Suttle LaboratoryAbout the Image
Marine Virology and Microbiology
Microbial mat encrusting a Pavilion Lake microbialite
Microbial mat encrusting a Pavilion Lake microbialite   

Curtis A. Suttle, FRSC
Professor of Earth & Ocean Sciences, Microbiology & Immunology, and Botany; Associate Dean of Science
University of British Columbia

Curtis Suttle holds a B.Sc. (hons) degree in Zoology and a Ph.D. in Botany, from the University of British Columbia. He held positions as the Coastal Marine Scholar at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and an Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, before returning to UBC where he is currently Professor of Earth & Ocean Sciences, Microbiology & Immunology, and Botany, as well as, Associate Dean of Science for Research.

Dr. Suttle is one of the World's leading marine virologists, and is among a small group of researchers that is credited with launching the field of marine virology nearly twenty years ago. These studies demonstrated that viruses are not only the most abundant and genetically diverse biological entities in the World's oceans, but they are major agents of mortality. The results have had a significant impact on our understanding of nutrient and energy flow in the oceans, and have been a catalyst in the re-invigoration of phage biology and environmental virology. His contributions cross over many fields including biological oceanography, environmental microbiology, microbial ecology, virology and phycology. His active research program encompasses environmental microbiology and virology, but primarily focuses on viruses, their diversity and the roles that they play in the global system. He has active projects examining viruses in extreme environments including high-Arctic ecosystems and the deep sub-surface, as well as studies of natural reservoirs of viral pathogens, the use of viruses as environmental proxies, the isolation and characterization of unusual viruses, the evolution and diversity of viruses and viral communities, and viruses as proxies for life on other planets.

He has authored over 100 scientific papers, and has published in many of the most highly ranked journals including Nature, Science and Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Recently, he spearheaded the publication of one of the first open-access books, which makes state-of-the-art methods in aquatic virus research freely available worldwide. As a frequently invited speaker at Universities and International symposia, as well as a commentator in print, video and television, he makes a persuasive case that viruses encompass most of the genetic diversity on Earth and are major drivers of global biogeochemical cycles. His scholarship has been recognized by being elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, appointed as a Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, and recipient of the A.G. Huntsman Award for Excellence in Marine Science. He has been an active member of numerous scientific societies and has held elected office in the American Society of Microbiology, the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, and the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses. He has had editorial responsibilities for Limnology and Oceanography, Aquatic Microbial Ecology, Environmental Microbiology and Microbial Ecology.