Plant pathology professor Caitilyn Allen has been selected to receive the 2020 American Society for Microbiology Alice C. Evans Award for Advancement of Women. The award recognizes outstanding contributions toward the full participation and advancement of women in the microbial sciences. It is given in memory of Alice C. Evans, the first woman to be elected ASM President (elected in 1928).
The award is designed to honor ASM members who have made major contributions toward fostering the inclusion, development, and advancement of women in careers in microbiology. Awardees have demonstrated a commitment to women in science through mentorship and advocacy and by setting an example through scientific and professional achievement.
From 1995-2000, Allen was the founding Faculty Director of UW’s Women In Science & Engineering Residential Program (commonly known as the WISE Dorm). The program, which remains UW Housing’s most sought-after residential program, received national recognition and has mentored thousands of young women in its 24-year history. From 2010-2016, she served as Director of the UW–Madison Women Faculty Mentoring program.
“Mentoring young scientists, especially women, is one of the best parts of my job,” says Allen. “It’s been my privilege to advise 28 women graduate students and postdocs in my lab here at UW–Madison.”
Allen studies the interactions between the plant pathogenic bacterium Ralstonia solanacearum and its many plant hosts; specifically, to identify traits that R. solanacearum needs to cause wilt disease in the unique nutrient-poor and microaerobic environment of the plant xylem. Allen served as the department chair of plant pathology from 2011 to 2014.
The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of more than 30,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM’s mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.