The College of Science welcomes Steve Giovannoni as the new head of the Department of Microbiology Head effective July 1, 2020. Giovannoni is an OSU Distinguished Professor in the Department of Microbiology with joint appointments in the College of Science and the College of Agricultural Sciences. He joined the department faculty 32 years ago.  Giovannoni is an internationally recognized microbiologist whose research on microbial diversity, genomics, carbon cycle and ecology in oceanic ecosystems is globally impactful. His research team is deeply engaged in predicting what will happen as the oceans warm and become more acidic.

“Steve is a brilliant researcher who is doing critical work,” said College of Science Dean Roy Haggerty. “Microbiology has never been more important than right now, and he demonstrates exceptional commitment and vision. I look forward to his leadership in the Microbiology Department and to the many achievements he will inspire.” These are challenging times, but this is also a time to imagine a brighter future and a truly global vision that embraces all cultures, peoples and identities in an atmosphere of shared endeavor and respect,” Giovannoni said.   “We will be educating a new generation who have been impacted by COVID-19 and are seeking training relevant to pressing human and environmental issues. We can respond to change by implementing the plans we have already made to expand our educational programs, and by finding support from federal and private funding sources to broaden our work, particularly in graduate education.”

Jerri Bartholomew, current head of the Department of Microbiology, announced last fall that she would step down from her post, which she has held since 2015. She will begin a sabbatical year and then resume her role as director of the School of Life Sciences in the College when she returns.  “I want to thank Jerri for her excellent leadership as Microbiology Department Head,” said Haggerty. “Jerri strengthened the department and adapted its programs to meet the emerging needs of today’s students. I know she is looking forward to having more time for research while continuing to help the department and the College be successful.”  A few of notable accomplishments Bartholomew achieved as department head include the launch of the new Accelerated Master’s Platform that gives undergraduates a jump on a graduate degree, and the creation of a new non-thesis master’s degree serves students pursuing data skills and BioHealth sciences. The department also updated the BioHealth Science curriculum to ensure students receive an interdisciplinary background, preparing them for a wider variety of health-care professions. 

Committed to inclusion and equity, the Giovannoni Lab works with OSU’s Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE) Program that helps prepare minority, low-income, historically underrepresented, and other educationally underserved students pursue STEM careers.  In 2012, Giovannoni received the Jim Tiedje Award, which is given to “exalted microbial ecologists who are recognized for their outstanding lifetime contribution to the field of microbial ecology” from the International Society for Microbial Ecology.