Ruth Ley received a BA in Integrative Biology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1992. After a 3-year stint as an assistant researcher in the forest ecosystems of Hawai’i, Ley pursued a Ph.D. investigating the microbial ecology of extreme high altitude soils at the University of Colorado, Boulder. After completing her Ph.D. in 2001, Ley received a NRC-NASA Fellowship to study the microbial diversity of hypersaline microbial mats of Baja, Mexico with Dr. Norman Pace at CU Boulder. She then moved to Washington University School of Medicine to work with Dr. Jeffrey Gordon on the microbiome within the contexts of human obesity and mammalian evolution. She was named an Instructor in 2005 and a Research Assistant Professor in 2007. In July 2008, Ley joined the Department of Microbiology at Cornell University as an Assistant Professor, and in 2013 became an Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Cornell. Ley’s awards include a Fellowship in Science and Engineering from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, a fellowship from The Hartwell Foundation, and a Beckman Young Investigator Award from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. She was a recipient of the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award in 2010, and the 2014 ISME Young Investigator Award. Ruth Ley has been Director and Scientific Member at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology as of January 2016.