An innovative scientist, Hunter-Cevera has created a host of techniques throughout her distinguished career for isolating and screening microorganisms, often discovering new species and products in the process. She began a program using ecological factors as a way to screen microorganisms living in natural environments; her work led to the successful isolation of Chromobacterium violaceum and the production of a new class of monobactam antibiotics from this microbe. She designed a program measuring enzyme activity that resulted in the discovery of a new enzyme class, the chloroperoxidases. While at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, she studied fungi and bacteria isolated from the contaminated Chernobyl power plant, along with specimens from the pristine environment of Russia's Lake Baikal. Microbes with novel enzymes have been isolated from these sites, as well as microorganisms with antimicrobial, anticancer, and novel herbicidal properties.
She is also known for her astute use of technology to manage culture collections. As a doctoral student, Hunter-Cevera initiated the first ecological computer database for comparative analyses of species and habitat relationships at Rutgers University. She founded the first industrial collection of recombinant microbial cultures; her published paper on establishing and maintaining such collections is a model for biotechnolo
Contact: Barbara Hyde
American Society for Microbiology