Kyle Costa

Assistant Professor

Research Summary

Our lab studies microbial metabolism with a specific focus on anaerobic processes. We concentrate on two research themes. The first involves characterizing pathways for the utilization of diverse electron donors in methanogenic Archaea (methanogens). Methanogens are responsible for  the formation of 95% of Earth’s methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and are essential for the degradation of organic matter in anoxic environments. Despite decades of study, key details of how methanogens  conserve energy and utilize diverse electron donors in metabolism are only beginning to emerge. The second theme encompasses understanding the redox properties and biochemical reactions of phenazine metabolites. Phenazines are produced by phylogenetically diverse microorganisms and facilitate many anoxic metabolisms.  For example, phenazines are essential to energy conservation in some methanogens and support anoxic survival of the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas  aeruginosa. We are interested in characterizing pathways of phenazine synthesis, modification, degradation, and electron transfer using both genetic and biochemical approaches.