Ferran Garcia-Pichel

Faculty Research Achievement Award

This award is presented annually to an ASU faculty member whose innovative research assists individuals and communities in Arizona and around the world.

Ferran Garcia-Pichel, a distinguished microbiologist across a highly successful career spanning two decades, is this year’s recipient of the 2024 Faculty Research Achievement Award.

  • Researches focused on the roles, adaptations and impacts of microbes in natural environments ranging from desert soils to shallow marine waters.

  • Named Regents Professor for the ASU School of Life Sciences.

  • Serves as center director for the Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics.

Garcia-Pichel’s research has centered on the study of microbes in diverse natural environments, ranging from arid desert soils to shallow marine waters.

In conjunction with his work, Garcia-Pichel is also a committed and dedicated faculty member, overseeing courses on campus in microbiology, microbial ecology and geomicrobiology, helping contribute significantly to the academic and research landscape at ASU, and has trained a large number of scientists, which are now independently active themselves across the world.

His studies have taken him all over the world, having completed his bachelor’s of science from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain) in 1986 before completing his master’s and PhD from the University of Oregon in 1988 and 2002, respectively, and completing post-doctoral work at the Max Planck Institutes in Germany.  He joined ASU in 1999 and currently serves as a Regents Professor and the center director of the Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics in the Biodesign Institute.

At the Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics, Garcia-Pichel and his team study the nature, evolution, role, adaptations and effects of microbes and the communities they build (microbiomes) in their natural habitats, which currently include arid soils, the marine intertidal, atmospheric dust, aerosols and plant roots. They are also engaged in studying the application of microbes in areas such as restoration of degraded soils, predicting effects of climate, improving crop production and interpreting ecosystems from Earth’s distant past. They use an interdisciplinary approach to answer questions and build knowledge, drawing from traditional ecological and microbiological techniques to molecular biology and genetics, to (bio)chemistry and bioinformatics.

He has garnered numerous accolades throughout his prolific career, courtesy of his outstanding contributions to various disciplines. These recognitions include honors such as the Faculty Exemplar at ASU, the Sperry Award from the Society for Ecological Restoration, and the White Award from the American Society for Microbiology. He is an elected Fellow in three major scientific societies: the American Academy of Microbiology, the Ecological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union.