The Evolution of Cells, Symbionts, and Organelles Lab in the Department of Biological Sciences at Purdue University (IN, USA) opened its doors in January 2023. We will investigate the evolutionary and mechanistic causes of both ancient and more recent symbioses. Two of the immediate research interests of the lab are (1) the origin of eukaryotes and their mitochondria, and (2) the origin and function of purple photosymbioses.

Some of the questions we will be tackling are:

  • What was the nature of the mitochondrial ancestor?
  • What was the genetic contribution of the mitochondrial ancestor to eukaryotes?
  • How did mitochondria affect the physiology and evolution of eukaryotes?
  • What are the mechanistic bases of purple photosymbioses?
  • How have purple photosymbioses evolved?

See our research here to learn more.

I’m currently not looking for postdoctoral researchers to join our team. However, if you are a motivated student interested in symbiosis and cell evolution, please do get in touch to discuss possibilities. If you are a student that belongs to an underrepresented or minority group, consider applying to the Graduate Diversity Visitation Program (GDVP) for a chance to visit Purdue and our lab with all expenses covered for four days. You can reach me at samunozg{at}purdue[dot]edu


Jan 16, 2023 The lab’s first manuscript “Energetics and evolution of anaerobic microbial eukaryotes” is out in Nature Microbiology. Read here.
Jan 3, 2023 The ECSO Lab at Purdue University has opened its doors! :sparkles:
Aug 1, 2022 The manuscript “The role of mitochondrial energetics in the origin and diversification of eukaryotes” co-authored with Paul E. Schavemaker is now published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. Read here.

Selected publications

  1. Energetics and evolution of anaerobic microbial eukaryotes
    S.A. Muñoz-Gómez
    Nature Microbiology, 2023
  2. The role of mitochondrial energetics in the origin and diversification of eukaryotes
    P.E. Schavemaker, and S.A. Muñoz-Gómez
    Nature Ecology and Evolution, 2022
  3. Site-and-branch-heterogeneous analyses of an expanded dataset favors mitochondria as sister to known Alphaproteobacteria
    S.A. Muñoz-Gómez, E. Susko, K. Williamson, and 5 more authors
    Nature Ecology and Evolution, 2022
  4. A microbial eukaryote with a unique combination of purple bacteria and green algae as endosymbionts
    S.A. Muñoz-Gómez, M. Kreutz, and S. Hess
    Science Advances, 2021