Established in 1999, the Thermal Biology Institute is a multidisciplinary team of scientists forging a new path in scientific discovery focused on the unique thermal environments within Yellowstone National Park. The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem boasts a vast scale and diversity of life. Yellowstone's most striking attributes, its geothermal features, were a source speculation, superstition and legend to early inhabitants and explorers. Modern science has quelled the myths of Yellowstone's hot springs, geysers, and pools, yet we are continuously learning and advancing science through discoveries about life in these extreme environments. Despite the harsh and varying conditions of Yellowstone's thermal features: highly acidic or alkaline, super hot or filled with toxic metals, each thermal environment is thriving with its own unique brand of microbial life. The revelation about the extremes in which organisms can adapt and thrive opened a portal of scientific discovery that has directly lead to significant advances that affect our daily lives in areas of genetics, medicine, bioremediation, and alternative energy.
TBI is currently composed of fifteen faculty representing expertise in biochemistry, geochemistry, microbiology, virology, mycology, ecology, plant physiology, and environmental physics. In addition to an emphasis on multidisciplinary research, TBI promotes interdisciplinary learning through a strong educational component that incorporates undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral training.
The long-term goal of TBI is to understand how organisms respond and adapt to the unique physical and chemical features of geothermal environments. We are committed to furthering scientific understandings of the extreme limits of life on our planet, and working to ensure a sustainable future for research and outreach focused on the geothermal features of Yellowstone National Park.
Brent Peyton named new Director of TBI
SENT ON BEHALF OF DR. TOM McCOY:
The Vice President for Research would like to announce the appointment of Brent Peyton, Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, as the new Director of the Thermal Biology Institute. Peyton has been TBI Associate Director for over 5 years and replaces the outgoing Director John Peters, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, who requested a transition in leadership to pursue new avenues of research and interdisciplinary education. During the first decade of its existence, the Thermal Biology Institute has developed an international reputation in research and education focused on geomicrobiology of the thermal features in Yellowstone National Park. The Thermal Biology Institute was recent host to the International Thermophiles Conference held in Big Sky. Peters' served TBI in the capacity of co-Director or Director for nearly ten years and during this period TBI's faculty have garnered millions of dollars in single and multiple investigator external grant funding. He was the lead PI of a more than 6 million dollar grant from the NASA Astrobiology Institute study origin of life research and a recent infrastructure grant from NSF that supported a 2.5 million dollar renovation of TBI's facilities on the 6th floor of Leon Johnson Hall.
Please join MSU and the VP for Research in thanking Professor Peters for his many accomplishments as TBI Director and welcoming Professor Peyton who will guide TBI to what promises to be another decade of excellence.