A 1966 graduate from Our Lady of Lourdes, Dr. Cerniglia was born and raised in Poughkeepsie, NY. and went on to have a scientific career that made a global impact improving our health, safety, and environment.
Carl received his undergraduate degree from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, and received his Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Microbiology from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. Since 1980, Carl served as the Director of the Division of Microbiology at the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR), Jefferson, Arkansas, and a member of the Senior Biomedical Research Service for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a job he deeply loved, leading a group of dedicated, world-renown professionals. He received the FDA Commissioner’s Award, the FDA Lifetime Achievement Award, and the US Department of Health and Human Services Outstanding Leader Award in providing mentoring, training, and career advancement opportunities to employees in a diverse workforce. His research career brought together applied and basic research methodologies to address emerging public and environmental health issues including food safety, toxicological risk assessment of antimicrobial drugs, nanomaterials, food additives and chemical contaminant residues in food, and the impacts and biodegradation of pollutants in the environment. His leadership on remediating the significant environmental impacts related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico led to his recognition by the American Academy of Microbiology. He was also honored for his scientific contributions in environmental biotechnology when a novel high-molecular-weight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-degrading bacterial isolate was named after him (Immundisolibacter cernigliae).
Carl was elected as a fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology, served as an adjunct Professor in the Dept. of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences, Little Rock, and as an advisor and expert reviewer at the World Health Organization located in Geneva, Switzerland where he was awarded the Silver Medal for outstanding scientific contributions.
Carl’s scientific contributions over his career have resulted in over 430 publications and review articles frequently highlighted in the scientific and popular press along with more than 400 invited presentations at national and international conferences and meetings. In recognition of this career, he received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from North Carolina State University.
In addition to his illustrious accomplishments and accolades in the world of science, Carl was also a mentor to many, enjoyed sports and travel, and was a passionate runner completing numerous marathons including Pikes Peak in Colorado.
Dr. Cerniglia passed away in April 2021 and will be remembered for his many contributions to science and academia.