Steven Finkel, PhD

Professor of Biological Sciences and Gerontology


  • PhD, Biological Chemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, 1994
  • BA, Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley, 1987


The research of Steven Finkel, PhD, focuses on the long-term survival and evolution of bacteria, including understanding natural systems and applications to electricity production. Among the topics of current study in the laboratory are (1) the mechanisms of survival in many organisms, including population structure at the genetic & genomic level and studies of the GASP (growth advantage in stationary phase) phenotype; (2) the generation of bacterial diversity in different environments, including the roles of error-prone DNA polymerases in generating diversity; (3) the role of DNA-protein interactions in controlling gene expression, organizing the chromosome, and protecting DNA during the stationary phase of the bacterial lifecycle, focusing on the role of the Dps protein, (4) the use of DNA as a nutrient and parallels to natural competence and transformation; (5) the long-term survival ability of bacteria in electricity-generating microbial fuel cells (MFCs) and bioelectrochemical systems (BESs); and mechanisms of survival in severely nutrient- and energy-limited deep subseafloor environments. Model organisms in the laboratory include: Escherichia coli, Shewanella oneidensis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Halomonas species and gut microbiota communities.