Rita R. 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), the 2006 "Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star," Japan Society for Promotion of Science, 2010 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate, 2016 Malaysian Academy of Science Mahthir Science Award for Scientific Excellence in Work in the Tropical Regions, 2016 Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water, Creativity Prize, Saudi Arabia, 2017 Vannevar Bush Award, National Science Board and National Science Foundation, 2017 International Prize for Biology, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokyo, Japan, 2017 Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur ("Knight of the Legion of Honor"), France, 2018 Lee Kuan Yew (Singapore) Water Prize. Dr. Colwell has served as President, American Society for Microbiology (ASM), President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), President, American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), President, American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), and is Chair of the Research Board for the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative through 2020.
Biography: 

Rita Colwell is a Distinguished University Professor 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 chairman of CosmosID, Inc.

Dr. Rita Colwell's interests are focused on global infectious diseases, water, and health. Dr. Colwell developed an international network to address emerging infectious diseases and water issues, including safe drinking water for both the developed and developing world, in collaboration with Safe Water Network, headquartered in New York City.

She 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. Before joining NSF, Dr. 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.

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 19 books and more than 800 scientific publications. She produced the award-winning film, "Invisible Seas," and has served on editorial boards of numerous scientific journals, including GeoHealth, which she founded at AGU in 2015.

Dr. Colwell has previously served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology and also 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, the International Union of Microbiological Societies, and the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS).

Dr. Colwell is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Irish Academy, the Bangladesh Academy of Science, the Indian Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. 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.

Colwell has been awarded 62 honorary degrees from institutions of higher education, including her alma mater, Purdue University.

A geological site in Antarctica, called Colwell Massif, has been named in recognition of her work in the Polar Regions.

Go here to view Colwell‘s most recent academic publications.

Publications

2018


Roy M, Arnaud J, Jasmin P, Hamner S, Hasan N, Colwell RR, Ford T.  2018.  A Metagenomic Approach to Evaluating Surface Water Quality in Haiti. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 1542(10):2211.

Stamps BW, Leddy MB, Plumlee MH, Hasan NA, Colwell RR, Spear JR.  2018.  Characterization of the Microbiome at the World’s Largest Potable Water Reuse Facility. Frontiers in Microbiology.

Neogi SBasu, Rubin L, Alam M, Harder J, Yamasaki S, Colwell RR.  2018.  Environmental and hydroclimatic factors influencing Vibrio populations in the estuarine zone of the Bengal delta. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment.
(10)

Carlson CJ, Getz WM, Kausrud KL, Cizauskas CA, Blackburn JK, Carrillo FABustos, Colwell RR, W. Easterday R, Ganz HH, Kamath PL et al..  2018.  Spores and soil from six sides: interdisciplinarity and the environmental biology of anthrax (Bacillus anthracis). Biological Reviews.
(4):1813-1831.

Hourigan SK, Subramanian P, Hasan NA, Ta A, Klein E, Chettout N, Huddleston K, Deopujari V, Levy S, Baveja, iv R et al..  2018.  Comparison of Infant Gut and Skin Microbiota, Resistome and Virulome Between Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Environments. Frontiers in Microbiology.

Sultana M, Nusrin S, Hasan NA, Sadique A, Ahmed KU, Islam A, Hossain A, Longini I, Nizam A, Huq A et al..  2018.  Biofilms Comprise a Component of the Annual Cycle of Vibrio cholerae in the Bay of Bengal Estuary. mBio.
(2):e00483-18.

Akanda A, Aziz S, Jutla A, Huq A, Alam M, Ahsan G, Colwell RR.  2018.  Satellites and Cell Phones Form a Cholera Early-Warning System. Eos. 99

Hossain M, Alam M, Khaleque A, Islam S, Sadique A, Khan N, Halim Z, Sarker M, El-Sayed NM, Huq A et al..  2018.  Virulence-Related Genes Identified from the Genome Sequence of the Non-O1/Non-O139 Vibrio cholerae Strain VcN1, Isolated from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Genome Announcements.
(10)

Kaboré S, Cecchi P, Mosser T, Toubiana M, Traoré O, Ouattara AS, Traoré AS, Barro N, Colwell RR, Monfort P.  2018.  Occurrence of Vibrio cholerae in water reservoirs of Burkina Faso. Research in Microbiology. 169(1):1-10.

