Matthew B. Sullivan

Matthew B. Sullivan

Position: Professor of Microbiology and Civil, Environmental, and Geodetic Engineering

Research focus: viruses of microbes in complex systems (oceans, soils, humans, extreme environments)

What do you love about viruses?
The constant mysteries

Who is your favourite scientist and why?
Phil Hugenholtz, creative and unbounded by past ideas and gen- uinely wants to help the microbial ecologists make the most of genomes

On what topic could you give a 30-minute presentation without any preparation?
Viruses in nature

What is your favourite way to spend a day off?
Hiking in the mountains with friends or family

What is the most interesting question or challenge in science that is still unanswered?
Which viruses infect which microbes in the wild

What is the coolest thing about your research?
It is constantly changing and pushing boundaries and looking for new ways to learn

What was your most surprising scientific finding?
photosynthesis genes in virus genomes; I thought it was an assembly error

What was your biggest achievement, and what your biggest failure?
achievement: Learning enough about RNA viruses to publish,
failure: not learning enough about viral taxonomists to get our cyanophage population genomics / speciation published higher tier

Which scientific topic (outside of your field of research) do you think should have more scientific attention?
How to help people do the right thing w.r.t. behavioral changes so that together we can overcome the biggest societal challenges out there like climate change and public health and loss of biodiversity.

Is there anything else you would like to share with other EVBC members?
So excited to be part of the EVBC, and to be partnering with EVBC to highlight early career researchers in our ECR Viromics Webinar Series. If you’ve not joined, please do … great science and great discussions – once monthly!