SIMB Announces 2022 Annual Meeting Award Winners

Posted 6/21/22 by . Filed under Featured News, News and Updates.

The Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology has announced the awardees and honorees who will be recognized at the 2022 SIMB Annual Meeting

Fairfax, VA (June 21, 2022) – The Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology (SIMB) is proud to announce the awardees and honorees who will be recognized at the 2022 SIMB Annual Meeting!

This year’s awardees have distinguished themselves as exceptional members of the SIMB community, having made outstanding contributions to the industry and Society and demonstrated great promise in their work and careers.

To meet each awardee and help us celebrate them, please join us at the 72nd SIMB Annual Meeting and Exhibition being held in person August 7–10, 2022, in San Francisco, CA! Winners will be recognized and presented with their awards throughout the meeting, with a majority during the banquet on Tuesday evening, August 9.

You can learn more about the meeting and register to attend at

Charles Thom Award

The Charles Thom Award—named for Charles Thom, a pioneer in industrial microbiology and mycology—honors researchers for their exceptional merit in industrial microbiology and biotechnology and for their independence of thought and originality that added appreciably to scientific knowledge. This year’s winner is…

Dr. Terry Papoutsakis, University of Delaware
Photo of Dr. Terry Papoutsakis

Eleftherios “Terry” Papoutsakis is the Unidel Eugene DuPont Professor at the Department of Chemistry & Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware, and he has made important contributions in both microbial and animal-cell biotechnology. His microbial biotechnology work includes contributions in clostridia genetics and metabolic engineering, with emphasis recently in syntrophic co-cultures for CO2 co-utilization with biomass carbohydrates to achieve supra-physiological product yields, but also E. coli biotechnology including synthetic methylotrophy and stress tolerance. His animal-cell biotechnology contributions include seminal work on mixing and agitation in cell-culture bioreactors as well as stem-cell bioengineering and the use of extracellular vesicles for applications in cell and gene therapies.

Dr. Papoutsakis has been recognized by numerous awards, including election to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), National Academy of Inventors (NAI) & International Academy of Medical & Biological Engineering (IAMBE). He won the 2020 American Society for Microbiology (ASM) National Award in Applied Biotechnology, 2017 American Chemical Society (ACS) E. V. Murphree Award in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry, the 2013 D.I.C. Wang Award for Excellence in Biochemical Engineering (SBE/AIChE), 2012 James E. Bailey Award (SBE/AIChE), election as ACS Fellow, 2010 Metabolic Engineering Award, 2005 Amgen Biochemical Engineering Award, 2004 Merck Cell Culture Engineering Award, and 2003 Alpha Chi Sigma AIChE Award.
He received his BS from the National Technical University of Athens & his MS/PhD from Purdue University. He has supervised over 70 PhDs, 30 MS, 35 postdoctoral researchers, and 80 undergraduate research students funded by over $50 million in grants from NSF, NIH, DOE, ARPA-E, ONR, and ARO.

Dr. Papoutsakis will be presenting on his pioneering work in the field during the Charles Thom Lecture at this year’s SIMB Annual Meeting, prior to the banquet on Tuesday, August 9.

Charles Porter Award

The Charles Porter Award recognizes meritorious service to the Society as exemplified by its co-founder, Charles Porter. This year’s winner is…

Dr. Janet Westpheling, University of Georgia
Photo of Dr. Janet Westpheling

Dr. Janet “Jan” Westpheling is a dedicated and active member, volunteer, and leader within the SIMB community. As a member for over 25 years, Jan has taken an active role in many SIMB meetings including as a session convener, chair, and speaker. Jan’s first scientific talk at a meeting occurred at the 1985 SIM Annual Meeting. The Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology has also been impacted by Jan’s service, with her having reviewed articles for over 20 years. Jan has held SIMB leadership roles for 15 years as an SIMB Director, Treasurer, and President. Jan played a significant role in the modernization of SIMB’s finances and as President she oversaw one of the most challenging periods in our professional society’s history: the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Janet’s dedicated service is perhaps best summarized by Dr. Scott Baker. “She is the most passionate SIMB supporter (and member) I have ever met. But more importantly, Jan puts action behind her words, having served SIMB in so many ways over decades of her scientific career.

