CGCS Directory

Martin Polz




Research Interests:
Professor Polz studies environmental microbiology, looking at the dynamics that govern microbes’ interactions and evolution to learn the role of individual populations within the community, the range of genomic similarity that defines a functional unit, and what mechanisms govern diversification of microbial populations in the environment. His research group addresses these questions using a combination of quantitative molecular approaches, genomics, physiology and modeling. The group is also exploring environmental and evolutionary mechanisms that trigger the emergence of pathogenic variants among microbes.

Selected Publications:

Datta MS, Sliwerska E, Gore J, Polz MF, Cordero OX.  2016.  Microbial interactions lead to rapid micro-scale successions on model marine particlesNat Commun. 7:11965. 

Klose J, Polz MF, Wagner M, Schimak MP, Gollner S, Bright M.  2015.  Endosymbionts escape dead hydrothermal vent tubeworms to enrich the free-living population.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 112(36):11300-5. 

Cordero OX, Polz MF.  2014.  Explaining microbial genomic diversity in light of evolutionary ecology. Nat Rev Microbiol. 12(4):263-73.

Shapiro JB, Polz MF.  2014.  Ordering microbial diversity into ecologically and genetically cohesive units. Trends Microbiol. 22(5):235-47.

Polz, M.F., E.J. Alm and W.P. Hanage, 2013: Horizontal gene transfer and the evolution of bacterial and archaeal population structure, Trends in Genetics, 29(3): 170-5

Cordero, O.X., H. Wildschutte, B. Kirkup, S. Proehl, L. Ngo, F. Hussain, F. Le Roux, T. Mincer and M.F. Polz, 2012: Ecological populations of bacteria act as socially cohesive units of antibiotic production and resistance, Science, 337(6099): 1228-31

Xue, H., Y. Xu, Y. Boucher and M.F. Polz, 2012: High Frequency of a Novel Filamentous Phage, VCY, within an Environmental Vibrio cholerae Population, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 78(1): 28-33

Wollenberg, M.S., S.P. Preheim, M.F. Polz and E.G. Ruby, 2012: Polyphyly of non-bioluminescent Vibrio fischeri sharing a lux-locus deletion, Environmental Microbiology, 14(3): 655-68

Shapiro, B.J., J. Friedman, O.X. Cordero, S.P. Preheim, S.C. Timberlake, G. Szabo, M.F. Polz and E.J. Alm, 2012: Population Genomics of Early Events in the Ecological Differentiation of Bacteria, Science, 336(6077): 48-51

John, S.G., C.B. Mendez, L. Deng, B. Poulos, A.K.B. Kauffman, S. Kern, J. Brum, M.F. Polz, E.A. Boyle and M.B. Sullivan, 2010: A simple and efficient method for concentration of ocean viruses by chemical flocculation, Environmental Microbiology Reports, 3(2): 195-202

Contact Information

t: 617-253-7128


Ph.D. 1997, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
A.M. 1995, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
University of Vienna, Zoology Mag. rer. nat. 1991