen, Ph.D., emeritus professor and Regent Distinguished Professor, and Donald Gurnett, Ph.D., the Carver/James A. Van Allen Professor of Physics, both in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private organization of scientists and engineers. It was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation, signed by Abraham Lincoln and is charged to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology.

Additional information about the institution is available on the Internet at A full directory of NAS members can be found online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5135 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: Jennifer Brown, (319) 335-9917