Jun 2017

New ETH Grant

The Stocker group gets an ETH grant to work on a new single-cell technology tool with Lucio Isa’s group, to gain insights into the relation and interactions between individual microorganisms. The collaboration will be led by postdoc Eleonora Secchi.Doctoral position on “Sequential capillary assembly of microorganisms as a powerful new single-cell technology”

May 2017

Collaborative work with Hardt group published in Nature

Joint work with Wolf-Dietrich Hardt’s group at ETH, for which the Stocker group performed mathematical modeling to quantify the effects of vaccines on bacterial growth, was published in Nature. More here

May 2017

Stocker group co-leads large Simons-funded microbial collaborative

A research project by ETH Zurich, MIT with other US universities will receive 15 million US dollars in funding from the New York-based Simons Foundation. Over the next five years, researchers will investigate how microbial communities are organised and function, with a focus on the oceans. More here

Mar 2017

Phytoplankton behavioral adaptation to turbulence published in Nature

Anupam and Francesco’s paper on shape-shifting phytoplankton in turbulence appears in Nature. Congratulations!

Feb 2017

We visited CERN!

The Stocker lab visited CERN facility. It was very inspiring and influential – we all came back very impressed. Special thanks to Prof. Günther Dissertori for such a great tour and presentation.


Dec 2016

Uria has been awarded a 2-year EMBO fellowship

Congratulations Uria!

Nov 2016

To the space and back

A 5-member zero-gravity team from the lab (l to r: Francesco, Jeanette, Anupam, Ulrike and Roman) took to the skies on October 22, 2016 with the 2nd. Swiss Parabolic Flight Campaign. The team used this unique experimental opportunity – multiple cycles of hyper and microgravity conditions onboard the flight – to investigate the effect of gravity on phytoplankton migration. They have designed and used a two-pronged approach combining direct visualization of individual microscopic cells swimming, and molecular techniques to assess gene expression differences as a result of the changes in gravity.

Sep 2016

The ISME Journal 2016 Cover Competition Award

At ISME-16 in Montreal, an image of bacterial chemotaxis in the phycosphere was selected to be the annual cover image for The ISME Journal. Congratulations to Steve and Vicente!

Jeanette Wheeler joined our group in March 2016

Welcome Jeanette, our first female postdoc :)

Feb 2016

Ocean Science Meeting

Ben Lambert and Steven Smriga each gave talks at the 2016 Ocean Sciences Meeting in New Orleans, USA.

Feb 2016

Poster Award for Steven Smriga

Postdoc Steven Smriga won a best poster award at the EMBO/EMBL meeting on A New Age of Discovery for Aquatic Microeukaryotes held in Heidelberg, Germany in January 2016. Nice work Steven!

Jan 2016

What we do: A 10 min video about our research

A 10 min video from KIKIM Media about research in the Stocker lab            (sponsored by the Moore Foundation)

Dec 2015

Review in Nature Reviews Microbiology

‘Live from under the lens’: Our review article on microbial motility and microfluidics appears in Nature Reviews Microbiology. Congratulations to Kwangmin and Doug!

Nov 2015

Two new postdoc fellowships from ETH

We’re thrilled that both Eleonora Secchi and Jeanette Wheeler received a postdoc fellowship from ETH to come work with us. We look forward to welcoming you, Jeanette and Eleonora!

Oct 2015

Young Scientists and the Future

Postdoc Anupam Sengupta was featured and interviewed by Nature in their documentary series Young Scientists and the Future. Anupam was selected by Nature as one of the brightest young researchers to address key scientific questions and to discuss ideas with Nobel laureates during the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Germany. Congratulations Anupam!

Sep 2015

Stocker lab moves to ETH Zürich, Switzerland!

We are very excited to start research in Europe!


May 2015

Postdoc Francesco Carrara wins the 2014 Student Paper of the Year award from The American Naturalist.

Postdoc Francesco Carrara won the 2014 Student Paper of the Year award from The American Naturalist.  This  award is selected by the Editorial Board from all papers first-authored by students in the calendar year.  Congratulations Francesco!


