Skip to main content

About Anna-Louise Reysenbach

Professor Reysenbach's research has implications for how we understand life as it has evolved on Earth and the type of signs we need to look for in searching for life elsewhere.
Professor Anna-Louise Reysenbach studied botany and microbiology at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa and earned her Ph.D. from the University of Cape Town in 1987. She joined the Biology faculty at PSU in 1999.
Professor Reysenbach's passion for science began at an early age. Born and raised in South Africa, she feels lucky to have parents who encouraged her exploration of the world around her. Growing up, Reysenbach spent many family holidays at the seaside camping, fishing and sailing. This childhood, open to curiosity and filled with wide-ranging experiences, fueled a passion for both science and the outdoors, particularly the ocean, and life below the surface. Later, as a teenager, Reysenbach learned to scuba dive and that skill set her path. She began looking for a career that combined her passion for scientific research, her curiosity about the ocean, and her love for the outdoors. She found it in microbial ecology. This has led her research to deep-sea vents at the bottom of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans using submersibles such as "Alvin", and to remote hots springs and volcanoes in Kamchatka, Russsia, Yellowstone National Park, Costa Rica and Chile.
Professor Reysenbach is widely respected for her groundbreaking research and her boundless contributions to and passion for her field. She has numerous grants funded by the National Science Foundation or NASA to study these unusual ecosystems and sequence the entire genomes of two microbial isolates obtained in her lab here at PSU. She serves on numerous prestigious scientific boards such as the National Research Council's Space Studies Board, which advises congress regarding Space Science. She regularly publishes her lab's research findings, presents extensively nationally and internationally, and enjoys participating in public education and outreach.
In her teaching, Dr. Reysenbach finds that the fun of being a professor is that students continually challenge her and she is always learning with them. The various perspectives provided by colleagues and students keep science an exciting environment where all the different angles come together to form a remarkable picture. Her greatest pleasure comes in teaching classes where learning is more experiential than formal.


Present Professor, Portland State University Center for Life in Extreme Environments
Present Professor, Portland State University Biology


Research Interests

Enter a valid date range.

Enter a valid date range.

Contact Information

Name: Anna-Louise Reysenbach
Title: Professor of Biology
office: 522 SB1
phone: 502-725-3864


Books (2)

Articles (31)