Lydia Contreras, who currently holds the Jim and Barbara Miller Endowed Faculty Fellowship in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, is one of 65 newly elected American Academy of Microbiology (Academy) class of 2023 fellows.

02.15.2023 AAM Lydia Contreras

Fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology, an honorific leadership group and think tank within the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), are elected through a highly selective, peer-review process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology. 

Contreras’ Research Lab focuses on the manipulation of RNA regulatory systems to engineer more robust cellular phenotypes that better withstand natural environmental stresses for medical and biotechnological applications. Their research combines biomolecular engineering, genetic studies and computational modeling to understand molecular features that lead to the specific recognition and interaction of RNAs and proteins. 

In 2022, Contreras was named Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity, and serves as Faculty Co-Lead for the newly created Center for Equity in Engineering, a Cockrell School of Engineering.

The Academy and ASM are committed and taking intentional steps to embrace inclusive diversity with equity, access and accountability (IDEAA).

The Academy invited the nominees to share their demographic information and achieved an 88% participation rate. Among the Class of 2023 fellows, 34% are women. Among the 2023 fellows in the U.S., 35% are from historically underrepresented ethnic groups. In addition, fellows hail from all around the globe. The Class of 2023 represents fellows from 11 different countries, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, China (Mainland), France, Germany, India, Israel, Singapore, the U.K. and the U.S.

There are over 2,600 Fellows in the Academy representing all subspecialties of the microbial sciences and involved in basic and applied research, teaching, public health, industry and government service.

Content adapted from the American Society for Microbiology.