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The Extreme Biofilms National Research Traineeship (NRT) sponsored by the National Science Foundation, is a university-wide community of doctoral students in engineering, microbiology, computing, biochemistry, and environmental sciences with focused professional development and graduate training on biofilm-forming microorganisms in extreme environments. This graduate traineeship aims to prepare the next generation of science and engineering leaders. who will accelerate the translation of basic biofilm research into technological solutions for the betterment of society. 


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Explore the Extreme

Predict the observable characteristics of biofilms in extreme environments

Prevent and control biofilms in extreme engineered systems

Uncover the properties which confer survival of extremophilic biofilms

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Connect and Collaborate

Participate in convergent research that advances knowledge on microbial biofilms in extreme systems

Supporting outstanding PhD graduate students

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Strength in STEM

Participate with other departments such as Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Civil Engineering, Microbiology and Cell Biology, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Plant Sciences, Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, Computer Science



Your Journey Through the Funded NRT Program


Photo of a Sporosarcian pasteurii biofilm under drip flow with text on top that says "Year 1". Photo by Sobia Anjum.

Year 1

Take Two Science Communication Short Courses

Participate in Transferrable Skills Workshops

Build an Individual Development Plan

Create a Mentor Team

Start Tracking Personal Progress


Photo of a biofilm labeled "Spaghetti and Meatballs" with text on top that says "Year 2". Photo by Erika Espinosa-Ortiz.

Year 2

Take the Extreme Biofilms Coursework

Carry Out a Career Internship Experience

Begin Outreach Activities


Photo of Sporosarcina pasteurii cells with text on top that says "Year 3". Photo by Sobia Anjum.

Year 3

Organize a Scientific Meeting Session

Pursue External Grants and SEED Funding

Photo of a Imaris snapshot with text on top that says "Years 4&5". Photo by Erika Espinosa-Ortiz.

Years 4 & 5

Refine Your Career Plan

Receive Assistance with Job Hunting

Graduate Training


Photo of students and researchers working in the Center For Biofilm Engineering lab at MSU with text on top that says "Career Internship Experience." Photo by Kelly Gorham.
Photo of students in a lab smiling with text on top that says "Team-Based Coursework." Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez.
Photo of test tubes being prepared with text on top that says "Seed Grant Program." Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez.
Photo of researchers working on various projects in the labs at MSU with text on top that says "Workshops and Short Courses on Applicable Skills." Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez.
Photo of a student doing research at Soap Lake with text on top that says "Individual Development Plans." Photo by Robin Gerlach.
Photo of a Professor standing next to a student with text on top that says "Personalized Mentor Team." Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez.


Scientists and researchers work on projects in the laboratories at the Center for Biofilm Engineering at MSU. With text on top that says "Competitive Stipends Awarded Annually". Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez.


Montana State University's Research on Extreme Biofilms

A graphic showing the three research topics of the NRT program. Research topic one explores genomic traits of biofilms, topic two investigates patterns in the composition of biofilm samples, and topic 3 looks into the biofilm’s phenome activity.