Jocelyne DiRuggiero

Jocelyne DiRuggiero

Associate Research Professor

235B Levi Hall
410-516-8498 |Lab 410-516-7744
Group/Lab Website

Jocelyne DiRuggiero is an associate research professor in the Department of Biology and holds an appointment in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. She received her PhD from the University Claude Bernard in Lyon, France. Her research focuses on the mechanisms of stress response in extremophiles and on the microbial ecology of extreme environments.

Microorganisms have inhabited the Earth for 3.4 billion years of its history. They are essential for the evolution of its minerals, its major geochemical cycles, and its atmosphere, yet the extent of their diversity, their metabolic capabilities, and their ecosystem-level interactions remains vastly unexplored.

Understanding the link between the geochemistry we observe and the large-scale impact of microbial activity is critical if we want to learn more about our own biosphere, and how to better conserve and protect the environment. We are using microorganisms that live in extreme environments to address fundamental processes in biology, in particular mechanisms underlying the diversity of microbial communities, their functioning, and they responses to environmental perturbation.

At the molecular level, we focus on adaptive mechanisms of extremophiles to environmental stresses. We are currently investigating the role of small non-coding RNA in the oxidative stress response using haloarchaea as model systems.

At the ecosystem level, we focus on the mechanisms that generate and maintain microbial diversity and how these processes affect ecosystem functioning at the dry limit for life. Our field sites include multiple deserts around the world and the Dry Valleys of Antarctica.

Our research is directly related to Astrobiology. Visit the Institute for Planets and Life web site [] at the Space Telescope Science Institute and Johns Hopkins University

Atacama Desert, Chile

Atacama desert image 1 Atacama desert image 2

Uritskiy G., S. Getsin, A. Munn, B. Gomez-Silva, A. Davila, B. Glass, J. Taylor and J. DiRuggiero. Response of extremophile microbiome to a rare rainfall reveals a two-step adaptation mechanism. bioRxiv 442525; doi:


Uritskyi G.V., J. DiRuggiero and J. Taylor. 2018 MetaWRAP - a flexible pipeline for genome-resolved metagenomic data analysis. Microbiome 15:159 PMID:30219103

Jacquelyn S., J.S. Meisel, D. Nasko, B. Brubach, V. Cepeda Espinoza, J. Chopyk, H. Corrada-Bravo, M  Fedarko., J. Ghurye, K. Javkar., N. Olon, N. Shah, S.M. Allard, A.L. Bazine, N.H. Bergman, A. Brown, G. Caporaso, S. Conlan, J. DiRuggiero, et al. 2018. Current progress and future opportunities in applications of DNA sequencing for biodefense and pathogen detection: Report from the Winter Mid-Atlantic Microbiome Meet-up, College Park, MD January 10th, 2018. Microbiome 6:197 PMID:30396371

Gelsinger, D. and DiRuggiero, J. 2018. Transcriptional Landscape and Regulatory Roles of Small Noncoding RNAs in the Oxidative Stress Response of the Haloarchaeon Haloferax volcanii. J Bact DOI: 10.1128/JB.00779-17

Gelsinger, D. and DiRuggiero, J. 2018. The non-coding regulatory RNA revolution in Archaea. Genes 9:E141 PMID:29510582 Genes 9:E141 PMID:29510582

Meslier V., M. C. Casero, M. Daily, J. Wierchos, C. Ascaso, O. Artieda, P.R. McCullough, and J. DiRuggiero. 2018. Fundamental drivers for endolithic microbial community assemblies in the hyperarid Atacama Desert. Env Microbiol 20:1765-1781 PMID:29573365.

Schulze-Makuch, D., D. Wagner, S. P. Kounaves, K. Mangelsdorf, K. G. Devine, Vera, P. Schmitt-Kopplin, H. Grossart, V. Parro, M. Kaupenjohann, A. Galy, B. Schneider, A. Airo, J. Froesler, A. Davila, F. Arens, L. Caceres, F. Solis Cornejo, D. Carrizo, L. Dartnell, J. DiRuggiero, et al. 2018. A Transitory Microbial Habitat in the Hyperarid Atacama Desert. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA PMID:29483268.

Sharma, A., E. K. Gaidamakova, O. Grichenko, V. Y. Matrosova, V. Hoeke, P. Klimenkova, I. H. Conze , R. P. Volpe, R. Tkavc, C. Gostincar, N. Gunde-Cimerman, J. DiRuggiero, A. Ozarowski, B. M. Hoffman, M. J. Daly. 2017. Across the tree of life, radiation resistance is governed by antioxidant Mn2+, gauged by paramagnetic resonance. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 114: E9253 PMID:29042516

Goordial, J., A. Davila, C. W. Greer, R. Canam, J. DiRuggiero, C. P McKay, and L. G Whyte. 2016. Comparative activity and functional ecology of permafrost soils and lithic niches in a hyper-arid polar desert. Env Microbiol 19:443; PMID:2712974

Crits-Christoph, A., C. K. Robinson, B. Ma, J. Ravel, J. Wierzchos, C. Ascaso, O. Artieda, V. Souza-Egipsy, C. Casero, and J. DiRuggiero. 2016. Phylogenetic and functional substrate specificity for endolithic microbial communities in hyper-arid environments. Frontiers Microbiol 7:301 PMID:27014224

Crits-Christoph, A. D. R. Gelsinger, B. Ma, J. Wierzchos, J. Ravel, A. F. Davila, M. C. Casero, and J. DiRuggiero. 2016. Functional interactions of archaea, bacteria and viruses in a hypersaline endolithic community. Env. Microbiol. DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.13259

Goordial, J, A. Davila, D. Lacelle, W. Pollard, M.M Marinova, C.W. Greer, J. DiRuggiero, C.P. McKay and L.G. Whyte. 2016. Nearing the cold-arid limits of microbial life in permafrost of an upper dry valley, Antarctica. ISME J 10:161 PMID:273238922015

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Graduate Students

Diego Gelsinger

Gherman Uritskiy

Katie Farney (rotation)


Postdoctoral fellow

Emine Ertekin


Undergraduate Students

Adam Munn

Bayleigh Murray

Evan Qu

Jackie Rhuda

Katie Wittington

Rahul Reddy