Australian Centre for Water
and Environmental Biotechnology

IWA Microbial Ecology and Water Engineering (MEWE) 2021 Award Winners

Thursday, 21 October 2021

This article was originally published on the IWA website

Dr. Jianhua Guo is the Deputy Director of the Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology (formerly AWMC) at The University of Queensland, Australia. His research focuses on the effective integration of environmental engineering, environmental microbiology, microbial ecology, and environmental biotechnology to develop sustainable solutions to address environment and energy challenges. He and his colleagues have enriched and characterized the co-culture of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria, anammox, and nitrite- or nitrate-dependent anaerobic methane oxidation microorganisms, which are very unique populations enabling the use of methane to reduce nitrite or nitrate. By integrating these nitrogen and methane cycling microorganisms, a novel membrane-supported biotechnology has been developed to remove nitrogen with dissolved methane as the electron donor. Dr. Guo is also an active researcher in the environmental dimension of antibiotic resistance, an area of increasing concern in urban water management. Dr. Guo and his team found that non-antibiotic pharmaceuticals and personal care products not only induce the emergence of multi-drug resistant bacteria via genetic mutation but also promote the spread of antibiotic resistance through horizontal gene transfer. These discoveries provide evidence that several pharmaceutical and personal care products that are used daily, are accelerating the spread of antibiotic resistance in clinically- and environmentally relevant settings. His research output and achievements have been recognized through national and international awards or fellowship, including 2013 Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) and 2017 Australian Research Council Future Fellowship. He is an Associate-Editor for Water Research and Journal of Hazardous Materials.

About the Awards

The activated sludge process was invented in 1913-1914 by Mr. Edward Ardern, chemist at the Manchester-Davyhulme wastewater treatment plant, and his co-worker, Mr. William Lockett. Ardern and Lockett understood for the first time the active role of the suspension formed during the aeration of wastewater, known now as activated sludge. They introduced a recycle of this suspension formed during the aeration period. The award is named after Ardern and Lockett in recognition of the MEWE Specialist Group’s strong link to the activated sludge processes, and investigations into the microbial populations dynamics of these systems.

The IWA Microbial Ecology and Water Engineering Specialist Conferences honour the achievements of early career researchers through the IWA MEWE Early Career Award. The award recognizes early-career IWA members who are making promising contributions to the Microbial Ecology and Water Engineering community through research and service.