Recent events

​Hatzenpichler ​Environmental Microbiology Lab


99% of microbes cannot be grown in the lab. We seek to understand what this "uncultured majority" is doing and how its activity shapes Earth's biogeochemical cycles ​and life on our planet.


Upcoming events

If you are a highly motivated prospective grad student or postdoc candidate, please contact Roland by email. Prospective graduate students interested in microbiology, astrobiology, ecology, molecular biology, and biochemistry are encouraged to apply to both the Chem-Biochem and Molecular Biosciences Program.

Oct 28-31, Roland at NSF workshop Microbial Systematics for the Next Decade. Hood River, OR 


Nov 16-28, Viola & Roland on cruise with RV Atlantis and submersible Alvin to sample Guaymas Basin deep-sea sediments



Aug 27, two new grad student rotators join the lab, Anthony Kohtz and George Schaible. Welcome to the lab!


Aug 12-17, Nick, Viola and Roland present research results at the International Symposium on Microbial Ecology (ISME), Leipzig, Germany

Aug 21, Roland gives seminar at Department of Microbiology and Biotechnology, University of Hamburg, Germany


Aug 2, New grant by the NSF Systems and Synthetic Biology program is awarded.

Collaborative Research: Next generation physiology: a systems-level understanding of microbes driving

carbon cycling in marine sediments. We are looking forward to dive into the deep-sea with the teams

of Brett Baker (UT Austin) and Andreas Teske (UNC Chapel Hill).

MSU news article     NSF abstract



​Jul 18, Mackenzie, who is leading our efforts to sample microbial dark matter in geothermal features in Yellowstone, sampled her 100th hot spring! All it took was a 12 mi hike in sun, rain, and hail & avoiding a herd of 50 bison. Congrats!


Apr 27, Nick's application for a Montana Academy of Sciences 2018 Student Research Grant is funded. Congrats Nick!


Apr 27, Roland at workshop on Engineering the Microbiome, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI


Feb 26-Mar 2, Mackenzie & Nick attend Microbial Genomics and Metagenomics Workshops at the JGI

Apr 15-18, Roland at conference on New Opportunities to Study Origins of the Eukaryotic Cell, HHMI-Janelia Research Campus, Ashburn, VA

Apr 5, Roland gives seminar at BioTechnology Institute, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN

Jan 9, the lab's got a brand-new toy! A Sony SH800S fluorescence activated cell sorter


Jan 8, Dr. Rachel Spietz joins the lab as postdoc. Welcome back to MT, Rachel!



​Oct 18 2017, NSF funds collaborative project BugG ReMeDEE: Building Genome-to-Phenome

Infrastructure for Regulating Methane in Deep and Extreme Environments by MSU and

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Congratulations to MSU PI Robin Gerlach.

Our team is excited to be part of this project! MSU News release




​Oct 3 2017, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation's Marine Microbiology Initiative funds our

collaborative project with Peter Girguis (Harvard) and Mark Ellisman (UCSD) to resolve

the activity of marine microbes at nm to cm scale. Thanks a lot for your support!

Read the project abstract





Jul 20 2017, JGI-EMSL FICUS (Facilities Integrating Collaborations for User Science) proposal is accepted

​From phenotype to genotype and back again: large scale functional characterization of microbial

dark matter by combining activity-based cell sorting, isotope labeling, and genomic sequencing

News release by JGI and EMSL





Jun 27 2017, NSF MRI proposal for a Confocal Raman microscope with cell sorting capability funded!

Matching funds are provided by the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust. Roland is PI on both projects.

We will use this instrument to study the in situ activity and growth substrates of uncultured cells.

Read MRI abstract






Jun 27 2017, New paper accepted in Nat Sci Rep. Congrats first author Luke McKay!   PDF   Visit Luke's website

​​Occurrence and expression of novel methyl-coenzyme M reductase gene (mcrA) variants in hot spring sediments



May 10 2017, Roland is named a NASA Early Career Fellow. Read MSU news release here



May 10 2017, Our project on the biology of multicellular magnetotactic bacteria is funded

by the NASA Exobiology and Evolutionary Biology program




Jan 1st 2017, the Hatzenpichler lab opens in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Bldg of MSU