An Interview with Marjory Stephenson Prize Winner, Prof. Geoffrey Michael Gadd

Posted on September 8, 2022   by Microbiology Society

The 2022 Marjory Stephenson Prize is awarded to an individual who has made exceptional contributions to the discipline of microbiology. This year’s prize was awarded to Professor Geoffrey Michael Gadd who presented his prize lecture titled ‘Fungal Biomineralization’ at the Microbiology Society's Annual Conference 2022.

Prof. Gadd has made significant contributions throughout his career to fungal metal and mineral transformations through multidisciplinary research at the interface of microbiology, mineralogy and geochemistry as well as significantly contributing to the establishment of geomycology as a recognised research area within geomicrobiology.


In his lecture, Prof. Gadd highlighted the concept of fungal biomineralization and the significance of fungal biominerals in natural and synthetic environments. Prof. Gadd discussed a wide range of examples of the significance of this phenomenon, including such examples as pyromorphite formation from lead biomineralization in which Prof Gadd explained his papers from 2012 and 2014 which showed the fungal mechanisms which were essential in the bioremediation of lead polluted soil.

Prof. Gadd ended his lecture discussing recent discoveries and further examples of the importance of fungal biomineralization in the environment. Having explained that fungal biomineralization can mediate the formation of nanoparticles and nanominerals, Prof. Gadd introduced the concept of nanozymes which can include certain metal oxides, metals and carbon-based nanomaterials. ‘Nanozymes are inorganic nanoparticles that mimic enzyme-like properties in redox reactions, therefore possessing the unique properties of nanomaterials and a catalytic function,’ Prof Gadd explained. Using the example of fungal biotransformation of hematite to ferrihydrite nanoparticles, which mimic the catalytic properties of the antioxidant enzyme peroxidase, Prof Gadd discussed the new model of a beneficial feedback system between fungi and minerals in the biogeochemical cycling of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and iron. 

An interview with Prof. Gadd where he summarises his lecture and discusses the importance of biomineralization in the modern world is available online.

An Interview with Professor Geoffrey Gadd, Marjory Stephenson Prize Winner 2022


Prof. Gadd’s Prize lecture is available to watch on our YouTube channel.

Image credit: GM Gadd