The Geochemical Society will honor Deep Life researchers, Jill Banfield and Kai-Uwe Hinrichs, with two of its highest honors at the Goldschmidt 2017 conference in Paris, France this August. Dr. Jillian Banfield, professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science at the University of California, Berkeley, will receive the 2017 V. M. Goldschmidt Award. Dr. Kai-Uwe Hinrichs, professor of organic geochemistry in the Department of Geosciences/MARUM, University of Bremen, will receive the 2017 Clair C. Patterson Award this summer.
Banfield will receive the Geochemical Society’s top award, the V.M. Goldschmidt Award, which is given in recognition major achievements in geochemistry or cosmochemistry consisting of either a single outstanding contribution or a series of publications that have had great influence on the field.
Banfield, a geomicrobiologist and biogeochemist, is being recognized for her work in the structure, metabolic potential and functioning of natural microbial communities in sediments, soil, water, biofilms and animals. She develops and applies new methods in molecular geomicrobiology and microbial ecology and studies nanoparticle formation and the behavior of nanoparticles and clay minerals in the natural environment.
Banfield has been at the University of California Berkeley since 2002, where she heads its geomicrobiology program and works as a researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Her current research spans from field sites in Northern California to Australia and from subjects including astrobiology and genomics/geosciences.
Hinrichs, a biogeochemist and organic geochemist, will receive the Patterson Award, which recognizes an innovative breakthrough of fundamental significance in environmental geochemistry, particularly in service of society, consisting of either a single outstanding contribution or a short series of papers published within the last decade. Hinrichs will be recognized for his work on the interactions between microbial life and the carbon cycle on a range of spatial and temporal scales.
In addition to teaching, Hinrichs heads the Organic Geochemistry Group at the MARUM Center for Marine Environmental Sciences and is co-leader of MARUM's Research Unit, Geosphere-Biosphere Interactions. He also serves as co-chair of DCO’s Deep Life Community. Hinrichs was co-chief scientist of Expedition 337 of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program onboard the drilling vessel Chikyū, which set the current world record for the deepest microbial life ever detected, at nearly 2.5 km below the seafloor.
In addition to sharing the award podium, Banfield and Hinrichs are research collaborators. They are currently working together on a Deep Life project “Crystal Geyser and Alum Rock Spring as windows into the deep biosphere,” along with Alexander Probst.
This year’s awards to DCO researchers follow on last year’s awards to other DCO colleagues. In 2016, DCO colleague Alexandra Navrotsky was honored with the V. M. Goldschmidt Award and DCO collaborator William Casey received the Patterson Award.
More information is available here: