Gene Tyson wins prestigious ASM Frank Fenner Award

10 Jul 2015
Associate Professor Gene Tyson

A University of Queensland microbiologist has been recognised for his distinguished contributions to microbiology research in Australia.

Associate Professor Gene Tyson, from the UQ School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences (SCMB), is the winner of this year’s Australian Society for Microbiology (ASM) Frank Fenner Award.

“It’s a tremendous honour to be receiving this award, but at the same time it also demonstrates the outstanding work of my research team and collaborators, and the valuable contribution that the funding agencies and industry partners have made to my research,” Associate Professor Tyson said.

“I am extremely grateful to the funders and supporters of my research who recognise the importance of understanding the fundamental and applied processes that microorganisms carry out around us every day.

“Studying how these microbial communities behave in the environment is central to our understanding of how they impact fragile ecosystems or play a significant role in future global warming.”

The prestigious accolade is given annually by ASM to an outstanding microbiologist in a formative stage of their career.

Associate Professor Tyson’s extensive research includes investigating the structure and function of microbial communities in natural and engineered environments using high-throughput sequencing-based approaches to understand their ecology and evolution.

He has published over 60 scientific papers, including in high-ranking journals such as NatureScience,Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesPLoS Biology, and Nature Communications, which combined together, have accrued more than 5000 citations to date.

In 2013, Associate Professor Tyson – who is also the Deputy Director at the Australian Centre for Ecogenomics in UQ – was awarded the 2013 UQ Foundation Research Excellence Award for studying the processes underpinning methane emissions from thawing permafrost in the northern hemisphere.

SCMB Head of School Professor Paul Young congratulated Associate Professor Tyson on his outstanding achievement.

“We are delighted that Gene is this year’s recipient of this annual premier award,” Professor Young said.

“It is a significant recognition of his work and he joins a prestigious who’s who of Australian microbiology."

As part of the award, Associate Professor Tyson will be presenting a plenary lecture at the upcoming ASM Annual Scientific meeting next week.

His presentation will focus on the advances made by his team in obtaining the genomes of microorganisms directly from environmental samples and the implications this has for our understanding of microbial diversity and ecology.

Watch this video (Vimeo, 1m:44s) for an example of Associate Professor Tyson’s work.

Media: Associate Professor Gene Tyson (+61 7 336 53829,