See the page CV for a complete publication list


A mitosome with distinct metabolism in the uncultured protist parasite Paramikrocytos canceri (Rhizaria, Ascetosporea)

Now accepted! A fun collaboration with Ioana Onuț-Brännström and Fabien Burki from Uppsala University where we describe the metabolic potential of a weirdo intracellular parasite of crabs called Paramikrocytosis canceri. Its quite hard to do cell biology on these beasts as they live inside crab cells and cannot be cultured in the lab. But this didn’t scare Ioana away – Ioana sequenced the metagenome and metatranscriptome of infected crab tissue to yield a high-quality draft genome assembly of P. canceri. Together, we manually read through the gene predictions to reconstruct the potential metabolism of the parasite. We found that P. canceri likely possesses a reduced mitochondrion called a mitosome that lacks the canonical features of mitochondria (i.e., does not possess a respiratory chain, Krebs cycle, amino acid metabolism etc.). Despite being among the most divergent eukaryotes out there, Karla showed that at least two putatively ‘mitochondrial’ P. canceri proteins retain mitochondrial targeted signals that could be recognized during heterologous expression in yeast. Read more about the study here:


Eukaryotic evolution: Spatial proteomics sheds light on mitochondrial reduction

In this Dispatch article for Current Biology, Michelle Leger and I summarize the exciting cell biology investigations of Justyna Zítek et al. in the December issue. Multi-organelle spatial proteomics has revolutionized animal cell biology, but its use in protists has so far been limited. A new study delivers the first such proteome of a free-living protist, uncovering a previously overlooked function of highly reduced mitochondria. Read more about Justyna’s work in Vladamir Hampl’s lab from Charles University (Czechia).

Life through the lens of metabolism.

Laura Eme and I reviewed Prof. Nick Lane’s latest book “Transformer: the Deep Chemistry of Life and Death” in the September edition of Nature Ecology and Evolution . This captivating read takes us on a journey through the history and molecular details of my favourite metabolic pathway: The Krebs cycle. Check out Prof. Lane’s website for more information about the book and his research. Also visit Dr. Laura Eme’s homepage for more information about her research.

Evolving perspective on the origin and diversification of cellular life and the virosphere

Check out this review by Anja Spang, Tara A Mahendrarajah, Pierre Offre, Courtney Stairs in Genome Biology and Evolution. In here, we discuss the evolution of the different domains of life and viruses. Read more about research by Anja Spang and Tara Mahendrarajah and Pierre Offre at NIOZ.

Hydrogen metabolism: A eukaryote taps into the electron sink

Congrats to Karla Aguilera-Campos on her first paper in the group! In this Dispatch article for Current Biology, Karla and Courtney summarise the recent paper by Smutná et al. who showed a potentially hydrogen-oxidizing hydrogenase is present in the Trichomonas vaginalis. This is the first reported case of a potentially hydrogen-oxidizing eukaryote and one of few example of intracellular hydrogen cycling in a single-cell! Read Smutná et al. here and our dispatch here.


Anaeramoebae are a divergent lineage of eukaryotes that shed light on the transition from anaerobic mitochondria to hydrogenosomes

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Courtney Stairs, Petr Táborský, Eric D. Salomaki, Martin Kolisko, Tomáš Pánek, Laura Eme, Miluše Hradilová, Čestmír Vlček, Jon Jerlström-Hultqvist, Andrew J. Roger and Ivan Čepička.

Read the paper, its open access! Or check out this blog post on the International Society of Evolutionary Protistology website.

Diversity of electron transport chains in anaerobic protists

Read the paper here, its open access! This was a fun review to write with Dr. Ryan Gawryluk at University of Victoria in Canada. Learn more about Ryan’s research here.

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