ISOP President, Matt Brown, announced last year that Dr. Fabien Burki, Department of Organismal Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden, was selected to receive the 2021 Hutner Achievement Award. Dr. Burki has greatly advanced our understanding of the deep structure of the Tree of Eukaryotes, especially through his pioneering and continuing contributions to phylogenomics. Developing new lines of research is something Dr. Burki is known for, as exemplified by his commitment to investigating an enigmatic group of parasites that infects marine invertebrates like oysters and mussels, where he notes that these parasites “almost wiped out entire shellfish aquaculture in some regions, yet not even one genome is available for the entire group.” His laboratory tackles questions that relate to some of the most transformative lifestyle transitions in the evolution of complex life, such as the origin and spread of the photosynthetic organelles called plastids, using a combination of culture-independent genomics, transcriptomics, environmental DNA (eDNA) approaches such as long-read metabarcoding, but also increasingly advanced fluorescent microscopy. Dr. Burki recently received an European Research Council Consolidator grant (PlastidOrigin). We very much look forward to Dr. Burki presenting his Hutner Award lecture in an upcoming ISOP meeting. Please join President Matt Brown in congratulating Dr. Burki in this achievement.
In 2020, the ISOP Awards Committee selected Dr. Vladimir Hampl to receive the Hutner Prize, based on his extensive contributions to evolutionary protistology, eukaryotic phylogeny, evolution of anaerobes and their mitochondria, evolution of euglenid secondary plastids, lateral gene transfer, and taxonomy and phylogeny of parabasalids, oxymonads and fornicates. In particular, the studies of the diversity, molecular and cell biology, and interesting organelles of the two Excavata groups, Preaxostyla and Euglenida provide insight into organelle origin and evolution of their structure, molecular biology, transport, targeting, biogenesis, genome composition, molecular genetics mechanisms and biochemical pathways, as well as the phenomenon of lateral gene transfer which plays an important role in some of these processes. Prof. Hampl’s laboratory is based at the Department of Parasitology and BIOCEV, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. In 2017, he received an ERC consolidator grant, he served as the President of the Czech Protozoological Section, and he organized the International Congress of Protistology (ICOP) in Prague, Czech Republic in 2017. We congratulate Dr. Hampl and look forward to his Hutner Award talk at an upcoming ISOP meeting.
The 2019 Hutner Awardee was Dr. Enrique Lara, Researcher, Spanish National Research Council, at the Real Jardin Botanico de Madrid, Spain. Noted for his outstanding work with the testate amoebae, a polyphyletic group of amoeboid protists for which virtually nothing is known about their evolution, ecology and lifestyle, Dr. Lara is particularly interested in the micro-evolution of testate amoebae, to understand how their immense diversity is generated. A related question is also which forces are driving the composition of their communities. His laboratory explores the ecology, diversity, biogeography and evolution of microbial eukaryotes in general, using from classical culture/morphological approaches to molecular phylogenetics /-omics and environmental DNA surveys in terrestrial, freshwater and marine systems. At an upcoming ISOP Annual Meeting, Dr. Lara will present his talk, “Species-level diversity in testate amoebae: a journey into the near-imponderable.”
The ISOP Executive Committee and the entire membership offer our belated congratulations to all these Awardees, who have persevered during the seemingly interminable pandemic mont