Mar 2015

Jen wins 3rd place at the CEE video competition


Grad student Jen Nguyen won 3rd place and People’s Choice Award at the 2nd annual Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering video competition.  Way to go Jen, you rock!

‘C’ Food selected for Koch Institute Image Award


The Koch Institute awarded Postdoc’s Steve Smirga and Vicente Fernandez for their striking image of a bacterial swarm accumulating around a diatom.  Great job, Steve and Vicente!

Mar 2015

Postdoc Anupam Sengupta invited to Lindau Meeting 2015

Anupam has received the official invitation to attend the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in the scenic town of Lindau, Germany from June 28 – July 3 2015. The annual meeting cycles between the themes of Nobel Prizes awarded in Physiology or Medicine, Physics and Chemistry. Every five years, as is the case for 2015, an interdisciplinary meeting is held. The meeting provides a globally recognised forum for the transfer of knowledge between Nobel Laureates and outstanding international talents. Anupam was nominated for this recognition by the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization as one of their most qualified young scientists. Congratulations Anupam !

Jan 2015

3rd Annual Microscale Ocean Biophysics meeting was a success

The third edition of the Microscale Ocean Biophysics meeting in Aspen, Colorado, was a success! 90 scientists from different disciplines presented, discussed, and interacted for a week amidst winter activities. Congratulations to Kwangmin Son for receiving one of three best talk awards and to Steve (in close collaboration with Vicente) for receiving one of two best postdoc poster awards!

Dec 2014

Postdoc Mehdi Salek wins Poster award

Postdoc Mehdi Salek’s poster “The mTm: A Microfluidic T-Maze for the Study of Chemotactic Decision Making in Microorganisms” was recently awarded 3rd place at the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition in Montreal.  Great job Mehdi!

Nov 2014

Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition

Postdoc Doug Brumley won 6th place in the Nikon Small World Photomicrography competition with his photo of the active fluid flow around a coral polyp.  Congratulations Doug!

May 2014

Anupam Sengupta wins the Glenn H. Brown Prize

Postdoc Anupam Sengupta wins the 2014 Glenn H. Brown Prize for pioneering contributions in the field of liquid crystals, specifically for his studies of liquid crystals in microfluidic environments. The prize is awarded every two years by the International Liquid Crystal Society. Anupam will deliver the award speech at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, in July 2014. Congratulations Anupam!

Apr 2014

Microscale Ocean Biophysics Meeting

Check out the third edition of the Microscale Ocean Biophysics meeting, to be held at the Aspen Center for Physics from Jan 12 to 16, 2015.  More info can be found here:

Apr 2014

Competition-dispersal tradeoff ecologically differentiates recently speciated marine bacterioplankton populations

New PNAS paper by the group demonstrates the importance of movement behavior in driving the differentiation of marine microbes.

Mar 2014

Postdoc Anupam Sengupta awarded HFSP fellowship

Postdoc Anupam Sengupta has been awarded a 3-year fellowship from the Human Frontiers in Science Program (HFSP).
Congratulations, Anupam!!

Feb 2014

“Bacterial transport suppressed by fluid shear” published in Nature Physics

A new paper on the interplay between bacterial motility and fluid flow, with postdoc Roberto Rusconi as first author,  just appeared in Nature Physics.  Well done Roberto!

Feb 2014

Image of coral flows appears on the cover of Science

A photograph taken by postdocs Vicente Fernandez and Orr Shapiro, illustrating the fascinating vortical flows that form on coral surfaces, won the NSF/AAAS Science and Technology Visualization Challenge and was featured on the cover of Science on Feb 7, 2014.

Feb 2014

Postdoc Douglas Brumley receives the Block Award

Douglas attended the “Active Fluids: Bridging Complex Fluids and Biofluids” conference held at the Aspen Center for Physics, where he received the Block Award that is given to a promising young physicist.  Well done, Douglas!

Gabriel Juarez gives talk at Aspen physics meeting

Gabe attended the Active Fluids:  Bridging Complex Fluids and Biofluids where he gave a talk entitled “Life at the oil water interface: growth, colonization, and degradation of oil by microbes”.

