Dr. Allen Place, a professor and biochemist with the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, has been honored by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science with the President's Award for Science Application. Dr. Place was recognized for his biological research that takes diverse approaches to address many practical problems, from the causes of toxic algal blooms and ways they can be controlled to formulating sustainable foods used to cultivate fish in aquaculture.
"He has focused on real problems, such as harmful algal blooms, and creatively developed and used cutting-edge methods to counteract their effect," said University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science President Dr. Donald Boesch. "He takes his research full circle by working with public agencies and businesses in the application of his solutions."
Place's work has focused on biology at a microscopic level, including investigating the toxic algae Karlodinium, which caused major fish kills in the late 1990s. By determining the cause of some of these fish kills, he was able to provide sound scientific information to Maryland state agencies and head off unfounded public concerns regarding human or ecological health.
More recently, Dr. Place has led a group looking for novel and effective control mechanisms for cyanobacterial blooms that plague freshwater reaches of the Chesapeake Bay. These blooms occur throughout the U.S. and the world and have profound impacts on human and ecological health as well as economic interests. Dr. Place and his team have initiated critical dialogue and partnerships at the state and local government levels, as well as with NGOs and private interests.
"He brings huge energy and enthusiasm to his important work on the microalgae and their toxins in the Chesapeake Bay and other ecosystems worldwide," said Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology Interim Director Dr. Russell Hill. "He has an outstanding track record in applying his considerable scientific talents to solve real world problems of great significance."
The President's Award for Science Application was established in 1999 to honor exemplary service that has an impact upon the state of Maryland.