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U chemist Aaron Puri’s research into methane-oxidizing microbes wins recognition

University of Utah chemist Aaron Puri has been honored for his pioneering research into microbial ecosystems that can mitigate atmospheric methane, a powerful greenhouse gas implicated in climate change.

Aaron Puri

He has been selected for the Simons Foundation’s Early Career Investigator in Aquatic Microbial Ecology and Evolution Award, which recognizes outstanding researchers in the fields of microbial ecology, microbial biogeochemistry and microbial evolution in marine or natural freshwater systems. Its purpose is to promote the careers of investigators who contribute to understanding these areas.

“This award will enable our research group to work at the interface of biology and chemistry to decipher the molecular details of interactions in methane-oxidizing bacterial communities,” Puri said.

His research aims to solve big problems with microscopic solutions.

“These communities provide a biotic sink for the potent greenhouse gas methane,” he said, “and are a useful system for understanding how bacteria interact with each other and their environment while performing critical ecosystem functions.”

Puri joined the College of Science faculty in 2019 after working as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington. He earned his doctorate in chemical and systems biology from Stanford University in 2013, and his bachelor’s from the University of Chicago in 2008. Puri has also received the NIH Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award and the NSF CAREER Award.