Norman R. Pace is a 1964 graduate of IU. He continued his studies at University of Illinois, Urbana with a PhD in 1967 and continued at U of I as a postdoctoral fellow from 1967-69.
Pace served as a member of the Indiana University faculty from 1984 to 1996, during which time he rose to the rank of distinguished professor. He revolutionized microbial ecology with a ribosomal RNA gene sequencing which enabled scientists to study, for the first time, the 99 percent of microbes that were culture resistant and previously inaccessible for research.
An elected Fellow of the National Academy of Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Science, Pace's research is recognized at all levels for its contributions to science and medicine, and it has been disseminated widely. Pace has identified hundreds of thousands of previously unknown microbial species, expanding the tree of life as previously known. Pace was awarded the Selman A. Waksman Award for Excellence in Microbiology and a McArthur "Genius" award; and received the 2017 Massry Prize in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the biomedical sciences and the advancement of health. He has received lifetime achievement awards from three international scientific societies representing different fields: the American Society for Microbiology, the International Society for Microbial Ecology, and the RNA Society.
Though now officially retired from the Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Program at the University of Colorado Boulder and spending much of his time as an avid caver, Pace remains one of the foremost experts on RNA catalysis and microbiomes.
In 2018, Indiana University honored Pace with an Honorary Doctor of Science at its spring graduate commencement ceremony in Bloomington.