The labUpstairs

What do we study?

Watch this space in Spring 2023 – we’ll be hiring multiple postdocs and a PhD student as part of our ERC-funded starting grant project “TAngO2 Get in touch if you want to know more.

Our group explores how protists interact with other microbes in low-oxygen environments – including aquatic sediments and the animal gut – at the single-cell level. Check out our ‘Our Research‘ page for more information.

Come join us! Are you a post-doc interested in building your own, related research idea? Get in touch! We’re happy to support external funding applications.


Dec 5, 2022 CONGRATS TO JULIE!!!!!!!!

Julie Boisard, a Crafoord Stiftelsen sponsored post-doctoral fellow of the lab, was recently awarded with the 2021 Best Parasitology Thesis Award in France from the French society of Parasitology. 

During her PhD in Paris at the National Museum of Natural History, she characterized the genome of gregarines, non-model apicomplexan parasite protists. Her main objective was to assess the extent of diversity in these lineages through comparative genomic analysis. She was also interested in the question of motility in apicomplexans as part of their interaction with the host cell. She has been invited to give an online seminar (in french) on December 13th to further describe her PhD work.

She is still amazed by protists, and is currently developing culture-dependent and culture-independent metagenomics methods to study relationships between eukaryotes and prokaryotes in anoxic environments.

Well done Julie! Fantastique!!!!

Latest publications 2021-2022

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

Check out this advance access review by Anja Spang, Tara A Mahendrarajah, Pierre Offre, Courtney W 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

Figure thumbnail gr1

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.

Fig. 2