Rita Colwell

Distinguished University Professor
3103 Biomolecular Sciences Building
(301) 405-9550
Education: 
Ph.D., University of Washington (Oceanography)
Special Awards/Honors: 
2006 National Medal of Science (given by President George W. Bush), 2010 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate, AAAS, President, American Society for Microbiology (ASM), President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Maryland’s Top 100 Women, Maryland’s Top 100 Women Hall of Fame, Elected Member National Academy of Sciences, Foreign Fellow of The Royal Society of Canada, Fellow AAAS, AIBS Outstanding Service Award, Central Intelligence Agency Civilian Recognition Award, National Women’s Hall of Fame, “The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star,” Japan Society for Promotion of Science , President-Elect, American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), President, American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), AAUW Award (American Association of University Women), and several others.
Biography: 

Rita Colwell is a Distinguished University Professor both at the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, senior advisor and chairman emeritus at Canon US Life Sciences, Inc., and president and CEO of CosmosID, Inc.

Her research interests are focused on global infectious diseases, water, and health. Colwell is currently developing an international network to address emerging infectious diseases and water issues, including safe drinking water for both the developed and developing world.

Colwell served as the eleventh director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) from 1998 to 2004. In her capacity as NSF director, she served as co-chair of the Committee on Science of the National Science and Technology Council.

One of Colwell's major interests is K-12 science and mathematics education, graduate science and engineering education, and the increased participation of women and minorities in science and engineering.

She has held many advisory positions in the U.S. government, nonprofit science policy organizations, and private foundations, as well as in the international scientific research community. Colwell is a nationally-respected scientist and educator, and has authored or co-authored 17 books and more than 750 scientific publications. She produced the award-winning film, "Invisible Seas," and has served on editorial boards of numerous scientific journals.

Before joining NSF, Colwell was president of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute and a professor of microbiology and biotechnology. She was also a member of the National Science Board from 1984 to 1990.

Colwell has previously served as chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology, as well as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Washington Academy of Sciences, the American Society for Microbiology, the Sigma Xi National Science Honorary Society, and the International Union of Microbiological Societies. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, the Royal Society of Canada, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. She is immediate past-president of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS).

Colwell has been awarded 55 honorary degrees from institutions of higher education, including her alma mater, Purdue University. She is the recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, bestowed by the Emperor of Japan; the 2006 National Medal of Science, awarded by the President of the United States; and the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize, awarded by the King of Sweden.

Colwell is an honorary member of the microbiological societies of the UK, Australia, France, Israel, Bangladesh, Czechoslovakia, Royal Irish Academy and the U.S. She has held several honorary professorships, including the University of Queensland, Australia. A geological site in Antarctica, called Colwell Massif, has been named in recognition of her work in the polar regions.

Publications

2012


Senoh M, Ghosh‐Banerjee J, Ramamurthy T, Colwell RR, Miyoshi S-ichi, Nair BG, Takeda Y.  2012.  Conversion of viable but nonculturable enteric bacteria to culturable by co‐culture with eukaryotic cells. Microbiology and Immunology. 56(5):342-345.

Alam M, Islam TM, Rashed S M, Johura F-T, Bhuiyan NA, Delgado G, Morales R, Mendez J L, Navarro A, Watanabe H et al..  2012.  Vibrio Cholerae Classical Biotype Strains Reveal Distinct Signatures in Mexico. Journal of Clinical MicrobiologyJ. Clin. Microbiol..

Nahar S, Sultana M, Naser NM, Nair GB, Watanabe H, Ohnishi M, Yamamoto S, Endtz H, Cravioto A, Sack BR et al..  2012.  Role of Shrimp Chitin in the Ecology of Toxigenic Vibrio cholerae and Cholera Transmission. Frontiers in MicrobiologyFront Microbiol. 2

Taviani E, Spagnoletti M, Ceccarelli D, Haley BJ, Hasan NA, Chen A, Colombo MM, Huq A, Colwell RR.  2012.  Genomic analysis of ICEVchBan8: An atypical genetic element in Vibrio cholerae. FEBS Letters.