Leddy MB, Plumlee MH, Kantor RS, Nelson KL, Miller SE, Kennedy LC, Stamps BW, Spear JR, Hasan NA, Colwell RR.  2018.  High-Throughput DNA Sequencing To Profile Microbial Water Quality Of Potable Reuse.

2017


McIntyre ABR, Ounit R, Afshinnekoo E, Prill RJ, Hénaff E, Alexander N, Minot SS, Danko D, Foox J, Ahsanuddin S et al..  2017.  Comprehensive benchmarking and ensemble approaches for metagenomic classifiers. Genome Biology.
(1210)

Junqueira ACarolina M, Ratan A, Acerbi E, Drautz-Moses DI, Premkrishnan BNV, Costea PI, Linz B, Purbojati RW, Paulo DF, Gaultier NE et al..  2017.  The microbiomes of blowflies and houseflies as bacterial transmission reservoirs. Scientific Reports.
(1)

Ranjan A, Shaik S, Nandanwar N, Hussain A, Tiwari SK, Semmler T, Jadhav S, Wieler LH, Alam M, Colwell RR et al..  2017.  Comparative Genomics of Escherichia coli Isolated from Skin and Soft Tissue and Other Extraintestinal Infections. mBio.
(4)

Tighe S, Afshinnekoo E, Rock TM, McGrath K, Alexander N, McIntyre A, Ahsanuddin S, Bezdan D, Green SJ, Joye S et al..  2017.  Genomic Methods and Microbiological Technologies for Profiling Novel and Extreme Environments for the Extreme Microbiome Project (XMP). Journal of Biomolecular Techniques : JBT. 28(1):31-39.

Phelps C, Madhavan G, Rappuoli R, Colwell RR, Fineberg H.  2017.  Beyond cost-effectiveness: Using systems analysis for infectious disease preparedness. Vaccine. 35:A46-A49.

Huq A, Anwar R, Colwell RR, McDonald MD, Khan R, Jutla A, Akanda S.  2017.  Assessment of Risk of Cholera in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 97(3):896-903.

Connelly S., Bristol J.A., Hubert S., Subramanian P., Hasan N.A., Colwell RR, Kaleko M..  2017.  SYN-004 (ribaxamase), an oral beta-lactamase, mitigates antibiotic-mediated dysbiosis in a porcine gut microbiome model. Journal of Applied Microbiology.
(1Suppl 11):66-79.

Rashed SM, Hasan NA, Alam M, Sadique A, Sultana M, Hoq M.Mozammel, R. Sack B, Colwell RR, Huq A.  2017.  Vibrio cholerae O1 with Reduced Susceptibility to Ciprofloxacin and Azithromycin Isolated from a Rural Coastal Area of Bangladesh. Frontiers in Microbiology.

Briquaire R, Colwell RR, Boncy J, Rossignol E, Dardy A, Pandini I, Villeval çois, Machuron J-L, Huq A, Rashed S et al..  2017.  Application of a paper based device containing a new culture medium to detect Vibrio cholerae in water samples collected in Haiti. Journal of Microbiological Methods. 133:23-31.

Ceccarelli D, Garriss ève, Choi SY, Hasan NA, Stepanauskas R, Pop M, Huq A, Colwell RR.  2017.  Characterization of Two Cryptic Plasmids Isolated in Haiti from Clinical Vibrio cholerae Non-O1/Non-O139. Frontiers in Microbiology.

Chen AJ, Hasan NA, Haley BJ, Taviani E, Tarnowski M, Brohawn K, Johnson CN, Colwell RR, Huq A.  2017.  Characterization of Pathogenic Vibrio parahaemolyticus from the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. Frontiers in Microbiology.

