The International Society for Microbial Ecology bestowed the outstanding achievement award upon Prof Dr George Kowalchuk for his extraordinary contributions to the field of Microbial Ecology.
Prof. Kowalchuk heads the Ecology and Biodiversity research group at the Institute of Environmental Biology, Utrecht University, which focuses on the development, maintenance and functioning of biodiversity, as determined by ecological processes and interactions with atmosphere, water and soil. His own multifaceted research program is centered around environmental and rhizosphere microbiology in the context of global change. He is a founding editor and was, up until this year ,editor-in-chief of the flagship journal of the International Society for Microbial Ecology, The ISME Journal, launched in 2007 (impact factor 2016 9.6 - Reuters Thomson).
In addition, Gilles Vismans, PhD candidate in Plant-microbe interactions group (headed by Prof Corné Pieterse), was awarded The Bill Costerton Award for research that best involves new theories in microbial ecology and wider inter-disciplinary significance. Gilles studies the mechanisms by which plant recruit probiotic microrgansims that help the plant defend against disease.