Professor Sabeeha Merchant receives Moore Foundation Investigator Award

March 11, 2020
Portrait of Sabeeha Merchant

Photo by Lindsey Pfeiffer.

Sabeeha Merchant, professor in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology and senior faculty scientist in Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology at the Berkeley Lab, was granted an Investigator Award from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The award provides five years of unrestricted support for highly innovative research with the potential for significant advances in understanding aquatic symbiosis. 

The Merchant lab analyzes the mechanisms by which algae scavenge, share, and recycle essential metals that are required to maintain photosynthesis, and they investigate comparative genomics to capture the diversity and distribution of these mechanisms.  They largely study Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, an important green algae, for state of the art imaging, molecular analyses, and spectroscopic tools to quantify, track, and visualize elements in time and space.

The awards, 15 in total, are part of the Foundation's Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative. Launched in 2019, the Initiative is an international collaboration that aims to understand how symbioses involving microorganisms function, evolve, and serve critical ecosystem roles in marine and freshwater ecosystems. The Initiative seeks to advance a more complete understanding of the origins, evolution, ecology, physiology, and natural history of aquatic symbioses.

For more about the initiative and the investigators, read the press release on the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation website.