Jan is currently serving as the chair of the Nominations Committee.

Early Career Award

The Early Career Award (formerly the Young Investigator Award) aims to encourage young investigators to continue their research and to recognize and support their efforts at the beginning of their career. This year’s winner is…

Dr. Kevin Solomon, University of Delaware
Photo of Dr. Kevin Solomon

Dr. Kevin Solomon is an Assistant Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering from McMaster University (Canada) in 2006, his MS in Chemical Engineering Practice from MIT in 2008, and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from MIT in 2012 before completing postdoctoral work in integrated omics at UC Santa Barbara (2012-2015). Dr. Solomon’s work focuses on identifying and developing environmental microbes and microbiomes that are well-adapted for applications in sustainability, materials, and health. His current research projects include developing microbial consortia from insect larvae for plastics upcycling, rumen anaerobic fungi for deconstruction of renewable plant biomass, and biomolecular technologies to accelerate strain development in these nonconventional microbes. He has received several research, teaching, and service awards including the Genewiz Empower New Faculty Award (2017), Outstanding Faculty Award from Purdue Residences (2018), a US Department of Energy Early Career Award (2019) and an NSF CAREER Award (2022). He has provided expert testimony before the 116th US House of Representatives on the convergence of engineering and biology and has coauthored technology roadmaps for engineering biology. He has even been featured in the popular press, including Forbes magazine and NPR/PBS.
Dr. Solomon is also the 2023 Program Committee Co-Chair for the 45th Symposium on Biomaterials, Fuels and Chemicals (SBFC) to be held in Portland, Oregon. You can learn more about SBFC at

SIMB Fellowships

Fellowship status is a special grade of SIMB membership that acknowledges a long career and a sustained record of significant research and/or service contributions to the profession of industrial microbiology and/or biotechnology. This year’s newly elected fellows are…

Debra Chadick
Photo of Debra Chadick

and Dr. Mahendra Jain
Photo of Dr. Mahendra Jain

Debra Chadick has been a member of the Society of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology since 1972. She chaired SIMB’s Election and Archives Committees, and during her tenure she organized displays commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Society, a history of fermentation, and the highlights of microbiology during WW1. Debra also co-chaired a Special Food Microbiology Symposium, served as a co-editor for SIMB News and authored several pieces for the it, and was a founding member of the Women’s Symposium. She also ran for society Secretary and President.

Debra was employed at Altria (Philip Morris USA) from 1977-2009 as the Corporate Microbiologist. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BS in Biology and from Memphis State (University of Memphis) with a MS in Biology, where she wrote her thesis on “Vitamin Utilization of Aureobasidium pullulans”.

Since retiring, Debra has been involved with the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Central VA affiliate, where she helped with Race Organization and Setup and with education initiatives. She is now an active volunteer of 13 years with the Richmond, VA, Ten Thousand Villages, a non-profit store featuring fair trade handmade products from artisans in about 30 developing countries around the world. She also served as its Board Chair for five years and now participates in off-site sales.

Dr. Mahendra Jain has extensive experience in conducting, leading, and managing research. He has conducted advanced research in several areas using mesophiles, extremophiles, and archaebacteria in industrial and environmental areas. He has not merely published widely, though; he has protected the relevant IP as well, and some of the technologies he has developed were transferred to industries for commercialization. Later in his career, Dr. Jain accepted to become the founding executive director of the Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation at Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation to develop innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Previously, he worked at several universities and organizations in India, Europe, and the United States, including Michigan Biotechnology Institute (MBI International). He served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering (1993-2017) and Indian Journal of Microbiology (1989 – 2001) and as an expert reviewer (1976-2017) for several national and international journals and federal agencies. He is a recipient of an American Society for Microbiology International Professor Award and a National Tibbetts Award in 2006. He was named SBIR Person of the Year in 2014, elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 1999, a fellow of Association of Microbiologists of India in 2005, a Healthcare Fellow of the Health Enterprises Network in 2012, and a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC) in 2001. Among others, he was also honoured with a Small Business Advocacy Lifetime Achievement Award by the SBTC of the National Small Business Association and a Harvey Award by SPARK of Kentucky’s Bluegrass Business Development Partnership in 2017.

