Stephen Techtmann

Stephen Techtmann


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Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences

  • PhD, Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Maryland, Baltimore MD
  • BS, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Catonsville MD


I am an environmental microbiologist who studies microbial communities in diverse ecosystems. Microbes (Bacteria and Archaea) are ubiquitous in the environment and play essential roles in the cycling of elements. These environmental microbes are capable of catalyzing a wide array of chemical reactions, many of which may have industrial applications. I study how complex microbial communities can cooperate to perform functions of industrial interest. The majority of microbes in the environment are difficult to grow in the lab. Furthermore, many industrially-relevant pathways are found in microbes not yet grown in the lab. I seek to employ both culture-based and culture-independent methods to understand how these microbial communities respond to anthropogenic activity and environmental change and how we might leverage these microbes for a biotechnological application. In the past, I have investigated how microbes from hot springs and geothermal vents could be used for biofuel production. Most recently, I have focused on microbial communities that respond to and aid in the clean up of crude oil contamination. I am also interested in engineering environmental microbes and microbial communities for enhanced biofuel production. I employ a combination of geochemical techniques, next-generation sequencing and other 'omics approaches, with microbial physiology and biochemistry to better understand these microbial systems.

Research Interests

  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Next-generation sequencing technology and bioinformatics
  • Microbial physiology and biochemistry
  • Microbes as sensors for the environmental impacts of oil and gas production
  • Microbially-mediated remediation of crude oil contamination

Recent Publications

  • Brewer, S.S.; Techtmann, S.M.; Mahmoudi, N.; Niang, D.;Pfiffner, S.M.; Hazen, T.C. Co-extraction of DNA and PLFA from soil samples Journal of Microbiological Methods, Volume 115, August 2015, Pages 64-66, ISSN 0167-7012
  • Smith, M.B; Rocha. A.M.; Oleson, S.W.; Paradis, C.; Smillie, C.S.; Campbell. J.H.; Fortney, J.L.; Mehlhorn, T.L.; Lowe. K.A.; Earles, J.E.; Phillips, J.; Techtmann, S.M.; Joyner, D.C.; Preheim, S.P.; Sanders, M.S.; Mueller, M.A; Brooks, S.; Watson, D.B.; Wu, L; Zhang, P.; He, Z.; Zhou, J.; Adams, M.W.W.; Lancaster, A.; Poole, F.; Adams, P.D.; Arkin, A.P.; Fields, M.; Alm, E.J.; Hazen, T.C. (2015) Natural bacterial communities as quantitative biosensors. 6.3 (2015): e00326-15.
  • Techtmann, S.M.; Fortney, J.L; Ayers, K.A.; Linley, T.D.; Pfiffner, S.M.; Hazen, T.C. (2015) The Unique Chemistry of Eastern Mediterranean Water Masses Selects for Distinct Microbial Communities by Depth. PLoS ONE 10(3): e0120605. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0120605
  • Mahmoudi, N.; Robeson, M.S.; Castro, H.; Fortney, J.L.; Techtmann, S.M.; Joyner, D.C.; Paradis, C.; Pffiner, S.M.; Hazen, T.C. (2015) Microbial community composition and diversity in Caspian Sea sediments. FEMS Microbial Ecology Dec 2014 DOI: 10.1093/femsec/fiu013
  • Hazen, T.C.; Rocha, A.M.; Techtmann S.M. (2013) Advances in monitoring environmental microbes. Current Opinions in Biotechnology 24 (3), 526-533.
  • Sambuughin, N; Swietnicki, W; Techtmann, S.; Matrosova, V; Wallace, T; Goldfarb, L; Maynard, E. (2012) KBTBD13 Interacts with Cullin 3 to form a functional Ubiquitin Ligase Biochem Biophys Res Commun 421(4):743-9
  • Techtmann, S.M.; Lebedinsky, A.V.; Colman, A.S.; Sokolova, T.G.; Woyke, T.; Goodwin, L; Robb, F.T. (2012) Evidence for Horizontal Gene Transfer of Anaerobic Carbon Monoxide Dehydrogenases. Front. Microbio. - Evolutionary and Genomic Microbiology 3:132
  • Techtmann, S.M.; Ghirlando, R.; Kao, S.; Strebel, K; Maynard, E. (2012) Hydrodynamic and Functional Analysis of HIV-1 Vif Oligomerization, Biochemistry. 2012 Feb 27.
  • Techtmann S.M., Colman A.S., Murphy M.B., Schackwitz W., Goodwin L., Robb F.T. (2011) Regulation of multiple carbon monoxide consumption pathways in anaerobic bacteria. Front. Microbio. - Evolutionary and Genomic Microbiology 2: 147 Epub 2011 Jul 11
  • Techtmann S.M., Robb, F.T. (2010) Archaeal-like Chaperonins in Bacteria. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 107(47):20269-74. Epub 2010 Nov 5.
  • Techtmann, S.M., Colman, A.S., Robb, F.T. (2009) “That Which Does Not Kill Us Only Makes Us Stronger”: The Role of Carbon Monoxide in Thermophilic Microbial Consortia, Environmental Microbiology 11(5); 1027 - 1037