Mozumder PK, Banu MA, Naser MN, Ali MS, Alam M, Sack RB, Colwell RR, Huq A.  2012.  Occurrence of protozoans & their limnological relationships in some ponds of Mathbaria, Bangladesh. University Journal of Zoology, Rajshahi University. 29(1):69-71.

Banakar V, Constantin de Magny G, Jacobs J, Murtugudde R, Huq A, J. Wood R, Colwell RR.  2012.  Temporal and Spatial Variability in the Distribution of Vibrio vulnificus in the Chesapeake Bay: A Hindcast Study. EcoHealth.
:1-12.

2011


Kirschner AKT, Schauer S, Steinberger B, Wilhartitz I, Grim CJ, Huq A, Colwell RR, Herzig A, Sommer R.  2011.  Interaction of Vibrio cholerae non-O1/non-O139 with Copepods, Cladocerans and Competing Bacteria in the Large Alkaline Lake Neusiedler See, Austria. Microbial ecology. 61(3):496-506.

Huq A, Grim CJ, Colwell RR.  2011.  Aquatic Realm and Cholera. Epidemiological and Molecular Aspects on Cholera.
:311-339.

Alam M, Islam A, Bhuiyan NA, Rahim N, Hossain A, Khan GY, Ahmed D, Watanabe H, Izumiya H, Faruque ASG et al..  2011.  Clonal transmission, dual peak, and off-season cholera in Bangladesh. Infection Ecology & Epidemiology. 1

Hasan NA, Chowdhury BW, Rahim N, Sultana M, Shabnam AS, Mai V, Ali A, Morris GJ, Sack BR, Huq A et al..  2011.  Metagenomic 16S rDNA Targeted PCR-DGGE in Determining Bacterial Diversity in Aquatic Ecosystem. Bangladesh Journal of Microbiology. 27(2)

Kimes NE, Grim CJ, Johnson WR, Hasan NA, Tall BD, Kothary MH, Kiss H, Munk CA, Tapia R, Green L et al..  2011.  Temperature regulation of virulence factors in the pathogen Vibrio coralliilyticus. The ISME Journal. 6(4):835-846.

De Magny G C, Mozumder PK, Grim CJ, Hasan NA, Naser NM, Alam M, Sack BR, Huq A, Colwell RR.  2011.  Role of Zooplankton Diversity in Vibrio Cholerae Population Dynamics and in the Incidence of Cholera in the Bangladesh Sundarbans. Applied and Environmental MicrobiologyAppl. Environ. Microbiol.. 77(17):6125-6132.

Jutla AS, Akanda AS, Griffiths JK, Colwell RR, Islam S.  2011.  Warming Oceans, Phytoplankton, and River Discharge: Implications for Cholera Outbreaks. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and HygieneAm J Trop Med Hyg. 85(2):303-308.

De Magny G C, Mozumder PK, Grim CJ, Hasan NA, Naser NM, Alam M, Sack B, Huq A, Colwell RR.  2011.  Population Dynamics of Vibrio Cholerae and Cholera in the Bangladesh Sundarbans: Role of Zooplankton Diversity. Applied and Environmental MicrobiologyAppl. Environ. Microbiol..

Vezzulli L, Brettar I, Pezzati E, Reid PC, Colwell RR, Höfle MG, Pruzzo C.  2011.  Long-term effects of ocean warming on the prokaryotic community: evidence from the vibrios. The ISME Journal. 6(1):21-30.

Martinelli Filho JE, Lopes RM, Rivera ING, Colwell RR.  2011.  Vibrio Cholerae O1 Detection in Estuarine and Coastal Zooplankton. Journal of Plankton ResearchJ. Plankton Res.. 33(1):51-62.

Souza CP, Almeida BC, Colwell RR, Rivera ING.  2011.  The Importance of Chitin in the Marine Environment. Marine Biotechnology.
:1-8.

2010


Hasan NA, Grim CJ, Haley BJ, Chun J, Alam M, Taviani E, Hoq M, Munk CA, Colwell RR.  2010.  Comparative Genomics of Clinical and Environmental Vibrio Mimicus. Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesPNAS. 107(49):21134-21139.

