Isabelle George


About me

I am Associate Professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles since October 2010. I supervise research activities in environmental molecular microbiology in the Ecology of Aquatic Systems and Marine Biology laboratories. I was previously FNRS PhD candidate at ULB (1997-2001), Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at the Technical University of Denmark (2001-2003) and FNRS Postdoctoral Researcher at the Université Catholique de Louvain (2004-2010). My current research focuses on spatial and temporal patterns of microbial diversity in natural and human-impacted aquatic ecosystems (freshwaters, coastal waters, sediments), symbioses of microbes with marine benthic invertebrates (urchins, sponges) and exploration of microbial metabolic diversity for biotechnological purposes.


  • Freshwater aquatic microbial communities : theoretical approaches in environmental microbiology: mechanistic insight into microbial community assembly and ecology; predictive modelling of community dynamics, diversity, dynamics and metabolic activity (collaboration with P.Servais, Ecology of Aquatic Systems, ULB)
  • Symbioses between microbes and urchins from Atlantic, Mediterranean and Antarctic coastal environments (collaboration with C. DeRidder, Marine Biology, ULB)
  • Antagonistic relationships among sponge-associated microbes : ecological fundament and biotechnological potential
  • Biogeography, eco-physiology, genomics and biotechnological potential of hard-to-cultivate microorganisms (focus on the phylum Acidobacteria)


  • Associate Professor (Université Libre de Bruxelles)


  1. Environmental Molecular Microbiology
  2. Bacterial Physiology
  3. Genomics
  4. Bacterial interactions


  1. Ecologie générale (BIOL-F306)
  2. Microbiologie générale et environnementale (BING-F301)
  3. River and Lake Ecology (BIOL-F458)
  4. Bioremédiation (BING-F531)


Board member of the Belgian Society for Microbiology


Tsachidou, B., Scheuren, M., Gennen, J., Debbaut, V., Toussaint, B., Hissler, C., George, I., & Delfosse, P. (2019). Biogas residues in substitution for chemical fertilizers: A comparative study on a grassland in the Walloon Region. Science of The Total Environment, 666, 212–225.
Hewitt, O. H., Degnan, S., & George, I. (2018). Larvae under the light: Response of bacterial symbionts in larvae of the coral reef sponge Amphimedon queenslandica to varying environmental light regimes [Master Thesis]. Université Libre de Bruxelles.
Laport, M. S., Bauwens, M., De Oliveira Nunes, S., Willenz, P., George, I., & Muricy, G. (2017). Culturable bacterial communities associated to Brazilian Oscarella species (Porifera: Homoscleromorpha) and their antagonistic interactions. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, 110(4), 489–499.
Laport, M. S., Bauwens, M., de Oliveira Nunes, S., Willenz, P., George, I., & Muricy, G. (2017). Culturable bacterial communities associated to Brazilian Oscarella species (Porifera: Homoscleromorpha) and their antagonistic interactions. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, 110(4), 489–499.
Garvetto, A., Danis, B., & George, I. (2014). Effets de la contamination métallique sur la microflore transitoire de deux espèces d’oursins: Paracentrotus lividus (Echinoidea, Parechinidae) et Arbacia lixula (Echinoidea, Arbaciidae). Université Libre de Bruxelles.
Bergk Pinto, B., George, I., & De Ridder, C. (2012). Distribution et caractères de la microflore de Paracentrotus lividus (Echinaceae, Echinidae) [Master Thesis]. Université Libre de Bruxelles.
Danis, B., VanReusel, A., de Putte, A. V., Garcia, A. A., Roukaerts, A., Bourg, B. L., David, B., Moreau, C., de, C., Guillaumot, C., Volckaert, F., Pasotti, F., Dehairs, F., Maximilian, F., Leuven, K., Lepoint, G., Christiansen, H., George, I., Michel, L., … Giglio, S. D. (n.d.). Ecosystem Responses to global change: a multiscale approach in the Southern Ocean (p. 77).

Peer-reviewed publications and book chapters:

L. Ye, J. F. Santos- Gandelman, C. C. P. Hardoim, I. George, P. Cornelis & M. S. Laport (2015). Antibacterial activity and mutagenesis of sponge-associated Pseudomonas fluorescens H41. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek 108(1):117-26

I. M. van Aarle, A. Perimenis, J. Lima-Ramos, E. de Hults, I. F. George, P. A. Gerin (2015). Mixed inoculum origin and lignocellulosic substrate type both influence the production of volatile fatty acids during acidogenic fermentation. UCL, Earth and Life Institute—Applied Microbiology. Biochemical Engineering Journal 103:242–249

U. Nunes da Rocha, C. Plugge, I.F. George, J.D. van Elsas, L. van Overbeek. (2013). The rhizosphere selects for particular groups of Acidobacteria and Verrucomicrobia. PLOSone: 9(4): e94514

I.F. George, E. Bouhajja and S.N. Agathos (2011). Metagenomics for bioremediation. In: M. Moo Young, Editor, Comprehensive Biotechnology, Second Edition, Volume 6 – Environmental Biotechnology and Safety, pp. 47-57. Elsevier, Oxford, UK, ISBN:  978-0-44-453352-4.

I.F. George, M. Hartmann, M.R. Liles, S.N. Agathos. (2011). Recovery of as-yet uncultured soil Acidobacteria on dilute solid media. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 77: 8184-8188.

