Rita Colwell, a Distinguished University of Maryland Professor and CONSERVE collaborator, was awarded the 7th Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW) Creativity Award on November 2, 2016 in a ceremony at United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The PSIPW award, considered one of the most prestigious international awards focusing on water-related scientific innovation, recognizes the collaborative research by Rita and Shafiqul Islam from Tufts University that employs chlorophyll information from satellite data to predict cholera outbreaks at least three to six months in advance.
Dr. Colwell is one of the world’s leading researchers of cholera—a waterborne disease estimated by the World Health Organization to strike three to five million people annually, many of them young children.
In 1960, Rita became the first scientist to write a computer program that could identify bacteria. By the 1970s, her groundbreaking use of computational tools to study biology helped establish the field of Bioinformatics, a key area of scientific study today.