Welcome to the webpage of Peter P. Sheridan!  I am an Assistant Professor of Microbiology in the Department of Biological Sciences at Idaho State University.

Here’s how to contact me:
Mailing Address:

Peter P. Sheridan
Department of Biological Sciences
Campus Box 8007
Idaho State University
Pocatello, Idaho 83209

Email:                      sherpete@isu.edu
Phone (office):        (208) 282-5368
Phone (lab):            (208) 282-5753
Office:                    Garrison 607
Lab:                        Garrison B11

    It is generally accepted that we are currently able to culture only about 0.1-0.001% of the microorganisms in environmental samples.  The overwhelming diversity of microbes in an environment cannot be grown in the lab!  I am interested in detecting and identifying the microorganisms present in the environment, determining what they are doing and how to grow them in the lab, and studying their enzymes (sequence, structure, function, etc.).  Low temperature/permanently cold environments are one of my main areas of interest, although I am interested in extreme environments in general (the weirder the sample, the better).  Generally speaking, my research interests could be classified as: Microbial Molecular Biology, Microbial Diversity and Evolution of Prokaryotes, the Molecular Biology of Adaptation to Extreme Environments, the Biogeochemistry of Novel Prokaryotic Isolates, and the Evolution of Protein Structure and Function.  In order to conduct research in my lab, students make use of a wide variety of skills in the fields of Microbiology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Bioinformatics (among others).

    I am always interested in talking to potential students (graduate and undergraduate), so if you think that you would like to do research or collaborate projects involving any of the topics listed above (or in other areas of the amazing world of Microbiology), contact me!!

Here’s a link to my current CV.

A little more about me…

2001-present    Assistant Professor of Microbiology, Department of Biological
                         Sciences, Idaho State University.

1999-2001    Postdoctoral Fellow with Professor Jean Brenchley, Pennsylvania
                     State University Biogeochemical Research Initiative for Education.

1998-2001    Postdoctoral Fellow with Professor Jean Brenchley, Pennsylvania
                     State University Astrobiology Research Center.

1996-1998    National Science Foundation/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
                     Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Molecular Evolution with
                     Professor Jean Brenchley, Pennsylvania State University.

Professional Preparation
1996-2001    Pennsylvania State University.  Postdoctoral Fellow, Dept of
                     Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

1996            Ph.D.  University of Cincinnati.  Biology.

1991            M.S.  Rutgers University.  Microbiology.

1984            B.A.  Rutgers College.  Biochemistry and Microbiology, Double Major.


Miteva, V. I., P. P. Sheridan, and J. E. Brenchley.  2004.  Phylogenetic and Physiological Diversity of Microorganisms Isolated from a Deep Greenland Glacier Ice Core.  Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 70:202-213.

Coker, J.A., P.P. Sheridan, J. Loveland-Curtze, K.R. Gutshall, A.J. Auman, and J.E. Brenchley.  2003.  Biochemical Characterization of a
ß-galactosidase with a Low Temperature Optimum Obtained from an Antarctic Arthrobacter Isolate.  Journal of Bacteriology. 185:5473-5482.

Sheridan, P.P., J. Loveland-Curtze, V.I. Miteva, and J.E. Brenchley.  2003.  Isolation and Characterization of Rhodoglobus vestali gen. nov., sp. nov., a novel psychrophilic organism isolated from an Antarctic Dry Valley Lake.  International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.  53:985-994.

Sheridan, P.P., V.I. Miteva, and J.E. Brenchley.  2003.  Phylogenetic Analysis of Anaerobic Psychrophilic Enrichment Cultures Obtained from a Greenland Glacier Ice Core.  Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 69:2153-2160.

Sheridan, P.P., K.H. Freeman, and J.E. Brenchley.  2003.  Estimated Minimal Divergence Times of the Major Bacterial and Archaeal Phyla.  Geomicrobiology Journal. 20:1-14.

Reed, D.W., Y. Fujita, M.E. Delwiche, D.B. Blackwelder, P.P. Sheridan, T. Uchida, and F.S. Colwell.  2002.  Microbial Communities from Methane Hydrate-Bearing Deep Marine Sediments in a Forearc Basin.  Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 68:3759-3770.

Sheridan, P.P., N. Panasik, J.M. Coombs, and J.E. Brenchley.  2000.  Approaches for Deciphering the Structural Basis of Low Temperature Enzyme Activity. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta. 1543:413-429.

Sheridan, P.P. and J.E. Brenchley.  2000.  Characterization of a Salt Tolerant Family 42 ß-Galactosidase from a Psychrophilic Antarctic Planococcus Isolate.  Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 66:2438-2444.

Loveland-Curtze, J., P.P. Sheridan, K.R. Gutshall, and J.E. Brenchley.  1999.  Biochemical and phylogenetic analyses of psychrophilic isolates belonging to the Arthrobacter subgroup and description of Arthrobacter psychrolactophilus, sp. nov.  Archives of Microbiology. 171:355-363.

Sarbu, S., L. Vlasceanu, R. Popa, P. Sheridan, B.K. Kinkle, and T.C. Kane.  1994.  Microbial mats in a thermomineral sulfurous cave.  Proc. of the NATO ARW: Structure, development, and environmental significance of microbial mats.

A lot of the samples I study come from permanently cold environments (see the list of publications).  I was extremely fortunate as a graduate student to work in the lab of J. Robie Vestal, at the University of Cincinnati.  Robie took me to Antarctica, where we collected a lot of samples.  I am still working with some of these samples to this day!  There are a couple of Antarctic pictures below.

A picture of me at Bratina Island, Antarctica...


...and with a new friend....

This is the kind of sample we were after….

The view from up on Linnaeus Terrace….

It’s a harsh continent…..