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February 2021-

OU Research Delineates the Impacts of Climate Warming on Microbial Network Interactions

NORMAN, OKLA. – Climate change impacts are broad and far-reaching. A new study by University of Oklahoma researchers from the Institute for Environmental Genomics explores the impacts of climate warming on microbial network complexity and stability, providing critical insights to ecosystem management and for projecting ecological consequences of future climate warming.

“Global climate change is one of the most profound anthropogenic disturbances to our planet,” said Jizhong Zhou, IEG’s director, a George Lynn Cross Research Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences and an adjunct professor in the Gallogly College of Engineering. “Climate warming can alter soil microbial community diversity, structure and activities, but it remains uncertain whether and how it impacts network complexity and its relationships to stability in microbial communities.”

To understand whether and how climate warming affects the complexity and stability of ecological networks in soil microbial communities, the research team examined temporal dynamics of soil microbial communities in a long-term experiment carried out in a tallgrass prairie ecosystem in central Oklahoma.

“Our study provides explicit evidence that network complexity begets stability in microbial ecology,” Zhou said. “Molecular ecological networks under warming became significantly more robust, with network stability strongly correlated with network complexity, supporting the central ecological belief that complexity begets stability.”

“Furthermore, these results suggest that preserving microbial ‘interactions’ is critical for ecosystem management and for projecting ecological consequences of future climate warming,” he added.

The study’s findings have implications for projecting ecological consequences of future climate warming and for ecosystem management. Although climate warming has impacted decreased biodiversity and associated ecosystem functioning, this study suggests that the microbial community stability in the grassland ecosystem and the linked ecosystem functions could be less vulnerable in the warmer world.

The study, “Climate warming enhances microbial network complexity and stability,” is published in Nature Climate Change. For more information about this study, please contact or


December 2020-

"Stimulation of soil respiration by elevated CO2 is enhanced under nitrogen limitation in a decade-long grassland study," published in PNAS.

Abstract: Whether and how CO2 and nitrogen (N) availability interact to influence carbon (C) cycling processes such as soil respiration remains a question of considerable uncertainty in projecting future C–climate feedbacks, which are strongly influenced by multiple global change drivers, including elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations (eCO2) and increased N deposition. However, because decades of research on the responses of ecosystems to eCO2 and N enrichment have been done largely independently, their interactive effects on soil respiratory CO2 efflux remain unresolved. Here, we show that in a multifactor free-air CO2 enrichment experiment, BioCON (Biodiversity, CO2, and N deposition) in Minnesota, the positive response of soil respiration to eCO2 gradually strengthened at ambient (low) N supply but not enriched (high) N supply for the 12-y experimental period from 1998 to 2009. In contrast to earlier years, eCO2 stimulated soil respiration twice as much at low than at high N supply from 2006 to 2009. In parallel, microbial C degradation genes were significantly boosted by eCO2 at low but not high N supply. Incorporating those functional genes into a coupled C–N ecosystem model reduced model parameter uncertainty and improved the projections of the effects of different CO2 and N levels on soil respiration. If our observed results generalize to other ecosystems, they imply widely positive effects of eCO2 on soil respiration even in infertile systems.

Stimulation of soil respiration by elevated CO2 is enhanced under nitrogen limitation in a decade-long grassland study | PNAS


New Study Finds OU Research Well Cited, Impactful

According to a recent study published in the journal PLOS Biology, 197 University of Oklahoma researchers are listed as among the most influential researchers in the world. The study was led by Stanford University professor John Loannidis and analyzed the career-long impacts of researchers globally across a broad range of disciplines. The resulting list features the top 100,000 impactful researchers.

An individual’s research productivity and impact are often measured by how frequently others cite their work. However, in his paper, Loannidis challenged measures of research impact primarily based on citation counts. He suggests that norms for different disciplines and sub-disciplines can differ widely, making citation counts like “apples to oranges” when looking across disciplines. Some authors will also cite their own previous research to exaggerate their research impact, or affiliate with “citation farms,” in which a small cluster of authors heavily cite each other.

To address those concerns, the study’s authors published a database that uses a variety of measures to calculate researchers’ impact, including a composite measure of citations that adjusts for influencing factors.

The 197 OU researchers, ranging in fields from engineering, to history, to health sciences, social sciences and many more, are represented among the top researchers in the world based on this composite measure, including career-long research impact and research impact for the year 2019.

“This impressive list of world-leading OU researchers is a clear testament to the research excellence that has been a hallmark of OU throughout its history, and serves as a reminder of what an excellent base we have on which to build the success of the Lead On, University strategic plan,” said Tomás Díaz de la Rubia, OU Norman vice president for research and partnerships.

“This study’s results and database underscore the fact that our researchers are making discoveries that lead to improved health and well-being for people in Oklahoma and beyond,” said James Tomasek, vice president for research at the OU Health Sciences Center, which has campuses in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. “Whether their research projects take place in a laboratory, a hospital or clinic, or in the community, our researchers are among the most dedicated and skilled at what they do.”

