Dr. Hazel Barton receives Alice C. Evans Award from American Society of Microbiology


Dr. Hazel Barton, professor of biology and geosciences and director of the Integrated Bioscience Program, is the 2019 recipient of the Alice C. Evans Award from the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). This award recognizes outstanding contributions toward the full participation and advancement of women in the microbial sciences. This award is given in memory of Alice C. Evans, the first woman to serve as ASM president (elected in 1928).

barton with student Maggie Hamilton

Dr. Hazel Barton in the lab with student Maggie Hamilton.

As a mentor, advocate and role model, Barton has fostered the inclusion, development and advancement of women in careers in microbiology. Her involvement on ASM’s Committee on the Status of Women in Microbiology since 2005 has involved planning numerous sessions on women’s issues ranging from gender bias to sexual harassment to promoting minority women scientists in STEM. Her most recent work is as co-editor of a book highlighting the contributions of women microbiologists, aimed at helping young women recognize that they can contribute as scientists and showing them many routes to success.

“Dr. Barton is exceptionally supportive of students and our younger faculty, particularly so for young women,” said Dr. Stephen Weeks, the chair of our Department of Biology. “She has included many women into her own lab, and as the director of the Integrated Bioscience Ph.D. program, Dr. Barton has gone out of her way to develop programs, such as mentoring programs and mock foundation panels, that advance the careers of these younger scientists.”

Sharing time and knowledge  

Barton has mentored 82 undergraduate students, of which 43 have been female and 12 have been minority students. Many of these students have gone into graduate programs studying microbiology, including several M.S. and Ph.D. students. Others have gone into professional programs, including MD, DDS/DDM and DVM. Some have gone on to careers as research technicians or med-tech programs. Barton has also mentored 14 graduate students (both M.S. and Ph.D.), of which eight have been female and four have been minority students. She has mentored four post-docs, including one female who now has a successful academic career.

Originally from England, Barton earned her Ph.D. in Microbiology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. She joined the UA faculty in 2011.

Barton’s research is geared toward understanding microbially driven geochemistry in cave environments, with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) toward understanding how bacterial adapt to the extreme isolation and nutrient limitation of caves. 

Researcher is avid caver 

Through this work and her interest in undergraduate research, Barton’s lab has been awarded a ‘top ten research labs for undergraduates’ designation by Popular Science magazine in 2010, 2011 and 2013. Barton is also an avid caver, having explored caves on five continents.

Barton is currently a Fellow of the NSS, a Kavli Fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, Chair of the Committee on the Status of Women in Microbiology for the ASM and the recipient of an NSF CAREER Award. Among her other accomplishments, Barton has received more than $4 million in research funding and published 56 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

The American Society for Microbiology is the honorific leadership group within the ASM, the world's oldest and largest life science organization. The mission of the Academy is to recognize scientists for outstanding contributions to microbiology and provide microbiological expertise in the service of science and the public.

Barton will receive her award at the 2019 American Society for Microbiology Microbe meeting in San Francisco next June.

Media contact: Lisa Craig, 330-972-7429 or lmc91@uakron.edu.