FEMS Microbiology Ecology Poster Prize: Awala Samuel Imisi

We send our congratulations to Awala Samuel Imisi, who won the Best Poster Prize at FEMS2023. This award is sponsored by our journal FEMS Microbiology Ecology.

FEMS2023 took place on 9-13 July 2023 in Hamburg, Germany. We had over 1800 participants from over 70 countries join us to share all the latest developments across the broad scope of microbiology.

Read our interview with Awala about his research below:


What is your current position, and what was your scientific journey to get there?

I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Environmental Microbiology and Genomics Laboratory, led by Prof. Seung-Keun Rhee. My journey in Prof. Rhee’s group started in 2017, and I  earned my Ph.D. there in 2021. Prior to that, I received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Federal University of Technology in Akure, Nigeria. 


What did you enjoy most at FEMS2023?

There were several talks on the latest developments in microbiology and other related fields, so I was able to pick up useful information on topics both directly and indirectly related to my research area. I also came across an interesting discussion that emphasized the critical need for increased microbiology literacy in society. I find attending international scientific conferences like FEMS to be incredibly helpful, as it allows me to connect with experts in my field and related areas. This helps me stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in my constantly evolving field.


Could you describe the research your poster covered?

My current research focuses on the ecophysiology of microorganisms (particularly acidophiles) involved in the metabolism of GHGs like carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). I am also looking into how these microorganisms interact with other biogeochemical cycles, specifically the nitrogen and sulfur cycles. So, the work I presented at FEMS was one of our thermophilic, acid-loving, aerobic methane-oxidizing isolates capable of feeding on the aforementioned GHGs. Its ability to reduce nitrous oxide at extremely acidic pH levels and use it as an alternative terminal electron acceptor was intriguing. Our findings contribute to a better understanding of N2O reduction in acidic environments and shed light on the potential use of this strain in studies aimed at reducing the three most significant GHG emissions.


What do you hope to focus your research on in the future?

My research in the future will probably still center on efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, as that is where my primary interest lies.


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