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Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research

Research Medal Award Winner

Edward Ruby, headshot

Edward Ruby
Marine organisms

Margaret McFall-Ngai and Edward Ruby have been working on separate but complementary aspects of their joint interest—the detailed elucidation of a complex symbiotic relationship between marine organisms. Their recent joint work at the Pacific Biomedical Research Center’s Kewalo Marine Laboratory targets a relationship between a luminous marine bacterium and a Hawaiian squid.

McFall-Ngai and Ruby have created break-through research in the field of bacterial-animal associations. Ruby’s expertise is in molecular bacterial genetics, with a unique background and training in biology of marine bacteria. McFall-Ngai’s expertise is in invertibrate zoology, marine biology, symbiosis and protein chemistry.

Increasing recognition of the importance of benign microbial associations to all animals and plant species has resulted in a new field that integrates host-microbe interactions into biology as a whole. McFall-Ngai wrote a landmark review in the journal Development Biology. At the request of the National Institutes of Health, she and Ruby organized a workshop on beneficial microbial interactions. These scientists have opened this emerging field and encouraged the development of other animal-bacteria models that will expand its breadth and impact.

The professional publications of McFall-Ngai and Ruby total well over 100 titles, many appearing in some of the most prestigious journals—Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Bacteriology and Developmental Biology.

In addition, their research has attracted substantial extramural grant funding. Current grants from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and the Keck Foundation total $6 million.

The Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research is awarded by the Board of Regents in recognition of scholarly contributions that expand the boundaries of knowledge and enrich the lives of students and the community. The board also awards the Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching.

Select a recipient for more about that individual.

Current awardees and links to archives.


Milton Garces, headshot
Milton Garces
Geophysics and planetology
Albert Kim, headshot
Albert Kim
Civil and environmental engineering
Tobias Owen, headshot
Tobias Owen


Bruce Chorpita, headshot
Bruce Chorpita
Ho-min Sohn, headshot
Ho-min Sohn
Korean language
Paul Lucey, headshot
Paul Lucey
Geophysics and planetology


Alexander Krot, headshot
Alexander Krot
Geophysics and planetology
John L. Tonry, headshot
John L. Tonry


Andrew Harris, headshot
Andrew Harris
Laurence N. Kolonel, headshot
Laurence N. Kolonel
Cancer epidemiology
James B. Nation, headshot
James B. Nation


Margaret McFall-Ngai, headshot
Margaret McFall-Ngai
Marine organisms
Stephen Olsen, headshot
Stephen Olsen
High energy physics
 Edward Ruby, headshot
Edward Ruby
Marine organisms