Ashley Cohen, former postdoc, then associate editor at Nature Communications. Washington, DC

Viola Krukenbergformer postdoc, then postdoc at the University of Jena, Germany.

Mackenzie Lynes, former grad student. PhD 2023. Now Scientist at ARUP Laboratories, Salt Lake City, UT.

Nicholas Reichartformer grad student, PhD 2021. Now postdoc with Aaron Wright, PNNL & Baylor University, TX

George Schaible, former grad student, PhD 2024. Now postdoc with Jean-Marie Volland at UC Santa Barbara, CA.

Rachel Spietz, former postdoc. Now senior microbiologist at Enviromin Inc., Bozeman, MT

​​​​​​​​​​Research scientist

Zackary Jay, PhD                                               Researchgate profile     GoogleScholar profile

Zack earned his Ph.D. in Ecology & Environmental Sciences at MSU in the lab of William Inskeep where he researched microbial community structure and function in Yellowstone hot springs. He then did a postdoc with Ross Carlson (MSU) designing and building in silico, genome-scale stoichiometric metabolic models. Afterwards, he did a postdoc in the lab of Connie Chang (MSU) developing droplet microfluidic technology to understand influenza evolution at a single cell level. Prior to coming to MSU as a database expert for the NSF-funded Yellowstone Research Coordination Network, Zack earned his Masters in Biology from Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff, AZ. There, he characterized genetic elements used to distinguish between highly-related strains of the causative agent of anthrax. He earned his B.S. in Microbiology Health Preprofessional with honors and a minor in Chemistry at NAU.

​​​​​​​Postdoctoral scholar

Former lab members

Sylvia Nupp​​   3rd year grad student     

Sylvia earned her B.S. in biology and chemistry from the University of Arkansas in 2021. She started her Ph.D. in biochemistry at MSU in Fall 2021 and is currently studying how microbial community activity varies across geochemical regimes in Guaymas Basin and Pescadero Basin, and the rates and patterns of anaerobic oxidation of methane by microbes in these systems.                                              

Anthony Kohtz   6th year grad student                                                       Google Scholar Profile

Anthony earned his B.S. in microbiology and geology with a chemistry minor from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2017. His undergraduate research covered topics ranging from rinded iron-oxide concretions found in Cretaceous sediments, to using Raman spectroscopy in studying microbe-mineral interactions in a methanogenic microbial consortia. Anthony studies the ecophysiology of uncultured microbes in geothermal features in order to establish the metabolic potential, substrate utilization, and biogeochemical roles of largely uncharacterized archaeal phyla. Additionally, he works on the development of new Raman microspectroscopy based approaches for enhanced visualization and cell-sorting of environmental taxa. Anthony will defend his PhD in July 2024 and plants to start a a postdoc with Chris Greening soon after.

William Christian   5th year grad student 

Will earned his BS in biochemistry and molecular biology from Michigan Technological University in December of 2018. During this time, his research focused on understanding the diversity of an alkane-oxidizing gene in the microbial communities of the Great Lakes. Will is interested in answering astrobiological questions and, since the Fall of 2019, has been pursuing a PhD through the molecular biosciences program. His current research hopes to uncover the mechanisms behind the production of methane in oxic regions of freshwater lakes, known as the “methane paradox”, and to understand how impactful this phenomenon is on a global scale.

Stavros Trimmer​​    2nd year grad student                                 


Stavros earned his B.S. in biochemistry from Colorado State University in 2022. As an undergraduate, he studied transcription regulation in the hyperthermophilic archaeon Thermococcus kodakarensis. In fall 2022, he began his Ph.D. at MSU through the Molecular Bioscience program. His research focuses on investigating the metabolic potential of Asgard archaea using both bioinformatic and culture-independent approaches. Asgard archaea are currently the closest relative to eukaryotes and encode a variety of eukaryotic-like proteins in their genome. Understanding their physiology will answer essential questions regarding how early pre-eukaryotic life might have evolved. 

