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.
Microbial metabolism of metals and metalloids
Arsenate eating bacteria can mobilize arsenic from rocks and sediments, transforming
it into their more toxic forms (i.e. AsIII). Arsenic can also be important factor
in the microbial ecology of lakes and subsurface waters. In Mono Lake and Searles
Lake, in California, a robust arsenic cycle drives the microbial ecology. Our most
recent discovery is that As(III) can serve as the electron donor in anoxygenic photosynthesis.
Through the courtesy of the DOE Joint Genome Institute, five of our arsenic metabolizing
organisms (Alkalilimnicola ehrlichii, Alkaliphilus oremlandii strain OhILAs, Bacillus
selenitireducens, Deltaproteobacterium MLMS-1, Sulfurospirillum barnesii) have had
their genomes sequenced and we are completing their annotation. The genome data has
allowed us to use a proteomics approach for elucidating the pathways of inorganic
and organic arsenic transformation. We also continue isolating and characterizing
new species of bacteria, purifying and characterizing the terminal reductases and
cytochromes involved in the reductive pathway, cloning and sequencing the genes encoding
them, and developing biochemical and molecular probes for their detection in the environment.
This work involves bacterial physiology, molecular biology, protein biochemistry,
and field work.
Microbial community structure
Microbial mats and stromatolites are the oldest living ecosystems on the planet. These
communities produce laminated structures (microbial mediated sedimentary structures,
microbialites) and the fossil record indicates they dominated the Proterozoic world.
Today they can be found in the warm waters of the Caribbean and Western Australia.
We are studying the biogenesis of these structures, their lithification (cementing)
and potential for preservation. Focusing on the stromatolites of the Bahamas and Shark
Bay Australia, we use light, confocal, and electron microscopy to elucidate the microbe
Well water quality in Southwestern Pennsylvania
Unconventional gas and oil development over the last fifteen years has transformed
the region. In addition to the gas and oil wells, other infrastructure (compressor
stations, processing plants, pipelines, injection wells) has been built and has posed
a challenge to water quality. We have been monitoring surface and ground water quality
in Southwestern Pennsylvania, with studies of Cross Creek County Park and Deer Lakes
County Park as well as private water wells. The work involves sample collection and
chemical analyses, GIS base mapping, and microbiological testing of fluids associated
with Marcellus and Utica shales.
Dr. Stolz has published 92 peer reviewed articles, 38 book chapters, and two books.
- 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,
- 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 Australia.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.