Contact Information


Confocal microscope image of a stromatolite Stromatolites                   

Confocal microscope images of cyanobacteria in stromatolites

John Stolz received his BS degree in biology from Fordham University in 1977. He earned his PhD from Boston University in 1984 in microbial ecology and evolution studying community structure in stratified microbial mats. He then took a position as an NRC Post doctoral fellow at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Visiting Faculty in the Department of Geology and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, where he studied magnetotatic bacteria and biomagnetism. This was followed by an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Plant Biology in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he studied photosynthesis in green bacteria. Joining the faculty at Duquesne University in 1990 he continued research on microbial community structure and began studies on anaerobic respiration. He received the Bayer School Award for Excellence in Scholarship in 1996 and 2008, and Excellence in Service in 2014. He received the Presidents Award for Excellence in Scholarship in 1997 and 2008, and Excellence in Service in 2014. He was appointed the Nobel J. Dick Endowed Chair for Community Outreach in 2015.


  • NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Massachusetts
  • NRC Research Associate, California Institute of Technology
  • Ph.D. Biology, Boston University, 1984
  • B.S. Biology, Fordham University, 1977

Research Interests or Expertise

I am interested in both fundamental questions in microbial ecology as well as the application of unique microbial species for bioremediation. There are three major areas of interest in my lab:1) the ecophysiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology of dissimilatory metal reducing bacteria, 2) the ecophysiology of phototrophic prokaryotes and 3) the environmental impacts and microbiology of unconventional shale gas extraction. In the first area, I am investigating the reductases and electron transport system of several dissimilatory metalloid reducing bacteria. Respiration using alternative terminal electron acceptors such as arsenic and selenium oxyanions is a relatively new discovery. Ongoing studies include the characterization of the arsenic metabolism in the chemolithoautotroph Alkalilimnicol ehrlichii, selenium oxyanion reduction by Bacillus selenitireducens and Sulfurospirillum barnesii, and the biotransformation of inorganic arsenic and organoarsenicals. The second area involves research on community structure and biogenesis of modern marine stromatolites in the Bahamas and Shark Bay, Australia. The third area involves well water quality testing, GIS base mapping, and microbiological testing of fluids associated with Marcellus shale. The lab is currently funded by grants from the Heinz Endowments and Colcom Foundation.





Profile Information

Dr. Stolz has published 104 peer reviewed articles, 47 book chapters, and three books.

  • Stolz, J.F., Griffin, W.M., and Bain, D.J. (eds) 2022. Environmental Impacts from the Development of Unconventional Oil and Gas Reserves. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK

Selected Articles:
  • Wells, M. Jeganathar Kanmanii, J. Al Zadjali, A.M., Janecka, J.E., Basu, P., Oremland, R.S., and Stolz, J.F. 2020. Methane, arsenic, selenium and the origins of the DMSO reductase family. Scientific Reports 10:10946
  • Glabonjat, R.A., Blum, S.J., Miller, L.G., Webb, S.M., Stolz, J.F., Francesconi, K.A., and Oremland, R.S. 2020. Arsenolipids in cultured Picocystis strain ML and their occurrence in biota and sediment from Mono Lake, California. Life 2020, 10, 93; doi:10.3390/life10060093
  • Mintmier, B., Nassif, S., Stolz, J.F., and Basu, B. 2020. Functional mononuclear molybdenum enzymes: challenges and triumphs in molecular cloning expression and isolation. Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry 25:547-569.
  • Wells, M.B., and Stolz, J.F. 2020. Microbial selenium metabolism: a brief history, biogeochemistry, and ecophysiology. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 96:fiaa209
  • Wells, M.B., Basu, P., and Stolz, J.F. 2021 The physiology and evolution of selenium metabolism in bacteria and archaea. Metallomics 13:mfab024
  • Staicu, L.C., and Stolz, J.F. 2021. Editorial: microbes vs. metals: harvest and recycle. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 97(5):fiab056
  • Bain, D.J., Cantlay, T., Garman, B., and Stolz, J.F. 2021 Oil and gas wastewater as road treatment: radioactive material exposure implications at the residential lot and block scale. Environmental Research Communications. Doi:10.1088/2515-7620/ac35be
  • Kiang, N.Y., Swingley, W.D., Gautam, D., Broddrick, J.T., Repeta, D., Stolz, J.F., Blankenship, R.E., Wolf, B.M., Detweiler, A.M., Miller, K.A., Schladweiler, J., Lindeman, R., and Parenteau, M.N. 2022. Discovery of chlorophyll d: isolation and characterization of a far-red cyanobacterium from the original site of Manning & Strain (1943) at Moss Beach, California. Microoganisms. DOI: 10.3390/microorganisms10040819
  • Suosaari, E.P., Reid, R.P., Mercadier, C., Vitek, B.E., Oehlert, A.M., Stolz, J.F., Giusfredi, P.E., and Eberli, G.P. 2022. The microbial carbonate factory of Hamelin Pool, Shark Bay, Western Australia. Scientific Reports
  • Vitek, B.E., Suosaari, E.P., Stolz, J.F., Oehlert, A.M., and Reid, R.P. 2022. Initial accretion in Hamelin Pool stromatolites: the role of Entophysalis in precipitation of microbial micrite.Geoscience
  • Stolz, J.F. 2022. Metal munching microbes. In Hurst, C.J. (ed) Microbial metabolism of metals and metalloids. Advances in Environmental Microbiology 10:3-20
  • Stolz, J.F. 2023. Stromatolites: Linking the past to the future. Environmental Microbiology 25:158-160 DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.16276
  • Wells, M., Kim, M., Akob, D.M., Basu, P., and Stolz, J.F. 2023. Impact of the dimethyl sulfoxide reductase superfamily on the evolution of biogeochemical cycles. Microbiology Spectrum
  • McDermott, T.R., Stolz, J.F., and Oremland, R.S. 2020. Arsenic and the gastrointestinal tract microbiome. Environmental Microbiology Reports. 12:136-159. doi: 10.1111/1758-2229.12814
  • Cantlay,T., Eastham, J.L., Rutter, J., Bain, D.J., Dickson, B., Basu,P., and Stolz, J.F. 2020. Determining conventional and unconventional oil and gas well brines in natural samples: I Anion analysis with ion chromatography. Environmental Science and Health, Part A. 55:1-10, DOI: 10.1080/10934529.2019.1666560
  • Cantlay,T., Bain, D.J., Curet, J., Jack, R.F., Dickson, B.C., Basu, P., and Stolz, J.F. 2020. Determining conventional and unconventional oil and gas well brines in natural samples: II Cation analysis with ICP-MS and ICP-OES. Environmental Science and Health, Part A. 55:11-23, DOI: 10.1080/10934529.2019.1666561
  • Cantlay, T., Bain, D.J., and Stolz, J.F. 2020. Determining conventional and unconventional oil and gas well brines in natural samples: III Assessment of mass ratio analyses. Environmental Science and Health, Part A. 55:24-32, DOI: 10.1080/10934529.2019.1666562
  • Mintmier, B., Nassif, S., Stolz, J.F., and Basu, P. 2020. Functional mononuclear molybdenum enzymes: challenges and triumphs in molecular cloning, expression, and isolation. J Biol Inorg Chem. doi: 10.1007/s00775-020-01787
  • Stolz, J.F., and Basu, P. 2020. Arsenate respiratory reductase. Encyclopedia of Inorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry. Wiley-Blackwell, eibc2744
  • Wells, M., McGarry, J., Gaye, M.M., Basu,P., Oremland,R.S., and Stolz, J.F. The respiratory selenite reductase from Bacillus selenitireducens strain MLS10. 2019. J Bacteriol. 13;201(7). pii: e00614-18. doi: 10.1128/JB.00614-18
  • Mason, D.M., Wang, Y., Bhatia, T.N., Miner, K.M., Trbojevic, S.A., Stolz, J.F., Luk, L.C., and Leak, R.K. 2019. The center of olfactory bulb-seeded a-synucleinopathy is the limbic system and the ensuing pathology is higher in male than in female mice. Brain Pathol. 2019. 29:741-770. doi: 10.1111/bpa.12718
  • Stolz, J.F. and Basu, P. 2018 Unraveling the inner workings of respiratory arsenate reductase. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 115:9051-9053.
  • Suosaari, E.P., Awramik, S.M., Reid, R.P., Stolz, J.F., and Grey, K. 2018. Living dendrolitic microbial mats in Hamelin Pool, Shark Bay, Western Australia. Geosciences 8:212-228. doi:10.3390/geosciences8060212 (Journal Cover)
  • Oremland, R.S., Saltikov, C., Stolz, J.F., and Hollibaugh, J.T. 2017. Autotrophic microbial aresenotrophy in arsenic-rich soda lakes. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 15:364-374. (Received Outstanding Review Recognition by FEMS)
  • Hoeft McCann, S., Conrad, A., Hernandez-Maldonado, J., Stoneburner, B., Saltikov, C., Stolz, J.F., and Oremland, R.S., 2017. Arsenite as an electron donor for anoxygenic photosynthesis: Description of three strains of Ectothiorhodospira from Mono Lake, California and Big Soda Lake, Nevada. Life 7(1) 1/ doi 10.3390/life7010001
  • Stolz, J.F. 2017. Gaia and her microbiome. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 10.1093/femsec/fiw247
  • Switzer Blum, J., Hoeft McCann, S., Bennett, S., Miller, L.J., Stolz, J.F., Stoneburner, B., Saltikov, C. & Oremland R.S. 2016: A microbial arsenic cycle in sediments of an acidic mine impoundment: Herman Pit, Clear Lake, California., Geomicrobiology Journal, DOI:10.1080/01490451.2015.1080323
  • Suosaari, E.P., Reid, R.P., Playford, P.E., Foster,J.S., Stolz, J.F., Casaburi, G., Hagan, P.D., Chirayath, V., Macintyre, I.G., Planavsky, N.J., and Eberli, G.P. 2016. New multi-scale perspectives on the stromatolites of Shark Bay, Western Sci. Rep. | 6:20557 | DOI: 10.1038/srep20557.
  • Mason, D.M., Nouraei, N., Pant, D.B., Miner K.M., Hutchison, D.F., Luk, K.C., Stolz, J.F., and Leak, R.K. 2016. Transmission of a-synucleinopathy from olfactory structures deep into the temporal lobe. Mole. Neurodegen. 11:49 DOI: 10.1186/s13024-016-0113-4.
  • Lampe, D.J., and Stolz, J.F. 2015. Environmental impacts of unconventional shale gas extraction in the Appalachian Basin. Environ Sci and Health, Part A 50:434-446.
  • Alawattegama, S., Kondratyuk, T., Krynock, R., Bricker, M., Bain, D., and Stolz, J.F. 2015. Well water contamination in a rural community in Southwestern PA with unconventional shale gas extraction. Environ Sci and Health, Part A 50:516-528.
  • Dheer, R., Patterson, J., Dudash, M., Nmezi, B., Stolz, D.B., Stachler, E., Bibby, K., Barchowsky, A., and Stolz, J.F. 2015. Arsenite induced changes in the microbiota of the murine colon. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2893:397-408. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2015.10.020.