Josh D. Neufeld

Josh D. Neufeld
Professor, University Research Chair
Location: B1 275
Phone: 519-888-4567 x38344


As a microbial ecologist, Josh Neufeld studies microbial diversity in order to understand how microbial communities interact with each other within aquatic, terrestrial, and host-associated environments. Balancing basic and applied research, his research group also studies the nitrogen cycle in natural and engineered systems.

The Neufeld lab is actively involved in basic and applied research projects that span three complementing research areas:

Microbial diversity
My lab develops and applies molecular and computational methods to explore complex microbial communities spanning aquatic, terrestrial, and host-associated habitats.

Linking function and phylogeny
We explore active microorganisms involved in transforming carbon and energy, to better understand who is doing what in the environment.

Nitrogen cycle
Using a combination of molecular and cultivation approaches, we investigate the microbial community members associated with ammonia oxidation and denitrification.

If you are interested in pursuing graduate or postdoctoral work in these exciting areas of environmental microbiology, please contact Professor Neufeld by email.

Research Interests

  • Bioinformatics, Systematics and Evolution
  • Microbiology
  • Threats to Aquatic Ecosystems and their Interaction
  • Molecular Genetics


  • 2005 Ph.D. Biology, University of British Columbia, Canada
  • 2000 M.Sc. Biology, McGill University, Canada
  • 1998 B.Sc. Biology, McGill University, Canada


  • 2021 Online Teaching Award, Centre for Extended Learning, University of Waterloo
  • 2020 Member of the College of New Scholars of the Royal Society of Canada
  • 2019-2025 University Research Chair
  • 2016 Outstanding Faculty Performance Award, University of Waterloo
  • 2014 Excellence in Science Teaching Award, University of Waterloo
  • 2014 Federation of Students Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award
  • 2014 Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance Teaching Award
  • 2013 Fisher Scientific Award, Canadian Society for Microbiologists
  • 2013 Outstanding Faculty Performance Award, University of Waterloo
  • 2013 Jack Carlson Teaching Excellence Award, University of Waterloo
  • 2013 Waterloo Region Top 40 under 40, Waterloo Record
  • 2010 Outstanding Faculty Performance Award, University of Waterloo
  • 2006 Young Microbiologist of the Year, Society for General Microbiology
  • 2005-2007 Canada-UK Millennium Research Award, NSERC
  • 2005-2007 Postdoctoral Fellowship, NSERC
  • 2004 Best Poster Award, 10th International Society for Microbial Ecology
  • 2003-2005 Killam Predoctoral Fellowship, University of British Columbia
  • 2003 Best Oral Presentation, American Society for Microbiology NW Branch
  • 2001-2003 Postgraduate Scholarship B, NSERC
  • 2000 Second Prize Oral Presentation, Canadian Pulp and Paper Research Seminars
  • 1999-2001 Postgraduate Scholarship A, NSERC
  • 1998 Girvin-Robertson Prize in Microbiology

Professional Associations

  • Canadian Society for Microbiologists
  • International Society for Microbial Ecology
  • American Society for Microbiology
  • Society for General Microbiology

Affiliations and Volunteer Work

  • Waterloo Artificial Intelligence Institute
  • Waterloo Centre for Microbial Research
  • Water Institute


  • BIOL 240 - Fundamentals of Microbiology
    • Taught in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications


  • Neufeld JD, Yu Z, Lam W, Mohn WW. 2003. Method for assessing microbial community composition.
  • Neufeld JD, Yu Z, Lam W, Mohn WW. 2002. Sequence tag analysis of community structure (STACS).

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