It would be inexcusably egocentric to suggest we are alone in the cosmos.      -Neil DeGrasse Tyson


Who is Luke?

Research conducted under Yellowstone Research Permit YELL-2015-SCI-5840

Research conducted under Yellowstone Research Permit YELL-2015-SCI-5840

Luke earned his BS in molecular biology with a minor in chemistry in his home town at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He then completed a MS and PhD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the department of marine sciences where he researched microbial communities living off of deep sea hydrothermal vents. During graduate school Luke had many incredible opportunities, like traveling 2000 meters to the bottom of the ocean in the 3-person Alvin submersible, living at Palmer Station, Antarctica for the 2011/2012 summer field season, and participating in the first research cruise to assess the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, just 2 weeks after the explosion. He was also a graduate fellow with the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations, which focuses on understanding microbial ecosystems in the mud deep beneath the ocean floor.

After finishing his PhD Luke received a fellowship from the NASA Astrobiology Institute to investigate thermophilic microbes that produce and/or consume methane gas in Yellowstone hot springs, and which might be the closest relatives to the earliest lifeforms on our planet who evolved roughly 3.5 billion years ago. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Montana State University in the Center for Biofilm Engineering and the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, where he is always eager to explore a new extreme ecosystems and the wonderful, teeny-tiny creatures that live in them. 

Luke is also a total weirdo and loves to dance.