Kristien Mortelmans

Sr. Microbiologist Emeritus, Microbiology, Center for Infectious Diseases

Kristien Mortelmans, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert in screening chemicals with the bacterial Ames Salmonella assay. Many of the Salmonella strains carry the mutagenesis-enhancing plasmid pKM101, which she isolated as part of her doctoral work at Stanford University.

Mortelmans has more than 25 years of experience as a principal investigator and project leader, working with more than 50 aerobic and anaerobic bacteria to screen novel compounds for antimicrobial activity. BSL-3 laboratories are available for her work with select agents and with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. With a broad range of interests in the microbial world and using a hands-on approach, Mortelmans conducts research in environmental (biodegradation of explosives), medical (study of antibiotic resistance) and industrial microbiology (biosource plastics and biofuels). 

Mortelmans received her bachelor’s and Ph.D. degrees in medical microbiology from Stanford University. She was president of the Society for Industrial Microbiology (SIM) from 2000 to 2001, and was editor-in-chief of SIM News from 1992-2002. She received the Charles Porter Award from SIM in 2002 for exceptional service and dedication to the Society. Mortelmans was named an SRI Fellow in 2000.