Paula Welander receives NSF, GSA awards

PAULA WELANDER, assistant professor of Earth system science, recently received the 2018 Award for Outstanding Research In Geomicrobiology from the Geological Society of America (GSA), as well as a 2018 National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award.

Paula Welander. (Photo credit: Steve Castillo)
Paula Welander. (Photo credit: Steve Castillo)

The GSA award is presented to exceptional scholars for their accomplishments in research, education and mentoring and service in geobiology. The NSF grant supports early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.

Welander is a microbiologist who explores the biosynthesis and physiological function of “molecular fossils,” or lipid biomarkers in present-day microbes. This approach to microbial life gives insight into Earth’s history, including ancient climatic events, mass extinctions and evolutionary transitions. Her project, “Crossing over into the geochemical milieu: Using the molecular genomic record to inform the geologic biomarker record,” includes the development of an undergraduate lab course that will expose students from diverse scientific backgrounds to the interdisciplinary nature of geobiology.

Welander’s lab is part of the Geobiology & Paleontology research community in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth). She is a member of Bio-X, Stanford’s interdisciplinary biosciences institute.

The NSF CAREER Award provides five years of financial support to foster developments in science and technology, increase awareness of careers in science and engineering, give recognition to the scientific missions of the participating agencies, enhance connections between fundamental research and national goals and highlight the importance of science and technology.

Read this article and more on the Stanford Earth website.