Nasr-Azadani F, Khan R, Rahimikollu J, Unnikrishnan A, Akanda A, Alam M, Huq A, Jutla A, Colwell RR.  2017.  Hydroclimatic sustainability assessment of changing climate on cholera in the Ganges-Brahmaputra basin. Advances in Water Resources. 108:332-344.

Leddy MB, Hasan NA, Subramanian P, Heberling C, Cotruvo J, Colwell RR.  2017.  Characterization of Microbial Signatures From Advanced Treated Wastewater Biofilms. Journal - American Water Works Association. 109:E503-E512.

Jutla A, Khan R, Colwell RR.  2017.  Natural Disasters and Cholera Outbreaks: Current Understanding and Future Outlook. Current Environmental Health Reports.
(1Suppl 1):99-107.

2016


Sanhueza D, Chevillon C, Colwell RR, Babonneau érémie, Marion E, Marsollier L, gan çoisé.  2016.  Chitin promotes Mycobacterium ulcerans growth. FEMS Microbiology Ecology. 928565871(6):fiw067.

Ottesen A, Ramachandran P, Reed E, White JR, Hasan N, Subramanian P, Ryan G, Jarvis K, Grim C, Daquiqan N et al..  2016.  Enrichment dynamics of Listeria monocytogenes and the associated microbiome from naturally contaminated ice cream linked to a listeriosis outbreak. BMC Microbiology.

Filho J.E.Martinelli, Lopes R.M., Rivera I.N.G., Colwell RR.  2016.  Are natural reservoirs important for cholera surveillance? The case of an outbreak in a Brazilian estuary Letters in Applied Microbiology.
(3):183-188.

Vezzulli L, Grande C, Reid PC, laouët Pé, Edwards M, fle MG ö, Brettar I, Colwell RR, Pruzzo C.  2016.  Climate influence on Vibrio and associated human diseases during the past half-century in the coastal North Atlantic. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
:E5062-E5071.

Rashid M-ur, Almeida M, Azman AS, Lindsay BR, Sack DA, Colwell RR, Huq A, J. Morris G, Alam M, O. Stine C.  2016.  Comparison of inferred relatedness based on multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat analysis and whole genome sequencing of Vibrio cholerae O1. FEMS Microbiology Letters. 36389(12):fnw116.

Phelps C, Madhavan G, Rappuoli R, LEVIN SCOTT, SHORTLIFFE EDWARD, Colwell RR.  2016.  Strategic Planning in Population Health and Public Health Practice: A Call to Action for Higher Education. The Milbank Quarterly. 94906033(143S2):109-125.

Choi SYoung, Rashed SM, Hasan NA, Alam M, Islam T, Sadique A, Johura F-T, Eppinger M, Ravel J, Huq A et al..  2016.  Phylogenetic Diversity of Vibrio cholerae Associated with Endemic Cholera in Mexico from 1991 to 2008. mBio. 7(2)

Ponnusamy D, Kozlova EV, Sha J, Erova TE, Azar SR, Fitts EC, Kirtley ML, Tiner BL, Andersson JA, Grim CJ et al..  2016.  Cross-talk among flesh-eating Aeromonas hydrophila strains in mixed infection leading to necrotizing fasciitis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 11312161268(3321029):722-727.

Motesharrei S, Rivas J, Kalnay E, Asrar GR, Busalacchi AJ, Cahalan RF, Cane MA, Colwell RR, Feng K, Franklin RS et al..  2016.  Modeling Sustainability: Population, Inequality, Consumption, and Bidirectional Coupling of the Earth and Human Systems. National Science Review.
:nww081.

2015


Alivisatos A.P, Blaser M.J, Brodie E.L, Chun M., Dangl J.L, Donohue T.J, Dorrestein P.C, Gilbert J.A, Green J.L, Jansson J.K et al..  2015.  A unified initiative to harness Earth's microbiomes. Science.
(62607551614341176):507-508.

