Paul Carini

microbe hunter

Paul is a microbiologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He found himself a microbiologist after the stark realization that he was not going to be a race car driver after all. When not digging holes to find microbes, he can be found exploring nature with his family, listening to heavy metal, watching Formula 1 races, or working on vintage European cars.


Ryan Bartelme


I obtained my PhD from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee where I characterized the microbiomes, microbial nitrifying guilds, and bacterial fish pathogens of recirculating aquaculture and aquaponic systems. Here in Tucson, I am studying the physiology of soil microbes and their resilience mechanisms in arid environments. My long-term research interests are at the nexus of microbiology, ecology, systems biology, environmental engineering, and agriculture.

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Joy Custer

Graduate student (MS)

I am a Master’s student in the Department of Environmental Science. I am currently working on optimizing cell extraction methods from soils and sediments. This project will determine whether we can differentially enrich for specific microbes to increase the likelihood that we can culture them. I am a member of the University of Arizona Rotaract Club and Omicron Delta Kappa honor society. I am also a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society and Mensa. After I graduate with my Master’s, I plan on working at a non-profit organization dedicated to environmental advocacy.


Brad Schlottman


I am senior undergraduate in the Department of Environmental Sciences. I am currently investigating the physiology of resilient soil microbes isolated from arid environments. After graduation, I plan to continue my research in a graduate program.

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Brenna Bourque


I am a senior undergraduate Environmental Science major working on the cultivation of microbes who have the potential to break down PFOS and PFAS. In my previous Carini Lab project I cultured SAR11 marine bacteria growing on phosphonates. I like working with microbes because they don’t talk back. After graduation, I plan on continuing onto graduate school.