Evan Lau

Assistant Professor of Biology




  • BS, Microbiology, University of Illinois, 1993
  • MS, Biology, University of Illinois, 1994
  • PhD, Botany, University of Wisconsin, 2000
  • Postdoctoral Associate, NASA Ames Research Center, 2000-2002
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University, 2002-2007
  • Preceptor of Life Sciences, Harvard University, 2008-2010


  • Bio 105 – Life Sciences for Non-major
  • Bio 124 – Biological Principles
  • Bio 200 – Botany
  • Bio 278 – Biological Anthropology
  • 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 Genetics for Physician Assistants

Current Research Projects:

My undergraduate researchers and I investigate the ecology and diversity of microbes in a wide range of environments. We use Next-Generation multiplex sequencing to obtain metagenomic data in the construction of microbial gene libraries. Subsequently, we use phylogenetic and statistical analyses, as well as computation (R and Python) to analyze and describe their diversity and abundance. We have been 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 have been using multiplex sequencing to study the microbiota of the lungs of patients affected by Cystic Fibrosis, and to explore ammonia-oxidizing bacterial diversity of nutrient-rich upwelling seawater off Namibia (western Africa). 
We have been funded by WV-INBRE to use multiplex sequencing to describe microbial diversity in different mice strains (one susceptible to the lung pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the other immune to it). This study allows us to study the role played by the microbiota in mouse lungs in preventing infection by lung pathogens such as P. aeruginosa. It also allows us to observe possible changes in the mouse lung microbial community during infection.
I am also collaborating with Dr Loughman on the systematics of crayfish (using mitochondrial COI gene).

Dr Lau’s research publications on Google Scholar: http://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=7exHorgAAAAJ 


(* student researcher)

Lau, E, EJ Nolan, ZW Dillard*, RD Dague*, AL Semple*, WL Wentzell*. 2015. High throughput sequencing to detect differences in methanotrophic Methylococcaceae and Methylocystaceae in forest soil, peat and Sphagnum moss in Cranesville Swamp Preserve, W. Virginia, USA. Microorganisms 3: 113-136. PDF

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