Jan 2014

Paper on turbulent fluid acceleration appears in Physical Review Letters

Article entitled “Turbulent Fluid Acceleration Generates Clusters of Gyrotactic Microorganisms” appeared in Physical Review Letters in the week ending January 31, 2014.

Jan 2014

Congratulations Dr. Jang!

Hongchul Jang has successfully defended his thesis with a great presentation on bacterial biofilms!  Hongchul is heading back to Korea, where he will be working for Samsung.  Hongchul, we wish you and your family a happy move back home and good luck with the new start in Seoul! 

Jan 2014

Postdoc Vicente Fernandez attended the Sensory Transduction in Microorganisms Conference

Vicente recently participated as a Poster Presenter at the Gordon Research Seminars and the Gordon Research Conferences on Sensory Transduction in Microorganisms.  Title of his presented poster was: Probing transient chemotactic responses in free-swimming bacterial populations.

Jan 2014

Congratulations Dr. Barry!

Michael Barry has successfully defended his thesis with a very compelling presentation on phytoplankton motility! Mike will be working at Exponent in Massachusetts. Mike, we wish you all the best for your new responsibilities as an engineering consultant, and thanks for all the great contributions to the lab! 

Jan 2014

New Ph.D. Student Cherry Gao Joins the Lab

Welcome, Cherry!  Cherry is a student in Biological Engineering, she is passionate about the environment (ask her about turtles!), and will look at genetically manipulating marine bacteria for optical reporting of DMSP degradation in a new generation of microfluidic devices.

Jan 2014

Postdoc Anupam Sengupta Joins the Lab

Welcome on board, Anupam!  Anupam is a mechanical engineer and physicist from India, he did his engineering degree at IIT Bombay, Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, and will be working on phytoplankton adaptations to physical cues, ordering and turbulence in in bacterial systems and will develop new microfluidic technology.

Dec 2013

Paper on chemotaxis by coral pathogens appears in ISME Journal

A paper by the group, with postdoc Melissa Garren leading the charge, appeared in ISME Journal.  The paper describes how coral pathogens can actively target coral hosts by chemotaxis, particularly for temperature-stressed hosts.  We thank our collaborators from AIMS (Australia) and UTS (Sydney) for the joint work!

Nov 2013

Postdoc Douglas Brumley Joins the Lab

Douglas is an applied mathematician from Australia, recently turned biophysicist!  He did his Ph.D. at Cambridge University, and will be working on visualizing the flows generated by corals and how bacterial pathogens cope with the stormy environment on a coral surface.  Welcome to MIT, Douglas!

Oct 2013

Postdoc Kang Soo Lee Joins the Lab

Welcome, Kang!  Kang is a mechanical engineer from Korea, he did his Ph.D. at Korea Advance Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).  He will be working on a new collaboration with Prof. Michael Wagner’s group at the University of Vienna on marrying microfluidics and Raman microscopy for cell sorting, as part of a U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute’s New Emerging Technologies Opportunity Grant.

Jul 2013

Paper on phytoplankton in turbulence appears in Nature Communications

Who said that turbulence always mixes? Check out this paper showing that motility in turbulence can lead to un-mixing. Life looks pretty turbulent out there in the oceans!  Congratulations to Mack Durham (former PhD student and now lecturer in Oxford) and Mike Barry, and to our collaborators in France and Italy.

Paper on flagellar buckling appears in Nature Physics

Kwangmin and Jeff’s paper in Nature Physics shows that marine bacteria reorient by causing the buckling of their flagellum. Pretty resourceful bugs out there in the Ocean!

We have a new lab manager: Welcome Becky!

Starting in August, we’ll have Rebecca Schilling taking good care of our lab: We’re thrilled by this new addition to the group!

Jun 2013

Postdoc Gabriel Juarez wins first prize in MIT’s postdoc poster competition

Postdoc Gabriel Juarez wins first prize (and an iPad!) in MIT’s postdoc poster competition with an elegant, minimalistic poster on how marine bacteria find oil droplets. Gabe’s research aims to understand the biophysics of oil degradation.

