Thermal Biology Institute

  • It is only recently that scientists discovered microorganisms living and actually thriving in the most extreme environments on Earth. In Yellowstone National Park, scientists are currently bioprospecting and trying to characterize the hydrogen-producing organisms and enzymes there. Take a tour of some of the world’s most harsh environments.

  • TBI research reflects the diversity of thermal environments found in Yellowstone, including projects focused on thermotolerant plants, fungi, protozoans, bacteria, archaea, as well as viruses and the understanding of biochemical mechanisms and geochemical processes occurring at high temperatures. read more

  • TBI investigators are engaged in fundamental and applied research that impacts our daily lives; from applied technologies in bioremediation, alternative energy and molecular medicine, as well as answering questions concerning the very nature of species in microbial communities.

  • TBI has created a new Yellowstone microbial identification wheel and an accompanying book called Living Colors: Microbes of Yellowstone National Park, a paperback guide that introduces the public to some of the microbes of Yellowstone. read more


A thermophile is a microscopic organism that thrives at relatively high temperatures, usually between 45 and 122° C. The Thermal Biology Institute at MSU is dedicated to studying the unique and diverse thermophiles found in Yellowstone National Park; uncovering their unusual adaptions to life in environments of extreme heat, pH and toxicity, and using what we learn about these microbes to advance fundamental and applied research in host of important research areas spanning alternative energy, medicine, ecology and agriculture, just to name a few.



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Modern crime solving techniques and the science behind unraveling the riddles of genetic diseases, along with many other significant scientific advances, are due to the discovery of a certain thermophile in Yellowstone National Park?