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Kevin Feris, Ph.D.

Kevin Feris outdoors with mountains

Professor, Department Chair, Department of Biological Sciences
Year arrived at BSU: 2005

Mailing Address:
Department of Biology
Boise State University
Boise, ID 83725-1515

Office Location: Science Building, Room 107
Office Number: 208-426-5498
Office Fax: 208-426-4267
E-Mail Address:


  • Postdoctoral Researcher, University of California, Davis, 2003-2005
  • Ph.D. Microbial Ecology, University of Montana, 2003
  • B.S. Biology, University of Alaska Anchorage, 1995


  • Biology 191 General Biology I
  • Biology 303 General Microbiology
  • Biology 415/515 Applied and Environmental Microbiology
  • Biology 497/597 Microbial Ecology
  • Biology 597 Advanced Topics in Microbial Ecology


Microbial Ecology is an incredibly diverse field that explores the roles of microbial community metabolism in the natural environment, areas contaminated by human activity, industrial settings, the human body, and applications in biotechnology.  My research program strives to understand how microbial communities respond to anthropogenic influences on natural ecosystems, including changes in climate, presence of chronic ecosystem stressors, and emerging pollutants.  Biotechnology research in my lab includes investigations into novel microbial systems for renewable energy generation, natural resource damage assessment, bioremediation, and biotechnology.  Check out the Feris Lab Homepage for more information.


