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Downs named Regents’ Professor

Alan Flurry

Diana Downs, Distinguished Research Professor in the department of microbiology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences,  is one of two University of Georgia faculty members named Regents’ Professors for the widespread reach and impact of their scholarship and creative activity. 

Regents’ professorships are the highest professorial recognition bestowed by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents.

Known as an expert in microbial physiology, bacterial genetics and metabolism, Downs has distinguished herself as an innovative and pioneering scholar. She has a substantial research footprint with 126 peer-reviewed publications and 30 years of continuously funded grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and industry and private foundations.

Throughout her career, Downs has graduated 27 Ph.D. students and currently has five students working on their dissertations. She has mentored 14 master’s students and more than 80 undergraduates in her laboratory and is highly renowned for her teaching expertise. She also served as the UGA department of microbiology’s graduate coordinator, during which time the graduate program grew substantially.

In addition to her foundational research and student mentoring, Downs is known for her national and international service. She served as editor-in-chief of the premier ASM journal Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews for 10 years and was on the advisory panel of the James S. McDonnell Foundation’s Complex Systems Analysis Program. She was also one of two Americans on the European Research Council panel “Genetics, Genomics, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology.”

“Parallel to her research centric success, Dr. Downs has earned a reputation as an advocate for rigor and relevance in graduate and undergraduate education, and a colleague that is dedicated to strengthening microbiology research and education at all levels,” said Aaron Mitchell, UGA professor and head of the department of microbiology.

In recognition of her impactful research and mentorship, Downs was profiled in “Women in Microbiology” by the American Society for Microbiology Press (2018) and was elected as a fellow of both the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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Congratulations to Dr. Downs and Amanda Murdie for this sensational honor and distinguishing career achievement.

Image: Diana Downs


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