Pohlschroder Lab

Prokaryotic Cell Surface Biogenesis


May 2024

Our latest paper titled “Involvement of ArlI, ArlJ, and CirA in archaeal type IV pilin-mediated motility regulation” is out now in the Journal of Bacteriology! Congratulations to Priyanka and Marco for spearheading this project! In this study, we discuss how certain residues in the archaella proteins ArlI and ArlJ could be contributing to motility regulation and also show that CirA is involved in transcriptional regulation of these archaella proteins. Check out the whole article here!



A big congratulations to Jacob for passing his preliminary exams and becoming a PhD Candidate! AND we are so so happy to officially welcome Eve to the lab! So happy to have such an amazing team in the Pohlschroder Lab!







We also want to congratulate Jacob for receiving the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)!! This is a fantastic honor and we are so proud of Jacob for his accomplishments! To celebrate Jacob and also to toast to another successful academic year, the Pohlschröder Lab went to dinner at Vientiane Cafe in West Philly. The food was delicious and the company was even better!

April 2024

Congratulations to Yirui for giving a talk at the Prokaryotic Seminar Series at Penn! Her talk titled “Identification of Novel Lipoprotein Biogenesis Machinery in Archaea” blew everyone away!



To celebrate Yirui for being awarded the SAS Dissertation Research Award we got take-out from Kilimandjaro restaurant in West Philly and sat outside at the Penn BioPond on a beautiful spring day!! Congratulations again Yirui!

Pictured we have left to right: Marco, Felicitas, Priyanka, Mecky, Eve, Yirui, and Jacob.





March 2024

Congratulations to Priyanka for being awarded the NIH F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for her project titled “Cell-cell communication in archaea: How Haloferax volcanii talk to each other”. This is a remarkable accomplishment and we’re so proud of her!


We took a stroll through University City to celebrate and saw the blooming cherry blossoms! Spring is here!

Pictured left to right we have first row: Marco, Priyanka, Felicitas, and Eve. Back row: Jacob, Yirui, and Mecky!







After the nice stroll through campus we found ourselves at Han Dynasty (actually we were planning to go there the whole time!). In anticipation for our food we snapped a pic!

Left to right: Marco, Eve, Jacob, Yirui, Felicitas, Priyanka, Mecky








Congratulations to our summer student Shalaya who came in second in the Microbiology category of the Carver Science Fair! She’ll be presenting her summer project on cell-cell communication at the Delaware Valley Science Fair in April.


Our interdisciplinary collaboration described in Nature Communications with Stefan Schulze’s and Alex Bisson’s labs was highlighted twice this month:

  1. PennToday featured the work – see link.

2. Nature Communications featured the paper as one of the “Microbiology and Infectious DiseasesEditorial Highlights.

February 2024

Congratulations to Yirui and Priyanka for having been chosen to present and oral presentation at this year’s ASM Microbe meeting. Marco will also join them to present his undergrad research as a poster while Jacob will be in France at the EMBO Molecular Biology of Archaea meeting in Paris to present his research


Congratulations to Heather, Yirui, Josh as well as our awesome collaborators, Stefan Schulze and Alex Bisson and lab members to the publication of  “Identification of Structural and Regulatory Cell Shape Determinants in Haloferax volcanii, recently published in Nat. Commun. link

December 2023

Happy holidays! From the Pohlschroder Lab

November 2023

We celebrated two birthdays this month! Jacob started off the month with his birthday and Priyanka rounded out the month with hers! (November truly is a great month for birthdays)







We also attended the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS) in Phoenix! Mecky and Marco went to represent the lab. Marco made good use of his Travel Award. He also won a poster award for the Microbiology category!!!!! Congratulations Marco!!!! We are so so proud of Marco and his achievements in the Pohlschroder Lab!



Marco is posing with two other students from the PennFERBS program, which was founded by Mecky. This program, the First Exposure to Research in the Biological Sciences, is a fellowship program for high-achieving undergraduate students. No wonder we have three of those students shown winning a poster prize from ABRCMS!










