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Prof. Dr. William Orsi

Positions

  • 2016-Present Professor (W2, Tenure Track), Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Paleontology and Geobiology, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität (LMU) München
  • 2014-2015 Postdoctoral Investigator, Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)
  • 2013-2014 Assistant Research Scientist, Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences (UMCES)
  • 2011-2013 Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Geology and Geophysics, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)
  • 2006-2011 Graduate Researcher, Biology Department, Northeastern University

Education

  • 2006-2011 Ph.D. in Biology, Northeastern University
    (Advisor: Prof. Dr. Slava S. Epstein)
  • 2002-2006 B.S. in Biology with honors, Temple University
    (Advisor: Prof. Ee Lin Lim)

Fellowships and Research Awards

  • 2018-2021 German National Research Foundation (DFG) grant awarded (€ 480,000): “Tracing primordial metabolism reflected by microorganisms at hydrothermal vents
  • 2017-2020 German National Research Foundation (DFG) grant awarded (€ 360,000): “Aerobic microbial activity in deep sea abyssal clay
  • 2016-2017 Junior Researcher Award (DFG excellence initiative) research grant awarded: “Genome evolution over geological timescales in marine sediment”
  • 2014-2015 Deep Ocean Exploration Institute (WHOI) research grant awarded:
    “Geosphere-biosphere interactions at a cretaceous “Lost City’-type hydrothermal system at the Iberia Margin”
  • 2014-2015 Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations research grant awarded: “Microbial activity in oxygenated subseafloor sediment”
  • 2014 Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations Research Travel and Exchange grant awarded
  • 2012-2013 Ocean Life Institute (WHOI) research grant awarded:
    “Presence and activity of subseafloor Fungi in multiple geochemical settings”
  • 2012-2013 Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations research grant awarded: “The distribution and activity of marine subsurface Fungi”
  • 2012 Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations travel grant awarded
  • 2011-2013 Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations postdoctoral fellowship:
    “Worldwide exploration of fungal distributions and activities in subseafloor sediment”

Honors, Awards, Publicity

  • 2015 Interview for Deutschlandfunk radio broadcast: “It lives! Between the Ocean and Earth” (December 25th)
  • 2014 Science World Report, research highlight: “How Subseafloor Bacteria Survive in Harsh Conditions: Over-Activating DNA Repair” (June 16th)
  • 2014 LA Times, Science Now research highlight: “How stressed-out microbes survive 500-feet beneath the ocean floor” (June 13th)
  • 2014 Geochemical News (EAG) Press Release: “Subseafloor bacteria survive by over-activating DNA-repair and antibiotic target genes” (June 13th)
  • 2014 Electron micrograph selected as cover artwork for the Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology
  • 2013 Featured Interview on Nature Podcast, “What Lives Under the Seafloor” (June 13th)
  • 2013 Spektrum.de Research Highlight, “Deep Biosphere, The Creatures from the Underworld” (July 12th)
  • 2013 LiveScience Research News Highlight, “Thriving Microbe Community Lives Beneath Seafloor” (June 12th)
  • 2013 WHOI Press Release, “Deep Biosphere Harbors Active, Growing Communities of Microorganisms” (June 12th)
  • 2013 OurAmazingPlanet Research News Highlight, “Ancient Fungus Discovered Deep Under Ocean Floor” (March 5th)
  • 2013 WHOI Press Release, “Fungi Flourish Below the Seafloor” (March 1st)
  • 2013 Electron microscopy photographs chosen as cover artwork for Forschung, the German Science Foundation (DFG) Magazine
  • 2012 Electron microscopy photographs chosen as cover artwork for The International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology
  • 2011-2012 Electron microscopy photographs chosen as cover artwork for The ISME Journal
  • 2006 Charles Hodge IV Prize for excellence in undergraduate research

Research Interests

  • Aquatic microbial loop
  • Microbial carbon cycling
  • Palaeoclimate
  • Palaeomicrobiology

