Microorganisms are essential to the functioning of Earth, and their dynamics greatly affect ecosystems processing. Yet, the extent of their diversity, the mechanisms underlying their resilience to perturbations, and their ecosystem-level interactions remain vastly unexplored, especially in extreme environments. These questions are fundamental not only to forecast what type of life might exist elsewhere but also to predict the impact our planet is facing as the result of climate change.
From a single-cell as a microcosm to complex microbial consortia that inhabit extreme environments, our research probes how microorganisms adapt and respond to environmental stresses. Our research spans the fields of molecular biology, metagenomics, microbial ecology, and planetary science. We use archaeal model systems in the lab and do fieldwork in extreme deserts around the world.
Our work is funded by NSF, NASA and the ARMY Research Office.