The following list of 197 OU researchers, includes current, recently hired, emeritus and deceased OU personnel (view the full database): B. Abbott; Younane N. Abousleiman; Gillian M. Air; Janet K. Allen; Robert E. Anderson; Michael T. Ashby; Mohammed Atiquzzaman; Jessie L.S. Au; Howard Baer; Miguel J. Bagajewicz; E. Baron; Joseph Bastian; T. W. Beck; Debra A. Bemben; Michael G. Bemben; Jeffrey S. Bender; C. W. Bert; Ricardo Betancur-R; Resham Bhattacharya; Howard Bluestein; D. Blume; Mark C. Bolino; Dale W. Bratzler; Eli S. Bridge; Harold E. Brooks; Cecelia Brown; Kathleen Buckwalter; Lowell W. Busenitz; Janalee P. Caldwell; Daniel J.J. Carr; Steven D. Chernausek; Steven G. Chrysant; Robert H. Cichewicz; Richard L. Cifelli; Faruk Civan; Adam J. Clark; P. C. Comp; Paul F. Cook; Michael S. Cookson; Linda D. Cowan; Robert K. Crane; A. Neil Crowson; Anna Csiszar; Madeleine W. Cunningham; Mark Curtis; George L. Dale; Rajiv P. Dant; Paul L. DeAngelis; Michael S. Detamore; Tomas J. Diaz de la Rubia; Danny N. Dhanasekaran; Glenn Dryhurst; Claude E. Duchon; Riley E. Dunlap; David S. Ebert; Louis H. Ederington; Barish H. Edil; Ronald C. Elkins; G. Emanuel; Kevin C. Farmer; Ola M. Fincke; James L. Fleckenstein; Robert D. Foreman; Roger Frech; Jacob E. Friedman; B. M. Fung; Christine Gaylarde; James N. George; Ahmad Ghassemi; S. R. Gollahalli; Nathan A. Goodman; Gary J. Gorbsky; Brian P. Grady; Barbara A. Greene; Ronald A. Greenfield; Ronald L. Halterman; Robert M. Hamm; M. H. Hanigan; Ulrich H. E. Hansmann; Kyle Harper; Ji Hong; Yang Hong; Elaine Hsieh; Warren M. Jackman; Judith A. James; Ralf Janknecht; Michael Kaspari; Jeffrey F. Kelly; Susan Kovats; Lee R. Krumholz; F. C. Lai; Peter Lamb; Paul A. Lawson; Ralph Lazzara; Yun Zheng Le; Fred N. Lee; Karen M. Leighly; Min Li; Douglas K. Lilly; Shaorong Liu; David London; William R. Lovallo; G. T. Lumpkin; Jian xing Ma; Chuanbin Mao; Kurt J. Marfurt; William J. Matthews; Rodger P. McEver; Greg McFarquhar; Michael J. McInerney; Jesus E. Medina; William L. Megginson; William Meyer; David Miller; Kimball A. Milton; Kyung Whan Min; Farrokh Mistree; Shankar Mitra; James W. Mold; Kathleen Moore; Kevin L. Moore; Priyabrata Mukherjee; John J. Mulvihill; Michael Mumford; Juneann W. Murphy; Hiroshi Nakagawa; Ram S. Nanda; Kenneth M. Nicholas; William C. Orr; Dimitrios V. Papavassiliou; Oscar A. Parsons; Samuel L. Perry; Kenneth J. Petersen; Michael W. Pfau; Betty Pfefferbaum; Corey C. Phelps; R. Paul Philp; Chinthalapally V. Rao; Gary E. Raskob; Ze’ev Reches; M. Reichlin; Morris Reichlin; Daniel E. Resasco; Alireza R. Rezaie; Arlan Richardson; Michael B. Richman; George B. Richter-Addo; Malcolm Robinson; Bruce A. Roe; James A. Rosenthal; Elliott D. Ross; Laurence Z. Rubenstein; Scott D. Russell; Alexander Ryzhkov; David Sabatini; Saeed Salehi; Randy A. Sansone; Bayrammurad Saparov; Ingo Schlupp; Francis J. Schmitz; Yihan Shao; Margaret A. Shaffer; Mark Sharfman; Jeremy C. Short; Roger Slatt; Carl Sondergeld; William E. Sonntag; M. Strauss; Heshan Sun; Ira N. Targoff; C. Teodoriu; Udho Thadani; Djebbar Tiab; Rodney K. Tweten; Zoltan Ungvari; Holly Van Remmen; Caryn C. Vaughn; Laurie J. Vitt; Joan Walker; D. Keith Walters; Xuguang Wang; Barry L. Weaver; Lawrence J. Weider; Paul H. Weigel; Robert Wild; Stefan Wilhelm; Mark L. Wolraich; Xiangming Xiao; Ming Xue; Rui Q. Yang; Youngjae You; Linda Zagzebski; Helen I. Zgurskaya; Guifu Zhang; Bin Zheng; Jizhong Zhou; Robert W. Zmud.

Additionally, Jizhong Zhou, the director of the OU Institute for Environmental Genomics and George Lynn Cross Research Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology, was also listed among the top 0.1%, of the world’s researchers by the research analytics company, Web of Science. Their 2020 list of highly cited researchers include those most frequently cited over the last decade, fewer than 6,200 scholars across 21 research fields.

This article was originally published by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Partnerships.

Article Published:  Wednesday, December 16, 2020

New Study Finds OU Research Well Cited, Impactful


November 2020-

Dr. Zhou Clarivate Web of Science 2020 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 three years in a row.


September 2020-

Dr. Zhou 2020 IWA Fellow

The International Water Association (IWA) is very pleased to announce the appointment of new 2020 IWA Fellows and Distinguished Fellows.

The individual water professionals are being recognised by their peers for their sustained outstanding contribution to the water profession, and to delivering the IWA mission of creating a water-wise world, improving the wellbeing of societies and the environment.


August 31, 2020

Researchers Receive $3 Million National Science Foundation Grant

Jizhong Zhou

NORMAN, OKLA. – A research team led by the University of Oklahoma has received a $3 million National Science Foundation grant to “understand the rules of life” through microbiome research.

Microbiomes, a collection of microbes in a specific habitat or environment, are “among the most diverse life forms on our planet, inhabiting almost every imaginable environment, playing integral and unique roles in various ecosystem processes,” said Jizhong Zhou, the OU director for the Institute for Environmental Genomics, a George Lynn Cross Research Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences and an adjunct professor in the Gallogly College of Engineering.

Zhou leads the project, “Searching for General Rules Governing Microbiome Dynamics Using Anaerobic Digesters as Model Systems,” which aims to identify general ecological rules governing microbiome dynamics. Team members include Alan Hastings at the University of California, Davis; Mathew Leibold at the University of Florida; and Qiang He at the University of Tennessee, as well as three research scientists and three postdoctoral researchers from the Institute for Environmental Genomics at OU.

“Through determination of the mechanisms controlling microbiome dynamics, this study will provide fundamental knowledge critical to predicting microbiome behaviors to enable science-informed policies for ecosystem management both in this context and much more broadly,” Zhou said. “The project will provide unique opportunities for training the next generation of scientists with broad interdisciplinary expertise and skills.”

To find the rules governing microbiome dynamics, the researchers will use laboratory anaerobic bioreactors, an innovative waste-recycling method, to determine the short-term temporal dynamics and long-term stability of microbiome biodiversity, structure and functions in responses to various environmental changes.

“This award is a demonstration of the impact OU research is having on global challenges in support of national priorities,” said Tomás Díaz de la Rubia OU vice president for research and partnerships. “Zhou’s team will be advancing the National Science Foundation investigation into the rules of life that will enable forecasting or prediction of changes in biological systems.”

In 2016, NSF unveiled a set of “Big Ideas." Ten bold, long-term research and process ideas that identify areas for investment at the frontiers of science and engineering. One of these Big Ideas includes the program, “Understanding the Rules of Life: Microbiome Theory and Mechanisms,” which aims to improve understanding and establish the theory and mechanisms that govern the structure and function of microbiomes.