Parsley, L. C., Linneman, J., Goode, A. M., Becklund, K., George, I., Goodman, R. M., Lopanik, N. B., & Liles, M. R. (2011). Polyketide synthase pathways identified from an arrayed metagenomic library are derived from soil Acidobacteria. FEMS microbiology ecology, 78(1): 176-187.

George, B. Stenuit & S.N. Agathos. Application of metagenomics to bioremediation. (2010). In: D. Marco (ed), Metagenomics: Theory, Methods, and Applications, Caister Academic Press / Horizon Scientific Press, pp. 119-140.

M.R. Liles, O. Turkmen, B. F. Manske, M. Zhang, J.-M. Rouillard, I. George, T. Balser, N. Billor and R.M. Goodman.(2010).A phylogenetic microarray targeting 16S rRNA genes from the bacterial division Acidobacteria reveals a lineage-specific distribution in a soil clay fraction. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 42: 739-747.

B. Stenuit, L. Eyers, L. Schuler, I. George, S.N. Agathos. (2009). Molecular tools for monitoring and validating bioremediation. In: A. Singh, R.C. Kuhad and O.P. Ward (eds), Advances in Applied Bioremediation, Soil Biology Series, Springer Verlag, Heidelberg, Allemagne, Vol. 17, pp. 339-353.

I.F. George, M.R. Liles, M. Hartmann, W. Ludwig, R.M. Goodman, S.N. Agathos.(2009). Effect of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene onsoilAcidobacteria communities. FEMS Microbiology Letters 296: 159-166.

P. Servais, G. Billen, T. Garcia-Armisen, I. George, A. Goncalves, S. Thibert. (2009) La contamination microbienne dans le bassin de la Seine. Vol n°8 d’une collection de fascicules de vulgarisation du programme PIREN-SEINE édités par l’Agence de l’Eau Seine-Normandie, France.

B. Stenuit, L. Eyers, L. Schuler, S. Agathos, I. George (2008). Emerging high-throughput approaches to analyze bioremediation of hazardous and/or recalcitrant waste. Biotechnology Advances 26(6): 561-575.

I. George, L. Eyers, B. Stenuit, S.N. Agathos. (2008).Effect of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene onsoil microbial communities. Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology 35(4): 225-236.

B. Stenuit, L. Eyers, S.N. Agathos, I. George.(2008). High-throughput approaches to analyse waste biotreatment in confined environments. In: E. Diaz (ed), Microbial Biodegradation: Genomics and Molecular Biology, Caister Academic Press / Horizon Scientific Press, pp. 319-357.

P. Servais, T. Garcia-Armisen, I. George, G. Billen. (2007). Fecal bacteria in the rivers of the Seine drainage network: source, fate and modeling. Science of the Total Environment 357: 152-167.

L. Eyers, I. George, L. Schuler, S.N. Agathos, S. El-Fantroussi. (2004) Environmental genomics: exploring the unmined richness of microbes to degrade xenobiotics. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 66: 123-130.

I. George, A. Anzil, P. Servais. (2004). Quantification of fecal coliform inputs to aquatic systems through soil leaching. Water Research 38: 611-618.

I. George, P. Servais. Contamination microbienne des eaux du bassin de la Seine. (2003). In: B. Tassin, D. Thévenot, G. Varrault, J.-C. Oliva (eds), Eau dans la ville et développement durable, Presses des Ponts, Paris, France.

I. George, P. Crop, P. Servais. (2002). Fecal coliforms removal by wastewater treatment plants studied by plate counts and enzymatic methods. Water Research 36: 2607-2617.

I. George, P. Crop and P. Servais. (2001). Use of b-D-galactosidase and b-D-glucuronidase activities for quantitative detection of total and fecal coliforms in wastewater. Canadian Journal of Microbiology 47(7): 670-675.

I. George, M. Petit, C. Theate and P. Servais. (2001). Use of rapid enzymatic methods to study the distribution of fecal coliforms in the Seine river (France). Water Science and Technology 43(12): 77-80.

I. George, M. Petit, C. Theate, P. Servais. (2001). Distribution of coliforms in the Seine river and estuary (France) studied by rapid enzymatic methods and plate counts. Estuaries and Coasts 24(6B): 994-1002.

M. Petit, I. George, P. Servais. (2000). Survival of Escherichia coli in freshwaters: b-D-glucuronidase activity measurements and characterization of cellular states. Canadian Journal of Microbiology 46(7): 679-684.

George, M. Petit, P. Servais. (2000). Use of enzymatic methods for rapid enumeration of coliforms in freshwaters. Journal of Applied Microbiology 88(3): 404-413.

P. Servais, N. Castignolles, F. Petit, I. George, C. Buffet-Janvresse, A. Ficht. (1999). Contamination bactérienne et virale de l’estuaire de la Seine. Vol n°6 d’une série de fascicules de vulgarisation intitulés « L’estuaire de la Seine: fonctionnement et perspectives », Ifremer Editions, Plouzané, France.


Université Libre de Bruxelles

Ecologie des Systèmes Aquatiques, Campus de la Plaine, CP221,

Boulevard du triomphe

1050 Bruxelles

Building A (, room A.2.104

Phone : +32(0)2 6505992

Fax : +32(0)2 6505993

Université Libre de Bruxelles

Biologie marine, Campus du Solbosch, CP 160/15

Avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 50

1050 Bruxelles

Building U (, Door C, 5th floor, room UC5.238A

Phone : +32(0)2 6502224

Fax : +32(0)2 6502796