Bartholomew JC, Pearson AD, Stenseth NChr., LeDuc JW, Hirschberg DL, Colwell RR.  2015.  Building Infectious Disease Research Programs to Promote Security and Enhance Collaborations with Countries of the Former Soviet Union. Frontiers in Public Health. 35361632

Jutla A, Aldaach H, Billian H, Akanda A, Huq A, Colwell RR.  2015.  Satellite Based Assessment of Hydroclimatic Conditions Related to Cholera in Zimbabwe. PLOS ONE.
(9Suppl 1):e0137828.

Nasr-Azadani F, Unnikrishnan A, Akanda A, Islam S, Alam M, Huq A, Jutla A, Colwell RR.  2015.  Downscaling river discharge to assess the effects of climate change on cholera outbreaks in the Bengal Delta. Climate Research. 64(3):257-274.

Esteves K, Hervio-Heath D, Mosser T, Rodier C, Tournoud M-G, Jumas-Bilak E, Colwell RR, Monfort P.  2015.  Rapid Proliferation of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio vulnificus, and Vibrio cholerae during Freshwater Flash Floods in French Mediterranean Coastal Lagoons. Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
(21):7600-7609.

Rahaman M.Habibur, Islam T, Colwell RR, Alam M.  2015.  Molecular tools in understanding the evolution of Vibrio cholerae. Frontiers in Microbiology.
(e0120311154e00398-13822020380817190)

Zaitchik B.F, Guikema S.D, Haley B.J, Taviani E., Chen A., Brown M.E., Huq A., Colwell RR.  2015.  Use of Environmental Parameters to Model Pathogenic Vibrios in Chesapeake Bay. Journal of Environmental Informatics.

Klinzing DC, Choi SYoung, Hasan NA, Matias RR, Tayag E, Geronimo J, Skowronski E, Rashed SM, Kawashima K, C. Rosenzweig N et al..  2015.  Hybrid Vibrio cholerae El Tor Lacking SXT Identified as the Cause of a Cholera Outbreak in the Philippines. mBio.
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Hasan NA, Grim CJ, Lipp EK, Rivera ING, Chun J, Haley BJ, Taviani E, Choi SYoung, Hoq M, A. Munk C et al..  2015.  Deep-sea hydrothermal vent bacteria related to human pathogenic Vibrio species. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
(2144666966517):E2813-E2819.

Castro-Nallar E, Hasan NA, Cebula TA, Colwell RR, Robison RA, W. Johnson E, Crandall KA.  2015.  Concordance and discordance of sequence survey methods for molecular epidemiology. PeerJ.
(8105394):e761.

Kokashvili T, Whitehouse CA, Tskhvediani A, Grim CJ, Elbakidze T, Mitaishvili N, Janelidze N, Jaiani E, Haley BJ, Lashkhi N et al..  2015.  Occurrence and Diversity of Clinically Important Vibrio Species in the Aquatic Environment of Georgia. Frontiers in Public Health.

Ceccarelli D, Chen A, Hasan NA, Rashed SM, Huq A, Colwell RR.  2015.  Non-O1/Non-O139 Vibrio cholerae Carrying Multiple Virulence Factors and V. cholerae O1 in the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
(631):1909-1918.

Hill VR, Humphrys MS, Kahler AM, Boncy J, Tarr CL, Huq A, Chen A, Katz LS, Mull BJ, Derado G et al..  2015.  Environmental Surveillance for Toxigenic Vibrio cholerae in Surface Waters of Haiti. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 92(1):118-125.

Hasan NA, Rezayat T, Blatz PJ, Choi SYoung, Griffitt KJ, Rashed SM, Huq A, Conger NG, Colwell RR, D. Grimes J.  2015.  Nontoxigenic Vibrio cholerae Non-O1/O139 Isolate from a Case of Human Gastroenteritis in the U.S. Gulf Coast. Journal of Clinical Microbiology.
(1):9-14.

