Tiedje Elected Foreign Member of Chinese Academy of Sciences

February 9, 2022

IIT-affiliated faculty member, Dr. James Tiedje, was recently elected a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences for 2021. The lifelong honor is among the highest that China awards to citizens of foreign countries, with only 25 Foreign Members elected annually. The 2021 Foreign Member cohort includes members from 11 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Israel, Brazil and France. New members are selected every two years.

Tiedje is an University Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences and the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Tiedje is also the founding director of the Center for Microbial Ecology at MSU as well as a leading expert in the fields of microbial ecology and metagenomics. His nominators cited his pioneering work, particularly in developing molecular and genomics tools to understand the impacts of anthropogenic activity on environmental microbiomes. He is also instrumental in promoting international collaboration in microbial ecology between China and the rest of the world.

“Microbes play huge roles on our planet — cycling nutrients, cleaning our water, changing our atmosphere, and contributing to our health — but some also cause disease,” said Tiedje. “Understanding and managing these microbial roles require global efforts, which I have done with scientists on all continents, including China. It’s a great honor that the Chinese have recognized the importance of this science and my research group’s contribution to it.”

Throughout his illustrious career that spans five decades, Tiedje has revolutionized microbial community analyses. His work in genomics has paved the way for a greater understanding of the structure and function of these communities. Additionally, his research has helped uncover the role of microbes in the biodegradation of environmental pollutants.

To read more about Dr. Tiedje's career and recognition by the Chinese Academy of Sciences on the College of Natural Science website, please visit: https://natsci.msu.edu/news/james-tiedje-elected-foreign-member-of-chinese-academy-of-sciences/.