Frank O. Aylward is an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech. His research focuses on the diversity and phylogenomics of marine Bacteria and Archaea with an emphasis on understanding the ecological and evolutionary factors that shape the diversity of dominant marine lineages. He received a B.S. in biochemistry from the University of Arizona, followed by a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His thesis work focused on understanding the community dynamics of symbiotic microbial assemblages associated with fungus-growing insects, in particular leaf-cutter ants. From there he did postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where his work focused on metagenomic and metatranscriptomic approaches for analyzing temporal dynamics of marine microbial communities. This work focused on disentangling the interactions and activities of diverse planktonic microbial groups in the ocean through time-course analyses performed over diel cycles. Aylward was the recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in Ocean Sciences in 2018.