Arpita Bose

Associate Professor of Biology
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    • Washington University
    • CB 1137
    • One Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    ​Arpita Bose's lab studies microbial metabolisms and their influence on biogeochemical cycling using an interdisciplinary approach. She seeks to generate new ways of addressing issues such as the energy crisis, pollution, biofouling, and sustainability.

    "First things first — this is a microbial world"

    This statement is absolutely correct in so many ways. The fact that our bodies have way more microbial cells than human cells might hit home the most. Microbes existed way before our ancestors appeared on this planet. They can perform many interesting microbial metabolisms.

    These microbial capabilities might appear strange and exotic to us mostly because we think of our planet as being the same as it is now. But our planet is always evolving; it has seen things that we can't imagine. Our planet's oldest friends are microbes and they have co-evolved. On today's Earth we see sneak peeks of this ancient and ongoing friendship in places that resemble its older forms such as in Yellowstone National Park (see left Mammoth Hot Springs with thick microbial mats, Summer 2014). Using geochemical & molecular tools along with -omic information we are starting to predict how microbes are shaping our planet today, and also shedding light on what they might have been doing in the past.

    Why is it important to acquire this knowledge? Microbes drive the engines that move important elements around the Earth. Thus, understanding how microbes continue to shape this planet helps us prepare for changes that are similar to the ones that the Earth has already experienced. Also, microbial capabilities discovered and understood along the way will provide new ideas to address issues such as the energy crisis, pollution, biofouling, and sustainability.

    recent courses

    Fundamentals of Microbiology

    This four - credit lecture course focuses on the molecular biology of bacteria, archaea, and viruses. Topics include: the bacterial cell cycle, gene regulation, stress response, cell-cell communication, viral and bacterial pathogenesis, microbial ecology, and metabolic diversity. Friday tutorials stress analysis of the primary literature with an emphasis on current research related to material covered in lecture.

      Experimental Design and Analysis in Biological Research

      In-depth exploration of landmark and current papers in genetics, molecular and cell biology, with an emphasis on prokaryotes and eukaryotic microbes. Class discussions will center on such key discoveries as the chemical nature of genetic material, the genetic code, oxygen producing light-spectrum, cell-cell signaling, transcriptional regulation, the random nature of mutation, and cell cycle regulation. Emphasis will be placed on what makes a good question or hypothesis, expedient ways to address scientific problems, and creative thinking. The last third of the course will consist of student-run seminars on selected topics to increase proficiency in the synthesis of new material and public presentation skills.

        Selected Publications

        (2021 - )

        Conners EM, Karthikeyan R, Singh R. Bose A. Electroactive biofilms: how microbial electron transfer enables bioprocessing. (Bioresource Technology Special Topic)

        Bose A, Bai W, Ranaivoarisoa TO, Karthikeyan R, Singh R. Harnessing Microbes to Produce Sustainable Plastics and Biofuels. Scientia.Global (Accepted)

        Bai W, Ranaivoarisoa TO, Karthikeyan R, Singh R, Bose A (2020/2021). Sustainable production of a biofuel by Rhodopseudomonas palustris TIE-1. Communications Biology (Accepted)

        Gupta D*, Guzman MS*, Rengasamy K*, Stoica A, Singh R, Ranaivoarisoa TO, Davenport EJ, Bai W, McGinley B, Meacham JM, Bose A (2021) Photoferrotrophy and phototrophic extracellular electron uptake is common in marine anoxygenic phototrophs (Accepted to ISME J). *Equal Contribution. Featured by National Public Radio once and then again on the Steve Kresge show, Scientific American, Voice of America, Weather Network and Missouri Columbian.

        Conners EM*, Davenport EJ*, Bose A (2021). Revised draft genome sequences of Rhodomicrobium vannielii ATCC 17100 and Rhodomicrobium udaipurense JA643 (Accepted - Microbial Resource Announcement). *Equal Contribution

        Dubbin K, Dong Z, Park D, Alvarado J, Su J, Wasson E, Robertson C, Jackson J, Bose A, Moya M, Jiao Y, Hynes W (2021) Projection Micro-stereolithographic Microbial Bioprinting for Engineered Biofilms (Accepted -Nano Letters)

        (2018 - 2020)

        Singh R, Bose A (2020) Understanding the role of phototrophic extracellular electron uptake in terrestrial carbon cycling at the systems level. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2020.

