Rita R. Colwell

November 23rd

  • American microbiologist and the 11th director of the National Science Foundation (4 Aug 1998), the first woman – and the first biologist since the advent of modern biotechnology – to head the NSF.
  • In the 1960s, she became the first U.S. scientist to create a computer program that analyzed data related to the taxonomic classification of different strains of bacteria.
  • With her team of researchers, she later found that both the harmless and the disease-causing (toxin-producing) strains were found commonly in estuaries and coastal waters.

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