October 2023




Congratulations Priyanka, for winning the Microbiology, Virology and Parasitology Poster Award!!!!!!!


The graduate students in the lab all went to the symposium to show Priyanka support at the poster session! Pictured left to right we have Jacob, Priyanka, Eve, and Yirui.








Priyanka was also given the opportunity to speak at the 2023 Chemistry-Biology Interface Symposium! Her project is at a unique intersection between microbiology and chemistry and she was able to share her research story with others interested in chemistry and biology!









September 2023

We started the school year with a new rotation student. Everlyne (Eve) Mutua is a first year student in the Biology department. She will be working on characterizing a couple H. volcanii genes in relation to cell shape and biofilm formation. Welcome Eve! We’re so excited to have you! We even came up with a lab name for you: AutoclEve!

This month Priyanka gave a talk at the Prokaryotic Seminar Series! Her talk was titled “Cell-cell Signaling in Archaea: How Haloferax volcanii Talk to Each Other“. It was her first official talk, and she killed it!



To celebrate Priyanka’s talk, Eve rotating in the lab, and Yirui’s last evening in Philly before she went on vacation, the graduate students went out to dinner at Kilimandjaro Restaurant in West Philly. Pictured here we have from left to right: Yirui, Eve, Jacob, Priyanka







We are also SO PROUD of our undergraduate Marco!! His poster got accepted at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS) in Phoenix this year! His poster is titled, “Suppressors of Motility Mutants in Archaeal Flagella Biosynthesis Components Reveal Novel Motility Regulation”. And not only that, but Marco ALSO got awarded a full travel grant that will cover conference registration, housing from November 15-19, and airfare from Philadelphia to Phoenix. You’re going to have a blast at this conference Marco!!

We also took this picture for funsies because all the students were in the office one day, and it wasn’t even during lab meeting day!



From left to right, front row we have Marco, Priyanka and Felicitas on the computer. In the back row we have Yirui, Eve, and Jacob on the computer.








Summer 2023

Very busy and exciting summer in the Pohlschröder lab!


First, Jacob mentored two high school students from the Penn LENS (Penn Laboratory Experiences in Natural Sciences) program. Pictured we have Sophia on the left inoculating H. volcanii mutant strains. On the right we have Shalaya streaking out H. volcanii onto a motility plate to find mutant strains based on swimming motility phenotype. Sophia and Shalaya’s work helped Jacob’s project and the lab advance their understanding of H. volcanii motility. This goes to show that it’s never too early to start doing cool science!




Marco was able to explore different types of research beyond that of the Pohlschröder lab, specifically in the area of vaccine research. He spent the summer at the Daniel Kulp Lab at the Wistar Institute. He learned many different assays, such as ELISA, and different lab techniques, such as mammalian cell culture. Marco met graduate students from other programs and learned about research and career options to pursue after undergrad. It was a great experience for him and Marco is excited to bring what he learned from the summer back to the Pohlschröder lab during the school year!



Meanwhile, Priyanka spent her summer at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. She was taking the Microbial Diversity course, a 6.5 week intensive course for scientists at all stages to learn more about how to culture and analyze the different kinds of microbes that live all around us. She learned new and important techniques, especially in bioinformatics, that she can bring back to the Pohlschröder lab. Priyanka also formed a strong connection with the other scientists that she met there and is growing her professional network in the microbiology field. In these pictures, we have Priyanka posing in front of Eel Pond right outside her dormitory, streaking out a plate in the MBL lab, and giving her final presentation at the end of the course on a species of agar-degrading bacteria that she isolated.










Yirui and Mecky also went on a trip during the summer.

They attended a Gordon Research Conference in West Dover, Vermont. It was the Archaea: Ecology, Metabolism, and Molecular Biology conference, and this year’s focus was on The Root and Branch of Discover: Lessons on Life from the Archaea. The conference was in a beautiful location, as can be seen from the pictures of Yirui posing in front of the scenery. Yirui presented a poster on H. volcanii lipoprotein biosynthesis and did a great job with it. Also, Mecky and Yirui both met many new and old faces in the archaea field! They even took a photo with former lab members Stefan and Farid. Everyone at the conference posed for a fun group photo!