Apr 2013

Postdoc Filippo Menolascina to speak at the Cambridge Science Festival

Postdoc Filippo Menolascina will give a talk next Wednesday April, 17th on “What High School science should have been” in an event organized by the MIT Museum for the Cambridge Science Festival 2013.
Kick off time: 6pm. More info here. Go Filippo!

Mar 2013

Postdoc Melissa Garren wins award at the École de Physique des Houches

Postdoc Melissa Garren wins the award for the best talk by a junior scientist at the second edition of the symposium on “Microscale Interactions in Aquatic Microenvironments”, held at the École de Physique des Houches, France. Melissa talked about the role of motility and chemotaxis in a coral pathogen.Congratulations Melissa!

Jan 2013

Postdoc Gastón Miño joins the lab

Gastón is a physicist from Argentina and will be working in collaboration with Mimi Koehl and Nicole King, from the University of California Berkeley, on the role of motility and nutrient uptake in the evolution of multicellularity in choanoflagellats. Bienvenido Gastón!

Jan 2013

Coral Work Appears in Physics Today

An image from our work on corals, showing the dramatic vertical flows produced by a coral’s cilia, appears on Physics Today “Backscatter”. Congratulations to Vicente Fernandez, Melissa Garren and Orr Shapiro.

Dec 2012

Chemotaxis Review Paper Appears in MMBR

A comprehensive review of bacterial chemotaxis in the ocean by Roman Stocker and Justin Seymour appears in Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews. Justin is a former postdoc in the group and now a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Technology Sydney. An image of bacteria clustering around a diatom, by group members Steve Smriga, Kwangmin Son, Vicente Fernandez and Roman Stocker, appears on the cover.

Dec 2012

Moore Foundation Selects Stocker as Research Investigator

Roman Stocker is selected as a Marine Microbiology Initiative Investigator by the Moore Foundation. This award will considerably enhance the lab’s abilities to investigate microbial processes in the Ocean over the next 5 years. Read full announcement.

Nov 2012

Former PhD Student Mack Durham Delivers Acrivos Lecture at APS-DFD

Mack Durham delivers the Andreas Acrivos Dissertation Award lecture at the Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting in San Diego. This award recognizes “exceptional young scientists who have performed original doctoral thesis work of outstanding scientific quality and achievement in the area of fluid dynamics”. Mack’s thesis focused on “Phytoplankton in Flow”  and he is now a lecturer at Oxford.

Lab Members attend APS Division of Fluid Dynamics Meeting

Seven from the Stocker group attends the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting in San Diego, to present our work on bacterial motility and biophysical interactions among marine microbes.

Nov 2012

Gabriel Juarez Wins Scholarship to Attend APS-DFD

Gabriel Juarez wins MIT postdoc travel scholarship to attend APS-DFD.

Nov 2012

“Marine microbes see a sea of gradients” Appears in Science

Roman’s review paper on microscale gradients appears in Science. The review, titled “Marine microbes see a sea of gradients”, highlights the importance of microscale processes in the ocean.

“Trade-Offs of Chemotactic Foraging in Turbulent Water” Appears in Science

John Taylor and Roman Stocker’s paper on the effects of turbulence on marine bacteria appears in Science. The paper, titled “Trade-offs of chemotactic foraging in turbulent water”, describes how turbulence affects the competition for nutrients among marine bacteria. John is a former postdoc and now a lecturer at Cambridge University.

Oct 2012

Roman Participates in Ask An Engineer

Roman participates in “Ask an Engineer”, providing ideas for on how middle-school students can prepare for a career in Civil and Environmental Engineering

Oct 2012

Roman Gives Squishy Physics Talk at Harvard

Roman gives Squishy Physics talk at Harvard on “Flagellar buckling and rheotaxis in bacteria”.

Oct 2012

Postdoc Jeff Guasto to Join Faculty at Tufts University

Jeff Guasto secures a tenure-track faculty position in Mechanical Engineering at Tufts University, starting Sept 2013.  Most deserved, Jeff: we will miss you, but are very excited for you!

