Jozef Nissimov

Jozef Nissimov
Assistant Professor
Location: B2 359B
Phone: 519-888-4567 x45995


Dr. Nissimov’s work ranges from studying the effects of virus genomic and functional variability on their virulence, the physiological responses of infected cells to infection, the effects of environmental conditions on host susceptibility to infection and virus success, and the extent to which virus-infection influences host ecology and, by extension, the fate of cell-associated organic and inorganic matter. Other aspects of Dr. Nissimov’s work are the study of the evolutionary relationships of algal viruses with their unicellular hosts and other taxa on the tree of life.

The approach that Dr. Nissimov undertakes is multifaceted. It includes laboratory experiments using controlled environment chambers and photo-bioreactors, and studies in the field, where hosts and viruses naturally co-occur. Indeed, Dr. Nissimov has studied microbial interactions and their diversity in the field through work he has done on oceanographic cruises in remote locations in the North Atlantic, South Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans, a sampling campaign in Antarctica, and mesocosm experiments in The Arctic Circle and the fjords of Norway.

The main viruses used in Dr. Nissimov’s work are large dsDNA viruses infecting coccolithophores, small ssDNA and ssRNA viruses infecting diatoms, and large dsDNA viruses infecting chlorella. Some of the methods employed in their study and that of their hosts are: quantitative PCR, community fingerprinting and targeted sequencing, plaque and MPN assays, photophysiology and respiration measurements, enzyme activity assays, electron microscopy, analytical flow cytometry, and FlowCam imaging.

Current Research Themes in the Nissimov Lab:
*Effects of environmental change on aquatic viruses
*Algal-virus interactions and co-evolution
*Costs and mechanisms of virus resistance in microalgae
*Development of new host-virus model systems

If you are interested in potential Honours thesis and graduate projects, please contact Dr. Nissimov by email directly ( and include a CV, transcripts, and a brief statement of research interests.

Research Interests

  • Virus ecology
  • Comparative genomics of aquatic viruses
  • Host-virus infection dynamics
  • Microalgal biology and physiology
  • Biological oceanography
  • Contamination & Remediation: Water, Soil, Air
  • Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage
  • Conservation
  • Climate Change and Geosciences
  • Bioinformatics, Systematics and Evolution
  • Ecology and Environmental Biology, Molecular Genetics
  • Physiology, Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Climate Extremes and Food Production
  • Viruses in Aquatic Ecosystems
  • Increasingly Complex Water Challenges
  • Protection of Surface and Groundwater Resources
  • Protection of Drinking Water from the Ravages of Climate Change
  • Computational Genomics
  • Microbial Communities


  • 2013 Ph.D. Biosciences, Plymouth Marine Laboratory & University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
  • 2009 MRes Marine Biology, University of Plymouth, United Kingdom
  • 2008 B.Sc. Honours Marine Biology, University of Plymouth, United Kingdom


  • 2019 Research Incentive Grant from The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland
  • 2013 Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Institute of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science; Rutgers University
  • 2011 UK Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) Bimolecular Analysis Facility award
  • 2010 Collaborative Gearing Scheme Fellowship by the British Antarctic Survey
  • 2009 NERC PhD scholarship
  • 2008 MRes tuition fee scholarship from the University of Plymouth, UK


  • Journal editorships: Review Editor for Frontiers in Microbiology and Frontiers in Marine Science.
  • Editorial Board Member for Viruses (MDPI)
  • Reviewer for PNAS, PlosOne, Environmental Microbiology, FEMS Microbiology, Research in Microbiology, Journal of Plankton Research, Viruses, Virologica Sinica, Virus Genes, Genes, Deep Sea Research Part I (ad hoc), ISME.

Professional Associations

  • British Phycological Society (BPS)
  • The International Society for Viruses of Microorganisms (ISVM).
  • Canadian Society for Virology

Affiliations and Volunteer Work

  • Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3)
  • Waterloo Centre for Microbial Research
  • Water Institute


  • BIOL 241 - Introduction to Applied Microbiology
    • Taught in 2021, 2022, 2024
  • BIOL 442 - Virology
    • Taught in 2022, 2024

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

Selected/Recent Publications