Microbial Ecology and Environmental Genomics Laboratory
Mostafa S. ElshahedEmail: Mostafa@Okstate.edu
1110 S. Innovation Way, room 226
Stillwater, OK 74074
Name: Noha H. Youssef
Research: I work as a postdoc in Dr Elshahed’s lab. I joined the lab in March of 2007. My research is mainly focused on microbial ecology and more specifically in Zodletone spring. One of the undergoing projects I take a part in is characterization of microbial diversity in the spring using pyrosequencing with emphasis on the rare biosphere. We are also interested in studying the effect minor changes in temperature, salt, as well as pH, and presence or absence in oxygen will have on the composition of the rare biosphere in the spring.
I am also interested in single cell genomics of the candidate division SR1. With no cultured representatives and members only found in anaerobic environments, a better understanding of the physiology of this candidate division members is essential. Fluorescent in situ hybridization of members of SR1 was successful from Zodletone spring source. Currently, guided by the FISH results, isolation of single cells of SR1 is underway using micromanipulation, FACS, as well as magnetic separation. Multiple displacement amplification followed by genomic pyrosequencing should provide valuable insights into the physiology of members of this candidate division.
A side project I am also involved in is a metagenomic study of one of the thermal pools in Yellowstone National Park (Sperm pool). Previous qPCR studies in our lab showed that candidate division SR1 comprise 30-50% of the microbial community in the spring. We hope that studying the metagenome would shed some light on the physiology of this as well as other abundant candidate divisions present in the Sperm pool.
Name: Chris G. Struchtemeyer
Interests:When I am not in the lab I enjoy spending time with my wife Amy and my son Cody. I also have two dogs that I enjoy taking walks with. In addition to spending time with my family I love spending time outdoors. I also like fishing and golfing. I am a big sports fan and regularly attend both OU football and basketball games. Some of my favorite professional teams include the Houston Texans, Astros, and Rockets. I also like country music and enjoy attending concerts regularly.
I received my Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Oklahoma in May of 2000. After receiving my Bachelor’s Degree I applied for and was accepted into the graduate program in the Department of Botany and Microbiology at the University of Oklahoma. I entered the graduate program at OU in August of 2000 and completed my PhD in Microbiology in February of 2009.
My dissertation work focused on determining what populations of microorganisms were responsible for the degradation of acetate, propionate, and butyrate under sulfate-reducing and methanogenic conditions in an anaerobic, gas condensate-contaminated aquifer located near Denver, Colorado. Acetate, butyrate, and propionate have been shown to be important intermediates in many anaerobic ecosystems including freshwater sediments, marine sediments, anaerobic digesters, as well as hydrocarbon-contaminated aquifers. These compounds are produced as a result of the degradation of organic matter in these ecosystems. In spite of the importance of acetate, butyrate, and propionate in these ecosystems, very little is known about the microorganisms that are responsible for their degradation in these ecosystems.
The project I am currently working on involves monitoring natural gas wells in North Texas where both hydrogen sulfide and corrosion have been problematic. Previous work has shown that sulfate-reducing bacteria can be a major cause of elevated sulfide and corrosion in many oil reservoirs. The goal of the project I am involved in is to determine whether or not sulfate-reducing bacteria are present in the natural gas wells we are monitoring. If they are present we intend to determine the source of these microorganisms. We also plan on evaluating the effectiveness of several possible treatment methods that could potentially be used for the removal of these microorganisms including biocide treatments and amending wells with nitrate.
Name: Kristen N. Savage
Bachelors of Science in Microbiology, minor in Chemistry, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, USA (1998-2003)
Ph. D. student, Department of Botany and Microbiology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, USA (2003-2009)
Post-doctoral Research Associate, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK USA (2009- present)
Interests: When I am not at work I enjoy spending time with my husband Justin and our two dogs Coda and Mayor. I love to read, especially about history. I enjoy watching college football and going to games whenever possible. I also enjoy spending time at the lake.
Research: My work has focused on the isolation and characterization of novel halophilic microorganisms. The presence of extreme halophilic Archaea at Zodletone was unexpected due to the relatively low spring salinity. We have successfully cultured numerous isolates that represent both novel species and genera with in the order Halobacteriacae. Many of these isolates have shown a unique ability to tolerate low-salt concentrations, undoubtedly an adaptive advantage in such a low-salt environment.
We are currently examining the genome of Haladaptatus paucihalophilus a Zodletone isolate, to identify how they have adapted to tolerate and grow in such a wide range of salt concentrations. This work is currently being complemented by physiological studies to test genome-based hypotheses.
Name: Jim Davis
- Graduate student – Oklahoma State University (2007 – present)
- BS in Microbiology, minors in Chemistry and History – University of Oklahoma (2006)
Research interests: Bacterial systematics, population shifts, nutrient cycling, and metagenomics
Other interests: Cooking, guitar, history, traveling, and woodworking
Research: Advances in molecular techniques in the past 2 decades have not only shown that the number of uncultured bacteria is much higher than previously thought, but the scope of bacterial diversity is also much larger than previous estimates. With this knowledge, we are studying the diversity, abundance, and ecological distribution of candidate division SR1 (a little known group found mostly in anaerobic environments). Also, we are using a variety of approaches to isolate and/or grow a member of this candidate division, with the goal of determining this group’s physiological and ecological role in the environment.
Name: Audra S. Liggenstoffer
- Graduate student, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.
- Bachelor of science in Microbiology, Botany, and Biology - Oklahoma State University
Research: Anaerobic fungi/bioenergy
Name: Kate Wilkinson
Education: BS in Biology-Oklahoma State University 2010
Interests: Horses, reading, jogging
Research: Monitoring geochemical makeup of water samples utilized during the natural gas drilling process and fracturing process as well as water samples collected at different temporal points during well production. Determination of microbiologically influenced corrosion in natural gas wells in the Barrenett Shale's Forth Worth Basin by quantifying acid-producing bacteria, aerobic heterotrophs, and sulfate-reducing bacteria. Additional research included characterization of microbial communities using 16s rRNA gene analysis from different temporal points in the drilling and production process to monitor the well's community for microbiologically corrosive bacteria.
Name: Brandi Steidley Summer 2009 - Summer 2010
Education: BS in Microbiology - Oklahoma State University 2010
Interests: Reading, movies, baking
Research: Isolating and characterizing bacteria found in zodletone spring sediments
Name: Jennifer Garrett, Fall 2009
Education: Oklahoma State University Undergraduate
Interests: Veterinary work
Research:Determination of microbiologically influenced corrosion in natural gas wells in the Barrenett Shale's Forth Worth Basin by quantifying acid-producing bacteria, aerobic heterotrophs, and sulfate-reducing bacteria. Additional research included characterization of microbial communities using 16s rRNA gene analysis from different temperal points in the drilling and production process to monitor the well's community for microbiologically corrosive bacteria.
Name: Tammy K Austin, Fall 2008 - Summer 2009
Education: Oklahoma State University Undergraduate
Interests: Travel, writing, reading.
Research: Isolation and Characterization of Novel Chemolithotrophs from a Sulfur and Sulfide-Rich Anaerobic Spring in Southwest Oklahoma
Name: Jarryd Ty Osburn, Spring semester, 2009
Education: Oklahoma State University: Undergraduate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Interests: Metal fabrication, motorcycles, and hotrods.
Research: Anaerobic Fungi
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