Alvaro Sanchez awarded Packard Fellowship for work on microorganisms
Alvaro Sanchez, assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Microbial Sciences Institute, has been awarded $875,000 as a recipient of the Packard Fellowship. Sanchez is one of 22 early-career scientists and engineers nationwide who will receive the award, which is designed to provide maximum flexibility to researchers thinking creatively about scientific questions.
Sanchez studies the social lives of microorganisms. In particular, Sanchez’s lab focuses on the evolution of metabolic strategies to determine which nutrients a microbe consumes in a given environment. Microbes do not have a central nervous system to orchestrate their decision-making processes. Rather, they use complex biochemical and genetic circuits that are encoded into bacteria’s DNA. The Sanchez lab hopes to leverage our vast knowledge of microbial metabolism and decision-making strategies to quantitatively predict how microbial communities will assemble, and how microbes will evolve within a given context.
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation mission is influenced by David Packard’s commitment to strong university science and engineering programs. The Packard Fellowship is one of the largest nongovernmental fellowships in the United States. The foundation has awarded over $429 million to 617 scientist and engineers since 1988.