MISSOULA – A University of Montana researcher recently won the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government upon outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent research careers.
John McCutcheon, an associate professor in the Division of Biological Sciences, earned the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) nomination from the National Science Foundation, which also awarded him its Faculty Early Career Development award in 2016. The White House announced the PECASE award recipients on July 2.
“I am really grateful to the NSF for nominating me,” said McCutcheon. “The award is the result of a huge team effort, where students, postdoctoral fellows and scientists have all worked together to do some fun and exciting science. I owe everything to these amazing people.”
McCutcheon teaches genomics and introductory biology to UM students. His lab studies communities of microorganisms that live in a number of different environments – from inside special cells of sap-feeding insects to the outside of ambrosia beetles to those that form lichens.
“We are interested in how and why symbioses form, how they are maintained and what happens as the associations become more and more intertwined,” McCutcheon said.
PECASE recipients are chosen for their leadership in science and technology and are invited to attend an award ceremony in Washington, D.C., on July 25.
Established in 1996, the award acknowledges the contributions scientists and engineers have made to the advancement of science and technology education and to community service, as demonstrated by scientific leadership, public education and community outreach.