Teaching and Mentoring Experience

  • 2017-present Co-director of the young scientist Mentoring Program at LMU Munich (Faculty of Geoscience).
  • 2016-present Lecturer and lab instructor for the Geomicrobiology Masters course in Geobiology and Paleobiology Program (MGAP), at LMU Munich
  • 2016-present Lecturer and field course instructor for the Geobiology undergraduate course, Geoscience Bachelors Program at LMU Munich
  • 2016-present Lecturer and field course instructor for the Marine Geology undergraduate course, Geoscience Bachelors Program at LMU Munich
  • 2016-present Lecturer and lab instructor for module Molecular Methods Masters course in Geobiology and Paleobiology Program (MGAP), at LMU Munich
  • 2016-present Lecturer and lab instructor for the Laboratory Methods Masters course in Geobiology and Paleobiology Program (MGAP), at LMU Munich
  • 2016-present Vice-chair of selection committee for Masters Program in Geobiology and Paleobiology (MGAP), at LMU Munich
  • 2016-present Advisor for Bachelors Student theses (n=5), Masters Student theses (n=4), Ph.D students (n=1), and Postdocs (n=1)
  • 2015 Invited lecturer for the SUCCESS (Shaping and Understanding Career Choices in Education, Science and Self) workshop, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA (August 8th)
  • 2013 Invited lecturer for the EU-US theoretical and practical training course on marine bioinformatics, Delaware Biotechnology Institute, Delaware (June 17-30th)
  • 2012 Invited lecturer for the marine biology workshop for international high school students, WHOI
  • 2012 Mentor for the Falmouth Academy High School Science Fair (Falmouth, MA)
  • 2006-2011 Teaching Assistant, Introduction to Microbiology, Biology Department, Northeastern University
  • 2010 Teaching Assistant, Introduction to Biology, Biology Department, Northeastern University

Professional Activities and Service

  • 2018-present Reviewer for the German Research Nation Funding Agency (DFG)
  • 2018-present Reviewer for the Swiss Science National Funding Agency
  • 2018-present Reviewer for Nature Microbiology
  • 2017-present Vice Director for Department of Earth and Environmental Science, LMU Munich
  • 2017-present Reviewer for ERC Horizon 2017 funding program
  • 2016-present Reviewer for Marine Genomics
  • 2016-present Reviewer for European Union Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship Program
  • 2016 Co-chair of session B001: “4 Billion Years of Serpentinization on Earth and Beyond”. American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting, San Francisco
  • 2016-present Reviewer for the Swedish National Academy of Sciences
  • 2016-present Reviewer for French National Research Agency (ANR) ‘Living Earth’ Scientific Evaluation Committee
  • 2016-present Reviewer for Geology
  • 2015-present Editor for mSystems
  • 2015 Panel member for NASA Earth Science and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF); graduate student fellowship application selections
  • 2015-present Junior Ambassador for the U.S.A. to the International Society of Microbial Ecology
  • 2015-present Reviewer for Microorganisms
  • 2015-present Reviewer for Environmental Microbiology
  • 2015-present Reviewer for Geobiology
  • 2015-present Reviewer for Marine Chemistry
  • 2015-present Reviewer for Deep Sea Research
  • 2015-present Reviewer for NASA Astrobiology Postdoctoral Fellowship Program
  • 2015-present Reviewer for NSF-OCE Postdoctoral Fellowship Program
  • 2014-present Reviewer for Estuarine, Costal, and Shelf Science
  • 2014-present Reviewer for BMC Biology
  • 2014-present Reviewer for C-DEBI Graduate Student Fellowship Program
  • 2013-present Reviewer for NSF Bio-OCE Program
  • 2013-present Junior member of the Ethics Panel for the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI)
  • 2013-present Member of the Geochemical Society
  • 2013 Co-chair of session B015: “Carbon Transformations in Hydrothermal Systems”. American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting, San Francisco
  • 2013-present Reviewer for Nature Scientific Reports
  • 2013-present Reviewer for The Biological Bulletin
  • 2013-present Reviewer for Limnology and Oceanography
  • 2013-present Reviewer for FEMS Microbiology Letters
  • 2013-present Reviewer for Protist
  • 2012-present Reviewer for FEMS Microbial Ecology
  • 2012-present Reviewer for Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
  • 2012-present Reviewer for The ISME Journal
  • 2010-present Reviewer for Applied and Environmental Microbiology
  • 2010-present Review Editor for Frontiers in Extreme Microbiology
  • 2008-present Member of the International Society of Microbial Ecology (ISME)

Oral Presentations: National and International Meetings, Invited Talks* (last five years)

