Dogtoral students and FISHes


In charge of moral support.

​​​​​​Research scientist

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

Collaborating labs


Responsible for providing comedic therapy.

Nick Reichart​​ 3rd year grad student

Nick earned his B.S. in biology with a chemistry minor from York College of Pennsylvania in 2014. He then worked as a research technologist at The Center for Inherited Disease Research at Johns Hopkins. Since 2016 he pursues a PhD in biochemistry through the Molecular Bioscience Program. Nick studies uncultured microbes in Yellowstone hot springs, with an emphasis on archaea that might be involved in carbon cycling. In addition, he works on the development of a novel bioorthogonal labeling approach to visualize DNA-synthesizing cells using click chemistry.  

George Schaible​​ 1st year grad student

George earned his B.S. in Microbial Biotechnology with minors in Biochemistry and Astrobiology from Montana State University in 2014. After graduation, he worked as a research assistant for Dr. David Ward studying the microbial ecology of bacterial mats in Yellowstone hot springs. In 2015 he moved to Beijing to teach English to middle school students. In 2016 he moved back to Montana to work for the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline until returning to MSU to begin his PhD. His project focuses on studying the biology of multicellular magnetotactic bacteria. These microbes are the only known example of obligate multicellularity in bacteria.


Brian Bothner, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Valerie Copie, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Matthew Fields, Center for Biofilm Engineering

Robin Gerlach, Chem. and Biolog. Engineering

William Inskeep, Environmental Sciences

​Tim McDermott, Environmental Sciences

Luke McKay, Center for Biofilm Engineering

Brent Peyton, Chem. and Biolog. Engineering



Brett Baker, University of Texas at Austin

Virginia Edgcomb, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Mark Ellisman, University of California San Diego 

Emiley Eloe-Fadrosh, DOE Joint Genome Institute

​Thijs Ettema, Wageningen University
Peter Girguis, Harvard University

James Hemp, University of Utah

​Rex Malmstrom, DOE Joint Genome Institute

Laura Pace, University of Utah

Martin Pilhofer, ETH Zurich

Anja Spang, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

Andreas Teske, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Tanja Woyke, DOE Joint Genome Institute


Oversees fluorescence microscopy in the lab.

​​Roland Hatzenpichler, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Affiliated Faculty at the Thermal Biology InstituteCenter for Biofilm Engineering

Roland earned his Ph.D. in Microbial Ecology in the lab of Michael Wagner at the University of Vienna (Austria). After finishing his Ph.D. in 2011, he moved to the U.S. to perform postdoctoral research with Victoria Orphan at the California Institute of Technology. Roland moved to MSU in Aug. 2016 as Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Since Nov. 2016, he is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. In 2017, he was named a NASA Early Career Fellow.

Download Biosketch (May 2019)      ​email: roland.hatzenpichler (at)
Visit Researchgate profile        Visit GoogleScholar profile

Anthony Kohtz  1st year grad student

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 click chemistry-modifiable FISH probes for enhanced visualization and sorting of environmental taxa.

Mackenzie Lynes  2nd year grad student

Mackenzie earned her B.S. in microbiology with a minor in plant pathology from the Ohio State University in 2016. Following her degree, she participated in the Higher Education Research Experience program at Oak Ridge National labs for a year. She started her PhD in biochemistry at MSU in 2017. Mackenzie studies uncultured archaea in geothermal features in different regions of Yellowstone National Park in order to define seasonal changes in microbial community composition and geochemistry and characterize the function of novel archaea. Her work is supported through NSF BuG ReMeDEE.

Zackary Jay, PhD                            Visit Researchgate profile     Visit 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.

​​​​​​Graduate students

Viola Krukenberg​, PhD                                                                        Visit GoogleScholar profile

Viola earned a B.Sc. in Biology from the University of Göttingen (GE) in 2009 and graduated with a M.Sc. in Marine Microbiology from the University of Bremen (GE) in 2011. During her PhD studies (2012-2015) at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology (Bremen), Viola worked with Gunter Wegener and Antje Boetius on the microbial interactions in anaerobic methane-oxidizing consortia. After a short postdoc at the MPI, she started her postdoc at MSU in 2017. Viola studies the physiology of uncultured microbes and their biogeochemical function in the transformation of diverse carbon compounds in deep-sea sediments of the Guaymas Basin.

Rachel Lange Spietz, PhD                                                                    Visit GoogleScholar profile

Rachel earned her B.S. in Environmental Biology with minors in Microbiology and Soil Science in 2009 from MSU Bozeman. In 2013, she received a M.Sc. in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington (UW) researching the effects of decreasing dissolved oxygen on microbial communities in Hood Canal, WA. During her PhD in the School of Oceanography at UW (2013-2017), she studied the influence of deep-sea volcanic eruptions on pelagic microbial communities and the ecophysiological role of an abundant and ubiquitous mixotrophic sulfur-oxidizing marine bacterial clade. As a post-doc at MSU, Rachel is studying the spatial distribution of microbial activity in salt marsh and deep sea sediments.