Dr. Betül Kaçar Receives the 2022 Rosalind Franklin Medal Runner-Up Award
The Genome Writers guild (GWG) and Rosalind Franklin Society have recognized Dr. Betül Kaçar of the University of Wisconsin-Madison as the 2022 Runner-Up for the Rosalind Franklin Medal for her groundbreaking use of experimental systems to study the coevolution of cellular life and the environment of Earth in both extinct and extant lifeforms. Kaçar’s research is advancing knowledge of ancient enzymes and metabolic pathways, and she has developed new experimental techniques to study ancestral genes involved in key processes used by life on Earth.
Kaçar received her Ph.D. in Biomolecular Chemistry from Emory University and completed postdocs in Origins of Life and Evolutionary Biology at the former NASA Astrobiology Institute and Harvard University. Kaçar is now supported by NASA Astrobiology through an Interdisciplinary Consortia for Astrobiology Research (ICAR) grant, and is the director of the MUSE (Metal Utilization and Selection Across Eons) consortium. Dr. Kaçar is also a co-lead of the NASA Research Coordination Network (RCN), LIFE: Early Cells to Multicellularity.
Previous honors for Dr. Kaçar include the Stanley Miller Early Career Award and the NASA Early Career Award. Kaçar is also an advocate for girls and women in science and partnered with the UN Women Generation Equality Campaign. She is also a co-founder of the astrobiology outreach network SAGANet, which supports teachers and students in astrobiology worldwide.
The Rosalind Franklin award was created to recognize a recipient’s outstanding body of research and as a platform to share that work worldwide. Alongside the honor, Dr. Kaçar will be an invited speaker at the Genome Writers Guild annual conference (July 27-29, 2022), and at the annual Rosalind Franklin Board Meeting and Colloquium later this year.
From the GWG: “This award marries together GWG’s core objectives of facilitating genome writing conversation, collaboration, and exposure with the Rosalind Franklin Society’s goals of enabling more women to achieve higher recognition, visibility, appointments and success in industry, academia, or government. The recipient of this award will embody the missions of both organizations.”