May 2023

Graduation Season! Heather graduated with her PhD in Biology while Cris graduated with his Bachelor’s degree!

Here’s Cris and Heather with their graduation swag as newly minted alumni of the University of Pennsylvania!

For future plans, Heather will be a Lecturer of Biology, teaching courses as Dr. Schiller. Cris is going to be a Clinical Research Coordinator at Penn Presbyterian. Way to go, Pohlschroder Lab grads!!

In other news, Priyanka was accepted to attend a summer course at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole in Microbial Diversity. She will be spending 6.5 weeks on the Massachusetts coast catching some ‘wild’ microbes! Also during the summer, Marco will be working in the Daniel Kulp Lab at the Wistar Institute. He will be learning about vaccine development for SARS-CoV-2. We like to encourage students to explore their scientific interests and figure out what topics they are passionate about!


April 2023

So many exciting things happened this month!

PhD student Heather Schiller gave her thesis defense and has now become Dr. Heather Schiller!


Her talk titled, “Elucidating mechanisms of archaeal adaptation to changing environments through cell shape and biofilm studies” blew us all away. We are so proud of her amazing accomplishments!






After the defense, the whole lab group joined for the celebration of Dr. Heather Schiller at the BioPond! Congratulations Heather!

Pictured from left to right: (back row) Marco, Cris, and Jacob (front row) Yirui, Felicitas, Mecky, Heather, Priyanka, and Becca.






We also celebrated a birthday!


Yirui was so surprised when the lab gathered around her favorite tiramisu cake on her special day! Taking a break from lab with some cake and company is part of being a good scientist 🙂












And finally, Felicitas gave her first talk at the PennFERBS (Freshman Exposure to Research in the Biological Sciences) symposium. PennFERBS was started by our very own Dr. Mecky Pohlschroder!


In the Pohlschroder Lab, we encourage everyone to give scientific talks, regardless of your training level. Even though Felicitas had been in the lab for just one semester, she gave an awesome talk at the PennFERBS symposium!








March 2023

Jacob Cote joined the lab!! We are so excited to have you! Jacob will be working on elucidating the molecular mechanisms of cell shape regulation in our model organism Haloferax volcanii.

As a celebration of having four graduate students in the lab, the PoLab PhD students went for trivia night at The Post. The team name was “Mecky’s Angels” and we won one of the rounds of trivia: the music round!



Here we have Jacob, the newest lab member on the left. Heather and Yirui are holding the prize coupon that Mecky’s Angels won! And Priyanka is taking the selfie!









February 2023

In celebration of receiving the University of Pennsylvania University Research Foundation (URF) grant, we decided to go out for dinner at nearby restaurant KPod.

Pictured from left to right: Becca, Priyanka, Yirui, Heather, Jacob, Felicitas, Marco, and Mecky!


January 2023

This semester, we welcome Jacob Cote to the lab as a rotation student! Jacob is a 1st year student in the Cell and Molecular Biology: Microbiology, Virology, Parasitology (CAMB-MVP) program. We are excited to welcome you to the lab!

Here we have the Pohlschroder Lab graduate students going for Thai food! Order from left to right: Priyanka, Heather, Yirui, Jacob


December 2022

Have a wonderful holiday season everyone!


November 2022

Congratulations again, Rachel, this time for receiving the UNCF STEM Scholarship!!!


September 2022

Congratulations, Rachel for being elected Penn Presidential Ph.D. Fellow!!!!!

Welcome to the lab Rachel Richards, rotation student from the Microbiology, Virology and Parasitology graduate group!

Great collaboration with Marisa Egan, Karen Hogan and Julie Maupin-Furlow published in the Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education. Thanks also to all the great Biol376 students! The Best of Both Worlds: Discovery-Driven Learning through a Lab-Seminar Approach


We contributed four chapters in the Methods in Molecular Biology ARCHAEA book. Thanks Cris, Zuha, Heather and Stefan.

