Faculty Spotlight

Arpita Bose, PhD

Assistant Professor of Biology

B.S. (Microbiology), University of Delhi, 2001
M.S. (Microbiology), All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, 2003
M.S. (Microbiology), University of Illinois, 2005
Ph.D. (Microbiology), University of Illinois, 2008 

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Washington University DBBS team?

The ability to communicate with people with very different intellectual interests. 

What are your research interests? What are your research goals? 

I am an Assistant Professor of Microbiology and a Packard Fellow in the Department of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) with a courtesy appointment in the WUSTL Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and an affiliation with the Environmental Studies Program at WUSTL. My general interests are geomicrobiology, microbial physiology, microbial ecology and evolution, biogeochemical cycling, gene regulation, microbial metal respiration and Earth history. During my graduate work and post-doctoral research, I used genetics, biochemistry and molecular biology to understand microbial metabolism. My Master’s research at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, dealt with understanding the physiological response of Mycobacterium tuberculosis to hypoxia. For my PhD research I studied methanogenesis performed by the poorly understood archaea, in the lab of Prof. William Metcalf at the University of Illinois. During this period I took, and subsequently taught, the Microbial Diversity Summer course at the Marine Biological Laboratory. I taught the course again in 2014 before moving to St. Louis. I was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute research associate for a year in the lab of Prof. Dianne Newman at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where I studied photoferrotrophy performed by purple non sulfur bacteria. I thereafter moved to Prof. Peter Girguis' lab at Harvard University, where I used a combinatorial approach to study microbial metabolism at the environmental level. At Harvard my research was funded by the Life Sciences Research Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, L'Oreal USA, AAAS, UNESCO and the US Department of Energy. My research focuses on understanding various microbial metabolisms. I intend to apply this basic understanding of microbial metabolism to engineer microbial systems for sustainable biochemical & bioenergy production as well as tackle issues such as bioremediation and biofouling. I also hope that my research would reveal basic geomicrobiological phenomena that shape our planet and possibly others. Recently, my work has shown that electric microbes can be used to study electrostatic interactions between microbes, and that of microbes and other natural/man-made surfaces. Using these microbial systems, I can identify basic and fundamentals properties that microbes harbor that allows them to overcome electrostatic repulsion and attach to surfaces. 

How has your time at Washington University helped further your research goals?

I have forged new collaborations that I did not even think were possible before. 

What is your favorite part about living in St. Louis?

I like having free access to parks, museums, etc. 

What hobbies do you enjoy?

I collect orchids and am an avid gardener. I have over 200 orchids. I also like painting.

What is your favorite quote?

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” - William Bruce Cameron

What is the most ridiculous fact you know?

There are over 90,000 beers that have been reviewed by BeerAdvocate.

Who is your biggest role model?
My mother. 

What advice would you give to both prospective and current graduate students?
Be yourself, live in the future.

Fellowships, awards, and publications while at Washington University:
Changing the Face of STEM Mentor Award, 2017
L’Oreal USA and AAAS Packard Fellowship, 2015
David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellowsip, 2015
Geobiology and Geomicrobiology Contributions Award, The Geological Society of America, 2015​

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