For more information about the project, please contact Jizhong Zhou at, or Daliang Ning at

October, 2019

The Institute for Environmental Genomics was awarded the iSENTRY: An Integrated Microfluidics-Enabled System for Phenotypic Detection of Biothreat Agents grant with the Department of Defense in December 2018.

The newly funded DARPA project aims to develop a universal platform for the high-throughput, phenotype-based identification of bacterial pathogens in complex environments like soil or water. The IEG lab leads the effort to develop novel techniques for the efficient extraction and maintenance of viability of microbes from environmental samples. The extracted microbial communities are expected to represent the original communities which include unknown and/or unculturable bacteria from complex environments. Combinations of physical and chemical dispersion methods will be optimized and tested with various soil types to harvest viable cells with high recovery rates. Additionally, synthetic media will be designed and generated to maintain the highest viability of these extracted environmental cells. 

August, 2019

OU Microbiologists Provide Framework for Assessing Ecological Diversity

NORMAN—A University of Oklahoma team of microbiologists have developed a mathematical framework for quantitatively assessing ecological diversity in an ecological community whether deterministic or stochastic. A recent study by the team published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examines the mechanisms controlling biological diversity and provides guidance for use of the null-model-based approaches for examining processes within the community.

“An ecological community is a dynamic complex system with a myriad of interacting species. Both deterministic or stochastic forces can shape the community, but how to quantify their relative contribution remains a great challenge. This study provides an effective and robust tool to ecologists for quantitatively assessing ecological stochasticity,” said Jizhong Zhou, director of the Institute for Environmental Genomics, professor in the OU Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Gallogy College of Engineering, and affiliate of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Zhou led the study with OU team members Daliang Ning and Ye Deng; and James M. Tiedje, Michigan State University. In this study, the team modified the framework for more general situations when quantifying stochastic mechanisms underlying ecological communities and demonstrated that it has obviously better quantitative performance than previous methods.

The team used the framework to reassess the importance of determinism and stochasticity in mediating the succession of groundwater microbial communities in response to organic carbon injection, in this case emulsified vegetable oil, to stimulate bioremediation. Also, the team evaluated the effects of different null-model algorithms and similarity metrics on the quantitative assessment of stochasticity in groundwater microbial communities in response to the carbon injection.

The study results show the microbial community shifted from deterministic to more stochastic right after organic carbon input. As the vegetable oil was consumed, the community returned to more deterministic. In addition, the study results demonstrated that null model algorithms and community similarity metrics had strong effects on quantifying ecological stochasticity. This research was conducted as part of ENIGMA ( at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Link to Article

July, 2019

Carolyn Cornell (Zhou Lab) will be the 2020 Cox Seminar Committee Chair. 

Background: The Donald C. Cox Lecture Series in Microbiology was endowed to honor Dr. Cox as a mentor, educator, and friend to students. Each year, this seminar affords microbiology grad students in the MPBIO department the privilege of inviting and hosting a distinguished microbiologist. The seminar is typically held between March and the end of April depending on the speaker’s availability. Nominees should be outstanding faculty members who have strong national and/or international reputations and are well published in respected journals. The goal is to choose someone who has a broad appeal within the department in terms of their background and research. 

May, 2019

OU-Led Study Expands Understanding of Bacterial Communities for Global Next-Generation Wastewater Treatment and Reuse Systems

IEG has a new publication in Nature Microbiology, "Global diversity and biogeography of bacterial communities in wastewater treatment plants". (link to publisher's website)

Microorganisms in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are essential for water purification to protect public and environmental health. However, the diversity of microorganisms and the factors that control it are poorly understood. Using a systematic global-sampling effort, we analysed the 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequences from ~1,200 activated sludge samples taken from 269 WWTPs in 23 countries on 6 continents. Our analyses revealed that the global activated sludge bacterial communities contain ~1 billion bacterial phylotypes with a Poisson lognormal diversity distribution. Despite this high diversity, activated sludge has a small, global core bacterial community (n = 28 operational taxonomic units) that is strongly linked to activated sludge performance. Meta-analyses with global datasets associate the activated sludge microbiomes most closely to freshwater populations. In contrast to macroorganism diversity, activated sludge bacterial communities show no latitudinal gradient. Furthermore, their spatial turnover is scale-dependent and appears to be largely driven by stochastic processes (dispersal and drift), although deterministic factors (temperature and organic input) are also important. Our findings enhance our mechanistic understanding of the global diversity and biogeography of activated sludge bacterial communities within a theoretical ecology framework and have important implications for microbial ecology and wastewater treatment processes.

OU Press Release

Global Water Microbiome Consortium website


April, 2019

Several IEG member were selected to present their research at the 2019 Ecological Society of America/United States Society for Ecological Economics Joint Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky.  The meeting will be held August 11-16 at the Kentucky International Convention Center.

Colin Bates, a graduate student, will present his research, "Conversion of Natural Grassland into Biofuel Crops (Switchgrass, Panicum virgatum L.) is Associated with a Reduction in Methane Consumption"

Jailiang Kuang, a postdoctoral fellow, will present his research, "Ecological effects of deep-rooted perennial grass systems on soil carbon sequestration in marginal lands"

Qi Qi, a visiting scholar, will present her research, "Quantifying microbial and plant determinants of soil carbon flux responses to various climate changes"

Xiaoling Wan, a visiting scholar, will present her research, "Depth-related spatial distribution of microbial composition in marginal soils”

Gangsheng Wang, a research scientist, will present his research, "Costs and Benefits to Assimilate Microbial Data into Ecosystem Modeling"

Linwei Wu, a postdoctoral fellow, and Daliang Ning, a research scientist, organized the session, Macro-View of Microbes: Treasure and Challenges in Continental- and Global-Scale Microbial Ecology Researches (Tues Aug 13, 3:30-5:00 pm). Linwei will moderate the session and Dr.  Zhou will present during the session.


April, 2019

OU Professor Jizhong Zhou and his team have completed a study on the effects of climate warming on soil microbes in an experiment of a tallgrass prairie ecosystem. They collaborated with researchers from around the world on the first study to demonstrate that climate warming plays an important role in accelerating temporal turnover rates of soil bacterial and fungal communities.

March, 2019

March, 2019

A Behind the Paper blog post on the newly published Zhou lab manuscript (Guo et al. 2019. Climate warming accelerates temporal scaling of grassland soil microbial biodiversity. Ecology and Evolution) has been posted at the Nature Ecology and Evolution Community page (link).

