This award will be awarded to members of SMBE who have provided exceptional service to SMBE and the broader scientific community. The term "service" applies broadly to include specific service to the community (such as to the SMBE journals, the Council or annual meetings) and also service that includes scientific outreach and education. The prize includes an award of $2000 as well as reimbursement to attend the annual meeting. This award will be made periodically and initiated by the SMBE council.
2019 SMBE Community Service Award Winner: Cathy Kennedy
Although Cathy is not a molecular evolutionist (her PhD from the University of Leicester was in animal behaviour), she has contributed significantly to the SMBE community through her service to the Society.
Cathy’s association with SMBE began in 2002 when, as a publisher for Oxford University Press (OUP), she oversaw MBE’s transition to OUP at a time when electronic journal publishing was in its infancy. She then worked with SMBE to launch GBE, which at that time was the only society-owned open-access online-only journal in the world. Now GBE is a thriving, profitable entity and there are a number of copycat journals; but it was a leap of faith for OUP to take the risk and Cathy was the one who made it happen.
MBE and GBE provide SMBE’s primary source of income. Their growing revenues have helped the Society to provide a huge range of awards and benefits that members now enjoy. Cathy is particularly pleased that these include measures to ensure women, parents, carers, and younger scientists from all over the world are able to attend SMBE meetings.
Since retirement from OUP, Cathy has continued to help SMBE - as a consultant on issues related to the publication of our two journals; identifying and negotiating a long-term conference organizing company for SMBE’s annual meetings; and serving as an ‘institutional memory’ for the society. Cathy is still available to answer questions, either about past practices of SMBE or with insights into the publishing world.
2017 SMBE Community Service Award Winner: Sudhir Kumar, Temple University
Sudhir Kumar has been an early leader in exploring the theoretical and empirical intersection of evolutionary biology with computational biology, and forging accessible tools that allow researchers from diverse backgrounds to harness the analytical power of modern computational biology. With a background in Biological Sciences and Electrical & Electronics Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences, he completed a Ph.D. and postdoctoral work in Genetics at Pennsylvania State University, mentored by Dr. Masatoshi Nei. During this period, he worked to develop the first version of Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (MEGA), a freely-accessible software package that has been maintained and improved over more than 20 years since its release. The enduring popularity of MEGA results from Kumar’s responsiveness to community needs and dedication to accessibility and scientific rigor. He has made numerous contributions to the mathematical theory of phylogenetics through advances in estimating evolutionary distances, inference of divergence times, and algorithms for constructing phylogenetic trees. Kumar and his laboratory continue to work actively on improving phylogenetic theory and applications to the growing field of phylomedicine, which explores disease via phylogenetic methods and makes predictions informed by evolutionary biology. Sudhir Kumar is currently the Laura H. Carnell Professor and the Director of the Institute for Genomics and Evolutionary Medicine at Temple University. He has served the SMBE community as elected Secretary, webmaster, President, chair of the organizing committee of the SMBE annual meeting in 2006 in Tempe, Arizona, and is currently serving as Editor-in-Chief of the society journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.
As a scientist, Bill Martin has furthered our understanding of life's early history with contributions to the study of physiology, gene transfer and endosymbiosis in microbial evolution. He has served SMBE for well over a decade. As the Editor-in-Chief of MBE 2003-2008, he fostered growth of the journal and the society while helping to usher SMBE into the age of electronic publishing. In 2009 he founded SMBE’s second journal,
Genome Biology and Evolution, which was the first society-owned, open-access journal in the biological sciences. He has served as the Editor-in-Chief ofGBE since its inception, overseeing the journal's contribution to the society and its benefit to the field. Bill is a fellow in the American Academy for Microbiology, a member of EMBO, and has been Chair of the Institute of Molecular Evolution at the University of Dusseldorf since 1999.
2016 SMBE Community Service Award Winner: Bill Martin