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.
Zhou is a George Lynn Cross Research Professor and Presidential Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology, Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences, and holds positions in the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science and in the School of Computer Science, both in the Gallogly College of Engineering. He is also the director of OU’s Institute for Environmental Genomics.
He is an international leader in genomics-enabled microbial environmental sciences, known for his pioneering advances in developing both cutting-edge experimental and computational metagenomic technologies to address frontier environmental, engineering, and ecological questions.
“I am grateful for the supports over the past 15 years that have led to this highest honor in the field of soil science,” Zhou said
Within the past five years, Zhou’s research team has published more than 10 articles in top profile journals from long-term research conducted at a multifactor experimental field site at OU’s Kessler Atmospheric and Ecological Field Station.
“OU’s warming site is very unique to address microbes-centric climate change questions,” he said. “This is the only site in the world which enables us to address this type of questions. We are making OU the world center for studying microbes and climate change.”
Zhou is internationally recognized as a highly cited researcher, within the top 0.1% globally, by all three major complementary metrics based on Elsevier's Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar. He is the only microbiologist among the 2021 Reuters List of World’s Top 1,000 Climate Scientists.
In recognition of his achievements in research, Zhou has received a number of prestigious awards, such as the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2001 from the President of the United States, an R&D 100 Award in 2009 as one of 100 most innovative scientific and technological breakthroughs, The Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award for Biological and Environmental Research in 2014 from U.S Department of Energy, and the 2019 ASM Award for Environmental Research for recognizing an outstanding scientist with distinguished research achievements in microbial ecology and environmental microbiology. He is a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America, the American Academy of Microbiology, International Water Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
He has been a U.S. Ambassador to the International Society of Microbial Ecology and an Honorary Director for the Chinese Association of Microbial Ecology – a major professional organization for microbial ecology in China. CAME established an award under his name in 2017 to recognize Outstanding Microbial Ecologists.
His science leadership is also demonstrated by his professional service, as an editor-in-chief for mLife, a senior editor for The ISME Journal, an associate editor for Microbiome, a former senior editor for mBio and former editor for Applied and Environmental Microbiology. In 2022, he contributed to a report, Microbes and Climate Change – Science, People, and Impacts published by the American Society for Microbiology, that examines the relationship between microbes and climate change.
Learn more about Zhou’s work through the Institute for Environmental Genomics at ou.edu/ieg.