Diversity Travel Awards

SIMB established the Diversity Travel Award to promote diversity and to increase the participation of underrepresented minority groups in the Society amongst the graduate students making presentations at the SIMB Annual Meeting. This year’s winners are…

Taylor Andrzejak, Nicholls State University
Photo of Taylor Andrzejak

and Amanda Godar, Arizona State University
Photo of Amanda Godar

Taylor Andrzejak is a second year Marine and Environmental Biology Graduate student at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana, with a research focus on microbial ecology, and examining the effects of antibiotic resistance in water and biofilms at public boat launches in Southeastern Louisiana. Originally from Buffalo, New York, growing up Taylor was always interacting with the natural world – playing in the backyard pond, catching frogs, and observing organisms. This fascination with the environment fueled her desire to purse an education in the natural sciences. Taylor completed her Bachelor of Science in wildlife and fisheries at the University of Georgia, where her passion in environmental science was cultivated. Throughout the course of her master’s research, Taylor has continued to develop her interest in microbiology and water quality analysis. She plans to continue to work in the field of microbial ecology with a focus in water quality management. In her spare time, Taylor enjoys horseback riding, traveling, cooking, and drawing.

Amanda Godar is a Microbiology PhD candidate at Arizona State University studying the mechanisms by which heterotrophs fix CO2 under fermentation conditions. She received her Bachelor of Engineering from Michigan State University with concentrations in both bioenergy production and ecological engineering. Involvement in several international sustainable development projects during that time furthered her passion for CO2 capture and renewable biochemical production. Amanda’s current research focuses on improved CO2 delivery to fermentations through hollow fiber membrane carbonation. Her other research projects focus on applying metabolic engineering and synthetic biology to improve CO2 fixation in the cell. Amanda currently serves as the director of Graduate Partners in STEM Education, an organization dedicated to middle school STEM outreach, and is part of the group Facilitators for Inclusion, which organizes workshops to improve graduate student understanding of and strategies for mediating any possible microaggressions or sexual harassment. Amanda’s involvement with both groups stems from her commitment to improving DEI in science.

SIMB will also present several other awards to student presenters at the meeting in San Francisco!

The Carol D. Litchfield Best Student Oral Presentation Award will recognize oral presentations selected by the convener(s) of the oral presentation session and judged onsite by special members of the Awards and Honors committee and others at the annual meeting.

The Carol D. Litchfield Best Student Poster Presentation Awards will recognize five outstanding poster presentations, one in each of the Society’s core areas (Biocatalysis, Environmental Microbiology, Fermentation and Cell Culture, Metabolic Engineering, and Natural Products). Posters will be judged onsite by special members of the Awards and Honors Committee and others at the annual meeting.

SIMB wishes to thank everyone who submitted applications and nominations for this year’s awards, as well the members of the 2022 Awards and Honors Committee, including the 2022 Chair Raj Boopathy, for their careful consideration of so many qualified candidates. SIMB members consistently impress us with their incredible talent and outstanding potential, and we look forward to celebrating with all of you this summer at the 72nd SIMB Annual Meeting and Exhibition in San Francisco, CA!

To register, visit

To learn more about other SIMB awards and deadlines, visit

About SIMB
The Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology (SIMB) is a nonprofit, international association dedicated to the advancement of microbiological sciences, especially as they apply to industrial products, biotechnology, materials, and processes. Founded in 1949, SIMB promotes the exchange of scientific information through its meetings and publications and serves as liaison among the specialized fields of microbiology. Membership in the Society is extended to all scientists and companies in the general field of microbiology.

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