        Micro-bioelectrochemical cell devices and methods of detecting electron flows. J Meacham, A Bose (2020) US Patent App. 16/776,496

        Karthikeyan R, Ranaivoarisoa TO, Bai W, Bose A (2020). Magnetite nanoparticle anchored graphene cathode enhances microbial electrosynthesis of polyhydroxybutyrate by Rhodopseudomonas palustris TIE-1 (Accepted to Nanotechnology: Focus Issue on Extracellular Electron Conduits).

        Gupta D, Guzman MS, Bose A (2020). Extracellular Electron Uptake by Autotrophic Microbes: Physiological, Ecological, and Evolutionary Implications. Accepted to the Special Issue of Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology. Cover Image

        Singh R, Ranaivoarisoa TO, Gupta D, Bai W, Bose A (2020). Genetic redundancy in iron and manganese transport in the metabolically versatile bacterium, Rhodopseudomonas palustris TIE-1. bioRxiv. (Accepted to Applied and Environmental Microbiology) Editors Spotlight.

        Fike D, Bradley A, Pakrasi H, Bose A (2020). Final Report: Development of a novel high-precision, high-resolution SIMS platform for elemental and isotopic characterization of microbial cells. DOI: 10.2172/1582409

        Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology General Meeting 2019 funded by Department of Energy, Women in Environmental Science.

        Gupta D, Sutherland M, Karthikeyan R, Meacham JM, Kranz RG, Bose A (2019). Photoferrotrophs produce a PioAB electron conduit for extracellular electron uptake (Accepted to mBio). Featured in the Source, EurekAlert and many other news sources.

        Genome engineering for material synthesis, Workshop Report, US Department of Energy, Office of Science (June 2019).

        Karthikeyan R, Singh R, Bose A (2018). Microbial Electron Uptake for Microbial Electrosynthesis. (Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology; Special Issue – Frontiers of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology) (Read only access). Featured by WUSTL!

        Ranaivoarisoa T, Singh R, Karthikeyan R, Guzman MS, Bose A (2018). Towards sustainable bioplastic production using Rhodopseudomonas palustris TIE-1. (Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology; Special Issue – Frontiers of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology) (Open access). Featured by WUSTL and many other news sources.

        Guzman MS, Karthikeyan R, Binkley M, Jones C, Ranaivoarisoa TO, Singh R, Fike DA, Meacham JM, Bose A (2018). Phototrophic extracellular electron transfer is linked to carbon dioxide fixation in the bacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris. Nature Communications 10, Article number:1355. Open access. Featured in Nature Microbiology Research Communities Behind the Paper. Featured by WUSTL and many other news sources!

        Rowe A, Xu S, Gardel E, Bose A, Girguis P, Amend J, & El-Naggar M (2018). Methane-linked mechanisms of electron uptake from cathodes by Methanosarcina barkeri. bioRxiv, 415653. mBio (In press and open access)

        Gupta D, Guzman MS, Bose A (2018). Draft Genome Sequence of a Marine Photoferrotrophic Bacterium, Rhodovulum robiginosum DSM 12329T Microbial Resource Announcements (In press and open access)

        Guzman MS, Bose A (2018). Draft Genome Sequences of Four Rhodobacter sphaeroides Strains. Microbial Resource Announcements (In press and open access)

        Guzman MS, Kuse JC, Santiago-Merced N, Bose A (2018). Draft Genome Sequences of two Marichromatium Strains. Microbial Resource Announcements (In press and open access)

        Karthikeyan R, Singh R, Ranaivoarisoa T, Bose A (2018). An Insoluble Iron Complex Coated Cathode Enhances Direct Electron Uptake by Rhodopseudomonas palustris TIE-1. Bioelectrochemistry (Volume 122, August2018, Pages 164-173, Green open access). Featured in Science Trends.