Addressing soil microbial responses to global warming: The value of time-series data

Soil microorganisms may amplify the impacts of climate change by releasing greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. But, if we survey these communities at single time-points, we can miss the big picture on their climate change feedbacks. However, obtaining time-series data is challenging with long-term climate change experiments in terms of soil sampling, site management, and personnel turnover.

Read the full blog post here.

Nov 27th, 2018

Highly Cited Researchers 2018: Dr. Jizhong Zhou & Dr. Joy Van Nostrand

This list recognizes world-class researchers selected for their exceptional research performance, demonstrated by production of multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in Web of Science

For more information click the link below:

Highly Cited Researchers 2018


Aug 13, 2018

Publication: Climate warming leads to divergent succession of grassland microbial communities

Accurate climate projections require an understanding of the effects of warming on ecological communities and the underlying mechanisms that drive them. However, little is known about the effects of climate warming on the succession of microbial communities. Here we examined the temporal succession of soil microbes in a long-term climate change experiment at a tall-grass prairie ecosystem. Experimental warming was found to significantly alter the community structure of bacteria and fungi. By determining the time-decay relationships and the paired differences of microbial communities under warming and ambient conditions, experimental warming was shown to lead to increasingly divergent succession of the soil microbial communities, with possibly higher impacts on fungi than bacteria. Variation partition- and null model-based analyses indicate that stochastic processes played larger roles than deterministic ones in explaining microbial community taxonomic and phylogenetic compositions. However, in warmed soils, the relative importance of stochastic processes decreased over time, indicating a potential deterministic environmental filtering elicited by warming. Although successional trajectories of microbial communities are difficult to predict under future climate change scenarios, their composition and structure are projected to be less variable due to warming-driven selection.

OU Press Release: Climate Warming Affects Tallgrass Prairie Ecosystem

June 13, 2017

The U.S. DOE's Office of Science highlighted IEG collaborative work on the impacts of permafrost thawing on microorganisms and resultant changes in carbon degradation rates and release of CO2.

Permafrost's deep layers ... [lock] away [degraded] organic matter...for thousands of years. ... [W]arming could cause permafrost to thaw much faster and more extensively than ever before. ... Organic matter in thawed permafrost can decompose rapidly. As bacteria, fungi, and other tiny organisms break down the matter, they release the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane. ... Greenhouse gases from the thawed permafrost would lead to more climate change, which then could lead to more permafrost thawing – a self-reinforcing cycle.

"This is the most important tipping point," said Jizhong Zhou, a researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and professor at the University of Oklahoma.

- Defrosting the World’s Freezer: Thawing Permafrost


May 25, 2017
April, 2017

Dr. Hale, a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Zhou lab, was recognized with the VPR's Award for Exceptional Performance by a Post-doctoral Researcher. This award is "given annually to a non-faculty post-doctoral researcher on the Norman or Tulsa Campuses across all disciplines, who is within five years of receiving their terminal degree and who has exhibited exceptional performance in their researchand/or creative activity, broadly defined." (Office of the VPR).

Dr. Hale has 3 first author publications and 9 as co-author. She was a Moderator and Session Organizer for the Microbial Responses to Climate Changes and Predictability of Ecosystem Functioning session at the 2016 Annual Ecological Society of America Meeting. She has been a mentor for graduate research associates in the lab, is a certified Intergroup Dialogue Facilitator and the co-founder of the Association for Women in Science - Oklahoma chapter.


Dr. Zhou was appointed Senior Editor for The ISME Journal.  His appointment will begin Feb. 1, 2017 and will continue for three years.  Dr. Zhou was previously a member of the Editorial Board. 

"The ISME Journal seeks to promote diverse and integrated areas of microbial ecology spanning the breadth of microbial life, including bacteria, archaea, microbial eukaryotes, and viruses."

Dr. Zhou's areas of expertise for the journal are: Metagenomics, Microbiomes, Theoretical ecology, Microbial biogeography, Experimental evolution, Genomic technologies, Soil microbial ecology, Climate change microbial ecology, Subsurface microbial ecology, Microbial ecology in engineered systems, Network microbiology, and Systems microbiology.

May, 2016

Tao Xu, a PhD student in the lab, was awarded a DOE Early Career Development Travel Award to attend the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology's general meeting in New Orleans, LA (July 24-28).  He will be one of the student speakers at the meeting.


March 22, 2016

Daniel Curtis, a graduate student in the lab, was awarded a Robert E. and Mary B. Sturgis Scholarship.  These scholarships are awarded by Arts and Sciences based on financial need and academic perfomance.


March, 2016

Jason Shi and Tao Xu awarded ASM Student Travel Grants to present their research at the ASM Microbe Meeting (June 16–20, 2016, Boston, MA).

Jason Shi, "An improved method for inferring the accurate co-occurrence networks from microbial metagenomes based on Random Matric Theory and machine learning"

Tao Xu, "Cas9 nickase-assisted RNA repression enables stable manipulation of essential genes and combined metabolic engineering in Clostridium cellulolyticum"


Feb 22, 2016

A new publication in Nature Climate Change examines the affect of experimental warming on the active layer microbiome of a tundra soil and found this ecosystem to be highly sensitive to warming.

Publication: Tundra soil carbon is vulnerable to rapid microbial decomposition under climate warming

OU's Press Release: Collaborative Study of Tundra Soil Demonstrates Vulnerability of Ecosystem to Climate Warming

Washington Post Article: These tiny creatures could cause huge trouble in the Arctic

DOE University Research Highlight (2-23-16): University Research

May 21, 2015

Energy Secretary Moniz announced the names of the nine recipients of the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award, which recognizes exceptional US scientists and engineers preforming research supporting the Energy Department mission. IEG Director, Jizhong Zhou, was selected as one of nine recipients.

“These mid-career researchers have made significant advances in fundamental science and technology innovation,” Secretary Moniz said. “They will help sustain America’s research and development leadership. I congratulate the winners for their outstanding achievements, thank them for their work on behalf of the Department and the Nation, and look forward to their continued accomplishments.”

Jizhong (Joe) Zhou (University of Oklahoma) - Biological and Environmental Sciences Honored for his outstanding accomplishments in environmental genomics and microbial ecology, including the development of innovative metagenomics technologies for environmental sciences, for groundbreaking discoveries to understand the feedbacks, mechanisms, and fundamental principles of microbial systems in response to environmental change, and for transformative leadership to elucidate microbial ecological networks and to link microbial biodiversity with ecosystem functions.

Congressional Record of Award (pdf)


April 2015

Maggie Yuan, a graduate student in the lab, was selected to present her research as a Contributed Oral presentation at the 2015 Ecological Society of America's Annual Meeting. 


