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Jerri Bartholomew receiving samples in river

Bartholomew named head of Microbiology

By Debbie Farris

Jerri Bartholomew, professor of microbiology and new head of the Department of Microbiology

The College of Science is proud to announce Jerri Bartholomew as Head of the Department of Microbiology beginning January 1, 2015. With this appointment, four of the seven department heads in the College are now women, supporting a deep commitment to diversity.

Bartholomew is currently a professor of microbiology with joint appointments in the College of Science and the College of Agricultural Sciences. She joined the OSU faculty more than 20 years ago. She also serves as director of the J.L. Fryer Salmon Disease Laboratory, one of the only of its kind in the world dedicated to the study of organisms infectious for salmonids and other species of freshwater fish.

“I am thrilled to work with such extraordinary colleagues in microbiology as well as colleagues across the Colleges and throughout the university,” said Bartholomew. “One of my aims will be to enhance the visibility of our department across campus and beyond OSU. Our faculty and students are conducting impressive research. People need to know the amazing things we are doing for science while providing meaningful experiences for our students.”

Bartholomew’s research focuses on the pathogens affecting the health of wild Pacific salmon populations, the effects of climate change on fish disease, parasite evolution and invasion as well as the evolution of the immune systems of fish. Funding for her research comes from various agencies, including the Bureau of Reclamation, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Health and Oregon Sea Grant.

"I am very excited that Jerri has agreed to lead the Department of Microbiology, which is home to many distinguished senior faculty and extremely promising junior faculty with an excellent future ahead of them,” said Sastry G. Pantula, dean of the College of Science.

“She is committed to helping faculty and students reach their full potential and to supporting their success through mentoring.”

“Jerri brings a wealth of experience in research, teaching and outreach to her new job,” said Dan Arp, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. “Microbiology is an important discipline at OSU, for which Jerri is well positioned to provide leadership. I am delighted that she will serve the University in this new role.”

The Department of Microbiology recently assumed responsibility of the new BioHealth Sciences degree that the College of Science launched last fall. This degree partially replaces the general science major and offers students dedicated academic support to enhance their overall experience. In addition, the program will better prepare students for a career in healthcare by providing them with a strong, broad foundational course of study in science.

Bartholomew is active in the American Fisheries Society’s Fish Health Section, one of the largest and most international sections. Recently, she helped organize the 7th International Symposium on Aquatic Animal Health in Portland that attracted 300 fish health professionals from 26 countries. The symposium is hosted every four years by the American Fisheries Society to advance our field of aquatic animal health.

“Jerri’s unique career trajectory is very helpful as she strives for excellence, enhances diversity and fosters harmony in our colleges and at OSU," adds Pantula.

Finding herself well-positioned at the intersection of art and science, Bartholomew is a marine biologist and salmon researcher as well as a passionate artist who has worked in glassmaking for more than 25 years. She draws inspiration from science, as evidenced by a piece entitled Planktos. Working from a studio in her home, she combines photographic screen prints with more free-form imagery to create fused and cast glass pieces. Bartholomew’s work is sold at Western galleries and can even be found adorning the walls of OSU student union’s ballroom.

Bartholomew is an OSU alumna, earning both her master’s degree and PhD in microbiology from the university.