Hans Wildschutte receives support for research

Wildschutte early Career AwardsDr. Hans Wildschutte, biological sciences, recently received the 2017 Outstanding Early Career Award. The award was given by the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research at the Faculty Excellence Awards April 13.

Designed to enhance the academic career of junior faculty by providing discretionary funds for the support of future scholarly activities, the award brings a $1,000 credit to the recipient's discretionary research account, in addition to a $2,000 cash award.

Wildschutte has excelled in scholarly research during his five years at BGSU. He has secured funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He has established strong collaborations, including those with colleagues from the Department of Biological Sciences as well as across the region throughout the international community. He has published significant research that has appeared in high-impact journals, further attesting to the quality of his scholarly work.

Wildschutte’s nomination received strong support from senior scholars in his department. Dr. Michael McKay, Ryan Endowed Professor in biology; Dr. George Bullerjahn and Dr. Paul Morris wrote that “Dr. Wildschutte has effectively adapted his research as a tool to engage biology majors by integrating the Small World Initiative into the general microbiology curriculum.” His contributions to curricular development through active learning opportunities have provided his students with memorable learning experiences.

“Enhancing the strength of scientific research in the Department of Biological Sciences is an important objective that we share, and we feel strongly that Hans Wildschutte has been making important contributions toward meeting this objective,” the scholars wrote. “Hans is emerging as a leader in the study of bacterial population dynamics in the environment where he has developed an innovative, population­based approach to studying interactions between microbial communities.

“To this end, Hans' projects have been carefully designed to incorporate important microbial studies having human and environmental relevance, with strong opportunities to connect BGSU students to meritorious research.”

The powerful approach used by Wildschutte to studying properties of populations of bacteria in the environment, referred to as 'MAPD', or multi-layered analysis of population-based data, was initially developed by Wildschutte and his colleagues at MIT using the marine bacterial group Vibrio as a model organism.

Since his arrival at BGSU, Wildschutte has continued to build on these methods with marine vibrio, but is also adapting the approach to begin examining Pseudomonads, a direction that offered synergies with research efforts ongoing with several groups in the department.

Pseudomonads are bacteria that are well known for the production of highly diverse secondary metabolites known to affect the breakdown of complex compounds and inhibit the growth of other organisms, including human pathogens, pathogenic fungi and plant pathogenic oomycetes. Several species of Pseudomonas are also well known to promote biological ice nucleation, which is where Wildschutte began his internal collaborations at BGSU.