We are a growing research group at Michigan Tech in the Department of Biological Sciences. Our lab is located in the beautiful Great Lakes Research Center on the shore of the Keweenaw Waterway. We are interested in microbial interactions with the environment. Wherever there's water. Interested in joining us? Find opportunities here.
I am a microbial ecologist who studies how microorganisms interact with biogeochemical cycles. Microbially-mediated transformations of elements are integral to aquatic ecosystem function, yet little is known about the controls on microbial activity. My research interests focus on the activities and energetics of microbial metabolism in aquatic environments, especially those that are energy-limited. I am also interested in microbial interactions with ice, and microbial ecosystem-level responses to change, both within the context of seasonal cycles (e.g. lake ice-on and ice-off) and incremental and acute changes related to land-use or climate change.
I teach undergraduate and graduate level courses in Microbiology, Microbial Ecology, and Limnology.
Maci Quintanilla, Ph.D. Candidate, Biological Sciences I joined Dr. Vick-Majors’ lab in the fall of 2020 after completing my Master’s in the Department of Biological Sciences at Towson University located in Towson, MD. Entering my Master’s program, my goal was to continue my studies in biology and gain a more substantial background. My interest in microbial ecology started after taking an Arctic microbiology course at the University Centre in Svalbard, the northernmost university in the world. This course fed my curiosity and left me wanting to explore this exciting field even more. My goal as a PhD student at Michigan Tech is to research the role that microbes play in biogeochemical processes by using molecular techniques and conventional microbiology. I’m particularly interested in understanding these ecosystems in aquatic systems and the cryosphere. I am passionate scientist who understands the importance of interdisciplinary research. I am grateful to be a part of a lab that is committed to creating an open, inclusive, and fun lab environment. I believe that connecting with one another is critical when working in teams and communicating science effectively, as well as facilitating creativity and new ideas.
Garrett Lukosavich, M.S. Student, Biological Sciences I began work in Dr. Vick-Majors lab in the winter of 2022 as part of my undergraduate capstone research project. Initially brought on as a field hand to assist with the collection of ice and snow samples from many of the Keweenaw Peninsula’s lakes, I’ve since begun work on investigating the formation of microbial assemblages in freshwater ice for my M.S. program. My primary interest lies in the community dynamics and resource partitioning of this unique ice-bound ecosystem, and the development of novel methodologies to help drive adjacent research.
K. M. Shafi, Ph.D. Student, Biological Sciences I started working at Dr. Vick-Majors’ Lab in the spring of 2024. I graduated from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh with a B.S. and M.S. in Microbiology. My master’s research and professional involvement in the isolation of bacteria from extreme conditions like diesel oil-contaminated soil sites and highly treated pharmaceutical water intrigued me to know more about the roles that microorganisms play in the ecological setup, especially in aquatic environments. I am particularly interested in microbial dynamics in aquatic ecological conditions, their metabolic ability to survive extreme conditions, and how they participate individually and in a community. At MTU, as a Ph.D. student, my research focuses on collecting samples from extreme cold conditions, cultivating microorganisms in the lab, screening for microbes that can modulate ice, and trying to figure out the natural biomolecules responsible for ice formation. To accomplish this, I'm using computational biology and molecular microbiological approaches. I feel fortunate to work in Dr. Vick-Majors’ lab where the supportive academic atmosphere, and cooperative, and fun-loving team members help conducting research efficiently. Thus, I can happily call Dr. Vick-Majors’ Lab my second home.