Biological Sciences

Timothy S. Magnuson, Ph.D.

Timothy Magnuson

Associate Professor of Microbiology


Biographical Sketch

Dr. Magnuson received his B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of Minnesota, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Bacteriology at the University of Idaho, under the guidance of Professor Don L. Crawford. The dissertation research was biomass conversion, more specifically the bacterial enzymes of lignocellulose degradation. His research focus changed abruptly upon joining Professor Derek Lovley's group at the University of Massachusetts as a Postdoctoral Scientist investigating the biochemistry of iron respiration in Geobacter, a versatile and extremely interesting bacterium. That experience led to a Postdoctoral position with Dr. Gill Geesey of Montana State University, where we developed novel new methods for investigating microbe-mineral interactions. Dr. Magnuson joined the Faculty at Idaho State University in 2001, and has developed a suite of collaborative projects with scientists at ISU, University of Wyoming, Montana State University, Idaho National Laboratory, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, the J. Craig Venter Institute, and Washington University-St. Louis.

The Magnuson Microbiology Group investigates the interactions and reactions between microbes and minerals. These have had a profound effect on Earth systems ranging from major geologic formations (Banded Iron Formations) to the origins and evolution of molecular-level electron transfer processes. We use the tools (some of our own design) of Biochemistry and Microbiology to answer questions such as "How do bacteria 'breath' a solid-phase mineral (rock)?"; "Can these organisms be of benefit in remediating heavy metal and radionuclide waste, or in discovering life on other worlds?"; and "What as-yet undiscovered microbes are out there catalyzing chemical reactions never before observed in biological systems?" Funding from Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and NASA have enabled their explorations, and they use research as a teaching and training platform for undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students.



Cummings, D.E., and T.S. Magnuson. 2005. Microbial Fe(III) reduction: ecological and physiological considerations. In Manual of Environmental Microbiology, 3rd Edition. American Society for Microbiology Press (In Press, Expected publication date Fall 2006).

Kahre, N., D.M. Lovelace, C.M. Eggleston, M.W. Swenson, and T.S. Magnuson. 2006. Redox-linked conformation change and electron transfer between monoheme c-type cytochromes and oxides. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 70: 4332-4342.

Connon, S.A., A.L. Neal, A. Koski, S.A. Wood, and T.S. Magnuson. 2006. Microbial diversity of biofilms along geochemical gradients within arsenic-laden hot springs in the Alvord Desert Basin in Southeastern Oregon, USA. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. Reviewed, In Revision.

Magnuson, T.S., A.L. Neal, and G.G. Geesey. 2004. Combining in situ reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, optical microscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy to investigate mineral surface-associated microbial activities. Microb. Ecol. 48: 578-588.

Neal, A.L. L. K. Clough, T. D. Perkins, and T. S. Magnuson. 2004. Characterization of surface-associated growth, mineral transformation, and gene expression by Geobacter pelophilus grown on solid-phase mineral surfaces. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 49: 163-169.

Ferris, M. J., T. S. Magnuson, J. A. Fagg, R. Thar, M. Kühl, K. B. Sheehan, and J. M. Henson. 2003. Microbially mediated sulphide production in a thermal, acidic algal mat community in Yellowstone National Park. Environ. Microbiol. 5: 954-960.

Magnuson, T.S., N. Isoyama, A. L. Hodges-Myerson, G. Davidson, M. J. Maroney, G. G. Geesey, and D. R. Lovley. 2001. Isolation, characterization, and gene sequence analysis of a membrane associated 89 kDa Fe(III) reducing cytochrome c from Geobacter sulfurreducens. Biochem. J. 359: 147-152.

Magnuson, T. S., A. L. Hodges-Myerson, and D. R. Lovley. 2000. Characterization of a membrane-bound NADH-dependent Fe 3+ reductase from the dissimilatory Fe 3+-reducing bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens. FEMS Microbiol. Lett. 185: 205-211.


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Pocatello, Idaho, 83209