Montana State University
Department of Microbiology and Immunology > Microbiology > Barry Pyle, Associate Research Professor

Barry Pyle, Associate Research Professor

Barry Pyle

Office: 100 Cooley Lab
Phone: 406 994-3041

Lab: 100 Cooley Lab
406 994-3041


Office Hours

Barry Pyle is an Associate Research Professor in the Department of Microbiology at Montana State University. He obtained his Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Agricultural Science from Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand. For his MS research project, he studied bacterial populations in relation to ecological conditions in small farm dams used as livestock water supplies. He then worked for five years in a NZ government water research lab in Hamilton (which later expanded to become the National Institute for Water and Atmosphere) studying water quality in the Waikato River system and Heretaunga Plains groundwater. For his Ph.D. project at Lincoln College (then affiliated with the University of Canterbury, Christchurch) he investigated the survival and significance of coliform bacteria in a small wastewater treatment system. While completing his Ph.D., he worked for three years in the Biological Standards Laboratory at the NZ National Health Institute in Porirua (now Environmental Science Research, a Crown research institute).

Pyle joined Dr. Gordon McFeters lab at Montana State University in June 1985 to do postdoctoral research on disinfection of space shuttle drinking water. He has continued with spacecraft microbiology research including development of monitoring techniques and studies of the growth, physiology and virulence of bacteria in spaceflight. With his lab colleagues at Montana State University, he has been involved in three spaceflight experiment with bacteria; two of these experiments were flown on NASA shuttles Atlantis and Columbia, and the other on a Russian Foton satellite. His lab is currently working on details of a second Foton satellite experiment scheduled to launch in September 2007. His other research interests include developing rapid methods to detect pathogenic and other bacteria in food and water. The target organisms include "hamburger E. coli" and other bacteria that cause enteric infections including Helicobacter pylori. In addition to being funded by NASA, over the years his research has been supported by Boeing Inc., the National Insitutes of Health Environmental Health Sciences program, U.S. Army Research Office, Montana State University Program for Development of Applied Biotechnology, and Perkin Elmer Corp. He has held a consulting position with Perkin Elmer Corp. Applied Science Operation in Pomona, CA (now Hamilton Sundstrand Applied Instrument Technologies) and was affiliated with LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals Inc., Bozeman, MT for several years.

Pyle's research interests encompass environmental microbiology, water, wastewater, food, and spaceflight. His lab's current research projects include investigation of spacecraft flight effects on the genetic stability of bacteria, including Streptomyces lividans, Streptomyces coelicolor, E. coli, Aspergillus niger, Bacillus pumilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and the probiotic bacterium Lactobacillus caseii. For several years, he has taught an online course in Environmental Microbiology offered by the National Teachers Environment Network Master of Science in Science Education through the Burns Technology Center at Montana State University. He has since added an introductory course, Exploring Microbiology, in the same program.

Curriculum Vitae: pdf


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