Julia Anne Maresca, Ph.D.


CIEG 444 Microbiology of Engineered Systems
CIEG 437 Water Quality Analysis

Research Interests

Broadly speaking, the work in my lab characterizes adaptations that enable bacteria to survive and flourish in difficult environments.

We are working on biochemical and physiological analysis of actinorhodopsins, which are light-responsive ion pumps found in freshwater Actinobacteria. We are using microscopy, heterologous expression, spectroscopy, and transcriptional analysis to figure out how this protein works and when it is useful.

In ultra-oligotrophic environments, microbes must either reduce their demand for phosphate or become super-efficient phosphate scavengers. In Lake Matano, a ferruginous lake in Indonesia, we have discovered that bacteria use both of these strategies: they utilize a wide variety of organic and inorganic phosphorus sources, and are capable of robust growth even in the near-absence of phosphate.

In collaboration with faculty in Plant & Soil Sciences, we are studying interactions between bacteria and the rice pathogenic fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. Identifying bacteria antagonistic to M. oryzae and characterizing the molecular underpinnings of the interactions may contribute to improved biocontrol strategies for preventing rice blast disease.

Assistant Professor

Phone: (302) 831-4391

Email: jmaresca@udel.edu

Office: 344B DuPont Hall


  • B.A. - University of Chicago
  • Ph.D. - The Pennsylvania State University