Holger Daims (University of Vienna, Austria), Lut Raskin (University of Michigan, USA), and Mads Albertsen (Aalborg University, Denmark), have been announced as the winners of the 2016 ISME/IWA Bio Cluster Award.
The award was set up by the IWA/ISME Bio Cluster to recognise the importance of interdisciplinary research at the interface of microbial ecology and water/wastewater treatment. After extensive review and discussions by world-leading experts in the field, the three winners were chosen to receive this award.
A highlight of Daims’ work is the physiological and first genomic characterisation of Nitrospira, which are critical for successful nitrogen removal from wastewater. Altogether, Holger’s work has dramatically changed the picture of nitrification and nitrifying microbial communities in engineered systems, with strong implications for future fundamental and applied research on these topics.
“On the one hand we still know far too little about the microbes that catalyse key processes or cause problems in water/wastewater treatment,” Daims told The Source. “On the other hand, there is microbial ecology with its fancy molecular tools and rapid progress in analysing complex microbial communities. Bringing this together in well- directed interdisciplinary research is the key to a better understanding of our microbial ‘friends’ and ‘foes’ in engineered systems.”
Raskin is a recognised scholar in molecular microbial ecology applied to water quality control. Most of her research focuses on various aspects of the engineered water cycle microbiome. Her laboratory especially focuses on drinking water systems including biofiltration, disinfection, distribution, and premise plumbing, and water and energy recovery from waste streams.
“I continue to be inspired by the complexity of the microbial world and the astonishing progress we have made in microbial ecology over the past few decades,” said Raskin. “Today, this progress allows our field to rethink engineered systems so we can better harness the power of microorganisms to treat water and recover resources from waste streams.”
Mads Albertsen (Rising-Star Prize)
Albertsen’s research is at the interface of method development related to DNA sequencing and microbial ecology of engineered environments such as wastewater treatment systems. Throughout his carrier, Albertsen has used genome-centric metagenomics to unravel the functional potential of key organisms in many environments. A focus point has been organisms related to enhanced biological phosphorus removal.