Ruth Ley received a BA in Integrative Biology from the University of California at Berkeley and a Ph.D at the University of Colorado at Boulder working with Dr. Steven Schmidt. She received a National Research Council NASA Astrobiology Fellowship for post-doctoral work on the microbial diversity of hypersaline microbial mats with Dr. Norm Pace. She then moved to Washington University School of Medicine to work with Dr. Jeffrey Gordon on the human microbiome. Dr. Ley joined the Department of Microbiology at Cornell University in 2008 and the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics in 2014. Her awards include a Packard Fellowship, a Hartwell Fellowship, a Beckman Fellowship, the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, the CALS Outstanding Accomplishments in Early Achievement Award and the International Society for Microbial Ecology’s Young Investigator Award.