Imke Schroeder, Ph.D.
Imke Schroeder has always been fascinated by the physiology of microbes. She began her education by studying Biology in Germany and specialized later in Microbiology. Her thesis project was on the biochemistry of rather exotic rumen bacteria that live by either oxidizing hydrogen sulfide gas or by reducing elemental sulfur. After graduating from the University of Marburg in Germany with Dr. Achim Kröger she moved to Los Angeles to become a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA. There she began training in molecular genetics to study how bacteria adapt to anaerobic conditions. After six years postdoc time with Dr. Robert Gunsalus, Dr. Schroeder assumed a position as Research Associate at the Veterans Administration Hospital in San Francisco. In 2001, Dr. Schroeder returned to UCLA and started a new research program to investigate the metabolism of ancient organisms called archaea. Archaea are small and unicellular like bacteria, however, they can thrive in extreme places such as deep sea volcanic vents, hot springs, and other places inhospitable to humans, animals and plants. Fascinated by life that can be found at deep sea hydrothermal vents, Dr. Schroeder focused on understanding the energy metabolism of some of these extreme organisms. Since 2004, Dr. Schroeder has embarked on a new research project that deals with pathogenic bacteria causing whooping cough or other forms of pneumonia in humans. The focus of this research is to understand the metabolism of bacteria during the infectious pathway and in this context to identify unique bacterial proteins that can be used for the development of antimicrobial agents or vaccines.