Accessible and Insightful Scientific Learning Experiences Using the Microorganism Haloferax volcanii

Cost-Effective and Versatile Analysis of Archaeal Surface Adhesion Under Shaking and Standing Conditions

Immersed Liquid Biofilm and Honeycomb Pattern Formations in Haloferax volcanii

Proteomic Sample Preparation and Data Analysis in Line with the Archaeal Proteome Project


Marco – fantastic job presenting your first research poster at the Penn Research Expo.


August 2022

Congratulations, Stefan to your new position at the Rochester Institute of Technology to continue your amazing interdisciplinary prokaryotic glycoproteomics research (Schulze webpage). We’ll miss you in the lab but also at parties – who will introduce us about the latest local beers???

May/June 2022

Congratulations, Priyanka and Yirui for passing your prelims!!!

Wonderful to see Bienfait and Michiyah who came back for the in-person 2020 graduation – fascinating to hear about intriguing Oxford traditions and interesting community health partnership projects in NY!

Congratulations – مبروك” – Zuha Mutan to graduating with Honors from the Biology department. Zuha’s honors thesis describes the importance of glycosylation for Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm formation, a collaborative project with Stefan and Aldo. It was wonderful meeting you whole family at the graduation celebration!!!

April 2022


Marco Garcia presented amazing new data at the FERBS Fellows Seminar – mind you, he just finished his freshman year! Moreover, as part of the community partnership project Marco and fellow FERBS students established the student-lead Penn Sickle Cell Association (PennSCD) to address the lack of awareness concerning Sickle Cell Disease.

Check out the updated webpage and this video of the 2021/22 FERBS fellows.


FERBS Community Partnership Presentations













March 2022

Heather received the Dissertation Research Award for the second time – way to go Heather!

February 2022

Fantastic collaboration with former graduate student Manuela Tripepi on the development of an experiment underscoring the unique cell biology of Archaea. Check out the JMBE article.

Another fantastic collaboration, in this case with Kyle Costa from the University of Minnesota. The Multi-Panel ADhesion (mPAD) mount is can be used to study biofilm formation in archaea and bacteria. Read more in this AEM article.

January 2022

Congratulations to Heather Schiller for having been selected to join the “Microbial Pathogenesis and Genomics” T32 Program at UPenn.

December 2021

Congratulations, Criston for being chosen to give a talk at the Archaea Power Hour.

You can find the recording here:

No skating on the biopond but the Class of 1923 rink is cool as well 🙂


October 2021

Congratulations Bienfait for officially becoming an Oxford student on Matriculation day 🙂














We are excited to welcome Marco Garcia, our second PennFERBS Fellows (Cris is from the inaugural cohort), in the lab. Great dinners – yup, back at the Biopond, an Oasis for outdoor “COVID time dinners” with the lab just before Bienfait left for Oxford, and with the 2021 FERBS fellows, mentors and PIs.

September 2021

yup, outdoor events are NOT always at the Biopond – West Philly has lots of great places to hang out and celebrate 🙂

August 2021

We are excited that Yirui Hong, who already worked with Stefan on a remote project, joined the lab for her first in-person rotation project, welcome Yirui!!!! Unfortunately, it was also a bittersweet get-together as Aldo’s 10-week summer program ended. Thanks for choosing to work with us this summer












July 2021

Great PennLENS student visit to Penn. Thanks to all the PennFERBS Fellows, including Cris, for helping make the day so informative with a campus tour and student panel. Victoria and Azullema, all the Best for the College application process – it was great having you with us even if it was mostly virtual.


June 2021

Lots of reasons to celebrate:

Congratulations Priyanka for being appointed to the Cell and Molecular Biology Training grant! We are excited that you will carry out your dissertation work in our lab!