Mar. 24, 2015

Jason Shi, a PhD candidate at IEG, was awarded a George L. and Cleo Cross Graduate Student Endowed Scholarship. These competitive scholarships are awarded based on merit in teaching or research.

Sept., 2014

A paper by Zhou lab collaborators was just published in Nature Communications. This research was part of iCARES (International Center for Advanced Environmental Sciences).

Wang et al., 2014. Aridity threshold in controlling ecosystem nitrogen cycling in arid and semi-arid grasslands. Nature Comm. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5799.

Higher aridity and more extreme rainfall events in drylands are predicted due to climate change. Yet, it is unclear how changing precipitation regimes may affect nitrogen (N) cycling, especially in areas with extremely high aridity. Here we investigate soil N isotopic values (δ15N) along a 3,200 km aridity gradient and reveal a hump-shaped relationship between soil δ15N and aridity index (AI) with a threshold at AI=0.32. Variations of foliar δ15N, the abundance of nitrification and denitrification genes, and metabolic quotient along the gradient provide further evidence for the existence of this threshold. Data support the hypothesis that the increase of gaseous N loss is higher than the increase of net plant N accumulation with increasing AI below AI=0.32, while the opposite is favoured above this threshold. Our results highlight the importance of N-cycling microbes in extremely dry areas and suggest different controlling factors of N-cycling on either side of the threshold.


April 10, 2014

Dr. Zhou was awarded a George Lynn Cross Research Professorship by the University of Oklahoma. Awardees of this Professorship have "demonstrated outstanding leadership over a period of years in his or her field of learning or creative activity and have been recognized by peers for distinguished contributions to knowledge or distinguished creative work"


April, 2014

Tao Xu, a graduate student in the Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology, was awarded a George L. and Cleo Cross Graduate Scholarship. This is a merit-based scholarship and recipients are selected based on faculty recommendation and teaching/research achievements.


February, 2014

Several members of the Zhou lab received awards or honors from the American Society of Microbiology for research that will be presented at the 113th ASM General Meeting.

Travel Grants

Rong Song, Maggie Yuan, Feifei Liu, and Qichao Tu, graduate students in the lab, were awarded ASM student travel grants for outstanding student posters.

Oral Presentations

Daliang Ning, a postdoc in the lab, was selected for an ASM Young Investigator Oral Abtract Presentation: Effects of Temperature on the Phylogenetic and Functional Structures and the Dynamics of Soil Microbial Communities


February, 2014

A new paper out in in PNAS (Zhou et al., 2014. Stochasticity, succession, and environmental perturbations in a fluidic ecosystem. Proceed. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1324044111) examines ecological succession.

One of the goals of ENIGMA is to map genotypes to phenotypes within ecological context. In this study, a novel theoretical framework comprised of four different cases was developed for fluidic and non-fluidic ecosystems to conceptualize the relationships between stochasticity and ecological succession. We show that the succession of groundwater microbial communities in response to nutrient amendment is primarily stochastic, but that the drivers controlling biodiversity and succession are dynamic rather than static. This is the first study to demonstrate the importance and dynamic behavior of stochastic processes in controlling the succession of microbial communities. By identifying the mechanisms controlling microbial community assembly and succession, this study makes a fundamental contribution to the mechanistic understanding essential for a predictive microbial ecology of many systems including microbiomes of natural and managed ecosystems.


February, 2014

Aifen Zhou – Two first author articles, multiple tasks with a focus on the ENIGMA project, and training students and visitors

Ye Deng – Two first/co-first author publications, multiple co-author publications, bioinformatics work coordination, and data analysis help

Tao Xu – Two first-author papers published, and tasks with a focus on engineering of Clostridium cellulolyticum using new technologies

Qichao Tu – One first author paper published, three first author papers accepted, multiple co-author papers, and multiple tasks with sequence analysis

Qingyun Yan – Diligently working on multiple projects, with >3000 samples analyzed using MiSeq/GeoChip technologies, and greatly helping others.  

"Geochip-based analysis of microbial communities in alpine meadow soils in the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau" (Zhang Y, Z Lu, S Liu, Y Yang, Z He, Z Ren, J Zhou and D Li. 2013. BMC Microbiology, 13:72) designated as a "Highly Accessed" article by BMC Microbiology due to the number of times it has been accessed since published.

As of July 19, 2013, this publication had been accessed 1215 times (almost 100 times per week on average).

"Random Sampling Process Leads to Overestimation of β-Diversity of Microbial Communities" (Zhou JZ, Jiang Y, Deng Y, Shi Z, Zhou BY, Xue K, Wu L, He Z, Yang Y. 2013. Random sampling process leads to overestimation of β-diversity of microbial communities. mBio 4(3):e00324-13. doi:10.1128/mBio.00324-13) was selected as an Editors' Pick by mBio.

Editors' Picks are highlighted on the Journal's website. The Editors indicated that "this work makes a fundamental contribution to those designing and interpreting microbiome research".


May, 2013

IEG scholarships are awarded annually to IEG members for exemplary performance in the previous year.

Recipients for 2012 Performance

Ye Deng – two first/co-first author publications, multiple co-author publications, coordination of bioinformatics work, and assisting others with data analysis help

Qichao Tu – multiple co-author publications, multiple manuscripts ready for submission, and performance of multiple tasks related to sequence analysis

Chongqing Wen – specific IEG service (GeoChip analysis, MiSeq technology development)

Kai Xue – one first author publication, multiple co-author publications, overseeing multiple tasks and projects, and assiting others

Aifen Zhou – one first author publication, multiple co-author publications, overseeing multiple tasks with a focus on the ENIGMA project, and training students and visitors

Recipients for 2011 Performance

Ye Deng – co-first author and multiple co-author publications, assisting others with data analysis

Zhou Shi – excellent performance in both research and courses, involved in multiple tasks

Joy D. Van Nostrand – multiple first-author publications, assisted with editing many manuscripts

Kai Xue – involved in multiple tasks and projects, assisting others

Tong Yuan – specific IEG service (GeoChip analysis)

Aifen Zhou – excellent work focused on the ENIGMA project, training students and visitors  


April, 2013

Several members of the Zhou lab received awards or honors from the American Society of Microbiology for research that will be presented at the 112th ASM General Meeting.

Travel Grants

Tao Xu, a graduate student in the lab, was awarded an ASM student travel grant for outstanding student posters.

