PULLMAN, Wash --- Washington State University professor, Allan Pessier, won the Golden Goose Award at the Library of Congress on Wednesday.
The Pathologist and Clinical Associate Professor Allan Pessier of the College of Veterinary Medicine at WSU won the Golden Goose Award for his tremendous research on preventing the extinction of some frog species.
The sixth annual Golden Goose Award ceremony recognizes three teams of scientists whose “silly-sounding research” has returned serious benefits to society.
Pessier was part of a group studying the sharp declines of amphibian populations in different parts of the world.
They discovered amphibian populations are declining because of an obscure branch of fungi known as chytridiomycetes or chytrids. They used that to determine the primary culprit, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd.
The interesting thing about Bd, is it had only been observed growing on dead or decaying material before it was discovered on some frogs.
The group discovered the fungi was killing the amphibians and human travel was accelerating fungal infections across the globe.
Because of Pessier’s work, national policies on how animals are moved around the globe have been reformed and a group of animals has been saved from extinction.
The Golden Goose Awards were started in 2012. They are generally thought of as the legacy of Representative Jim Cooper of Tennessee. Cooper saw an award that would recognize the tremendous human and economic benefits of federally funded research by highlighting examples of seemingly obscure studies that have led to major breakthroughs and resulted in significant societal impact.
“The Golden Goose Award reminds us why politicians must leave scientific research to the scientists. This year’s winners prove how obscure and even unbelievable studies can change the world as we know it,” said Cooper.