Andrew Montgomery​, PhD                    Researchgate profile             GoogleScholar profile

Andy graduated with his B.Sc. in biotechnology from James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA) in 2013. His interest in microbiology started in the Viral Discovery program there, where he contributed to the discovery and characterization of several novel bacteriophages. He subsequently earned his Ph.D. in Marine Sciences from the University of Georgia (2021) working with Mandy Joye. During his time in graduate school, Andy explored microbial cycling of methane and other labile organic carbon compounds in extreme marine environments and worked with several strains of Thaumarchaeota (ammonia-oxidizing archaea) to constrain the metabolic capabilities of these unique microbes. Andy was awarded an NSF postdoctoral fellowship to work with Roland and Frank Stewart (also at MSU); he started at MSU in summer 2021. At MSU he is investigating the ecophysiology of deep-sea microbes across geochemical gradients in the deep biosphere of the Guaymas Basin hydrothermal system.


7 year old Australian Labradoodle. Controls that cookie availability doesn't get out of hand.

Jacob Schimetz   1st year grad student                                                    

Jacob earned his B.A. in Biology and Political Science from St. Olaf College (Northfield, MN) in 2021. Following graduation, he was an IRTA Postbaccalaureate Fellow at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, where he conducted research in preclinical drug development and GI toxicology. He started his Ph.D. in Microbiology in Fall 2023 and will be studying the human microbiome in the lab.

Left to right: UG Paige Schlegel, UG Leah Baranek, GS Anthony Kohtz, GS Stavros Trimmer, GS George Schaible, GS William Christian, GS Sylvia Nupp, PD Andrew Montgomery, Staff Zack Jay, GS Jacob Schimetz, PD Mackenzie Lynes, PI Roland Hatzenpichler. (UG, Undergraduate. GS, Graduate Student, PD, Postdoc)

Dogtoral students

Anthony McLean​​   1st year grad student     

Anthony graduated with a B.A. in biology from Grinnell College in 2017. After graduation, he worked as a research assistant for Dr. Jessica Mark Welch at the Marine Biological Laboratory and the Forsyth Institute studying the spatial ecology of the human oral microbiome. He started a Ph.D. in Microbiology in the Fall of 2023. His current research focuses on the physiology of members of the human gut microbiome.

​​​​​​Graduate students

If you are a prospective graduate student, postdoc candidate, or undergraduate interested in joining our lab, please contact Roland by email. Prospective grad students could join the lab via the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, the Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, or the Molecular Biosciences Program. Before applying, please contact Roland to find out about research opportunities.

Collaborating labs


Erik Grumstrup, Chemistry and Biochemistry

William Inskeep, Environmental Sciences

​Timothy McDermott, Environmental Sciences

Frank Stewart, Microbiology and Cell Biology

Qian Wang, Environmental Science

Stephan Warnat, Mechanical Engineering

Blake Wiedenheft, Microbiology and Cell Biology

​​Roland Hatzenpichler, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Associate Director, Thermal Biology Institute

Affiliated Faculty with the Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, the Center for Biofilm Engineering, and the Montana Nanotechnology Facility.

A first generation college student, Roland earned his M.Sc. (2006) and Ph.D. (2011) in microbial ecology in the lab of Michael Wagner at the University of Vienna (Austria). From 2011-2016, he was a postdoc with Victoria Orphan at Caltech. In Nov. 2016 he joined MSU's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry as Assistant Professor. He received tenure in May 2023. Since 2017, Roland has raised $5.3M in funding for his lab and helped to raise $17.5M in total. In 2017, he was named a NASA Early Career Fellow. He is a member of the Steering Committee of NASA's Network for Life Detection (NFold) and the User Executive Committee of the Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute. He is an editorial board member of the journal Environmental Microbiology.  

Download CV (January 2024)

email: rolandhatzenpichler (at)          ORCID profile          GoogleScholar profile


Karthik Anantharaman, Univ. of Wisconsin Madison

Brett Baker, University of Texas at Austin

Jeremy Bougoure, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Robert Bowers, Joint Genome Institute

Virginia Edgcomb, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Mark Ellisman, University of California San Diego 

Emiley Eloe-Fadrosh, Joint Genome Institute

​Thijs Ettema, Wageningen University
Laura Pace & James Hemp

Mandy Joye, University of Georgia

​Rex Malmstrom, Joint Genome Institute

Jeffrey Marlow, Boston University

Martin Pilhofer, ETH Zurich

Tom Santangelo, Colorado State University

Frederik Schultz, Joint Genome Institute

Andreas Teske, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Tanja Woyke, Joint Genome Institute