Sep 2012

Steve Smriga Awarded NSF Fellowship

Steve Smriga is awarded a 2-year Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from the Division of Ocean Sciences at NSF. We look forward to some exciting work together, Steve!

Sep 2012

Lab Welcomes New PhD Student Bennett Lambert

Ph.D. student Bennett Lambert joins the lab. Ben is an Environmental Engineer from British Columbia and will be working on a collaboration with Rob Olson and Heidi Sosik at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to design a microfluidic sorter and integrate it with the Imaging FlowCytobot, an automated submersible flow cytometer. Welcome, Ben!

Sep 2012

Prof. Yvan Lagadeuc Joins the Lab

Prof. Yvan Lagadeuc from the University of Rennes, France, joins the lab for a one-year sabbatical, to work on luxury uptake in phytoplankton by integrating a new microfluidic approach and NanoSIMS imaging. Bienvenue Yvan!


Aug 2012

Melissa Garren Wins the J.W. Costerton Award at ISME-14

Postdoc Melissa Garren wins the J.W. Costerton Award at ISME-14 in Copenhagen for “research that advances a new theory in microbial ecology that also has interdisciplinary significance”. Melissa’s poster was titled “The need for speed: A marine pathogen uses rapid chemotaxis and chemokinesis to target its host.” Well done, Melissa!

Aug 2012

Yutaka Yawata Wins the Brock Postdoctoral Research Award at ISME-14

Postdoc Yutaka Yawata wins the Brock Postdoctoral Research Award at ISME-14 in Copenhagen for his talk “Mapping
genotypic diversity onto niche adaptation”. Omedetou, Yutaka!


Aug 2012

Roman Gives Talk at ISME-14

Roman gives an invited talk at ISME-14 in Copenhagen on “Spying on the lives of marine microbes: The power of direct observation.”


Aug 2012

Welcome Ruth!

Our new admin Ruth joins the group: welcome Ruth and we all look forward to working with you!


Jul 2012

Orr Shapiro Wins Poster Award at Gordon Research Conference

Postdoc Orr Shapiro wins a poster award at the Gordon Research Conference on Marine Microbes at Il Ciocco, Tuscany, for his poster “Reef on a chip: Studying coral-pathogen interactions at the microscale”. Mazel tov, Orr!

Jul 2012

Farewell Roberta!

Our admin Roberta leaves us … grazie Roberta for all your help and buona fortuna for your new life in Italy!

Jul 2012

Roman Gets Tenure

It’s been an exciting journey!!

May 2012

Gabriel Juarez Joins the Lab

Gabriel Juarez joins the lab as a postdoc. Gabe is from Texas and studied physics. He will be working on bacteria-oil interactions.

May 2012

Stocker Lab Gets a New Home

The Stocker lab gets a new home! We have moved and here is our new lab. We’re excited about this new space!

May 2012

Swimming in Stratified Fluids Paper Appears in PNAS

Our paper on swimming in stratified fluids appears in PNAS. Roman collaborated with the group of Arezoo Ardekani, a former postdoc and now faculty at Notre Dame University.


May 2012

Bacterial Rheotaxis Paper Appears in PNAS

Our paper on bacterial rheotaxis appears in PNAS. We show that hydrodynamic shear produced an unexpected torque on bacteria, making them drift across the flow due to the chirality of their flagella. This work was led by former Ph.D. student Marcos, now a faculty at NTU in Singapore, in collaboration with Henry Fu and Thomas Powers.

Apr 2012

Melissa Garren Gives TedX Talk in Monterey

Postdoc Melissa Garren gives a TedX Talk in Monterey, California, on “The sea we have hardly seen”. Highly recommended!

Feb 2012

Filippo Menolascina Joins the Lab

Postdoc Filippo Menolascina joins the lab. Filippo is a system biologist from Italy and will be working on bacterial chemotaxis, in a collaboration with Eduardo Sontag from Rutgers University. Benvenuto, Filippo!

Feb 2012

Roman Co-organizes CEE Speed-Dating Event

Roman co-organizes the department’s research speed-dating event, the second episode of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering lightning-talks aimed at fostering research cross-fertilization. This year with jazz band!