        Karthikeyan R, Singh R, Ranaivoarisoa T, Bose A (2017). Improving microbial electrosynthesis of polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) from CO2 by Rhodopseudomonas palustris TIE-1 using an immobilized iron complex modified cathode. bioRxiv (Now published in Bioelectrochemistry doi:10.1016/j.bioelechem.2018.03.015, Green open access)

        Ranaivoarisoa T, Karthikeyan R, Guzman MS, Singh R, Bose A (2017). Towards sustainable bioplastic production in resource limited environments using the photoferroautotrophic and photoelectroautotrophic bacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris TIE-1. bioRXiv (Now published in the Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology; Special Issue – Frontiers of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology; Open access)

        Singh R, Guzman MS, Bose A (2017). Anaerobic oxidation of ethane, propane and butane by marine microbes: A mini review. Frontiers in Microbiology (Frontiers in Microbiology,, Open access)

        Karthikeyan R, Selvam A, Cheng KY, Bose A, Wong JWC (2017). Bioelectrohydrogenesis and inhibition of methanogenic activity in microbial electrolysis cells- A review. Biotechnology Advances. Volume 35, Issue 6, 1 November 2017, Pages 758-771. (Access at WU Open Scholarship)

        Guzman MS, McGinley B, Santiago-Merced N, Gupta D, Bose A (2016). Draft genome sequences of three closely related isolates of the purple nonsulfur bacterium Rhodovulum sulfidophilum. Genome Announcements. 5.11 (e00029-17). Open access.

        Before WUSTL:

        Bose A, Gardel EJ, Vidoudez C, Parra EA, Girguis PR (2014). Electron uptake by iron oxidizing phototrophic bacteria. Nat. Commun. 5, Article number:3391. Featured in Science Daily, EurekAlert and various news articles & blogs. Contact me to get PDF for personal use only. 

        Bose A, Rogers DR, Adams MM, Joye SB, Girguis PR (2013). Geomicrobiological linkages between short-chain alkane consumption and sulfate reduction rates in seep sediments. Front. Microbiol. 4:386. Featured in The Gulf of Mexico Research InitiativeOpen access

        Adams, MM, Hoarfrost AL, Bose A, Joye SB, Girguis PR (2013). Anaerobic oxidation of short-chain alkanes in hydrothermal sediment: influences on sulfur cycling and microbial diversity. Front. Microbiol. 4:110. Open access.

        Bose A, Newman, DK. (2011) Regulation of the phototrophic iron oxidation (pio) genes in Rhodopseudomonas palustris TIE-1 is mediated by the global regulator, FixK. Mol Microbiol. 79(1):63-75. Open access.

        Bose A, Kopf S, Newman, DK. (2010) From geocycles to genomes and back. In Stolz JF and Oremland, RS (ed.), Microbial metal and metalloid metabolism. ASM press, Washington, D.C. Featured in Microbe (2012) 7(5):246-247. Available at ASM Press.  

        Bose A, Kulkarni G, Metcalf WW. (2009) Regulation of putative methyl-sulfide methyltransferases in Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A. Mol Microbiol. 74(1):227-38. Open access.

        Opulencia RO, Bose A, Metcalf WW. (2009) Physiology and post-transcriptional regulation of methanol:coenzyme M methyltransferase isozymes in Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A. J Bacteriol. 191(22):6928-35. Open access.

        Bose A. Genetic and biochemical analysis of methyltransferase gene regulation in Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A. PhD Thesis,University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Available at Proquest LLC.

        Bose A, Pritchett MA, Metcalf WW (2008) Genetic analysis of the methanol specific methyltransferase 2 genes of Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A. J Bacteriol. 190(11):4017-26. Open access

        Bose A, Metcalf WW (2008). Distinct regulators control the expression of methanol methyltransferase isozymes in Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A. Mol Microbiol. 67(3):649–61. Open access.

        Bose A, Pritchett MA, Rother M, Metcalf WW.(2006) Differential regulation of the three methanol methyltransferase isozymes in Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A. J Bacteriol. 88(20):7274-83. Open access.

        Bose A, Sharma D, Shakila H, Das TK, TyagiJS, Ramanathan VD. (2006) Expression of mycobacterial cell division protein, FtsZ, and dormancy proteins, DevR and Acr, within lung granulomas throughout guinea pig infection. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 48(3):329-36. Open access.

        Rother M, Boccazzi P, Bose A, Pritchett MA, Metcalf WW.(2005) Methanol-dependent gene expression demonstrates that methyl-coenzyme M reductase is essential in Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A and allows isolation of mutants with defects in regulation of the methanol utilization pathway. J Bacteriol. 187(16):5552-59. Open access.