Professor Randall Hicks has been named the new director of the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Center for Freshwater Research and Policy. The announcement was made by James Riehl, Dean of the UMD College of Science and Engineering. Dr. Hicks succeeds Professor Timothy Holst, who has headed up the Center from its inception in 1998. Dr. Holst is Associate Dean of the College of Science and Engineering.
The UMD Center for Freshwater Research and Policy was created to facilitate communication among the scholars and professionals at UMD, as well as with regional laboratories working on issues pertaining to freshwater. At UMD, scholarship in the area of freshwater research and policy is spread across several colleges, as well as the Center for Water and the Environment at the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI), the Large Lakes Observatory (LLO), Minnesota Sea Grant, and the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute.
Dr. Hicks is a professor in the UMD Department of Biology, and has served as head of the department for eight years. He completed a Ph.D. degree in Ecology at the University of Georgia and did postdoctoral work at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Illinois Natural History Survey before joining the faculty at UMD.
Dr. Hicks is an environmental microbiologist who studies the diversity and productivity of aquatic microbial communities, their role in the degradation and transformation of organic compounds, and the survival and virulence of pathogenic microbes in these communities. His work has taken him to the bottoms of many of the Great Lakes (using a manned submersible), to Russia, and to many oceans of the world. His current research efforts are focused on the North American Great Lakes and watersheds in northern Minnesota.