Stefan Schulze’s work describing the largest archaeal glycoproteome to date: “Comprehensive glycoproteomics shines new light on the complexity and extent of glycosylation in archaea was published in PlosBiology.

Welcome Penn SUIP student Aldo Trejos and PennLENS high school students Victoria Andrews and Azullema Ramirez, looking forward to working with you this summer!!!

PennFERBS Fellows’ accomplishments were celebrated in this PennToday article.



May 2021

Thanks, Cris for heading off the PennFERBS Fellows Seminar Event with a great presentation about your work in the lab this past semester!









April 2021

We are excited to welcome Priyanka Chatterjee from the MVP program in the lab for her third rotation. Priyanka is poised to find out more about how Haloferax volcanii cells communicate with each other.

Congratulations Michiyah for receiving the Rose Undergraduate Research Award for your research “Mutations Affecting HVO_1357 or HVO_2248 Cause Hypermotility in Haloferax volcanii, Suggesting Roles in Motility Regulation”. The Rose Foundation recognizes outstanding undergraduate research projects completed by graduating seniors.

Last but not least, Heather received the Dissertation Research Award. This grant is a tribute to your outstanding academic record and impressive plan for dissertation research.” CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!

Definitely lots to celebrate at our first outdoor dinner at the Biopond













March 2021

Our collaborative work with the Duggin lab: “The impact of growth media on archaea morphology” was this month’s Microbiology Editor’s Choice.

February 2021

Congratulations Bienfait for being a Rhodes Finalist and for your acceptance as a Ph.D. student at Oxford!

Thanks to lab alumni, Evan Yan and Bienfait Igiraneza and current undergrads, Michiyah Collins and Zuha Mutan for participating in the panel to help your younger FGLI peers from the Penn FERBS program, “seeing themselves in science”!

The first Archaea Power Hour was fantastic – thanks Farid Abdul-Halim and Michiyah Collins for co-chairing this inaugural meeting with nearly 120 scientists interested in Archaea Biology from across the Americas coming together to hear three amazing talks and to network! Get more archaea news @archaea_power. Thanks Alex Bisson for setting this up and for working with great students to design the archaea webpage.

January 2021

More than three decades ago, the haloarchaeal S-layer glycoprotein was the first glycoprotein identified in any prokaryote and remained one of just a few archaeal glycoproteins until now. Check out Stefan’s work defining the most extensive archaeal glycoproteome in his article “Glycoproteomics of Haloferax volcanii reveals an extensive glycoproteome and concurrence of different N-glycosylation pathways” on bioRxiv. Thanks Friedhelm Pfeiffer for yet another wonderful collaboration!


Michiyah Collins, Farid Abdul-Halim and I are excited to be part of the organizing committee of the “Archaea Power Hour“, a monthly meeting that gives students, postdocs and research scientists the chance to present their work and interact in a very informal way. Our goal is to strengthen, grow and diversify the Archaea community across the Americas!  Join us on February 24th at 1pm for our first meeting!

We welcome sophomore Keya Patel, who’s also in the Biology Master’s submatriculation program to our lab and are excited to have Zuha and Taylor returning to the lab in person! We even had President Gutman attend our first lab meeting 🙂 Farid’s already published a first-author Methanogen paper in the Costa lab but his H. volcanii work still is being published – see Microbiology research article describing a collaboration with the Duggin lab at the University of Technology in Sydney. Why does H. volcanii only make rods in early log phase and how does it switch to disks? Stay tuned for the answers – we, together with some great H. volcanii groups across the Globe are trying to understand this cool morphological phenomenon. December 2020

The year ended beautifully thanks to amazing work from literally everyone in the lab – check out the three papers that were published in December!  

1. Simi’s screen and Michiyah’s selection for hypermotile H. volcanii tn-mutants and the characterization of the “winners of the race” was published in Genes. This work would have not been possible without great work of all the co-authors including our collaborators, Mike Dyall-Smith and Friedhelm Pfeiffer – thanks everyone!

