Professor, Department of Biology, New Mexico State University
Michele “Nish” Nishiguchi is presently a professor of Biology at New Mexico State University. She has focused her work on the evolutionary ecology between marine invertebrates and their symbiotic bacteria. Despite being a marine biologist in the middle of the Chihuahuan desert, Nish manages to chase after squid and their bioluminescent bacteria in places such as the Indo-West Pacific and Mediterranean Seas, and manages to eat some calamari along the way. Besides tasting good, they are the coolest, smartest, and most impressive molluscs around, because they have figured out a way to live peacefully with bacteria that allow them to control light, a behavior called counterillumination. She has been passionate about reaching out to students in the Southwest, and introducing them to marine biology and microbial ecology. She has trained a number of students from underrepresented groups (postdocs, graduate and undergraduate), and continues her commitment to increasing diversity through research, teaching, and outreach.