Colwell RR, Unnikrishnan A, Jutla A, Huq A, Akanda A.  2015.  Predictive Time Series Analysis Linking Bengal Cholera with Terrestrial Water Storage Measured from Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Sensors. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 93(6):1179-1186.

2014


Hasan NA, Young BA, Minard-Smith AT, Saeed K, Li H, Heizer EM, McMillan NJ, Isom R, Abdullah AShakur, Bornman DM et al..  2014.  Microbial Community Profiling of Human Saliva Using Shotgun Metagenomic Sequencing. PLoS ONE.
(5):e97699.

Haley BJ, Kokashvili T, Tskshvediani A, Janelidze N, Mitaishvili N, Grim CJ, de Magny GConstantin, Chen AJ, Taviani E, Eliashvili T et al..  2014.  Molecular diversity and predictability of Vibrio parahaemolyticus along the Georgian coastal zone of the Black Sea. Frontiers in Microbiology. 5

Akanda AS, Jutla AS, Colwell RR.  2014.  Global diarrhoea action plan needs integrated climate-based surveillance. The Lancet Global Health. 2(2):e69-e70.

D. Grimes J, Ford TE, Colwell RR, Baker-Austin C, Martinez-Urtaza J, Subramaniam A, Capone DG.  2014.  Viewing Marine Bacteria, Their Activity and Response to Environmental Drivers from Orbit. Microbial Ecology.
(38):489-500.

Alam M, Rashed SManzur, Bin Mannan S, Islam T, Lizarraga-Partida MLeonardo, Delgado G, Morales-Espinosa R, Mendez JLuis, Navarro A, Watanabe H et al..  2014.  Occurrence in Mexico, 1998–2008, of Vibrio cholerae CTX + El Tor carrying an additional truncated CTX prophage. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 111(27):9917-9922.

Azarian T, Ali A, Johnson JA, Mohr D, Prosperi M, Veras NM, Jubair M, Strickland SL, Rashid MH, Alam MT et al..  2014.  Phylodynamic Analysis of Clinical and Environmental Vibrio cholerae Isolates from Haiti Reveals Diversification Driven by Positive Selection. mBio.
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Ceccarelli D, Colwell RR.  2014.  Vibrio ecology, pathogenesis, and evolution. Frontiers in Microbiology.

Kirchberger P.C, Turnsek M., Hunt D.E, Haley B.J, Colwell RR, Polz M.F, Tarr C.L, Boucher Y..  2014.  Vibrio metoecus sp. nov., a close relative of Vibrio cholerae isolated from coastal brackish ponds and clinical specimens. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SYSTEMATIC AND EVOLUTIONARY MICROBIOLOGY.
(Pt 95616795215116120545121):3208-3214.

Budowle B, Connell ND, Bielecka-Oder A, Colwell RR, Corbett CR, Fletcher J, Forsman M, Kadavy DR, Markotic A, Morse SA et al..  2014.  Validation of high throughput sequencing and microbial forensics applications. Investigative Genetics. 5(1):9.

2013


Jutla A, Akanda AShafqat, Huq A, Faruque ASyed Golam, Colwell RR, Islam S.  2013.  A water marker monitored by satellites to predict seasonal endemic cholera. Remote Sensing Letters. 4472741982394456(8):822-831.

Rashid A, Haley BJ, Rajabov M, Ahmadova S, Gurbanov S, Colwell RR, Huq A.  2013.  Detection of Vibrio cholerae in environmental waters including drinking water reservoirs of Azerbaijan. Environmental Microbiology Reports.
(1):30-38.

Clements JD, Connell ND, Dirks C, El-Faham M, Hay A, Heitman E, Stith JH, Bond EC, Colwell RR, Anestidou L et al..  2013.  Engaging Actively with Issues in the Responsible Conduct of Science: Lessons from International Efforts Are Relevant for Undergraduate Education in the United States. CBE—Life Sciences Education.
(4):596-603.

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