Levin installed as a George William and Irene Koechig Freiberg Professor of Biology

Petra Levin
Petra Levin was installed as a George William and Irene Koechig Freiberg Professor of Biology. Her research interests include cell growth, cell size and cell cycle progression. (Photo: Mena Darré/Washington University)

Petra Levin, a professor of biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, has been installed as a George William and Irene Koechig Freiberg Professor of Biology. Levin presented an address titled “The Environment Matters” during the Sept. 19 installation ceremony, held in Ridgley Hall’s Holmes Lounge.

Levin’s research interests include the temporal and spatial control of cell division, cell size control and cell cycle dynamics in bacterial systems. Foundational work from the Levin group has identified signaling networks linking bacterial size to nutrient availability, revealed direct links between metabolism and cell cycle control, and illuminated the mechanisms underlying pH-dependent changes in antibiotic resistance.

Prior to joining the Washington University faculty, Levin completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Williams College in 1989 and her PhD in biology from Harvard University in 1996.

Some of Levin’s notable grant awards include her National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2005 and her Fulbright Scholar work in the Netherlands in 2015. Active in outreach as well as research, Levin developed EnTER, a work-study-based program that helps first-generation, low-income undergraduates gain significant research experience and transition to careers in science. Levin co-hosts a popular podcast called “This Week in Microbiology” and was elected to the American Academy of Microbiology in 2018.

The George William and Irene Koechig Freiberg Professorship in Biology was established in 1983 to honor a distinguished faculty member in biology who has demonstrated leadership in research and teaching. It was funded by George Freiberg, an Anheuser-Busch executive who earned a doctorate in microbiology from Washington University in 1917. Irene Koechig Freiberg earned two degrees from Arts & Sciences and taught at the School of Medicine from the 1920s through the 1950s.

Read more about Petra Levin’s installation and professional experience on The Ampersand website.

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