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OU Provost and Professor Elected Into American Academy of Microbiology

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OU Provost and Professor Elected Into American Academy of Microbiology

February 26, 2024

NORMAN, OKLA. – André-Denis Wright, microbiologist and senior vice president and provost at the University of Oklahoma, and Helen Zgurskaya, Ph.D., George Lynn Cross Research Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences, are among 65 accomplished scientists elected as new Fellows to the Class of 2024 of the American Academy of Microbiology.

The American Academy of Microbiology recognizes excellence, originality, service and leadership in microbial sciences. Fellows of the academy are elected annually through a highly selective peer-review process based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology. The academy received 156 nominations for fellowship from around the world in the Class of 2024.

“We could not be more proud of Provost Wright and Dr. Zgurskaya for this exceptional accomplishment placing them among the greatest scientific minds in the world, and we congratulate them on their election,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “This achievement not only underscores their exceptional dedication to advancing scientific knowledge but also reflects the caliber of research excellence thriving at OU.”

As senior vice president and provost, Wright manages all academic initiatives of the OU Norman campus, including overseeing curricular standards and academic policies, faculty recruitment and development, institutional planning and budgeting, and resource and enrollment management.

An internationally recognized microbiologist, Wright began his academic career in Perth, Australia, where he spent more than a decade working for the country’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. He began as a post-doctoral Fellow and ultimately rose to the position of principal research scientist while also training graduate students at Murdoch University and the University of Queensland.

Wright has published 115 peer-reviewed papers, contributed 18 book chapters, presented 100 conference papers, amassed more than 10,000 citations and delivered 34 plenary lectures in 10 countries. He has served on review panels for the United States Department of Agriculture, National Science Foundation and NASA. He has also served as an external scientific reviewer for the governments of Canada, Russia, Kazakhstan and Switzerland.

OU Provost André-Denis Wright.

Before joining the OU faculty in 2021, Wright served as dean of the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University. He also previously served as professor and director of the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences at the University of Arizona and chair of the Department of Animal Science at the University of Vermont.

Wright earned his bachelor of science degree from Saint Mary’s University and his master of science and doctoral degrees from the University of Guelph in Canada.

Zgurskaya is a founding member of the Center for Antibiotic Discovery and Resistance in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at OU. The center includes an international team composed of 14 research groups spread across five academic campuses, Oak Ridge and Los Alamos National Laboratories. Founded in 2014, the team studies mechanisms of drug resistance in bacteria and develops new approaches and antibiotics effective against drug resistant pathogens.

Zgurskaya’s current research interests include antibiotic discovery and mechanisms of resistance, multidrug efflux transporters, drug permeation and efflux pump inhibitors. Her work has implications for the treatment of bacterial infections and discovery of new antibacterial agents.

Throughout her career, Zgurskaya has published more than 100 scientific papers in the field of antibiotic resistance and biochemistry of drug efflux, several book chapters and is co-editor on a book. She has also participated in the preparation of various conferences and as a keynote speaker and has been a member of different study sections at the National Institute of Health and the Department of Defence.

Helen Zgurskaya, Ph.D., George Lynn Cross Research Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences.

Zgurskaya joined in OU faculty in 2000 as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She is a former receipient of the OU Vice President Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity and the Scientist Development Award from American Heart Association.

Zgurskaya earned her bachelor of science degree from Dnepropetrovsk State University in Ukraine and her doctorate from Russian Academy of Sciences in Russia.

The 2,600-member academy represents all subspecialties of the microbial sciences. Members are involved in basic and applied research, teaching, public health, industry and government science. Fellows in the Class of 2024 represent seven countries: France, Germany, Hong Kong (Greater China), South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom and U.S.

For more information on the new fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology, visit asm.org.

About the University of Oklahoma

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. As the state’s flagship university, OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. OU was named the state’s highest-ranking university in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent Best Colleges list. For more information about the university, visit ou.edu.


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