Oral Presentations

Ye Deng, a research scientist in the lab, was selected for an ASM Young Investigator Oral Abtract Presentation: Microbial network analysis of microbial community succession during uranium bioremediation  


April 24, 2013

Tao Xu, a graduate student in the Zhou lab, was the first place winner of the OK EPSCOR State Conference student hybrid poster competition for his project, "Dockerin-Containing Protease Inhibitor Protects Key Cellulosomal Components from Proteolysis in Clostridium Cellulolyticum”.  

Students from the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University took the top prizes in a hybrid poster competition held recently during the Oklahoma EPSCoR Annual State Conference in Stillwater. Students who had performed research under the current OK EPSCoR Cellulosic Bioenergy RII Award were qualified to participate in the contest, which consisted of three-minute oral presentations and a formal scientific poster session. Each portion of the hybrid competition was competitively judged by an independent panel of judges. Oklahoma EPSCoR is funded by the National Science Foundation and Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education 

Tao Xu shown receiving his award from from Dr. Jim Wicksted, OK EPSCoR associate director. (Image from EPSCoR)
April 2013

Three abstracts submitted by the Zhou lab have been selected for contributed talks at the 2013 Ecological Society of America's Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, MN.

He Z, et al., "Ecosystem-specific responses of soil microbial communities to elevated carbon dioxide"

Xue K, et al., "Soil microbial community determines vulnerability of soil carbon exposed to warming in northern permafrost"

Zhou J, et al., "Stochastic assembly leads to alternative communities with distinct functions in a bioreactor microbial community"  


Mar. 20, 2013

The American Society for Microbiology appointed Dr. Zhou to its Committee on Global Engagement. The Committee on Global Engagement is part of ASM's International Board, whose mission is to "sustain and promote the global activities of the American Society for Microbiology". Dr. Zhou will serve on this committee for three years.  


Jan. 2013

Kai Xue, a postdoc at IEG, proposed a special session, "Ecological Theory in Microbial Ecology", for the 98th Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, MN. The proposal was accepted and Kai will be organizing this exciting session.

There is an increasing recognition that roles micro-organisms play in ecosystems is important in preserving and enhancing the earth’s lift-supporting systems. However, the mechanistic understandings of microbial-communities are still lacking, especially for their population dynamics, spatial distribution, diversity maintenance mechanisms, and so on. These issues have long been studied in macro-ecology by conceptual and mathematical models, computational simulations and other advanced data analysis methods. It would be interesting to investigate whether the ecological theories obtained based on macro-organisms are universal in microbial-world or not. In this way, we propose to organize a special section in 2013 ESA annual conference by inviting micro-ecologists to discuss the following topics: 1) the effectiveness of ecological theories obtained from macro-ecology in microbial world; 2) the advantages of using microbial community to test ecological theories; 3) the reasons for the possible ineffectiveness of ecological theories obtained from microbial-ecology in macro-ecology; and 4) how these understandings inspire the future studies in both macro- and micro-ecology. This session will help to promoting theory exchanges between macro- and micro-ecology. Conversations between session speakers and attendees will be highly encouraged. Finally, we will conclude a summary report based on discussions in this special session and will share it with ecologists, policy-makers and the public through the ESA website.

More information on the ESA meeting can be found on the ESA website  

June, 2012

Several members of the Zhou lab received awards or honors from the American Society of Microbiology for research that will be presented at the 111th ASM General Meeting.

Travel Grants

Yujia Qin and Zhou Shi, graduate students in the lab, were awarded ASM student travel grants for outstanding student posters.

Oral Presentation

Yue Huang, a graduate student in the lab, was selected to present an oral presentation: Genomic Analysis Reveals Correlation Between Functional Diversity and Structural Organization of the Cellulosome


April 8, 2012

Dr. Zhou was named a recipient of the VPR Award for Outstanding Research Impact for his "outstanding contributions to science, to society, and to OU".  

December 18, 2011

The Zhou lab's paper, J. Zhou, K. Xue, J. Xie, Y. Deng, L. Wu, X. Cheng, S. Fei, S. Deng, Z. He, J.D. Van Nostrand, and Y. Luo. Microbial mediation of carbon-cycle feedbacks to climate warming. Nat. Clim. Change. was published via Advance Online Publication on Nature Climate Change's website.


August 19, 2011

Dr. Zhou has been appointed a member of the American Society for Microbiology's Committee on Environmental Microbiology of the Public and Scientific Affairs Board.

The Public and Scientific Affairs Board was created in 1979 to "encourage the adoption of sound policies affecting science and technology and the discipline of microbiology."

[The Committee on Environmental Microbiology] promotes the adoption of sound science policies involving environmental microbiology by reviewing and analyzing pertinent federal programs. This is achieved by responsive interactions among ASM, the public, Congress and appropriate federal agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, in communicating the scientific and educational interests of microbiology.


April 18, 2011

IEG announced winners of the IEG Award for work performed in 2010. Award winners were selected based on multiple criteria including publication, research productivity, IEG service, and difficulty of work.

Graduate Students

Feifei Liu – for his consistent and careful work, the difficulty of his research work and helping other lab members on their projects

Qichao Tu – for the difficulty of his research and assisting others in the lab

Visiting Scholars

Lingfang Gao – for her hard work, excellent research progress and high level of independence

Postdocs/Research Scientists

Ping Zhang – For her excellent lab skills, careful work, focus on publications and willingness to help others

Kai Xue – For taking the lead on several projects, his broad research activity and proposal development

James Voordeckers – For taking the lead on providing new and novel areas of GeoChip probe coverage and helping with writing and reviewing manuscripts

Aifen Zhou – For overseeing and training many students while still making excellent progress with her own research

Ye Deng – For his work on the GeoChip and pure culture data analysis pipelines, helping the lab and visitors with the pipelines, and overseeing much of the computational work in the lab

Joy Van Nostrand – For overseeing students, overall lab supervision and equipment upkeep, assisting visitors and outside scientists with sample analysis and writing and editing of manuscripts  


April, 2011

Several members of the Zhou lab received awards or honors from the American Society of Microbiology for research that will be presented at the 111th ASM General Meeting.

Travel Grants

Wenbin Liu, a graduate student in the lab, was awarded an ASM student travel grant for outstanding student posters.

Qichao Tu, a graduate student in the lab, was awarded an ASM student travel grant.

