Receives President's Medal at Academic Excellence Dinner
Posted: Wednesday, September 21, 2011
President McRobbie honored Distinguished Professor Emeritus John Preer with the President's Medal during the Academic Excellence Dinner, held in Indianapolis the evening of September 15, 2011. The President's Medal, first presented in 1985, recognizes individuals for distinction in public service, service to IU, achievement in a profession and/or extraordinary merit and achievement in the arts, humanities, science, education and industry.
Preer is an internationally renowned expert in the genetics of Paramecium. His group also studied an unusual form of cytoplasmic inheritance in Paramecium called "Killer" in which paramecia possessing this trait secreted a toxin to which they were resistant, but that killed other paramecia. Preer ultimately showed this trait was due to bacterial endosymbionts. Preer was elected to the National Academy in 1976 and "retired" in 1988. In reality, he and his wife Bertie and longtime research associate Bertina Rudman continued to work in the lab nearly every day up until two years ago, continuing to publish at a steady clip, including several papers in 2010.
Preer has now passed the Paramecium torch on to Mike Lynch, whose lab has recently sequenced the genomes of the bacterial endosymbionts in Paramecium, an effort made possible by the expert training in Paramecium biology provided by Preer.
During his acceptance speech Preer showed that he has lost none of his wit and sense of humor, or his modesty.