Graduate Studies and Research

We train about 30-35 graduate students earning M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Our research covers a broad range of subjects involving viruses, bacteria and parasites, and their roles in the health of the environment and humans, animals and plants.  Microbiology faculty are strongly multidisciplinary and also train graduate students enrolled in related programs such as Molecular & Cellular Biology, Soil Science, Fisheries & Wildlife, and Oceanography. Graduate students are major contributors to the research output of the department.

Research Highlights: Distinguished Professor Stephen Giovannoni's studies have identified the SAR11 group as the most abundant open ocean bacteria; SAR11 member Pelagibacter has a streamlined genome and surprising auxotrophic dependencies on nutrient forms provided by other organisms. Dr. Giovannoni was the 2012 recipient of distinguished awards from the American Society for Microbiology and International Society for Microbial Ecology. Martin Schuster studies sociobiology (community interactions) in Pseudomonas and opportunities for avoiding the development of drug resistance. Jerri Bartholomew's research has identified infection by myxozoan parasites as a major stressor on Klamath River Chinook salmon as part of her studies on disease threats to native fish runs. Distinguished Professor Luiz Bermudez studies pathogenicity of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which remains a vexing problem in the developing world. Peter Bottomley studies nitrogen cycling in soils, including determining the roles of bacteria and archaea. Rebecca Vega-Thurber is looking for bacterial and viral pathogens that contribute to the world-wide decline of coral reefs.

These and other exciting research programs offer exceptional career opportunities at a research university that is one of only two Land, Sea, Space and Sun Grant universities in the US. OSU is the only such university situated in the beautiful Willamette Valley, equidistant from the Pacific Coast and Cascade Mountains.