Researcher biography

From a PhD in 1994 at the University of Queensland, Phil Hugenholtz developed a career in microbiology and genomics in the USA and in Australia. Phil's last position in the USA was as Staff Scientist (2004-2010) at the DOE Joint Genome Institute. In late 2010 Phil returned home to establish the Australian Centre for Ecogenomics. Phil has made contributions in the field of culture-independent analysis of microorganisms. He discovered and characterised numerous previously unrecognised major bacterial and archaeal lineages each with greater evolutionary divergence than animals and plants combined. He has participated in the development and application of metagenomics, the genome-based characterisation of microbiomes, which has revolutionised our understanding of microbial ecology and evolution. He has made several discoveries in environmental and clinical microbiology sometimes overturning decades of misdirected culture-based studies. Phil has published over three hundred papers in molecular microbial ecology including six Science & nine Nature papers.

As Professorial Research Fellow with UQ, he is supported by an ARC Laureate Fellowship until the end of 2020. He has affiliate appointments with the Institute for Molecular Bioscience and the UQ Diamantina Institute, which supports collaborative research at ACE. Currently, Phil's research interests include the microbial ecology and evolution of host-associated ecosystems such as the termite hindgut and human microbiome, and genomic mapping of the microbial tree of life.

In 2006, Phil received the Young Investigators Award from the International Society of Microbial Ecology (ISME), was elected in 2012 as a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) and elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2017.