Society Leadership

The activities of the International Society for Subsurface Microbiology, including our many symposia, would not be possible without the collaborative efforts of a dedicated group of people who donate their time and effort in planning, promoting, and assisting at our events.

International Committee

The International Committee is made up of world- renown experts in subsurface microbiology. They are key partners in promoting our symposia internationally and providing technical support.

International Advisory Board

The International Advisory Board is a subset to the International Committee and consists of the organizers of the most recent ISSM symposia. We are grateful for their help and commitment in managing these events, and appreciate their advice on session topics, meeting logistics, and other key aspects of running a well-organized symposium with useful, relevant presentations and an overall positive experience for attendees.


Current ISSM Officers

  • Rainer Meckenstock (ISSM President)
  • Ron Harvey (ISSM Secretary)
ISSM Japan in 2008

Our symposium’s International Committee members include distinguished researchers in the field. Bottom Row (from left): Richard Smith, Kenji Kato, John Parkes, Jens Aamand, and Rick Colwell; Top Row (from left): Ron Harvey, Bill Ghiorse, Karsten Pedersen, Danielle Fortin, Hans-Jørgen Albrechtsen, and Rainer Meckenstock.

Photo: ISSM 2008 Japan

ISSM Presidents

Rainer Meckenstock, University of Duisburg-Essen, ISSM President 2014-2017

Dr. Prof. Rainer Meckenstock was recently appointed as the Chair for Aquatic Microbiology at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. Previously, he served as professor at the Technical University of Munich for 7 years and simultaneously served as the Head of the Institute for Groundwater Ecology at Helmholtz Zentrum München for 11 years. Meckenstock’s research interests include anaerobic degradation of aromatic hydrocarbons in contaminated aquifers. Recently, his research group discovered microbial life in oil as a new and extreme habitat on earth. He also served as the Local Organizing Chair for the 2011 ISSM conference in Germany. Dr. Meckenstock received a Ph.D. from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, Switzerland.

University of Duisburg-Essen

Kenji Kato, Shizuoka University, ISSM President 2011-2014

Dr. Kato received his Doctor of of Science from Nagoya University in1983. In 1981-1982, he received a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) scholarship to study at the Limnological Institute, University of Konstanz. He was an associate professor/professor at Shinshu University, before moving to Shizuoka University in 2001, where he is a professor of Geosciences. Dr. Kato was the first Editor-in-Chief of Microbes and Environments from 2002 to 2005 and president of the Japanese Society of Microbial Ecology from 2005 to 2008. He has contributed to the Interdisciplinary Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) from its beginning as a member of interim planning committee and, more recently, as a member of the Science Advisory Structure Executive Committee. He organized the 7th ISSM conference in Shizuoka in 2008. His research interests have evolved from aquatic microbial ecology to the life of microbes in the subsurface.

Shizuoka University

Frederick (Rick) S. Colwell, Oregon State Univ., ISSM President 2008-2011

Dr. Colwell received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from Virginia Tech in 1986. He was a member of early research teams in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Subsurface Science Program, which was aimed at learning the range of deep-earth environments where microbes live and the abiotic conditions that control their survival. His recent research focuses on microbes in subseafloor sediments with methane hydrates and methane seeps, microbial enhanced calcite precipitation, and biogeochemical cycling of carbon in aquifers. Dr. Colwell led or participated in scientific drilling expeditions on the continents (e.g., Eastern Snake River Plain; Taylorsville Triassic Basin; Piceance Basin; Northwest Territories, Canada) and at sea (e.g., ODP Hydrate Ridge, North Cascadia/Barkley Canyon, IODP South China Sea). In 2005, he co-organized the 6th ISSM in Jackson, Wyoming, which was held jointly with the International Society for Biogeochemistry (ISEB). Dr. Colwell is currently a Professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.

Oregon State University

Hans- Jørgen Albrechtsen, Danish Tech. Univ., ISSM President 2005-2008

Hans- Jørgen Albrechtsen, earned a PhD from the University of Copenhagen in 1991 and has been employed at DTU (Danish Technical University) since 1999, where he is currently a Professor of Public Health Engineering. Dr. Albrechtsen’s research has focused on the microbiology of groundwater and drinking water and on microbial processes involving water pollution from landfills and hazardous substances in groundwater environments and, more recently, on pesticides. Current research has increasingly focused on the health aspects of the growth and spread of bacteria in hot water and drinking water systems, interactions between biofilms and materials in drinking water, and the use of alternative water resources. He co-organized the 5th ISSM in Copenhagen in 2002 and has been a director for a number of research projects, including the development of water quality sensors, and has participated on several international research projects within the EU.

Danish Technical University

Ronald Harvey, U.S. Geological Survey, ISSM President 2002-2005

Ronald Harvey earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1981. Following a National Research Council postdoctoral fellowship, he led research efforts for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) that focused on microbial transport and ecology in granular, fractured-rock, and karst-limestone aquifers, first in Menlo Park, California (1982-1990), then in Boulder, Colorado (1991-present). He proposed and co-organized the Fourth ISSM conference in Vail, Colorado (1999) and the Ninth ISSM conference in Pacific Grove, California (2014) and served as Secretary of ISSM since 2005. He is a former chair of the Environmental Division of the American Society for Microbiology. Currently, he is a Senior Scientist in the USGS National Research Program, an affiliate faculty member at the University of Hawaii’s Water Resources Research Center in Mañoa, and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Colorado.

USGS National Research Program