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Metabolic Extremes

A Virginia Tech biochemistry undergraduate student uses a syringe to retrieve solution in a glass bottle in an anaerobic glove chamber.

Contemporary extremophilic microorganisms are the ancestors of the first living cells, which emerged during the Hadean and Archean eons 4 billion years ago when the atmosphere lacked oxygen. Today’s extremophiles thrive in hostile environments unfit for virtually all forms of life, such as deep thermal vents where they perform all cellular functions at temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Celsius. Studies in our department are focused on understanding these organisms, which could address global challenges like climate change and food shortages.

Areas of interest

  • Analytical Biochemistry
  • Proteomics
  • Metabolomics
  • Methane Metabolism
  • Nitrogen Fixation
  • Glycomaterials


  • Bio Item
    Kylie Allen , bio

    Assistant Professor Research Area: Metalloenzymes in methanogenic archaea

  • Bio Item
    Dennis R. Dean , bio

    University Distinguished Professor and Fralin Hall Principal Scientist Research Area: Biochemistry of Biological Nitrogen Fixation

  • Bio Item
    Richard Helm , bio

    Associate Professor and Director of VT-Mass Spectrometry Incubator: Using Mass-Spectrometry to Answer Questions

  • Bio Item
    Biswarup Mukhopadhyay , bio

    Professor and Director of Alumni Relations: Biochemistry of Methanogenic Archaea and Gut Microbiome Metabolism