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Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown named recipient of Distinguished Alumni Award at UAM


Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown is a professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, a faculty member in the Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology and an associate faculty member in the Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics.

August 29, 2019

Universities worldwide recognize their brightest and most successful alumni with prestigious academic awards.  

Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, a faculty member in Arizona State University's Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology and an associate faculty member in the Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics, received the Distinguished Alumni award from her alma mater, the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, Iztapalapa (UAM) in Mexico, honoring her work as a researcher.

Krajmalnik-Brown is also a professor in civil and environmental engineering in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment and faculty in the School of Life Sciences

“This award means a lot to me,” Krajmalnik-Brown said. “I am happy that professors at my previous institution are aware of my work, and I am really happy to be giving back to society through my teaching and research accomplishments.”

Despite having accumulated numerous accolades for her work, Krajmalnik-Brown has had to overcome more than a few obstacles. Coming to the U.S. from Mexico, and breaking ground in a new field, Krajmalnik-Brown has proven that no challenge is insurmountable for her and other individuals like her.

"I hope this recognition motivates young women to: consider STEM careers, follow their dreams, and contribute to society," Krajmalnik-Brown said. 

Each year, the university awards various alumni from its three campuses with the Distinguished Alumni award. Nominators look for candidates who “stand out with their academic, cultural and social accomplishments” or who contribute “to the development and growth of their institution or country.”

To receive this award, alumni are selected by previous outstanding or emeritus professors. Krajmalnik-Brown was nominated by Sergio Rebah, a professor who had a profound impact on her career path.

“Dr. Sergio Rebah was one of the professors at UAM that inspired me to become an environmental engineer and to go to graduate school. I am honored to have been nominated by the one person that inspired me to start my academic career.”

Rebah recognized Krajmalnik-Brown’s name in a recent article in the Economist, which featured her research on fecal transplants and their potential for treating patients with autism spectrum disorder. Her work on the relationship between the gut microbiome and autism has recently received a high level of attention from the public. On average, 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder each year, making Krajmalnik-Brown’s research of particular significance.

This groundbreaking research at Arizona State University is what set her apart from the rest of the UAM's alumni to earn her this award.

Although she is widely recognized for her work with microbiology and autism, her research also focuses on microbial ecology in the context of bioremediation and bioenergy production. Bioremediation involves the introduction of microorganisms to an environment to break down or consume polluted or contaminated materials, restoring the health of the environment.

In a similar show of recognition, Krajmalnik-Brown received an NSF CAREER award in 2011, and she was selected as a leader in the “40 under 40” list for Phoenix.

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