DUniv. 2019

Honorary Doctorate Recipient

Dianne Newman


Dianne Newman is a molecular microbiologist and is a professor in the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering and the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences at California Institute of Technology. Her research interests include Bioenergetics and cell biology of metabolically diverse, genetically-tractable bacteria. Her work deals with electron-transfer reactions that are part of the metabolism of microorganisms.

In 1999, Newman was named one of the Top Innovators under 35 by the MIT Technological Review and she joined the faculty at the California Institute of Technology in 2000. She was the Wilson Professor of Geobiology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 2007 to 2010 prior to returning to Caltech. Her scientific articles have appeared in such prestigious journals as Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, Geobiology, Nature and Science.

Her laboratory at Caltech is interested in the co-evolution of life and Earth. They take an interdisciplinary approach to studying molecular mechanisms that underlie ancient forms of metabolism. By understanding the way extant organisms function at the molecular level, they hope to eventually gain insights into the evolution of ancient metabolic and biomineralization pathways, interpret the chemical signatures of early life found in the geologic record and understand how multicellular bacterial communities survive in the context of infection, particularly the mucus-filled lungs of individuals living with cystic fibrosis.

Dr. Newman was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in April 2019.

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