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OU Professor Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences


OU Professor Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

April 24, 2023
Jizhong “Joe” Zhou, Ph.D.

NORMAN, OKLA. – Jizhong “Joe” Zhou, Ph.D., director of the University of Oklahoma’s Institute for Environmental Genomics, is among the nearly 270 accomplished scholars from around the world who have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Zhou is a professor of microbiology for OU’s Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology, Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences. Each year, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences honors excellence and convenes leaders to work together to help set the direction of research and analysis in science and technology policy, global security and international affairs, social policy, education, the humanities and the arts.

As a George Lynn Cross Research Professor and Presidential Professor, Zhou is an international leader in genomics-enabled microbial environmental sciences. He is known for his groundbreaking advances in developing both cutting-edge experimental and computational metagenomic technologies to address frontier ecological and environmental questions. He has pioneered the elucidation and modeling of microbial feedback mechanisms in response to climate change, anthropogenic pollution and environmental gradients. His seminal work has been instrumental to the revolution of microbial ecology over the past two decades. Zhou is also an adjunct senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Climate and Ecosystem Sciences Division of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Berkeley, California.

“Honors such as this illustrate how University of Oklahoma researchers like Dr. Zhou are held in as high esteem as some of the greatest minds in the world, and we congratulate him on his election,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “Being named to this internationally recognized organization not only reflects the quality and impact of Dr. Zhou’s research, but also on the caliber and momentum of the OU research enterprise.”

The academy’s current total members include more than 250 Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners. With his election into the academy, Zhou joins the company of notable members that have included Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Georgia O’Keeffe and Colin Powell.

This year’s election of nearly 270 new members are drawn from academia, the arts, industry, policy, research and science and includes more than 40 International Honorary Members from 23 countries. Zhou will join the other newly elected members at a formal induction ceremony in September in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the academy is headquartered.

“The American Academy of the Arts and Sciences is one of the most prestigious honors a scientist can receive and is truly indicative of the exceptional caliber of work being led by Dr. Zhou and our Institute for Environmental Genomics,” said Tomás Díaz de la Rubia, Ph.D., University of Oklahoma vice president for research and partnerships for the Norman campus. “Throughout his career, Joe has demonstrated creativity, innovation and leadership in genomics-enabled microbial environmental sciences and has earned recognition as one of the world’s top scientists in his field.”

Zhou joined the OU faculty in 2005 and has received numerous awards and honors, including: the International Society for Microbial Ecology and International Water Association’s 2022 grand prize BioCluster Award for internationally-recognized research; Soil Science Society of America’s 2022 Soil Science Research Award; the 2019 American Society of Microbiology Award for Environmental Research; the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award in 2014; and Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2001. He was recognized as a top 0.1% globally highly cited researcher, named to Reuters 2021 List of World’s Top 1000 Climate Scientists and ranked at the top 40 worldwide and 19 in U.S. in the area of ecology and evolution by

Zhou is an editor-in-chief for mLife, a senior editor for ISME J, associate editor for Microbiome, a former senior editor for mBio and a former editor for Applied and Environmental Microbiology. He is also a Fellow of the International Water Association, American Academy of Microbiology, Ecological Society of America and American Association for Advancement of Science. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Hunan Agricultural University in Changsha, China, and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Washington State University in Pullman.

For more information on the new members of the AAAS, visit

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