2. Fantastic collaboration with the Hippler lab at the University of Muenster – check out the Bioinformatics publicationSugarPy facilitates the universal, discovery-driven analysis of intact glycopeptides“. Congrats, Stefan!

3. “Haloferax volcanii Immersed Liquid Biofilms Develop Independently of Known Biofilm Machineries and Exhibit Rapid Honeycomb Pattern Formation“, that also includes three undergraduate students from the Biol376 Microbial Diversity and Pathogenesis lab course  is now published in mSphere! Oh, and let me not forget – check out Taylor’s amazing performance in the Penn Dance Group (if you don’t have time to watch all of the Glee Club/Dance collaboration, go to 15.5 min).

October 2021

Welcome to the lab Criston Young! Cris, who is part of the inaugural Penn Freshmen Exposure to Research in Biological Science (PennFERBS) cohort, will work with Heather to learn more about the liquid biofilms formation and dispersal. We look forward to working with you, Cris! Also, can’t wait to hear you perform in the Penn Band post-COVID!!!!!

September 2020 Welcome Dina Issakova, first year Biology graduate student, who is rotating in the lab this semester working with Stefan as well as Michiyah who, finally after six months is allowed back into the lab. We are excited that you can finish your exciting project on H. volcanii hyper motile mutants before graduating!

July 2020

Stefan Schulze mentored two amazing students from Carver Engineering and Science High school, Morgan Bryson and Sultanah Harper who were part of the LENS program. While we only got to know each other online this summer, we are hoping to meet you in in person to show you or lab very soon!!!!

Stefan’s recently published work on the Archaeal Proteome Project (see below) as well as his discovery and subsequent characterization of rapid liquid biofilm honeycomb pattern formation in collaborations with Heather Schiller was featured in PennToday. The manuscript describing latter work was also submitted to BioRxiv. Four undergraduate students contributed to this story and Theopy Rados from the Bisson lab at Brandeis University provided this beautiful Movie. June 2020

Our Archaeal Proteome Project (ArcPP), an international collaboration between 5 laboratories across 3 continents was just published in Nature Communications. The idea for this project was to more efficiently use existing proteomics data by combining not only resources but also expert knowledge across different fields of biology, in order to gain a deeper understanding of archaeal cell biology. Thanks and congratulations to Stefan Schulze, the postdoc in the lab who spearheaded this project, and collaborators who shared large amounts of proteome data, provided invaluable insight and carried out experiments. After demonstrating the usefulness of our approach, we made our results available in a web-database ( We are eager to work together with more laboratories in order to extend our analyses to other archaeal species or even bacteria, harvesting the synergistic effects of a broad scientific community.

Heather, congratulations for passing your Prelims during a very difficult period and while writing a manuscript that was only tangentially related to your prelim proposal!

Congratulations Taylor for graduating from Carver High School of Engineering and Science and for receiving the “Linda H Ahmed Award” for being an exceptional female student in the STEM fields – see you in the Fall!!!!


May 2020

Congratulations Bienfait – it’s been an honor to have had you in the lab and we hope that you will stay in touch. I can’t wait to see the great things you will continue to contribute to Science and Society!    

April 2020

Michiyah, congratulations for receiving the Jumpstart for Juniors Research Fellowship – looking forward to working with you this summer – even if it’ll be virtual! While the poster presentation at the Delaware Tristate Science Fair had to be cancelled, Taylor won 3rd price in the highly competitive Microbiology category for the paper describing her research project – CONGRATULATIONS. Oh, and that’s not it, guess who will be a Freshman at Penn this Fall 🙂 Taylor, we can’t wait to see you again on campus, but this time with and “undergrad Penn ID!

March 2020

Congratulations Taylor for winning the 1st price in the Microbiology category of the City-wide Carver Science Fair, qualifying for the Delaware Tristate Science Fair AND winning the Eastern Branch ASM price for finding super-interesting H. volcanii persister mutants. The project was perfect for you: while challenging you persisted!!!   December 2019

End of the semester lab lunch including Jack Bletz who just finished his rotation in the lab and Cristy Almonte who will start her rotation in January (third and fourth from right, respectively). Elbren Montuya, a freshman at Penn also joined the lab this semester.

