2021 Graduate Fellows

Alex Charbonneau


Alex is a PhD student in the Lawrence Lab.

Alex studies regulatory mechanisms of the
CRISPR-Cas immune system in thermophilic archaea.

He approaches this research from a structural biology
perspective using X-ray crystallography
to solve atomic
structures of transcriptional factors.  From a biochemical
perspective, he uses RT-qPCR to study transcriptional
regulation, and uses fluorescence spectroscopy and
activity-based assays to analyze the binding of second
messengers to transcriptional regulators, and of
transcriptional regulators to gene promoters. The results
from these analytical methods are used to characterize
CRISPR-Cas transcription factors and second messenger
molecules that serve regulatory functions in the immune

Image of Alex Charbonneau outside.




Anthony Kohtz


Anthony is a PhD student within the Hatzenpichler lab.

Anthony studies the ecophysiology of thermophilic archaea
that inhabit hot springs in Yellowstone National Park.

His research utilizes a mix of metagenomics, enrichment
cultivation, stable isotope probing, bioorthogonal labeling,
and Raman microspectroscopy. These tools are used to
establish the metabolic potential, substrate utilization,
and biogeochemical roles of several enigmatic and
uncharacterized archaeal lineages.

Image of Anthony Kohtz. He is smiling at the camera. There is a forest in the background and there is snow on a pine tree.



James Larson


James Larson is a PhD student that works in the
lab of Dr. Brian Bothner.

Biogenic methane is thought to only be produced by
archaea in anaerobic environments. 

He is working on a project that is investigating the novel
methane production from a bacterium isolated from an
oxygen-rich area of Yellowstone Lake. Understanding this
process may reshape how we think about biogenic methane production.

Image of James Larson hiking by the water.



Muneeb Rathore


Muneeb Rathore is a PhD student that works in the
lab of Dr. Brent Peyton on an extremophilic diatom (RGd1)
isolated from the thermally impacted Witch Creek (pH 10)
that drains the Heart Lake Geyser Basin. This diatom has
been shown to produce high levels of lipids of potential
use in the production of biodiesel. 

My experiments are examining lipid productivity in biofilms
in response to sodium bicarbonate addition. I study RGd-1’s
genetic expressions and physiological changes to sodium
bicarbonate additions near nitrogen source depletion.
This work may help improve photosynthetic lipid production
rates for future production of renewable biodiesel.

Image of Muneeb Rathore in the lab


2021 Undergraduate Fellows

Paige Schlegel


Paige is a 2nd year undergraduate student studying
Environmental Biology with a focus in Microbiology.

Since joining Dr. Hatzenpichler’s research group in
November 2020, the majority of her research has
been focused on the cultivation of thermophilic archaea
from geothermal features in Yellowstone National Park,
specifically Methanosarcina and Korarchaeaota.

She has been working with FISH and gas chromatography
techniques to  study the metabolic processes of these
microbes as well as their potential substrate utilization.

Paige plans to attend graduate school after she graduates
in 2023 to pursue further research into environmental and
marine microbiology.

Image of Paige Schlegel smiling at the camera. In the background is a blurred hill. The grass is yellowing and a town is in the background.