About this Lab
Our research interests are in microbial ecology, environmental biotechnology and in the bioexploration, cultivation and characterization of novel microbes. A common theme is the "unusual appetites" of bacteria, whether in the biodegradation and detoxification of new xenobiotic chemicals or natural products, respiration of relatively rare metalloids, or life in the cold.
Research projects in the Haggblom Lab span from fundamental projects on the physiology, ecology and taxonomy of bacteria involved in biotransformation and biodegradation of natural and anthropogenic chemicals to applied research projects that address the environmental problems facing impacted industrialized sites. The major thrust has been on characterizing the physiology and ecology of bacteria that degrade halogenated aromatic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or the fuel oxygenate MTBE, and while unraveling underlying novel metabolic pathways also discovering new bacterial species and assessing their in situ microbial activity. Our goal is to use this understanding for development of novel bioremediation technologies for degradation and detoxification of these compounds in soils, sediments and groundwater. A more recent research theme is the exploration of bacterial diversity of Arctic soils and sediments. The aim is to obtain an understanding of the role and function of the different bacterial communities active in carbon and nitrogen cycling in these environments and to assess the selection mechanisms promoting the dominance of key species/phyla in changing temperature regimes.