Rotaru Lab

University of Southern Denmark

Current lab members

Amelia-Elena Rotaru, Group leader, A/Prof.

I am an assistant professor of Microbial Biochemistry and Physiology at the University of Southern Denmark. I received my Ph.D. in 2009 from the Max Plank Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany. After graduation, I took two postdoctoral positions, in 2009 at iNANO Aarhus University and in 2010 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I returned to Denmark in 2013 with a fellowship from the Danish Research Council (DFF). Next, I established a research group at the University of Southern Denmark after being awarded a highly competitive DFF national grant (Sapere Aude) in 2015, along with a couple other grants (from Novo Nordisk and Innovationsfond).

Over the past eight years, my overarching research theme has been the physiology of electroactive microorganisms. I am primarily investigating microorganisms with high potential for biotechnological applications. Some examples are microorganisms involved in interspecies interactions during anaerobic digestion, microorganisms influencing biodeterioration of materials, or with the ability to sustainably produce chemicals for various industries.

Satoshi Kawaichi, Postdoc

Satoshi works on the biochemical mechanisms employed by methanogenic Archaea when corroding iron. He received a Ph.D. in 2013 from the University of Kyoto, in Japan, and later worked both at the University of Tokyo and Riken. His research interest is extracellular electron transfer in various microorganisms.

Oona Snoeyenbos-West, Postdoc

Oona started working at the University of Southern Denmark on iron corrosion by methanogenic consortia, and more recently on electromethanogenesis for biogas upgrading. Oona received her Ph.D. in 1998 from the University of Massachusetts,  Amherst, where she mostly continued as a researcher and adjunct assistant professor until she joined our lab. Oona’s research interests are diverse from electromicrobiology to symbiosis and fungal research.

Xiaochen Yang, Postdoc intern

Xiaochen has a PhD from the Danish Technological University. Xiaochen joined the team for a two months internship in order to learn how to run bioelectrochemical experiments and fluorescence in situ microscopy. Xiaochen is interested in the biodegradation of fossil-fuel based plastics.

Mon Yee Oo, Ph.D. student


Mon is in a 4+4 Ph.D. program and works on electromethanogenesis and biogas upgrading. She received two B.Sc.’s one from the Ngg Ann Polytechnic Institute in Singapore and the second one, with honors, from the University of New South Wales in Australia. Mon’s scientific interests are bioelectrochemical systems as well as scientific illustrations for research journals and children’s books.

Paola Andrea Palacios Jaramillo, Ph.D. student

Paola is in a 3+5 Ph.D. program and works on discovering novel iron corrosive methanogens and the mechanisms they employ to retrieve electrons from iron. Paola received an M.Sc. from the Aix-Marseille University in France, and a B.Sc. from the Pontifical Xavierian University in Colombia. Paola is interested in biotechnological applications of microorganisms.

Lasse Ørum-Smidt, Lab technician

Lasse has been educated as a science teacher at Holbæk College, and as a lab technician at the Technical College Slagelse. Prior to joining our team, Lasse worked mostly as a laboratory technician for two national labs, one dealing with occupational health and the other with food hygiene. Lasse is a fantastic teacher not only showing the whereabouts of lab-work to first-year B.Sc. students but also anyone else that joins our lab.

Daniel Jensen, M.Eng. student (AU/SDU)

Daniel finished a B.Sc. in Biology at Aarhus University. He later joined a M.Eng. program in Bioengineering at the same university. Recently he joined our team for his master thesis on the sustainable synthesis of non-toxic biodegradable plastic polymers.  His thesis is co-supervised by Lars Ottosen from AU and me. Daniel is interested in engineering biotechnological processes.



Former lab members

Hans Frederik Hansen, B.Sc. ISA project

Hans did an ISA project with Paola and me investigating highly corrosive communities enriched from a ferruginous lake. Hans is now finishing his B. Sc. in Biology at SDU.

Jakob Bang Rønning, B.Sc. thesis and ISA project

Jakob worked on green plastic production. Jakob is now doing a masters in Bioentrepeneurship, a joint program between Copenhagen Business School and Copenhagen University.

Viktor Hundtofte Mebus, B.Sc. ISA project

Viktor worked with Mon on electromethanogenesis. Viktor is now doing an MSc at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, SDU

Rie Pors, B.Sc. ISA project

Rie worked on acetate electrosynthesis using Clostridium. Rie is now doing a Ph.D. in Biogeochemistry of deep-sea microbes under the supervision of Prof. Ronni Glud.

Marius Florescu, Lab technician trainee

Marius tested electrosynthesis using Geobacter. Marius is now working as a service technician at Ametec STC.