University of Texas at Dallas Founders Building Named “Milestones in Microbiology” Site

Washington, DC – November 10, 2016 – The American Society for Microbiology designates the University of Texas at Dallas as a Milestones in Microbiology site for achievements in molecular biology, advancing medical science and providing fundamental insights into bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms.

The Milestones in Microbiology program was established by the ASM to promote greater awareness and appreciation of microbiology. The award recognizes sites where major developments and seminal discoveries occurred.  

The Founders Building, the first permanent structure on the University of Texas at Dallas (UT-Dallas) campus and site of the groundbreaking research being honored, will be designated as a “Milestones in Microbiology” site at a Nov. 10 ceremony in the building.

UTDallasMiM“Breakthroughs made by UT-Dallas scientists have greatly enhanced our knowledge and understanding of bacteria and bacteriophages,” Susan Sharp, President of the ASM, commented.  “ASM recognizes UT-Dallas as a Milestones site for its pioneering work that played a key role in the development and advancement of the field of molecular biology,” said Sharp.

Research conducted in the Founders Building over the course of  more than 50 years has led to a greater  understanding of the molecular genetics of bacteria and bacteriophages.  Major contributions encompass early developments inmolecular biology, including plasmids and recombinant DNA technology (Royston Clowes), growth regulation and synthesis of macromolecules (Hans Bremer), phage development and the photoactivation of DNA repair (Claud S. Rupert).   [photo: (L-R) Susan Sharp, ASM President and Inga Musselman, Senior Vice Provost, UT-Dallas Unveiling the Milestones in Microbiology Plaque]

Rupert was mentor to Aziz Sancar, who, while a doctoral student at UT-Dallas, successfully isolated the gene encoding the photolyase enzyme, which is critical to DNA repair in bacteria. Sancar earned his PhD in molecular and cell biology in 1977; his PhD  research formed the foundation of subsequent work leading to his 2015 Nobel Prize in chemistry (co-recipient). He is the first UT-Dallas alumnus to earn the prize.

Previously designated Milestones in Microbiology sites include the Waksman Laboratory at Rutgers University; Hopkins Marine Station in Monterey, California; the site of the University of Pennsylvania Laboratory of Hygiene; Scripps Institution of Oceanography; the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine; Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; the Microbial Diversity Course at Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole; Storrs Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of Connecticut; the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Department of Bacteriology; The Rockefeller University; the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; the Department of Microbiology and Immunology of the University of Michigan; Ocean Station ALOHA, University of Hawai'i at Manoa; and Merck Research Laboratories in Rahway, NJ and West Point, PA.  For more information on these sites, visit  


The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 48,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM's mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.

ASM advances the microbial sciences through conferences, publications, certifications and educational opportunities. It enhances laboratory capacity around the globe through training and resources. It provides a network for scientists in academia, industry and clinical settings. Additionally, ASM promotes a deeper understanding of the microbial sciences to diverse audiences.