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University of Oklahoma researcher named 2008 AAAS Fellow

University of Oklahoma Professor Jizhong Zhou has been awarded the distinction of Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science for contributions to the field of microbial genomics and ecology, particularly for pioneering advances in developing genomic technologies for environmental technologies.

Election as a Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. Zhou is a presidential professor in OU's Department of Botany and Microbiology and director of the Institute for Environmental Genomics.

Zhou has distinguished himself as an international leader in four areas of environmental microbiology: environmental genomics, functional genomics, microbial ecology and community dynamics, and microbial detection and identification.

Zhou and a group of colleagues are credited with development of GeoChip, a novel genomics-based tool that can detect functional genes and processes within a microbial community with many applications. This is the first comprehensive gene chip for studying biogeochemical, ecological and environmental processes.

"The election of Dr. Zhou as an AAAS Fellow is fitting recognition for one of our most productive and respected faculty members," said Lee Williams, vice president for research on the Norman campus. "His GeoChip technology is having an impact across many disciplines and applications, from human health to environmental remediation."

GeoChip was successfully tested in a bioremediation field study where it was used to monitor a microbial community as it reduced uranium levels in contaminated groundwater. Bioremediation is only one of the many possible applications of GeoChip.

It has been applied to a variety of systems and has the potential to impact a diversity of areas affected by micro-organisms, including human health, agriculture, global climate change, environmental cleanup and restoration.

AAAS awarded this honor to 486 members because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. New Fellows will be honored on Saturday, Feb. 14 at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2009 Annual Meeting in Chicago.


Contact: Jana Smith
University of Oklahoma

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