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MEMBERSHIP  ::  Meet the Microbiologist

Meet the Microbiologist

Microbial Diversity Explorations


For most of Earth's history, microbes have governed the cycling of carbon and nutrients, contributing to nearly all of the genetic and metabolic diversity present within today's planetary biodiversity. Exploring this microbial diversity in aquatic, terrestrial and host-associated environments, my lab has three main research foci. Firstly, we develop and apply methods for investigating the taxonomic diversity of microbial communities, trying to understand how these communities are structured in relation to, for example, environmental disturbances or human diseases. Importantly, we are developing computational and molecular methods for revealing the identity and functions of microorganisms that exist at low relative abundance (i.e. "the rare biosphere") and have escaped detection by previous methodologies.


We link the ability of active microorganisms to assimilate carbon sources with their genomic information using incubations with stable-isotope labelled compounds (e.g. stable-isotope probing; SIP).These ongoing studies have potential applications for industry given that we are now focusing on retrieving novel glycosyl hydrolases from microbes that consume important substrates such as cellulose and other plant-derived carbon compounds.


My lab investigates nitrogen cycling in aquatic and terrestrial environments. For example, we are now studying the poorly understood role of Archaea in oxidizing ammonia in engineered environments by combining both cultivation dependent and cultivation independent approaches.

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Josh Neufeld

Beginning at the University of Waterloo in 2007, the core purpose of my lab is to harness molecular methodologies to reveal new insight into microbial community structure and function. Our vision is to become a centre for microbial ecology research through contributions to microbial community characterization and the discovery of novel N- and C-cycling organisms and enzymes. In doing this, we value the spirit of "Why not?", independence among those being trained, collaboration across projects and between labs, and strong research plans leading to solid discoveries. My lab hosts the Integrated Facility for Assessing Microbial Community Diversity and Function, which provides a valuable opportunity for training undergraduate and graduate students, in addition to postdoctoral research fellows and technicians. A unique aspect of the research in the Neufeld lab is the ability for students to bridge computational approaches with lab-based experimental work affiliated with the research areas described above. Please contact Dr. Neufeld directly if considering graduate work in the near future.

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Contact Information
University of Waterloo
200 University Ave West
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1
519-888-4567 ext. 38344

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CSM-SCM Secretariat
17 Dossetter Way
Ottawa, ON K1G 4S3

Tel: (613) 421-7229

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