WASHINGTON, Feb. 9Charlene R. Jackson, a microbiologist with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), has been named an "Outstanding Early Career Scientist of 2004" by the agency. ARS is the U.S. Department of Agricultures chief scientific research agency.
Based at the agencys Antimicrobial Resistance Research Unit in Athens, Ga., Jackson was honored for leading research on the microbe Enterococcus, particularly on how the bacteria develops resistance to antibiotics.
At a 1 p.m. ceremony today at USDA headquarters here, Jackson will receive a plaque, a cash award and additional research funding. The "Early Career Scientist" awards are given to ARS scientists who have been with the agency seven years or less, and who earned their highest academic degree within the past 10 years.
Jackson also provides leadership in research on Enterococcus for the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) and has assumed temporary responsibility for oversight of the newly created VetNet program. Collectively, this research provides information vital to producing meat and meat products of the highest microbiological quality.
In addition, Jackson designed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primers for detecting and identifying all 25 enterococcal species. This was the first genus- and species-specific multiplex PCR for identification of this organism and has replaced previous methods of identification. It is also being used at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as part of the NARMS program and at other university research facilities.
Jackson also identified and characterized aminoglycoside resistance in enterococci isolated from poultry carcasses. Her study show that these resistant organisms in poultry contained some of the common aminoglycoside resistance genes, but some strains also harbored resistance genes that were not detected by standard molecular methods. This research helped researchers to better characterize and understand antimicrobial resistance in poultry and its potential transfer to humans.
Jackson earned a bachelors degree in 1990 and a masters degree in 1992 in biology from Georgia Southern College, and a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Georgia in 1998. Jackson is the daughter of Fred Jackson and the late Carlene Jackson, both of Collins, Ga.