August 15, 2022
Jizhong Zhou Receives 2022 ISME-IWA BioCluster Award
Jizhong Zhou, Ph.D., a George Lynn Cross Research Professor and the director of the Institute for Environmental Genomics at the University of Oklahoma, has received the BioCluster Grand Prize Award, jointly selected by the International Society for Microbial Ecology and the International Water Association. The prestigious ISME-IWA BioCluster Award recognizes interdisciplinary research of outstanding merit at the interface of microbial ecology and water/wastewater treatment. The prize will be conferred in Sept. during the IWA World Water Congress and Exhibition 2022 in Copenhagen, Denmark and he was recognized in the opening presentation of the 18th International Symposium on Microbial Ecology conference on Aug. 14 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
July 7, 2022
Jizhong Zhou Receives Soil Science Society of America’s 2022 Soil Science Research Award
Jizhong Zhou, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Environmental Genomics at the University of Oklahoma, has received the 2022 Soil Science Research Award from the Soil Science Society of America. The award recognizes outstanding research contributions in soil science and will be conferred during the SSSA annual meeting in November 2022.
June 14, 2022
OU Research Finds that a Warming Climate Decreases Microbial Diversity
Researchers at the University of Oklahoma have found that the warming climate is decreasing microbial diversity, which is essential for soil health. Led by Jizhong Zhou, Ph.D., the director of the Institute for Environmental Genomics at OU, the research team conducted an eight-year experiment that found that climate warming played a predominant role in shaping microbial biodiversity, with significant negative effect. Their findings are published in Nature Microbiology.
“Climate change is a major driver of biodiversity loss from local to global scales, which could further alter ecosystem functioning and services,” Zhou said. “Despite the critical importance of belowground soil biodiversity in maintaining ecosystem functions, how climate change might affect the richness and abundant distribution of soil microbial communities (bacteria, fungi, protists) was unresolved.”
The article, “Reduction of microbial diversity in grassland soil is driven by long-term climate warming," is published in Nature Microbiology, #10.1038/s41564-022-01147-3. The research is supported by funding from the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, DE-SC0004601 and DE-SC0010715. Zhou is also a George Lynn Cross Research Professor in the Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences and an adjunct professor in the Gallogly College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma.
April 22, 2022-
Institute for Environmental Genomics contributes to ASM report
Jizhong Zhou, director of the Institute for Environmental Genomics and a George Lynn Cross Research Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology, Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences, has contributed to a new report published by the American Society for Microbiology. The report, Microbes and Climate Change – Science, People, and Impacts, examines the relationship between microbes and climate change, and shows that microbes have a pivotal impact on climate change and are, in turn, impacted by it. The report further contends that it is critical to better understand how the changing climate will impact microbes and how they relate to humans and the environment.
January 10, 2022
iDIRECT Network Framework Developed at the University of Oklahoma Could Help Scientists Better Understand Biological Systems
Despite the fundamental role networks play in how scientists understand the dynamics and properties of complex systems, reconstructing networks from large-scale experimental data is a challenge.
In systems biology and microbial ecology – the study of microbes in the environment and their interactions with each other – the challenges of reconstructing these networks can be compounded by difficulty unraveling direct and indirect interactions, or the ability of one element in a system to impact another, either with or without direct interaction.
Jizhong Zhou, director of the Institute for Environmental Genomics at the University of Oklahoma, is leading a research team at IEG, in collaboration with Mary Firestone from the University of California at Berkeley, to demonstrate the effectiveness of a new conceptual framework for disentangling direct and indirect relationships in association networks. Zhou is also a George Lynn Cross Research Professor in the Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences and an adjunct professor in the Gallogly College of Engineering at OU.
Naijia Xiao, a research scientist at IEG, is the first author of the paper describing this work, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Zhou Clarivate Web of Science 2021 Highly Cited Researcher
Each year, Clarivate™ identifies the world’s most influential researchers ─ the select few who have been most frequently cited by their peers over the last decade. In 2020, fewer than 6,200, or about 0.1%, of the world's researchers, in 21 research fields and across multiple fields, have earned this exclusive distinction.
Dr. Zhou is among this elite group recognized for your exceptional research influence, demonstrated by the production of multiple highly-cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in the Web of Science™ for four years in a row.
October 21, 2021
University of Oklahoma Researchers Lead U.S.-China Grassland Microbial Biodiversity Study
Grassland soil today experiences increased nutrient inputs, which have dramatic impacts on biodiversity. To help understand this issue, researchers at the University of Oklahoma are leading the American contribution to a global study that aims to measure the impact of increased nutrients on soil microbial biodiversity and the ecosystem-level functions for grasslands around the world.
“Human activities are increasing the amount of biologically limiting nutrients, such nitrogen and phosphorus, flowing into ecosystems on every continent, and this increased nutrient supply is causing dramatic impacts such as biodiversity loss,” said Jizhong Zhou, a George Lynn Cross Research Professor and Presidential Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology in the Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences at OU. “Microbes comprise most of the biodiversity on earth, and the diversity of microbes in the soil is a critical link in maintaining the health of our ecosystems. However, we have little understanding of how alteration of global nutrient supplies is affecting soil microbial biodiversity.”
Zhou is the director of the Institute for Environmental Genomics and the principal investigator of this five-year project funded by the National Science Foundation. The global collaboration between the United States and China is supported by a total combined equivalent of nearly $2.5 million to advance a global understanding of soil nutrients’ impact on microbial diversity to better understand, predict and mitigate the impacts.