Grim CJ, Hasan NA, Taviani E, Haley B, Chun J, Brettin TS, Bruce DC, Detter CJ, Han CS, Chertkov O et al..  2010.  Genome Sequence of Hybrid Vibrio Cholerae O1 MJ-1236, B-33, and CIRS101 and Comparative Genomics with V. Cholerae. Journal of BacteriologyJ. Bacteriol.. 192(13):3524-3533.

Caburlotto G, Lleò MM, Hilton T, Huq A, Colwell RR, Kaper JB.  2010.  Effect on Human Cells of Environmental Vibrio Parahaemolyticus Strains Carrying Type III Secretion System 2. Infection and ImmunityInfect. Immun.. 78(7):3280-3287.

Senoh M, Ghosh‐Banerjee J, Ramamurthy T, Hamabata T, Kurakawa T, Takeda M, Colwell RR, Nair BG, Takeda Y.  2010.  Conversion of viable but nonculturable Vibrio cholerae to the culturable state by co‐culture with eukaryotic cells. Microbiology and Immunology. 54(9):502-507.

Taviani E, Grim CJ, Choi J, Chun J, Haley B, Hasan NA, Huq A, Colwell RR.  2010.  Discovery of novel Vibrio cholerae VSP‐II genomic islands using comparative genomic analysis. FEMS Microbiology Letters. 308(2):130-137.

Whitehouse CA, Baldwin C, Sampath R, Blyn LB, Melton R, Li F, Hall TA, Harpin V, Matthews H, Tediashvili M et al..  2010.  Identification of Pathogenic Vibrio Species by Multilocus PCR-Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry and Its Application to Aquatic Environments of the Former Soviet Republic of Georgia. Applied and Environmental MicrobiologyAppl. Environ. Microbiol.. 76(6):1996-2001.

Purdy AE, Balch D, Lizárraga‐Partida M L, Islam M S, Martinez‐Urtaza J, Huq A, Colwell RR, Bartlett DH.  2010.  Diversity and distribution of cholix toxin, a novel ADP‐ribosylating factor from Vibrio cholerae. Environmental Microbiology Reports. 2(1):198-207.

Haley BJ, Grim CJ, Hasan NA, Taviani E, Chun J, Brettin TS, Bruce DC, Challacombe JF, Detter CJ, Han CS et al..  2010.  The pre‐seventh pandemic Vibrio cholerae BX 330286 El Tor genome: evidence for the environment as a genome reservoir. Environmental Microbiology Reports. 2(1):208-216.

Caburlotto G, Haley BJ, Lleò MM, Huq A, Colwell RR.  2010.  Serodiversity and ecological distribution of Vibrio parahaemolyticus in the Venetian Lagoon, Northeast Italy. Environmental Microbiology Reports. 2(1):151-157.

Grim CJ, Choi J, Chun J, Jeon Y-S, Taviani E, Hasan NA, Haley B, Huq A, Colwell RR.  2010.  Occurrence of the Vibrio cholerae seventh pandemic VSP-I island and a new variant. OMICS: A Journal of Integrative Biology. 14(1):1-7.

Vezzulli L, Pruzzo C, Huq A, Colwell RR.  2010.  Environmental reservoirs of Vibrio cholerae and their role in cholera. Environmental Microbiology Reports. 2(1):27-33.

Bradd H, Christopher G, Nur H, Seon-Young C, Jongsik C, Thomas B, David B, Jean C, Chris DJ, Cliff H et al..  2010.  Comparative genomic analysis reveals evidence of two novel Vibrio species closely related to V. cholerae. BMC Microbiology. 10

2009


Grim CJ, Jaiani E, Whitehouse CA, Janelidze N, Kokashvili T, Tediashvili M, Colwell RR, Huq A.  2009.  Detection of toxigenic Vibrio cholerae O1 in freshwater lakes of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. Environmental Microbiology Reports. 2(1):2-6.

Grim CJ, Zo Y-G, Hasan NA, Ali A, Chowdhury WB, Islam A, Rashid MH, Alam M, Morris GJ, Huq A et al..  2009.  RNA Colony Blot Hybridization Method for Enumeration of Culturable Vibrio Cholerae and Vibrio Mimicus Bacteria. Applied and Environmental MicrobiologyAppl. Environ. Microbiol.. 75(17):5439-5444.

