Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

Earth Sciences Division Staff: Romy Chakraborty

Romy Chakraborty

Romy Chakraborty

Research Scientist

Ecology Department



Phone: 510-486-4091

Fax: 510-486-7152


Biographical Summary

Dr Romy Chakraborty received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeleyin Microbiology. Her background is in anaerobic microbial physiology and microbialecology. Her lab is interested in:

  • Identification of novel microbes and microbial function
  • Effect of Climate change on rhizosphere
  • Plant-microbe interactions
  • Ecosystems and Networks Integrated with Genes and Molecular Assemblies inenvironmental microorganisms
  • Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery
  • Bioremediation of oil and other contaminants

Professional Experience

  • 2012-current: Research Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • 2008- 2012: Scientific and Engineering Associate, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • 2005-2008: Postdoctoral Scholar, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory


  • Ph.D, University of California at Berkeley
  • M.Sc, University of Mumbai (Bombay), India
  • B.Sc, University of Bombay, India

Professional Service and Associations


  • American Society of Microbiology
  • International Society for Microbial Ecology
  • American Geophysical Union
  • Associate Faculty member, Faculty of 1000 Biology


  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Environmental Science and Technology
  • ISME
  • National Science Foundation
  • Frontiers in Microbial Biotechnology
  • FEMS Microbiology
  • Microbial Biotechnology

Professional Activities

  • Session Chair, AGU Fall meeting, San Francisco, Dec 2008: GeochemicalControls and Microbial Response in Metal-Contaminated Environments II.
  • Session Chair, ASM 110th General meeting, San Diego, May 2010: Causesof complexity in microbial stress response: the role of evolution, memory,stochasticity and physiological state.
  • Session Chair, AGU Fall meeting, San Francisco, Dec 2012: Biogeochemistry ofthe Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

Lab members:

Marcus Schicklberger (Post Doctoral Researcher)

Marcus SchicklbergerProject:  Optimizing plant-microbe interactions for sustainable supply of nitrogen for bioenergy crops

The ultimate goal of this project is to develop eco-friendly economically sustainable bioenergy crops in the future by decreasing their dependency on fertilizer use.

Nitrogen (N) is an essential component of DNA and proteins and consequently, a key element for life and cell development. Mineral N is often limited in plants, which negatively affects plant growth and hence biomass yields. In natural ecosystems, microbes play a fundamental role in producing bioavailable N for plants. The plant rhizosphere, for example, contains diazotrophic (N-fixing) bacteria without the requirement of forming mutualistic association with a plant host. Recently, diazotrophic endophytic bacteria colonizing roots, stems and leaves in several non-legume plants, have been identified. To better understand and optimize interactions between bioenergy crops and diazotrophic endophytes, my project incorporates a two-tiered scientific approach: identification and isolation of diazotrophic endophytes as well as discovery of new principles and molecular mechanisms in plant-microbe interactions.

  • 2013- now Postdoctoral Fellow in the R. Chakraborty laboratory at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (USA).
  • 10-2009 to 7-2012: PhD Student in Microbiology in the Gescher laboratory at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany)
  • 7-2008 to 9-2008: Visiting Student Researcher in the Spormann laboratory at Stanford University (USA)
  • 10-2004 to 7-2008: Diploma Student in Biochemistry and Microbiology in the Gescher laboratory at Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg i. Br. (Germany)
  • 10-2001 to 9-2004: Undergraduate Student at Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg (Germany)

Jiawen Huang (Research Associate)

Jiawen HuangI work primarily on the Ecosystems and Networks Integrated with Genes and Molecular Assemblies (ENIGMA) project. I’m also investigating the effects of climate change on the rhizosphere of bioenergy crops. As the lab manager, I take care of administrative aspects of the Chakraborty Lab. In the past, I worked on the Gulf of Mexico oil bioremediation project.


  • September 2012- Present: Research Assistant in the Chakraborty Lab at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
  • February 2011- August 2012: Student Assistant under Dr. Romy Chakraborty at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
  • June 2010- August 2010: Summer intern under Dr. Changming Fang in the Smith Lab at the Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute, San Diego
  • August 2008- May 2012: Nutritional Sciences undergraduate student at the University of California, Berkeley

Angelica Pettenato (Research Assistant)
Angelica PettenatoAngelica Pettenato has been working as a research assistant under Romy Chakraborty since 2011. She currently works on isolating and cultivating bacteria from Alaskan permafrost as a part of the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE) project. Previously, Angelica has also worked on oil bioremediation in the Gulf of Mexico and bacteria-algae interactions in Northern California’s Eel River. She began working at Berkeley Lab in 2010 while studying Environmental Earth Science at UC Berkeley.

Darejan Bolkvadze (Visiting Scholar)

Keith Bouma-Gregson (Graduate student)