Curtis A Suttle

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Curtis A Suttle
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Alma materUniversity of British Columbia

Curtis A. Suttle is a Canadian microbiologist and faculty member at the University of British Columbia. Suttle is a Distinguished University Professor[1] whom holds appointments in Earth & Ocean Sciences[2], Botany[3], Microbiology & Immunology[4] and the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries[5] and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. His research is focused on the ecology of Marine viruses in marine systems as well as other natural environments.

Education, Training and Career Positions

Suttle completed both his bachelor's and doctoral degrees at the University of British Columbia. He served in several positions at the State University of New York at Stony Brook from 1987 - 1988 before joining the faculty at University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute. In 1996 he returned to the University of British Columbia as a tenure line faculty member, where he currently holds the rank of Professor and Distinguished University Scholar. Suttle also served UBC as the Associate Dean for Research of the Faculty of Science from 2001 to 2013 [4].


Suttle completed his doctoral studies under the guidance of the late Professor Paul J Harrison[6]. Suttle's research focused on nitrogen[7] and phosphorus[8] as well as grazing effects on freshwater phytoplankton[9]. He published his first paper on viruses in marine systems in 1990 - the paper was co-authored by Amy Chan and then graduate student Matt Cottrell and focused on the lysis of eukaryotic phytoplankton. Since then, he has published numerous paper on viruses infecting Bacteriophage|bacteria, phytoplankton and invertebrate grazers. In 1999, he co-authored the first paper to describe the "Viral shunt" with his former postdoctoral fellow Steven Wilhelm. This work was awarded the John H Martin Award from the Association of Sciences of Limnology & Oceanography (ASLO) in 2021, in recognition for the paper establishing the importance of viruses in biogeochemical cycles. Along with this work, he has contributed high profile publications in the journals Nature[10], Science[11], and Nature Reviews Microbiology[12]

Suttle's interests continue to focus on viruses, and include the continued development of biomolecular tools to study virus diversity and function in natural systems[12]. His lab (work led by graduate student Matthias Fisher) was the first to describe the Cafeteria roenbergensis virus. In 2019 his research team uncovered a series of viruses in endangered Oncorhynchus|Pacific Salmon populations[13]. His efforts in training have lead to the training of a significant number of young scientists whom have gone on to successful careers as researcher scientists - this includes former graduate students (Feng Chen, Alex Culley, Matthias Fisher, Jessica Labonte, Alice Ortmann, Steven Short, Vera Tai) as well as postdoctoral fellows (Andrew Lang, Janice Lawrence, Markus Weinbauer, Steven Wilhelm, Danielle Winget).

Awards and Honors

Suttle has received numerous accolades during his career. Suttle received NSERC undergraduate (1982-1984) and postdoctoral (1988) awards as part of his training. A short list of other honors include his election to the Royal Society of Canada (2008), The A.G. Huntsman Award for Excellence in Marine Science (2010), the Timothy R Parson Medal for Excellent in Ocean Sciences (2011), The G. Evelyn Hutchinson Award for Excellence from ASLO, Election to the American Society for Microbiology|American Academy of Microbiology (2014), being named a sustaining Fellow of ASLO (2016), and numerous visiting professorships. Suttle's honors go beyond his research: in 2004 he was given the Teaching Award in Environmental Earth Sciences from the University of British Columbia Department of Earth & Ocean Sciences.

Personal Life

Suttle's partner, Amy Chan[14], is a research scientist in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences. In his free time, his interests include sailing, skiing, travel and oenology.


  1. "Distinguished University Scholar Program | Vice President Academic". Retrieved 2021-11-05.
  2. "Curtis Suttle | Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences". Retrieved 2021-11-05.
  3. "Research Faculty #26 | UBC Botany". Retrieved 2021-11-05.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Suttle Lab | Microbiology & Immunology @ UBC". Retrieved 2021-11-05.
  5. "Curtis Suttle | Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries". Retrieved 2021-11-05.
  6. "In memoriam: Professor Emeritus Paul J Harrison, FRSC | Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences". Retrieved 2021-11-05.
  7. Suttle, Curtis A.; Harrison, Paul J. (1988). "Ammonium and phosphate uptake kinetics of size-fractionated plankton from an oligotrophic freshwater lake". Journal of Plankton Research. 10 (1): 133–149. doi:10.1093/plankt/10.1.133. ISSN 0142-7873.
  8. Suttle, C. A.; Harrison, P. J. (1986-08-01). "Phosphate Uptake Rates of Phytoplankton Assemblages Grown at Different Dilution Rates in Semicontinuous Culture". Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 43 (8): 1474–1481. doi:10.1139/f86-184. ISSN 0706-652X.
  9. Suttle, C.A.; Chan, Amy M.; Taylor, W.D.; Harrison, P.J. (1986). "Grazing of planktonic diatoms by microflagellates". Journal of Plankton Research. 8 (2): 393–398. doi:10.1093/plankt/8.2.393. ISSN 0142-7873.
  10. Suttle, Curtis A.; Chan, Amy M.; Cottrell, Matthew T. (1990). "Infection of phytoplankton by viruses and reduction of primary productivity". Nature. 347 (6292): 467–469. doi:10.1038/347467a0. ISSN 1476-4687.
  11. Culley, Alexander I.; Lang, Andrew S.; Suttle, Curtis A. (2006-06-23). "Metagenomic Analysis of Coastal RNA Virus Communities". Science. 312 (5781): 1795–1798. doi:10.1126/science.1127404.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Suttle, Curtis A. (2007). "Marine viruses — major players in the global ecosystem". Nature Reviews Microbiology. 5 (10): 801–812. doi:10.1038/nrmicro1750. ISSN 1740-1534.
  13. "New viruses discovered in endangered wild Pacific salmon populations". EurekAlert!. Retrieved 2021-11-15.
  14. "Amy Chan | Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences". Retrieved 2021-11-05.

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