Oral Presentations

Feifei Liu, a graduate student in the lab, was selected to present an oral presentation: Microbial Communities Associated with Legume Forb and C3 Grass respond Differently to Elevated CO2 and N Deposition

Ye Deng, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab, was also selected to present an oral presentation: Molecular Ecological Network Analyses

Press Room Highlights

Two abstracts were selected as ones which may be of interest to journalists covering the meeting and will be highlighted in the ASM press room:

Q.Tu, Y.Deng, Z.He, H.Yu, Y.Qin, A.Zhou, J.Xie, Z.Lu, J.Voordeckers, Y.Lee, K.Xue, J.Van Nostrand, C. Hemme, L. Wu, T.C. Hazen, P.Adams, and J.Zhou. GeoChip 4.0: A High Density Functional Gene Array for Microbial Ecology Study

J.D.Van Nostrand, W.Liu, B.Zhou, Z.Wang, A.Wang, J.Zhou. From Wastewater to Hydrogen: Metagenomics-based analysis of microbial community for Electrohydrogenesis 

Aug. 24, 2010

An article just published in Science via Science Express examined changes in the microbial community due the the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Several molecular methods were used, including the Zhou lab GeoChip.

Hazen, T.C., E.A. Dubinsky, T.Z. DeSantis, G.L. Andersen, Y.M. Piceno, N. Singh, J.K. Jansson, A. Probst, S.E. Borglin, J.L. Fortney, W.T. Stringfellow, M. Bill, M.S. Conrad, L.M. Tom, K.L. Chavarria, T.R. Alusi, R. Lamendella, D.C. Joyner, C. Spier, J. Baelum, M. Auer, M.L. Zemla, R. Chakraborty, E.L. Sonnenthal, P. D’haeseleer, H.N. Holman, S. Osman, Z. Lu, J.D. Van Nostrand, Y. Deng, J. Zhou, O.U. Mason. 2010. Deep-sea oil plume enriches indigenous oil-degrading bacteria. Science. DOI:10.1126/science.1195979

The biological effects and expected fate of the vast amount of oil in the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon blowout are unknown due to the depth and magnitude of this event. Here, we report that the dispersed hydrocarbon plume stimulated deep-sea indigenous {gamma}-proteobacteria that are closely related to known petroleum-degraders. Hydrocarbon-degrading genes coincided with the concentration of various oil contaminants. Changes in hydrocarbon composition with distance from the source and incubation experiments with environmental isolates demonstrate faster-than-expected hydrocarbon biodegradation rates at 5°C. Based on these results, the potential exists for intrinsic bioremediation of the oil plume in the deep-water column without substantial oxygen drawdown.

Full article  


June, 2010

The Harbin Institute for Technology will be celebrating their 90th Anniversary on June 4-7, 2010

"Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT) was founded in 1920. From its beginning, HIT has received preferential support from the government. In 1950s, HIT was one of the two university representative models studying from the education system of Russia. In 1954, the Ministry of Higher Education designated, for the first time, six national key universities HIT was the only one of the six outside of Beijing. In 1984, HIT again found its way onto the list of 15 national key universities to receive special support. In 1996, HIT was in the first batch of universities to be included in Project 211. This project targets at 100 institutions of higher education in China to receive preferential support for development in becoming world-class universities in the 21st century. In 1999, HIT was listed as one of the top nine key universities in China. This distinction provided HIT with the opportunity to develop into a world-class, first-rate competitive university."

Dr. Zhou will participate in the University Day events on June 5th as a representative of the University of Oklahoma and promote OU programs in China.  


March, 2010

Over the past 13 years, The Journal Record has presented Innovator of the Year awards to "top-notch business innovation in Oklahoma" annually. The Institute for Environmental Genomics is one of 34 Oklahoma organizations honored with this award for 2010 .

"“The Journal Record’s Innovator of the Year program has honored the spirit of Oklahoma ingenuity for more than a decade. This program allows us to recognize businesses, organizations and individuals who embrace both the entrepreneurialism and innovation that make Oklahoma such a special place to live and work,” said Mary Mélon, publisher of The Journal Record. “Our honorees over the years have developed products and services that have grown our communities and have literally put us on the map – both nationally and internationally.”

The Journal Record article

An awards banquet will be held to honor winning organizations in Oklahoma City on April 13, 2010.  


February, 2010

ASM's new journal, mBio, has named its Board of Editors, which includes Dr. Jizhong Zhou among other notable microbiologists.

"[mBio will be] ASM’s first broad-scope, online-only, open access journal, [and] will offer rapid review and publication of the best research in microbiology and allied fields. The new journal will continue ASM’s non-profit publishing mission and will be edited by scientists involved in active research.
The scope of mBio™ will reflect the enormity of the microbial world, a highly interconnected biosphere where microbes interact with living and non-living matter to produce outcomes that range from symbiosis to pathogenesis, energy acquisition and conversion, climate change, geologic change, food and drug production, and even animal behavioral change. We will encourage authors to explain how their findings fit into the larger picture."


November, 2009

Drs. Jizhong Zhou, Zhili He, Liyou Wu, Joy Van Nostrand, and Ye Deng of the Institute for Environmental Genomics and the Department of Botany and Microbiology travelled to Orlando, Fl on November 12th to be presented with a 2009 R&D100 Award for their development of the GeoChip.

November 7, 2009

Dr. Zhou was presented with an Award for Excellence as the Outstanding Asian American 2009 by the Asia Society of Oklahoma on November 7th. He was selected for this award for his outstanding contribution to science and for his inspiration to and support of fellow Asian citizens.  


October, 2009

Dr. Jizhong Zhou, along with approximately 300 other scientists and engineers from around the world, was honored with an invitation from the Chinese government to participate in the People's Republic of China’s 60th Anniversary Celebration in Beijing, China on October 1st. Dr. Zhou was invited because of his reputation as a world-renowned scientist and pioneer in the field of molecular biology and functional genomics.

From September 29 to October 2, 2009, Dr. Zhou and his wife, Cindy Shi, attended the 60th Anniversary Celebration Events of the People's Republic of China as special guests. About half of the delegates were Chinese scientists and engineers from overseas. The participants included Dr. Daozhong Ting from MIT, a noble prize winner in physics and Dr. Chentong Qiu from Harvard.

In September 30, 2009, Chinese President Jintao Hu, Premier Jiabao Wen, and other key Chinese government leaders received the delegates in the People’s Great Hall, Beijing. President Hu and other leaders shook hands with the guests and took a picture together. President Hu gave a key note speech during which he praised the scientists and engineers for their great contribution to scientific research and technology development.

On October 1, all the special guests went to Tiananmen Square and sat on the stage right by the Tiananmen gate. They watched the entire celebration program and then attended the evening gala. "They were lovely, gigantically, magnificently, marvelously great events and achievements," said Dr. Zhou. Spirits remained high after the 2.5-hour parade ended during and again soared for the evening gala, which featured 60,000 people dancing and performing in Tiananmen Square. One highlight on a day full of incredible moments came near the end of the evening gala- the event capping a day of excitement and pride - when President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other leaders offered a rare glimpse of their dancing steps and singing voices as they danced hand-in-hand with gala performers.