Our manuscript “Lipid anchoring of archaeosortase substrates and mid-cell growth in haloarchaea” a great collaborative effort with Alex Bisson‘s lab (see his ArtA, PssA and PssD mid-cell localization movies above) was submitted to BioRxiv. 


September 2019

For the second time, Michiyah Collins presents her summer research at the Annual CURF Research Expo. Her project was also selected for a presentation at the upcoming family weekend – congratulations Michiyah!










July 2019

We keep the tradition going – this summer we have two high school students from Carver Engineering and Science – Taylor Bui as well as David Kouassi – help out in the lab. Taylor, one of the 2019 LENS  students will also continue working with us this Fall!












May 2019

Lunch at Cierra Green to celebrate the end of the semester and welcome Heather Schiller (right) a first-year Biology Ph.D. student, to the lab – looks like her presence even moves the clouds 🙂

April 2019

Georgio’s work “Limited Cross-Complementation Between Haloferax volcanii PilB1-C1 and PilB3-C3 Paralogs” was just published. These in vivo data complement in silico studies by Makanrova et al.
Congratulations to Evan Yang who will leave Penn for Harvard. Enjoy grad school in Cambridge and please stay in touch!!!!!! Congratulations to Michiyah who received not one but two fellowships to work in the lab this summer, the Pincus Magaziner Family Research Award and the College Alumni Society Grant. Looking forward to having you in the lab this summer!!!!

March 2019

Congratulations to Sarah for being a semi-finalist at the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium and earning 4th place at the Carver Science Fair

November 2018

Haloferax volcanii is Trends in Microbiology’sMicrobe of the Month“!!!!

H. volcanii has emerged as an important archaeal model system. An extensive repertoire of genetic, molecular biological, and biochemical tools has been developed for this fast-growing, easily cultivated haloarchaeon, including expression vectors and gene-deletion strategies, including CRISPR. Its low mutation rate and ability to grow on defined media allow straightforward application of methods such as metabolic labeling, and the sequenced genome laid the foundation for transcriptomics and proteomics studies.


September 2018

Anthony Dilucido joined the lab as a Research Technician – welcome!


The FEMS Microbiology Reviews Thematic Issue on Archaea co-edited by Sonja Albers and Mecky, including our review on Archaeal Cell Surface Biogenesis is now published.

Bienfait received yet another award, the Seltzer Family Digital Media Award 2018 – felicitation encore une fois Bienfait!

Bienfait and Michiyah both presented posters about their summer work at the CURF Research Expo.

Zuha Mutan, an incoming freshman in the College joined the lab and right away helped Michiyah sort over 150 microscopes donated by Alpha and Omega Microscope Service in Maryland (thanks Peter Potter for delivering them on Saturday) for distribution to Philly teachers at our next Biology High School Professional Development session.


August 2018


Sarah Sawda, a rising senior from George Washington Carver Engineering and Science joined the lab for the summer as part of the LENS program. We are looking forward to having her in the lab this Fall as she is continuing the characterization of her hyper motile H. volcanii transposon mutants. June 2018 Bienfait Igiraneza received the Pincus-Magaziner Family Undergraduate Research and Travel Fund from the College Alumni Society – felicitation Bienfait!

May 2018

Vagelos student, David Yang,  joined the lab just after finishing his sophomore year – welcome David!

April 2018


Interested in how Mecky Pohlschroder’s career path from a small German farm via UMass and Harvard to UPenn? Check out this month’s Omnia article.


Simi and our halophiles are featured in “The Power of Penn” and “We Grow Inclusion” videos.


Anjana Sundarrajan was invited to attend the GapSummit.


Bienfait Iriganeza received the Pincus Magaziner Family Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

March 2018

Simi Afolayan was accepted into the Summer Research Internship Program at the CHOP Pediatric Center of Excellence in Nephrology.

