EUGENE - A. Morrie Craig, a professor of veterinary medicine at Oregon State University, will receive the 1996 Outstanding Scientist Award on March 2 at the 54th annual meeting of the Oregon Academy of Science.

The award will recognize Craig's pioneering contributions to basic and applied microbiology, especially in developing new pollution cleanup concepts based on the use of unusual bacteria from animals.

The honor will be presented at this year's meeting of the academy at the University of Oregon in Eugene. The event is expected to attract about 400 academic researchers, other scientists, high school and college students.

For years, Craig has studied the biological mechanisms in some animals that can protect them from naturally occurring environmental toxins. In several cases - including Oregon sheep that eat the toxic weed tansy ragwort - he has identified and characterized anaerobic bacteria in the animals' digestive systems that have unusual capabilities to degrade toxins.

The latest developments in this work have led to the North Slope of Alaska, where - as an offshoot of some of the last legal Native American whale harvests in America - Craig has obtained bacteria from the digestive system of bowhead whales. They may one day play a powerful role in cleaning up oil spills or the polluting residues from the explosive TNT.

"Dr. Craig has done some outstanding basic science in explaining the function of these anaerobic microbes," said Ken Doxsee, an associate professor of chemistry at the University of Oregon and president of the Oregon Academy of Science. "But he's also taken the next step to see how this knowledge can help solve serious animal health or pollution problems in the real world."

More than 200 presentations in 13 fields of study will also be made at this meeting of the Oregon Academy of Science, an organization founded in 1892 and associated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The keynote address will be delivered by Terry Bristol, president and chief executive officer of the Portland-based Institute for Science, Engineering and Public Policy.

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Ken Doxsee, 541-346-4628