China typically holds grand celebrations every 10 years but this year's festivities top those staged in the past -- and outdid last year's Olympic opening ceremony, because the 60th anniversary carries special cultural significance. Chinese consider six to be an auspicious number because it sounds like the word for “to stay”, with its positive connotations of endurance and perseverance. Sixty years also marks a full cycle of life in the Chinese zodiac.  


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Jared Rader/The Daily

OU Stephenson Research and Technology Center researchers recently earned a spot in the 2009 R&D 100 for the GeoChip, a new technology that is capable of quickly and cheaply identifying functioning microorganisms in a scientific sample.

“This is the highest honor for technology development,” said Jizhong Zhou, principal researcher and Presidential Professor of the OU Department of Botany and Microbiology.

R&D Magazine announced the GeoChip’s selection as one of the R&D 100 in an article dated Aug. 6. The magazine produces the list to honor the top 100 technological achievements of each year.

“We are the pioneer in the world in this technology,” Zhou said. “Nobody else has it. We are the only group.”

Joy D. Van Nostrand, a researcher on the project and a post-doctoral research associate said that, at a glance, the GeoChip looks like a regular glass microscope slide. However, a chemical is added to attach thousands of genetic probes to the slide’s surface that can recognize the genes of more than 50,000 microorganisms at once, Van Nostrand said.

The GeoChip makes it easier to quickly recognize what genes are functioning in samples of soil, water and other substances.

Van Nostrand said the GeoChip is especially useful for identifying microorganisms in contaminated environments such as soil or water. Once the GeoChip knows exactly what the contaminants are, scientists can decide how to fix the contamination.

The GeoChip can also be used to test microbial samples in the air as well as human and animal bodies, according to the award application provided by Van Nostrand.

Zhou said before the GeoChip’s development, the process of testing for individual genes was painstaking because scientists often do not know what they are initially looking for.

“They used to identify organisms one-by-one, gene-by-gene,” Zhou said. “Now you can do this simultaneously, so it is much cheaper, much quicker and you can gain information which you could not before.”

Researchers from around the world send scientific samples to the Stephenson Research Center to be analyzed by the GeoChip, Van Nostrand said.

Zhou said he has worked with more than 50 researchers from different universities over the past 10 years to create the GeoChip, with funding from three sources: the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.

The current GeoChip is the fourth model of the device.

“This is a continuous process,” Zhou said. “Every two years we will have a new generation of the GeoChip.”

There has been talk of creating specialized GeoChips for specific functions, such as detecting things that cause disease, Van Nostrand said.


Norman, Okla.—A technology developed by University of Oklahoma researchers—the GeoChip—is one of the top 100 most outstanding technology developments of 2009, editors of R&D Magazine announced today.

GeoChip, which is a revolutionary high throughput technology for geochemical, ecological and environmental sciences, was created by Jizhong Zhou, Presidential Professor in OU’s Department of Botany and Microbiology, with project team members Zhili He, Liyou Wu, Joy D. Van Nostrand, and Ye Deng.

Since 1963, the R&D 100 Awards have indentified revolutionary technologies with promising commercial potential that have been newly introduced to the market, many of which have become household names. Some of these include the automated teller machine (1973), the halogen lamp (1974), the fax machine (1975), the printer (1986), the Kodak Photo CD (1991), the Nicoderm antismoking patch (1992), Taxol anticancer drug (1993), and HDTV (1998), just to name a few.

“The R&D 100 Awards honor the latest technology developments that are designed to meet societal, scientific, or business challenges facing us today—and tomorrow,” according to Rita Peters, editorial director for R&D Magazine.

The winning of an R&D 100 Award provides a mark of excellence known to industry, government, and academia as proof that the product is one of the most innovative ideas of the year. This helps provide an important initial push a new product needs to compete successfully in the marketplace.

Winners of the R&D 100 Awards are selected by an independent judging panel and the editors of R&D Magazine. The publication and its online portal serve research scientists, engineers, and other technical staff members at high tech industrial companies and public and private laboratories around the world.

Zhou and his team members will be among the winners recognized at the 47th Annual R&D Awards Banquet on Nov. 12, 2009, in Orlando, Florida. A full list of winners is available at

The development of GeoChip was supported by The United States Department of Energy under the Environmental Remediation Science Program and Genomics: GTL program through the Virtual Institute of Microbial Stress and Survival (VIMSS;, the Office of Biological and Environmental Research, Office of Science, as well as by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through NSF-USDA Microbial Observatories Program, and by the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology under Oklahoma Applied Research Support Program.


J Zhou, MA Bruns, JM Tiedje. DNA recovery from soils of diverse composition. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. Feb 01, 1996; 62: 316-322.  


University of Oklahoma Researcher Named 2008 AAAS Fellow

Jana Smith
Phone: (405) 325-1322

Norman, OK—Jizhong Zhou, University of Oklahoma, has been awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow for contributions to the field of microbial genomics and ecology, particularly for pioneering advances in developing genomic technologies for environmental technologies.

Election as a Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. Zhou is a presidential professor in the Department of Botany and Microbiology and director of the Institute for Environmental Genomics.

Zhou has distinguished himself as an international leader in four areas of environmental microbiology: (1) environmental genomics, (2) functional genomics, (3) microbial ecology and community dynamics and (4) microbial detection and identification.

Zhou and a group of colleagues are credited with development of GeoChip, a novel genomics-based tool that can detect functional genes and processes within a microbial community with many applications. This is the first comprehensive gene chip for studying biogeochemical, ecological and environmental processes.

GeoChip was successfully tested in a bioremediation field study where it was used to monitor a microbial community as it reduced uranium levels in contaminated groundwater. Bioremediation is only one of the many possible applications of GeoChip.

It has been applied to a variety of systems and has the potential to impact a diversity of areas affected by micro-organisms, including human health, agriculture, global climate change, environmental cleanup and restoration.

AAAS awarded this honor to 486 members because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. New Fellows will be honored on Saturday, February 14 at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2009 Annual Meeting in Chicago.

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the Association’s 24 sections or by any three Fellows who are current AAAS members or by the AAAS chief executive officer.

The AAAS Council makes the final selection of New Fellows. The Council is chaired by the president and consists of members of the board of directors, retiring section chairs, delegates from each electorate and regional division and two delegates from the National Association of Academies of Science.