Principal Investigator

Dr. Rizlan Bernier-Latmani


Ph.D. Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, CA, 2001
M.S. Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, CA, 1995
B.S. Natural Resources with Honors, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1993 

I am a geomicrobiologist and am interested in microbe-metal interactions, broadly defined. Specific areas of research include the biogeochemistry of uranium, arsenic and iron (with a focus on reductive processes), microbial activity in the deep subsurface, as well as microbial processes in the gut both related to metal transformations and bile acid metabolism.

Administrative Staff

Maria João Fernandes Coelho


M.S. in translation, Escola Superior de Technologia e Gestão de Leiria, PT, 2006.

Technical Staff

Manon Frutschi
Matthew Reeves


B.S. Biochemistry and Genetics, University of Minnesota, USA, 2004

I started working with mass spectrometry in the hospital clinical lab, utilizing LC-ESI-MS/MS for supplemental newborn screening, and later expanding to molecular genetic techniques and MALDITOF-MS for identifying CFTR mutations. After relocating to Switzerland, I worked on a variety of research projects utilizing GC-MS, GC-FID and LC-QTOF-MS. Now at EML, my focus is on the LCQTOF-MS analysis of bile acids, which in addition to aiding digestion and absorption of lipids, also act as potent signaling molecules.


Barbora Bartova
Ph.D., Physical Metallurgy, Chemistry and Technology of Materials, Prof. Dalibor Vojtech, Institute of Chemical technology, Prague, Czech Republic, 2005


I’m an electron microscopist at the Environmental Microbiology Laboratory. I did my Ph.D. at the Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague, Czech Republic, where I studied rapidly solidified aluminium alloys. I have continued my research at EMAT (Belgium) on shape memory alloys and CIME (EPFL, Switzerland) with a focus on clathrates, carbon nanotubes and precipitates in Mo pillars. I also developed my knowledge of STEM and FIB techniques. After 3 years at the Materials and Metallurgy department at CERN, I  joined EML. I perform microscopic measurements with all available techniques at Centre of Electron Microscopy at EPFL, especially TEM, SAED, STEM, EDS, SEM and FIB. I focus particularly on the condition of acquisition during STEM-EDS measurements for elements at the detection limit of the SuperX detector.

Karin Meibom 
Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, Odense University, Denmark (1997) 
Post-doctoral researcher, Stanford University, USA (2000-2005) 
Scientist, INSERM, Paris, France (2005-2012)

I am a molecular microbiologist and have previously worked in the field of bacterial pathogenesis studying Vibrio cholerae and Francisella tularensis. My current research focuses on understanding how environmental bacteria adapt to changes in the environment. I use genetic and genomic approaches to decipher how Shewanella oneidensis coordinates gene expression in order to exploit numerous compounds, including metals, for anaerobic respiration when oxygen is limited.


Eduard Vico


Ph.D. in Molecular Microbiology, University of Nottingham , UK (2018)
M.S. in Environmental Microbiology, University of Aberdeen, UK (2014)
B.S. in Microbiology, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain (2013)

I am a microbiologist with experience in environmental and molecular microbiology. My main interest is the study of the bacterial communities and their interactions with the environment. I am working on the study and characterisation of the bile acid transforming bacterial community in the gut. Previously, for my master’s I studied the ammonia-oxidising thaumarchaeota community while I worked on the quorum-sensing regulation and interference of biofilms and virulence in Pseudomonas aeruginosa for my PhD.


Ashley Brown
Ph.D. in Geomicrobiology, University of Manchester, UK (2013)

Post-doc. University of Manchester, UK (2014-2015)
Post-doc. Eawag, ETH domain, Zürich, Switzerland (2015-2017)


My primary research interests include the geomicrobiology of nuclear environments with particular attention to the microbial metabolism of uranium and iron. Here at EML, my research focuses on uranium isotope fractionation during transformation by a range of metabolically diverse bacteria. Uranium isotope analyses coupled with traditional stable isotope proxies and genetic approaches will be applied to identify distinct metabolisms on Early Earth. Previous work has also focused on the physiological impacts of ionizing radiation and their implications for the biogeochemical cycling of redox-active metals by bacteria.

Zezhen Pan 
Ph.D. in Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering, Washington University St Louis, MO, USA, 2017 
B.S. in Environmental Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China.

I am interested in geochemical processes, and the fate and transport of metals during solid-water interactions. Currently, I am focusing on isotope fractionation during U(VI) reduction by magnetite. My Ph.D. research (Washington University in St. Louis) included investigating mechanisms for phosphate induced U(VI) in-situ remediation, applying engineered magnetite nanoparticles for U(VI) or Cr(VI) removal and developing modeling approaches.


Solenne Marion 
Ph.D. EPFL, 2020
Pharm. D.
, Faculté de Pharmacie de Lyon, France (2009- 2015)
M.Sc. in Medical Microbiology, Faculté de Médecine Paris Descartes and Yale University (2014-2015)

I joined the EML team as a Ph.D. student in August 2015.  The goal of my PhD is to characterize the microbiology of bile acid 7-dehydroxylating bacteria, a group of gut commensals involved in bile acid metabolism. These commensals are crucial for the host as they produce secondary bile acids, which are potent regulators of the host metabolism and also contribute to the colonization resistance against the intestinal pathogen, Clostridium difficile. My research interests are broad but I am particularly interested in host-microbiota physiology and interactions related to human diseases.



Karen Viacava
Ph.D. EPFL, 2020
in Molecular Engineering at the Technical University of Dresden, Germany, 2013
B.Sc. in Biochemical Engineering at the Morelia Institute of Technology, Mexico, 2010

With a joint doctoral project between EML and TrES group, my research is primarily focused on unraveling the methylation pathway of arsenic by different bacteria and archaea. For this purpose, I use a combination of state of the art techniques from microbiology, molecular biology and analytical  chemistry. My main research interests include: 1) the biochemical processes controlling the mobility of metals and metalloids, and the mechanisms allowing microorganisms to thrive under high heavy metal concentrations; 2) the use of analytical techniques to mesure metals and metalloids speciation, especially HPLC-ICP-MS. The latter technique has been the focus of my lab work and specialization since 2013. I enjoy learning about the new applications and developing methods for metal speciation.

Ph.D. Students 


Simiao Wang

M.Sc. in Environment Engineering, Cornell University, 2019

  Niels Burzan
M.Sc. in Nanosciences (Major in Nanochemistry), University of Basel, 2016

PhD student working on the influence of microbes in deep geological radioactive waste repositories. Background in nanosciences, computational chemistry & molecular microbiology. Interested in nuclear policy, solar technologies, financial markets, astrobiology & human spaceflight.


Margaux Molinas
M.Sc. in Chemical Science and Chemical Engineering at the Chimie ParisTech, Paris, 2016

A chemist by training, I became interested in microbiology. While studying Chemical Science and Chemical Engineering at Chimie ParisTech, I became fascinated by how we could use synthetic biology and bacteria to solve major environmental challenges. My research focuses on investigating how uranium U(VI) is enzymatically reduced to U(IV) by bacteria. Among other things, I investigate the molecular mechanism of biological U(VI) reduction. To this end, I apply spectroscopic methods, such as EPR, XPS, or XAS  to characterize  molecular interactions of bacteria with uranium.

Other Collaborators 

Wenjuan Shuai


Academic guest.