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Your Environment. Your Health.

James M. Tiedje, Ph.D.

19 September 2002

Dr. James M. Tiedje is currently a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Michigan State University. He received his Ph.D. at Cornell University in 1968. The research program in his lab focuses on understanding the ecology, physiology and biochemistry of microbial processes important in nature and of value to industry. This includes discovering and understanding bioconversion reactions by anaerobes, especially as it relates to destruction of hazardous wastes; the ecology, physiology and biochemistry of denitrification; and the fate and impact of genetically engineered microbes so that their success or risk in nature can be better predicted.


On September September 19, 2002, Dr. Tiedje came to NIEHS as part of the Distinguished Lecturer Seminar Series. After his seminar, Dr. Tiedje was interviewed by the Program Analysis Branch of the Division of Extramural Research and Training. Following are the details of that interview.


What first attracted you to science and to the field of microbiology?


Comments on the growth of the field of microbial ecology and its importance in the modern world.


Genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics are having tremendous impacts on all fields of biology. How are these new technologies affecting microbiology?


What do you think is your most important scientific discovery or contribution? 


What is reductive dechlorination and why is it important in the environment?


What keeps you motivated as a scientist and a mentor of young scientists?


What do you think is the most exciting emerging area in your field of microbial ecology? 


Describe how multidisciplinary research, such as that supported by the Superfund Basic Research Program, has been important to your own research efforts.


Comments on the importance of the National Academy of Sciences to the U.S. Government.

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