The Award, established in 1996 to recognize achievement in promoting public understanding of microbiology, consists of a plaque and $2,500 cash prize. It will be presented this year in Atlanta on June 6 during the General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.
Judges called Roberts' story "first-rate reporting," "an important story meticulously researched and beautifully told," and "a compelling read without loss of technical accuracy."
Since 2000, Roberts has been deputy news editor at the weekly magazine Science, where she works with a team of reporters covering infectious diseases, both old foes like polio and emerging threats like avian influenza. She also coordinates the magazine's coverage of biomedicine and environment/ecology. In a previous stint at Science in the 1980s and 1990s, Roberts was a senior writer specializing in genetics and the environment.
Roberts has also served as editor-in-chief at the World Resources Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, where she worked on issues of environment, development, and human health; and as senior editor then editor-in-chief of Issues in Science and Technology, the policy journal of the National Academy of Sciences.
Judges for this year's Award were Rick Weiss, the Washington Post; Marilyn Marchione, Medical Writer, Associated Press; and Janet Ginsburg, freelance and previous ASM Communications Award winner.
The American Society for Microbiology, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the largest single life science association, with 42,000 members worldwide. Its members work in educational, research, industrial, and government settings on issues such as the environment, the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, laboratory and diagnostic medicine, and food and water safety. The ASM's mission is to gain a better understanding of basic life processes and to promote the application of this knowledge for improved health and economic and environmental well-being.