Dr. Dave Westenberg is Professor of Biological Sciences at Missouri University of Science and Technology. His laboratory primarily focuses on the role of rhizosphere microorganisms on plant nutrition and bioremediation. His lab has additional projects studying the antimicrobial properties of bioactive glass and oil smoke vapors. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology and Public Health from Michigan State University and his PhD in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from the University of California, Los Angeles. He spent two years in Germany as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Gerhardt Gottschalk and four years as a USDA post-doctoral fellow at Dartmouth College in the laboratory of Dr. Mary Lou Guerinot. He also completed a six-month sabbatical in Marburg, Germany funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
He has been active in microbiology education and was awarded the 2020 American Society for Microbiology Carski Award for undergraduate education. He is an ASM Scholar-in-Residence (now called Biology Scholars) which provides training and guidance for faculty interested in the scholarship of teaching and learning. Dr. Westenberg chaired the ASM Committee on K-12 Education and Outreach for seven years.
He has received numerous awards for teaching, advising, and outreach including the Class of ’42 Alumni Excellence in Teaching Award (2000) and Alumni Outstanding Advisor Award (2001) from the Missouri S&T Alumni Association. and the UM System President's Award for Community Engagement (2020). He has earned 2 S&T Faculty Teaching awards, 2 S&T Faculty Advising awards, and an Experiential Learning award. He earned Extraordinary Faculty/Staff, Distinguished Advisor, and Best Returning Advisor Awards from the Missouri S&T Student Life, In 2017 he was recognized with the Science Educator Award from the Academy of Sciences, Saint Louis for his work in public science outreach. He was named a Missouri S&T Dean’s Teaching Scholar, National Academy of Science Education Fellow in Life Sciences and an HHMI Biointeractive Teaching Ambassador and has presented at local, regional and national education conferences.