Tuesday 15 August 2017 12:10pm
An alumnus of the Otago Department of Biochemistry, Professor Rob Knight, has been jointly awarded the 2017 Massry Prize for his research into microbiomes - the microorganisms that live on and inside us.
He will share the award with Norman Pace of the University of Colorado Boulder and Jeffrey Gordon of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
The California-based Massry Prize was established in 1996 to recognize outstanding contributions to the biomedical sciences and the advancement of health. Twelve of its recipients have gone on to receive the Nobel Prize.
Prof Knight earned a BSc in Biochemistry at Otago University in 1996, followed by a PhD at Princeton University.
His research looks at the microbes in many different ecosystems, including the human body. This research has linked microbes to a range of health conditions including obesity and inflammatory bowel disease.
He has co-founded the Earth Microbiome Project, the American Gut Project, and the company Biota, Inc., which uses DNA from microbes in the subsurface to guide oilfield decisions.
He is the founding director of the Centre for Microbiome Innovation of the University of California, San Diego, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Academy of Microbiology.
In 2015 he received the Vilceck Prize in Creative Promise for the Life Sciences, awarded to foreign-born individuals in the USA who have demonstrated outstanding achievement during the early stages of their careers.