Newswise — BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Binghamton University, State University of New York researcher Karin Sauer is among 65 scientists elected as Fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology this year.

Fellows are elected by their peers based on their scientific achievements and original contributions to the field of microbiology.

Sauer’s lab aims to find ways to control communities of bacteria called biofilms and to curb their extraordinary resistance to antimicrobial agents. The team’s findings could have an impact on a wide range of healthcare practices, from ear infections to wound care.

“I’m honored and excited by this recognition of my career to date,” says Sauer, co-founder of one of the largest American biofilm research groups. “I think the next decade will see some tremendous progress in applying our work to improve human health, especially for people who have surgically implanted medical devices.”

Sauer, who earned a doctorate from the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Germany, joined Binghamton’s faculty in 2003 and was promoted to professor in 2013. A recent Stanford University study that looks at the impact of scientists worldwide named Sauer among the top 2% of researchers in the world in their fields.

Sauer serves as editor-in-chief for FEMS Microbiology Reviews, the fifth-highest-ranked microbiology journal. She’s also an editor of mBio, the Biofilm journal and Environmental Microbiology and Microbiology Reports.

Sauer, whose work has been funded by government agencies and industrial sponsors, has brought about $13 million in research grants to Binghamton. She is an organizer of the Approaching Zero Roadmap Initiative, which offers an international virtual seminar series where researchers discuss device-associated infections.

Sauer, a first-generation immigrant scholar herself, said mentoring the next generation of scientists is especially important to her. A founding faculty member of Binghamton University’s First-year Research Immersion program, she’s the co-director of a Research Experiences for Undergraduates summer program and a mentor for students in the Bridges to the Baccalaureate and McNair Scholars programs, which serve students from minoritized backgrounds.

“My approach to mentoring and to diversity is simple,” Sauer said. “It’s about cultivating a culture where all can bring their authentic selves to work.”

The American Society for Microbiology, one of the largest professional societies dedicated to the life sciences, counts some 36,000 scientists and health practitioners among its members. The academy received 156 nominations for Fellows this year.

“Fellows are an outstanding assembly of scientists whose contributions have propelled our discipline and whose knowledge benefits both the scientific community and broader society,” said Vanessa Sperandio, chair of the Academy Governors.