Ferran Garcia-Pichel, Ph.D.
Arizona State University
Ferran Garcia-Pichel is a professor in the School of Life Sciences and director of the Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics at Arizona State University. He has been listening to what microbes have to tell us about adapting to their environment and the roles they play to shape it. For this, he has used a wide variety of approaches that span molecular, genetic, biochemical and ecological inquiries. He has also been interested in translating the knowledge gained in the process into practical applications, most recently establishing means for microbially-mediated ecological restoration. Many of his research topics address microbial roles and adaptations in cyanobacteria and microalgae dominated environments, from the interior of rocks to hypersaline communities to desert soils, actively advancing the recognition of microbes as drivers of phenomena in earth and ecosystem science. Throughout his career, he has relied heavily on the mentoring of graduate students and postdocs as a means to advance discovery and educate a cadre of new scientists trained as trans-disciplinary microbial listeners. To his and his mentees’ credit goes the discovery of many novel microbial types, the elucidation of sophisticated cyanobacterial adaptations to intense radiation, desiccation, mineral formation and destruction, as well as new vistas on the deep-evolutionary consequences and paleontological interpretation of such adaptations.