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APSUO Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator Award

About the Award | About Rosalind Franklin | 2004 Winner

In conjunction with the Advanced Photon Source, the APS Users Organization has established the APSUO Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator Award to recognize an important technical or scientific accomplishment by a young investigator that depended on, or is beneficial to, the APS. The award is open to senior graduate students and those whose Ph.D. was awarded no more than two years prior to nomination.The award, which consists of a plaque plus $1000, will be presented at the annual APS Users Meeting. The recipient of the award will be asked to present 20-minute talk on his or her research at this meeting.

About Rosalind Franklin

The brilliant but short-lived chemist Rosalind Franklin played a critical but largely unacknowledged role in the discovery of the structure of DNA. While working as a research associate for John Randall at King's College in 1951, Franklin was assigned to study the unwieldy DNA molecule with x-ray crystallography--a technique only just beginning to be used for biological molecules. Her results revealed the position of the sugar-phosphate backbone and the basic helical structure of the molecule; when her x-ray photographs filtered unofficially to John Watson at Cambridge, he immediately saw their implications. Franklin went on to work on the tobacco mosaic virus and the polio virus, but her career came to an untimely end when she died of cancer in 1958 at age 37.More information on Franklin is at

2004 Winner

The Advanced Photon Source (APS) Users Organization is pleased to announce that Dr. Alexis S. Templeton has been chosen to receive the first APS Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator Award. Dr. Templeton will receive this award, which consists of a plaque plus $1000, on Thursday, May 6 at the closing session of the 2004 APS User Meeting. At that time, Dr. Templeton will also deliver a short talk about her work .Her work as a graduate student at Stanford University and more recent studies as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego , centers around the influence of microorganisms in the speciation of heavy metals in environmental systems, as well as the role of bacteria in the weathering of basaltic glasses in deep ocean environments. To simultaneously investigate both the abiotic and biologically-mediated reactions at biofilm/mineral interfaces, Alexis has relied heavily on a diverse array of spectroscopic and microscopic techniques.

For her graduate work, she used microbeam x-ray fluorescence, conventional and grazing angle x-ray absorption spectroscopy, and long-period x-ray standing wave (XSW) synchrotron-based techniques. A particularly novel development was her combination of the XSW technique with XANES spectroscopy to determine the vertical distribution and speciation of selenium within microbial biofilms formed on oxide surfaces. The combined methods she used provide a fully three-dimensional characterization of trace element distribution and speciation at a complex interface and represents a major advance in the approach to investigating such systems.

Her current work involves a multi-disciplinary investigation focused on identifying key microorganisms in ocean floor environments that survive through oxidation of Fe(II) and Mn(II) in basaltic glasses. Geochemical measurements are directed towards characterizing the chemical signatures associated with biologically-induced weathering and constraining the relative rates of biotic vs. abiotic dissolution and oxidation processes. For this work, she has developed a protocol combining x-ray reflectivity, total reflection x-ray fluorescence, grazing-angle XANES, and x-ray diffraction measurements. These methods can be used to determine the thickness and density of reacted surface layers, identify surface-associated weathering products, and measure the redistribution and redox transformation of metals in the weathered surfaces. This work is an exciting application of synchrotron methods to a complex problem and is likely to have a major impact on our understanding of fundamental biological processes in the deep ocean.  

In her brief professional career, Alexis Templeton has authored or co-authored 16 peer-reviewed publications and received a number of prestigious awards. The APS and the APS Users Organization are happy to add the APS Rosalind Franklin Award to that number.



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