Stephen Nold


Office: 234D Jarvis Hall-science Addition
Phone: 715/232-2560


  • Ph.D. in Microbiology, December 1996, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT
  • Dissertation: "Molecular Analysis of Hot Spring Microbial Mats to Study Bacterial Diversity and Physiology"
  • B.S. in Biology and Natural Science (double major), Chemistry Minor, December 1989, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

Research Interests

My research takes a multidisciplinary approach to fundamental questions in microbial ecology. My goal is to understand the role of microbial populations in determining ecosystem-scale biogeochemical functioning. I am most interested in the roles microorganisms play in nutrient cycling, particularly the linkages between the carbon and nitrogen cycles. This research spans the fields of aquatic microbial ecology, biogeochemistry, environmental genomics and proteomics. I seek answers to these and other fundamental questions: What is the relationship between microbial biodiversity and ecosystem functioning? What physical and biological forces are most important in shaping microbial communities? How do we measure community composition and function in a way that links ecologically important processes to the responsible microorganisms?

I currently lead a large research laboratory that has included a post-doctoral scholar, a research technician, and many undergraduate scholars who use stable isotope, molecular biology, and process measurements to investigate microbial ecology.

Federal Research Grants
$532,906 National Science Foundation CAREER Grant “Capture probing to link methanotrophic species with ecological function in acidic northern wetlands” (1/01-1/06)
$6,000 REU Supplement to previous NSF CAREER Grant (9/02-5/03)
$126,865 National Science Foundation Microbial Interactions and Processes Grant “Lake Huron Sinkholes-Microbial Composition and Processes in Biogeochemical Hot Spots” (9/06-8/08)
$6,000 REU Supplement to current NSF CAREER Grant (7/07-7/08)
$284,315 National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Ocean Exploration. "Exploration of Shallow and Deep Water Submerged Sinkhole Ecosystems in Thunder Bay National Marine Sactuary, Lake Huron: Habitat and Life" $17,029 to UW-Stout (5/08-4/09)

Student Research

In addition to studying microbial communities in diverse habitats such as sinkholes in Lake Huron, I am currently working on ways to remediate the phosphorous-impacted Red Cedar River watershed. We study the cyanobacterial inhabitants of the watershed, their genes, and the toxins they produce. We are also looking at ways to reduce phosphorous levels in Lake Tainter and Lake Menomin to limit cyanobacterial growth.

Courses Taught

APSC 101 Applied Science Seminar
BIO 101: Introductory Biology
BIO 111 Science, Society, and the Environment
BIO 136: College Molecular Cell Biology I
BIO 136: College Molecular Cell Biology I
BIO 210: Biotechnology Issues
BIO 306: General Microbiology
BIO 370: Biotechnology

Student Engagement:

I am committed to providing the absolute best in science education and training. I use active, small group teaching strategies that promote student learning in a supportive environment. I also enliven course content with case studies, academic controversies, problem-based learning, and team learning. Finally, I ask my classroom students to participate in my research endeavors. Biology students generate molecular data that helps me test my research hypotheses. As a result, my students are engaged and challenged. Most importantly, my students enjoy learning about science and retain what they learn.

I also engage students outside the classroom in my research laboratory.  Students often come forward to finish the projects we start in class, and some have been included on research publications.

My teaching also includes efforts to improve the quality of science education. In addition to presenting faculty development workshops on small-group learning and skill development, I have developed, tested, and shared skill development modules for use in the college science classroom. See


Merle Price Faculty Award For Excellence (2008)
UW-Stout Outstanding Researcher of the Year (2003)
Promotion to Associate Professor by exception to time in rank criterion (2003)
Wisconsin Governor’s Recognition, UW-Stout Top Federal Grant Awardee (2002)
Nominee, Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the nation’s most prestigious award for early science faculty (2001)