Ford TE, Colwell RR, Rose JB, Morse SS, Rogers DJ, Yates TL.  2009.  Using Satellite Images of Environmental Changes to Predict Infectious Disease Outbreaks. Emerging Infectious DiseasesEmerg Infect Dis. 15(9):1341-1346.

Khondker M, Bhuiyan R A, Yeasmin J, Alam M, Sack BR, Huq A, Colwell RR.  2009.  New records of phytoplankton for Bangladesh. 9. Some rare and a new species. Bangladesh Journal of Plant Taxonomy. 16(1)

Bowler C, Karl DM, Colwell RR.  2009.  Microbial oceanography in a sea of opportunity. Nature. 459(7244):180-184.

Jakupciak JP, Colwell RR.  2009.  Biological agent detection technologies. Molecular Ecology Resources. 9(s1):51-57.

Zo Y-G, Chokesajjawatee N, Grim C, Arakawa E, Watanabe H, Colwell RR.  2009.  Diversity and Seasonality of Bioluminescent Vibrio Cholerae Populations in Chesapeake Bay. Applied and Environmental MicrobiologyAppl. Environ. Microbiol.. 75(1):135-146.

Constantin de Magny G, Long W, Brown CW, Hood RR, Huq A, Murtugudde R, Colwell RR.  2009.  Predicting the distribution of Vibrio spp. in the Chesapeake Bay: a Vibrio cholerae case study. EcoHealth. 6(3):378-389.

Colwell RR, Chun J.  2009.  The Genus Vibrio and Related Genera. Practical handbook of microbiologyPractical handbook of microbiology.
:267-267.

Colwell RR.  2009.  Viable but not cultivable bacteria. Uncultivated Microorganisms.
:121-129.

Chun J, Grim CJ, Hasan NA, Lee JH, Choi SY, Haley BJ, Taviani E, Jeon YS, Kim DW, Lee JH et al..  2009.  Comparative genomics reveals mechanism for short-term and long-term clonal transitions in pandemic Vibrio cholerae. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 106(36):15442-15447.

Alam M, Chowdhury WB, Bhuiyan NA, Islam A, Hasan NA, Nair BG, Watanabe H, Siddique AK, Huq A, Sack BR et al..  2009.  Serogroup, Virulence, and Genetic Traits of Vibrio Parahaemolyticus in the Estuarine Ecosystem of Bangladesh. Applied and Environmental MicrobiologyAppl. Environ. Microbiol.. 75(19):6268-6274.

2008


Khondker M, Bhuiyan R A, Yeasmin J, Alam M, Sack BR, Huq A, Colwell RR.  2008.  New records of phytoplankton for Bangladesh. 2. Cryptophyceae and Synurophyceae. Bangladesh Journal of Botany. 36(1)

Khondker M, Bhuiyan R A, Yeasmin J, Alam M, Sack BR, Huq A, Colwell RR.  2008.  New records of phytoplankton for Bangladesh. 5. Euglena, Euglenocapsa. Bangladesh Journal of Plant Taxonomy. 15(1)

Pruzzo C, Vezzulli L, Colwell RR.  2008.  Global impact of Vibrio cholerae interactions with chitin. Environmental Microbiology. 10(6):1400-1410.

Huq A, Whitehouse CA, Grim CJ, Alam M, Colwell RR.  2008.  Biofilms in water, its role and impact in human disease transmission. Current Opinion in Biotechnology. 19(3):244-247.

Zo Y-G, Chokesajjawatee N, Arakawa E, Watanabe H, Huq A, Colwell RR.  2008.  Covariability of Vibrio Cholerae Microdiversity and Environmental Parameters. Applied and Environmental MicrobiologyAppl. Environ. Microbiol.. 74(9):2915-2920.

Stine CO, Alam M, Tang L, Nair BG, Siddique KA, Faruque SM, Huq A, Colwell RR, Sack BR, Morris GJ.  2008.  Seasonal Cholera from Multiple Small Outbreaks, Rural Bangladesh. Emerging Infectious DiseasesEmerg Infect Dis. 14(5):831-833.