Michiyah Collins received a Penn Undergraduate Research Mentoring Program Fellowship from the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.

February 2018 Farid Abdul-Halim’s characterization of the ArtA active site was published in Molecular Microbiology.

January 2018 Stefan was awarded a Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft postdoctoral fellwoship – congratulations Stefan!

December 2017 Lisa Valenti is moving on to her next rotation – thanks Lisa for great science AND art contributions 🙂

October 2017

It’s been great to have Mariana Costa, from the University of Mar del Plata in Argentina visit the lab for a month. We are excited about our ongoing collaboration on the effects of rhomboid proteases on pili biosynthesis and function. We also had two new Masters of Biotechnology students, Anjana Sundarrajan and Kun Yun, as well as a a sophomore, Simisola (Simi) Afolayan and a freshman, Michiyah Collins, join the lab this Fall. Lisa Valenti, a first year Biology graduate student is rotating in the lab.

August 2017

Sending off Georgio Legerme to Med School at the University of Florida, Gainesville and Ronald Rodriguez to Grad School at Berkeley was a bittersweet event.

Laboratory Experiences in the Natural Sciences (LENS) students Tamera Stanley from George Washington Carver Engineering and Science High School spent the summer in the lab and screened nearly 4000 mutants for a motility defect. Her work was featured in the Penn News and she presented her mutants during the LENS poster session.

July 2017 Bienfait’s blog “A little closer to Burundi” about his incredible CASI internship at the Aravind Eye Care System in Madurai, India featured in Penn News igiraneza, aime bienfait May 2017

Stefan Schulze (postdoc) and Precious Nwanwa (undergraduate student)  joined the lab – welcome!

Farid Abdul Halim received his Ph.D.

and Evan received his Bachelor – Congratulations Evan and Farid!

March 2017

Aime Bienfait Igiraneza, freshman in the college, joined the lab – welcome Bienfait!

Ronald Rodriguez just obtained an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship – Congratulations, Ronald!!!!! Read more here

August 2016:

Jonathan Stoltzfus started his Assistant Professor position at Millersville University after just a year as a postdoc in the lab!

…he managed to attend the Halophile Meeting in Puerto Rico just before leaving though!


Jonathan presenting his work on ArtA-dependent surface anchoring at the Halophile meeting.

July 2016:

Rianne Esquivel started her post-doc at the Wistar Institute.  Her acceptance to the Lindau Nobel Laureates meeting was just one of the highlights during her extremely successful time as a graduate student in the lab!

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-11-22-26-am screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-11-22-15-am

Rianne with Nobel Laureate Francoise Barre-Sinoussi and fellow students in Lindau, Germany.  

June 2016:

Farid Abdul Halim, after completing the Teece Fellowship, allowing him to participate in the Woods Hole Microbial Diversity Course in 2015, now also obtained an SAS Dissertation Completion Fellowship.


Farid, together with fellow students sampling in Woods Hole.

May 2016:

Georgio Legerme received a NASA post-baccalaureate fellowship. He also presented his work on identifying and characterizing H. volcanii adhesion transposon mutants at the ASM meeting in Boston.

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Also check out:

Astrobiology Magazine’s research highlight featured our type IV pili work “Appendages Help Microbes Survive Harsh Conditions


A bacterium using type IV pili to walk on a surface. IMAGE CREDIT: GERARD WONG, UCLA BIOENGINEERING, CNSI.

March 2016:

Joshua Kouassi, freshman at Carver High School wins 1st place and 2nd place in Microbiology at the Carver and Delaware Science Fairs, respectively with his project “One in a Million“, a transposon screen that allowed him to identify intriguing hyper motile H. volcanii mutants. Thanks Evan for training Josh!


August 2016:

Penn News featured Evan Yang in the article: “Studying a Salt-loving Microbe, Penn Senior Evan Yang Imagines Life on Mars.

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Evan presenting his work, supported by an ASM URF fellowship, on H. volcanii motility transposon mutants at the ASM Microbe meeting in Boston.

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