Paul Carini is an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Arizona. The Carini lab’s research themes are focused on relating microbial genome sequence information to cellular mechanisms that are critical for survival in resource-poor habitats. Carini developed a defined culture system for the marine oligotroph Pelagibacter ubique (SAR11) to facilitate systems-level understanding of Pelagibacter physiology prior to investigating genome-enabled physiology of planktonic marine ammonia-oxidizing archaea. After expanding his research interests to terrestrial environments, Carini showed that extracellular ‘relic’ DNA from dead microbes can confound DNA-based microbial ecology analyses in terrestrial environments. At the University of Arizona, the Carini lab uses an ecosystem-agnostic, microbial systems ecology approach that unites microbial cultivation, measurements of gene expression and genetics, together with metabolic modeling and metabolomics, to push the knowledge boundaries of how microbes persist in various toxic or resource-limited habitats.
Carini graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology. He conducted his doctoral research in microbiology at Oregon State University on the physiology and evolution of Pelagibacter marine bacteria in the Giovannoni Lab. After postdoctoral research that focused on the physiology and genomics of planktonic marine archaea in Alyson Santoro’s lab at the Horn Point Laboratory at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Carini expanded his research interests to terrestrial systems as a Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow in the Fierer lab at The University of Colorado, and started his own lab in 2017 at the University of Arizona. Carini is a 2022 NSF CAREER recipient.