Evan Lau

Assistant Professor of Biology



  • BS, Microbiology, University of Illinois, 1993
  • MS, Biology, University of Illinois, 1994
  • PhD, Botany, University of Wisconsin, 2000


  • Bio 124 – Biological Principles
  • Bio 200 – Botany
  • Bio 325 – General Microbiology Lab
  • Bio 401 – Genetics
  • Bio 407 – Human Genetics and Genomics
  • Bio 428 – Evolutionary Biology
  • Bio 478 / Hon 378 – Human Origins and Evolution
  • PA 528 – Clinical Medicine I (Medical Genetics for Physician Assistants)

Current Research Projects:

My undergraduate researchers and I are investigating the ecology, diversity and phylogeny of microbes and relate their presence and diversity to their metabolism and environmental processes. We are currently studying methanotrophic bacteria, which are the only organisms capable of removing methane gas (a greenhouse gas) in forest soils and peat bogs in West Virginia and play an important role in reducing methane emissions into the atmosphere. We are using Next-Generation multiplex sequencing and other molecular techniques with systematics, metagenomic and phylogenetic approaches to detect and sequence the genes unique to these microbes to describe their diversity and abundance. We have just submitted proposals using similar technologies to explore microbial diversity in salt marshes in California, and in the Southern Ocean.


Loughman, Z.J., R. Fagundo, E. Lau, S.A. Welsh, R.F. Thoma. 2013. Cambarus (C.) hatfieldi, a new species of crayfish (Decapoda:Cambaridae) from the Tug Fork River Basin of Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia, USA. Zootaxa 3750(3): 223-236. PDF

Lau, E., M.C. Fisher, P.A. Steudler, and C.M. Cavanaugh. 2013. The methanol dehydrogenase gene, mxaF, as a functional and phylogenetic marker for proteobacterial methanotrophs in natural environments. PLoS ONE 8(2): e56993. PDF

Roeselers, G., I.L.G. Newton, T. Woyke, T.A. Auchtung, G.F. Dilly,R.J. Dutton, M.C. Fisher, K.M. Fontanez, E. Lau, F.J. Stewart, P.M.Richardson, K.W. Barry, E. Saunders, J.C. Detter, D. Wu, J.A. Eisen,C.M. Cavanaugh. 2010. The complete genome sequence of Candidatus Ruthia magnifica. Standards in Genomic Sciences 3:163-173. PDF

I.L.G. Newton, T. Woyke, T.A. Auchtung, G.F. Dilly, R.J. Dutton, M.C.Fisher, K. Fontanez, E. Lau, F.J. Stewart, P.M. Richardson, K.W.Barry, J.C. Detter, S. Sullivan, J. A. Eisen, C.M. Cavanaugh. 2007. The Calyptogena magnifica symbiont genome: an obligate, maternally transmitted symbiont with extensive metabolic capabilities. Science
315: 998-1000. PDF

Lau, E., A. Ahmad, P.A. Steudler, and C.M. Cavanaugh. 2007. Molecular characterization of methanotrophic communities in forest soils that consume atmospheric methane. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 60 (3):490-500. PDF

Lau, E., C.Z. Nash, D.R. Vogler, and K.C. Cullings. 2005. Molecular diversity of cyanobacteria inhabiting coniform structures and surrounding mat in a Yellowstone hot spring. Astrobiology 5(1): 83-92. PDF


Office: Arnett Hall 204
Phone: (304) 336-8529
E-Mail: [email protected]
West Liberty University
208 University Drive
College Union Box 139
West Liberty, WV 26074