Principal Investigator

Alfred M. Spormann
Dept/Org: Chemical Engineering and Civil & Environmental Engineering




Ali McCully
Dept/Org: Civil & Environmental Engineering
Post-Doc, Joined lab: June, 2018

I am interested in how diverse microbial metabolisms interact and shape global processes, especially in anaerobic communities. During my PhD at Indiana University, I studied metabolic interactions within a model bacterial coculture to uncover principles that govern microbial mutualisms. After graduating in 2018, I joined the Spormann lab to study the physiology and metabolism of microbes living within the deep-sea biosphere. Outside of lab I enjoy playing the bass clarinet, exploring new restaurants, and interacting with animals.

Wenyu Gu
Dept/Org: Civil & Environmental Engineering
Post-Doc, Joined lab: October, 2017

My research goal is to understand and develop novel microbial mechanisms to address environmental and industrial problems, with current research focusing on enzymology of reductive dehalogenase. I’m an animal lover, enjoy reading and traveling.

Frauke Kracke
Dept/Org: Civil & Environmental Engineering
Post-Doc, Joined lab: May, 2016

I’m a biochemical engineer by training and I find my motivation in engineering microbial solutions for a more sustainable human future. During my PhD at the University of Queensland, Australia, I started working on bio-electrochemical systems for production of chemicals and fuels from renewables. By using an integrated approach of in silico modelling and in vivo pure culture studies, I developed a strong background in bioelectrochemistry and cellular electron transfer mechanisms. After graduating from UQ in April 2016, I joined the Spormann lab where I continue to look at exciting microbe-electrode interactions with a focus on production applications.

Albert Müller
Dept/Org: Civil & Environmental Engineering
Post-Doc, Joined lab: July, 2015

I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of microbial ecology – the idea that nature is, to a large degree, based on the actions and interactions of microorganisms that seem to be completely hidden to our senses, but nevertheless can be figured out in extreme detail using the clever tricks of molecular microbiology. During my PhD at DOME in Vienna, I did research on symbiosis (between amoebae and their endosymbionts), biogeography (of thermophilic spore-formers in the world’s oceans), carbon degradation (in Arctic marine sediments), and diversity and phylogeny of sulfate reducing microorganisms. Here at Stanford, I’m trying to figure out the spatial constraints on microbial syntrophy when bacteria are faced with insoluble substrates and how methanogens allocate their proteome under different growth conditions. Outside the lab, I like warm weather, being in nature, observing animals, video games, music, and science fiction.

Joerg Deutzmann
Dept/Org: Civil & Environmental Engineering
Post-Doc, Joined lab: October, 2012

I have a broad interest in microbiology and like to answer fundamental microbiological questions as well as apply microbiology to address environmental issues. To date, my research has been all about the microbiological turnover of greenhouse gases. During my doctoral thesis at the University of Konstanz, I investigated the microbial pathways involved in methane oxidation in lake sediments and the ecology of the microbes that thereby prevent the emission of vast amounts of this greenhouse gas. Now, I study the fundamental pathways involved in microbial electrosynthesis and seek to develop improved electrosynthesis methods. If you are interested in anything I do feel free to contact me or drop by.

Graduate Students

John “Jack” Ruth
Dept/Org: Chemical Engineering
Ph.D. Student, Joined lab: March, 2017

I’m interested in the interface of biology and energy. I’m currently researching the use of anaerobic enzyme complexes from Methanococcus maripaludis for cathodic electrosynthesis, focusing on direct and mediated electron transfer from cathodes to oxidoreductase enzymes. When not in lab, I like to ski, play guitar, read novels and go hiking.


Undergraduate Students

McKenna Loop
Dept/Org: Chemical Engineering
B.S. Student, Joined lab: July, 2018

My passions lie at the intersection of chemical engineering and microbiology, specifically for alternative energy applications. The goal of my research is to understand the mechanisms between algae and bacteria in wastewater systems for algal biofuel production and wastewater remediation.