Bob Ellis wins biosafety “MVP” award for distinguished achievement

Bob Ellis, Ph.D., received the 2020 Arnold G. Wedum Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Biological Safety Association. The award is given to a current association member for outstanding contributions to biological safety accomplished through teaching, research, service, or leadership.

Ellis is professor emeritus in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology at Colorado State University. He recently retired after 42 years at the university.

He has taught many pre-conference and summer session courses for the safety association and the Eagleson Institute. He was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the National Biosafety and Biocontainment Training Program of the National Institute of Health from 2006 through 2011.

At CSU, Ellis initiated the Biosafety in Research Laboratories 2-credit course for upper level undergraduate and graduate students 18 years ago. Young scientists are eager to learn the applied basics of biosafety and a few of the students in this class have continued in the biosafety profession.

When the novel coronavirus pandemic first emerged, his biosafety expertise was featured in a Colorado Public Radio story on vaccine research at CSU. Throughout the pandemic, he has offered his expertise in panel discussions hosted by the Columbine Health Systems Center for Healthy Aging at CSU.

Ellis is a certified biological safety professional and an honorary diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists. He was elected to the American Biological Safety Association Council in October 2004 and was president of the association from 2008 to 2009.

He initiated and directed the Biosafety and Biosecurity Training Course in Fort Collins in 2004. The course is held each July and includes General, Animal, and Plant biosafety and biosecurity training sessions.

In 2015, Ellis received the Everett Hanel, Jr. Presidential Award, which goes to a current member for “outstanding contributions to the American Biological Safety Association by promoting the field of biological safety and fostering, by example, the high professional standards of the association’s membership.”

He was on the editorial board for Applied Biosafety from 2005-2016. In addition to his CSU and association activities, he was the executive director of the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases (CRWAD) 1987 through 2014 and was the Founding Editor-in-Chief of Animal Health Research Reviews. Ellis serves on the Biosafety Committees for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC). He has extensive experience in the design, construction, and operation of BSL–2 and BSL–3 facilities, and is recognized nationally and internationally for his knowledge and practical application of biosafety practices and principles.

He also received the Russian Academy of Agriculture Science, Division of Veterinary Medicine, Gold Medal of Achievement in the field of Veterinary Science in 2008.

The association thanks him for his “continuing selfless efforts on behalf of the biosafety profession.”