  • 2018 “Quantifying aerobic microbial activity in deep sea red clay using H218O”, presented in the Subsurface Life session at the International Society of Microbial Ecology (ISME) conference, Leipzig, Germany.
  • 2018 “Connecting microbial diversity with carbon cycling in marine sediments”, presented at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Faculty of Environmental Engineering: Department of Hydrogeology.
  • 2018 “Connecting microbial diversity with carbon cycling in marine sediments”, presented at the University of Karlsruhe, Institute for Applied Biotechnology (IAB).
  • 2017 “Connecting microbial diversity with carbon cycling in marine sediments”, presented at the University of Oldenburg, Institut für Chemie und Biologie des Meeres (ICBM).
  • 2017 “The deep biosphere”, presented at the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München Biology Department, Munich, Germany.
  • 2017 “Nucleic acid insights into present and past microbial activities in marine sediments”, presented at the Deutsche Sammlung für Mikrobielle Zellkulturen (DSMZ), Braunschweig, Germany.
  • 2017 “Insights into the distribution and activity of subseafloor microbes via high-throughput sequencing of DNA and RNA”, presented at the Geoforschungs Zentrum Potsdam (GFZ), Potsdam, Germany.
  • 2016 “Climate oscillations reflected in the microbiome of Arabian Sea sediments”, presented at the American Geophysical Union (AGU), San Fransisco, USA.
  • 2016 “Shedding light on the ocean’s deep, dark biosphere”, presented at the Frontiers in Geoscience seminar series in the Munich Geocenter at Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Munich Germany.*
  • 2016 “Climate oscillations reflected in the Arabian Sea subseafloor microbiome”, presented at the European Geosciences Union (EGU), in the Open Session on Climate: Past, Present, and Future. Vienna, Austria.*
  • 2016 “Shedding light on the ocean’s deep, dark biosphere”, presented at the Center for Nanoscience (CeNS) seminar series in the Biophysics department at Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Munich Germany.*
  • 2015 “Marine microbial responses to past and present water column anoxia”, presented at the Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island.*
  • 2015 Plenary presentation: “Microbial ecosystem-climate dynamics over the last glacial interglacial cycle in the Arabian Sea”, presented at the International Meeting of Organic Geochemistry in Prague (Czech Republic).*
  • 2015 “Microbial life in low oxygen”, presented at the University of Maryland Horn Point Laboratory.*
  • 2015 “Nucleic acid insights into present and past microbial activities in marine sediments”, presented at Princeton University.*
  • 2015 “Unraveling complex microbial interactions with organic matter”, presented at the University of Munich.*
  • 2014 “Linkages between microbial ecophysiology and particulate organic matter”, presented at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) meeting in Liblice, Czech Republic.
  • 2014 Keynote speaker for the Geobiology Session 18f: “Life and Death: Molecular biomarkers to study current and past ecosystems”, presented at the 2014 Goldschmidt conference, Sacramento, CA. *
  • 2014 “Microbial ecology from a molecular perspective, potential implications for biogeochemistry”, presented at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY. *
  • 2014 “Interactions between marine Euryarchaeota and picoeukaryotes in the Central California Current”, presented in the Marine Microbial Ecology session (069) at the 2014 Ocean Sciences conference, Honolulu, HI. *
  • 2014 “Gene expression in the deep biosphere”, presented at the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations NSF site visit, University of Southern California, CA.*
  • 2013 “Shedding light on the ocean’s deep, dark biosphere: investigations of microbial activity, distributions, and evolution in sub-seafloor sediments”, presented at the University of Bremen (MARUM), Bremen, Germany.*
  • 2013 “Marine microbial interactions: new insights and potential implications for biogeochemical cycling”, presented at the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research (IOW), Warnemünde, Germnay*
  • 2013 “Microbial ecology from a molecular perspective, potential implications for biogeochemistry”, presented at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (Horn Point Laboratory) seminar series, Cambridge, MD. *
  • 2013 “Gene expression in the deep biosphere”, presented at the 2013 Goldschmidt conference, Florence, Italy. *
  • 2013 “A molecular perspective on microbial ecology: new insights and potential implications for marine biogeochemistry”, presented at the WHOI Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department seminar series, Woods Hole, MA. *
  • 2013 “Metatranscriptomics: snapshots of microbial activity”, presented at the international EU-US marine bioinformatics workshop, University of Delaware, Newark, DE. *
  • 2013 “Molecular insights into the ecology of marine protists”, presented at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.*