Winner of the ISME/IWA BioCluster Rising Star Award

Congratulations to Ryan Ziels from the University of British Columbia, Canada, for winning the ISME/IWA BioCluster Rising Star Award 2024. This is a prestigious prize dedicated to internationally-recognised research of unusual merit.

Ryan Ziels is awarded the ISME/IWA BioCluster Rising Star Award in recognition of interdisciplinary research at the interface of microbial ecology and water/wastewater treatment.  Dr. Ziels is working at the intersection of environmental biotechnology and microbial ecology and pushing the development and application of novel methods for better understanding of nitrifiers, syntrophs and other key functional microbes. 

The Award ceremony will held at the 19th International Symposium for Microbial Ecology, where Ryan Ziels will present his latest research. 

The ISME/IWA BioCluster created the ISME/IWA BioCluster Award in order to recognise the importance and impact of interdisciplinary research at the interface of microbial ecology, water & wastewater treatment, and engineering sciences.  The award is a collaboration between the International Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME) and the International Water Association (IWA). First set up in 2016, the award is presented every two years. The review committee was composed of the following members: Glen Daigger, Phil Hugenholtz, Per H. Nielsen, Cindy Smith, Michael Wagner, and Kelly Wrighton. 
Previous awardees can be found here.


Dr. Ryan Ziels is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, with appointments in the Genome Sciences and Technology and Environmental Engineering programs at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada). He received his PhD in 2016 from the University of Washington (Seattle, USA) in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He joined the University of British Columbia as an Assistant Professor in 2017. 

Broadly, Dr. Ziels’ research focuses on the utilization of microbial communities to convert waste materials into high-value resources, such as bioenergy, nutrients, and clean water. His research combines multi-omic techniques with biological process modeling and fundamental engineering design to elucidate mechanisms of nutrient and carbon flow within engineered microbiomes. Specifically, his research has focused on developing new molecular approaches for mapping metabolic networks in engineered treatment systems by combining stable isotope probing with genome-centric multi-omics. His work has also advanced long-read sequencing for rapid profiling of microbiomes in water systems. Since starting at UBC, his research endeavors have been supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Natural Sciences and Research Council of Canada, and Genome Canada, among others. He remains actively engaged in the IWA and ISME community through the IWA Microbial Ecology and Water Engineering Specialist Group and the IWA/ISME BioCluster.