Taviani E, Ceccarelli D, Lazaro N, Bani S, Cappuccinelli P, Colwell RR, Colombo MM.  2008.  Environmental Vibrio spp., isolated in Mozambique, contain a polymorphic group of integrative conjugative elements and class 1 integrons. FEMS Microbiology Ecology. 64(1):45-54.

Grim CJ, Taviani E, Alam M, Huq A, Sack BR, Colwell RR.  2008.  Occurrence and Expression of Luminescence in Vibrio Cholerae. Applied and Environmental MicrobiologyAppl. Environ. Microbiol.. 74(3):708-715.

Khondker M, Bhuiyan R A, Yeasmin J, Alam M, Sack BR, Huq A, Colwell RR.  2008.  New records of phytoplankton for Bangladesh. 8. Trachelomonas Ehr. (Euglenophyceae). Bangladesh Journal of Botany. 37(2)

Constantin de Magny G, Murtugudde R, Sapiano MRP, Nizam A, Brown CW, Busalacchi AJ, Yunus M, Nair GB, Gil AI, Lanata CF et al..  2008.  Environmental signatures associated with cholera epidemics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 105(46):17676-17676.

Lee H S, Kang S G, Bae S S, Lim J K, Cho Y, Kim Y J, Jeon J H, Cha S-S, Kwon K K, Kim H-T et al..  2008.  The Complete Genome Sequence of Thermococcus Onnurineus NA1 Reveals a Mixed Heterotrophic and Carboxydotrophic Metabolism. Journal of BacteriologyJ. Bacteriol.. 190(22):7491-7499.

Colwell RR.  2008.  Silent Sputnik. BioScience. 58(1):3-3.

Khondker M, Bhuiyan R A, Yeasmin J, Alam M, Sack BR, Huq A, Colwell RR.  2008.  New records of phytoplankton for Bangladesh. 7. Phacus spp.. Bangladesh Journal of Botany. 37(1)

Colwell RR.  2008.  The marine environment and human health: the cholera model. Global Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events: Understanding the Contributions to Infectious Disease EmergenceGlobal Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events: Understanding the Contributions to Infectious Disease Emergence.

2007


Rawlings TK, Ruiz GM, Colwell RR.  2007.  Association of Vibrio Cholerae O1 El Tor and O139 Bengal with the Copepods Acartia Tonsa and Eurytemora Affinis. Applied and Environmental MicrobiologyAppl. Environ. Microbiol.. 73(24):7926-7933.

Khondker M, Bhuiyan R A, Yeasim J, Alam M, Sack BR, Huq A, Colwell RR.  2007.  New records of phytoplankton for Bangladesh. 4. Chlorococcales. Bangladesh Journal of Plant Taxonomy. 14(2)

Khondker M, Bhuiyan R A, Yeasmin J, Alam M, Sack BR, Huq A, Colwell RR.  2007.  New records of phytoplankton for Bangladesh. 3. Volvocales. Bangladesh Journal of Plant Taxonomy. 14(1)

Coutard F|[ccedil]|ois, Crassous P, Droguet M|[euml]|l, Gobin E, Colwell RR, Pommepuy M, Hervio-Heath D.  2007.  Recovery in culture of viable but nonculturable Vibrio parahaemolyticus: regrowth or resuscitation? The ISME Journal. 1(2):111-120.

Chaiyanan S, Chaiyanan S, Grim C, Maugel T, Huq A, Colwell RR.  2007.  Ultrastructure of coccoid viable but non‐culturable Vibrio cholerae. Environmental Microbiology. 9(2):393-402.

Shneiderman B, Colwell RR, Diamond S, Greenhalgh P, Wulf W.  2007.  Bridging art and science with creativity support tools. Proceedings of the 6th ACM SIGCHI conference on Creativity & cognition.
:309-309.

Alam M, Sultana M, Nair GB, Siddique AK, Hasan NA, Sack RB, Sack DA, Ahmed KU, Sadique A, Watanabe H et al..  2007.  Viable but nonculturable Vibrio cholerae O1 in biofilms in the aquatic environment and their role in cholera transmission. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 104(45):17801-17801.

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