  • Smith, S.A., Hughes, E., Coats, E.R., Brinkman, C.K., McDonald, A., Harper, J.R. et al. (2015a). Toward sustainable dairy manure utilization: Upcycling algal biomass cultured on waste substrate to enhance VFA and biogas synthesis.  Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology.
  • Passero, M., Cragin, B., Coats, E.R., McDonald, A.G. & Feris, K.P. (2015). Dairy wastewaters for algae cultivation, polyhydroxyalkanoate reactor effluent versus anaerobic digester effluent.  Bioenergy Research. DOI: 10.1007/s12155-015-9619-9.
  • Passero, M.L., Cragin, B., Hall, A.R., Staley, N., Coats, E.R., McDonald, A.G. et al. (2014). Ultraviolet radiation pre-treatment modifies dairy wastewater, improving its utility as a medium for algal cultivation. Algal Research, 6, Part A, 98-110.
  • Wilson, E.R., Smalling, K.L., Reilly, T.J., Gray, E., Bond, L., Steele, L. et al. (2014). Assessing the Potential Effects of Fungicides on Nontarget Gut Fungi (Trichomycetes) and Their Associated Larval Black Fly Hosts. JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 50, 420-433.
  • Coats, E.R., Searcy, E., Feris, K., Shrestha, D., McDonald, A.G., Briones, A. et al. (2013). An integrated two‐stage anaerobic digestion and biofuel production process to reduce life cycle GHG emissions from US dairies. Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining, 7, 459-473.
  • McTee, M.R., Gibbons, S.M., Feris, K., Gordon, N.S., Gannon, J.E. & Ramsey, P.W. (2013). Heavy metal tolerance genes alter cellular thermodynamics in Pseudomonas putida and river Pseudomonas spp. and influence amebal predation. FEMS microbiology letters, 347, 97-106.
  • Rasa, E., Bekins, B.A., Mackay, D.M., Sieyes, N.R., Wilson, J.T., Feris, K.P. et al. (2013). Impacts of an ethanol‐blended fuel release on groundwater and fate of produced methane: Simulation of field observations. Water Resources Research, 49, 4907-4926.
  • Sorensen, P.O., Germino, M.J. & Feris, K.P. (2013). Microbial community responses to 17 years of altered precipitation are seasonally dependent and coupled to co-varying effects of water content on vegetation and soil C. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 64, 155-163.
  • Stanaway, D., Haggerty, R., Benner, S., Flores, A. & Feris, K. (2012). Persistent metal contamination limits lotic ecosystem heterotrophic metabolism after more than 100 years of exposure: A novel application of the resazurin resorufin smart tracer. Environmental science & technology, 46, 9862-9871.
  • Gibbons S.M., Feris K.P., Gannon J.E., McGuirl M.A., Morales S.E., Leedjärv A. & Ramsey P.W. (2011) Microcalorimetry establishes the cost and benefit of harboring cadmium efflux genes in Pseudomonas putida strain KT2440. Applied and Environ Microbiol, 77
  • Feris K., Otto C., Tinker J., Wingett D., Punnoose A., Thurber A., Kongara M., Sabetian M., Quinn B.E., Hanna C. & Pink D. (2010) Electrostatic interactions affect nanoparticle-mediated toxicity to the Gram-negative bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1. Langmuir, 26 4429–4436
  • Feris K., Ramsey P.W., Gibbons S.M., Frazar C., Moore J.N., Gannon J.E. & Holben W.E. (2009) Hyporheic microbial community development is a sensitive indicator of metal contamination. Environ Sci Technol, 43, 6158–6163
  • Wang H., Wingett D., Engelhard M.H., Feris K., Reddy K.M., Turner P., Layne J., Hanley C., Bell J., Tenne D., Wang C. & Punnoose A. (2008) Fluorescent dye encapsulated ZnO particles with cell-specific toxicity for cancer treatment and bio-medical applications. J Mater Sci: Mater Med. 20 (2009) 11-22.
  • Hanley C., Layne J., Punnoose A., Reddy K.M., Coombs I., Coombs A., Feris K. & Wingett D. (2008) Preferential killing of cancer cells and activated human T cells using ZnO nanoparticles. Nanotechnology, 19, 295103
  • Mackay, D., N. de Sieyes, M. Einarson, K. Feris, A. Pappas, I. Wood, L. Jacobson, L. Justice, M. Noske, J. Wilson, C. Adair, and K. Scow. 2007. Impact of Ethanol on the Natural Attenuation of MTBE in a Normally Sulfate-Reducing Aquifer. Environ Sci Technol 42: (2008) 2289-2294.
  • Mackay, D; de Sieyes, N.; Einarson, M.; Feris, K. P.; Pappas, A.; Wood, I. A.; Jacobson, L.; Justice, L. G.; Noske, M. N.; Scow, K.; Wilson, J. T. Impact of Ethanol on the Natural Attenuation of Benzene, Toluene, and o-Xylene in a Normally Sulfate-Reducing Aquifer. Environ. Sci. Technol 40: (2006) 6123-6130.
  • Philip W. Ramsey, Matthias C. Rillig, Kevin P. Feris, William E. Holbena, James E. Gannon. Choice of methods for soil microbial community analysis: PLFA maximizes power compared to CLPP and PCR-based approaches. Pedobiologia 50 (2006) 275—280.
  • Noske, M.N., Jacobson, L., Einarson, M.D., Feris, K.P., De Sieyes, N.R., MaCkay, D.M. et al. (2006). Impact of Ethanol on the Natural Attenuation of Benzene, Toluene, and o-Xylene in a Normally Sulfate-Reducing Aquifer. Environmental science & technology, 6123-6130.
  • Ramsey, P. W., P. Rice, M. C. Rillig, K. P. Feris, N. S. Gordon, J. N. Moore, W. E. Holben, and J. E. Gannon. 2005. The influence of heavy metals, acidity, and organic matter on plant and microbial communities in mine waste contaminated floodplain soil. Ecology Letters 8:1201-1210.
  • Ramsey, P. W.; Rillig, M. C.; Feris, K. P.; Moore, J. N.; Gannon, J. E. Mine waste contamination limits soil respiration rates: a case study using quantile regression. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 37: 1177-1183 (2005).
  • Feris, K. P., Hristova, K., Grebreyesus, B., Mackay, D. & Scow, K. M. A shallow BTEX and MTBE contaminated aquifer supports a diverse microbial community. Microb. Ecol. 48(4): 589-600 (2004).
  • Feris, K. P.; P. W. Ramsey, J.N. Moore, M. Rillig, J. E. Gannon, and W. E.Holben. Hyporheic microbial communities: Determining rates of change and evaluating group-level resiliency differences in response to fluvial heavy metal deposition. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 70: 4756-4765 (2004).
  • Holben, W. E., Feris, K. P., Kettunen, A. & Apajalahti, J. H. A. 2004. GC fractionation enhances microbial community diversity assessment and detection of minority populations of bacteria by DGGE. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 70: 2263-2270.
  • Feris, K. P., P. W. Ramsey, C. F. Frazar, M. C. Rillig, J. E. Gannon, and W. E. Holben. 2004. Seasonal dynamics of shallow hyporheic zone microbial community structure along a heavy metal contamination gradient. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 70: 2323-2331.
  • Feris, K. P., P. Ramsey, C. Frazar, J. N. Moore, J. E. Gannon, and W. E. Holben. 2003. Differences in Hyporheic-Zone Microbial Community Structure along a Heavy-Metal Contamination Gradient. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 69:5563-5573.
  • Feris, K. P., P. W. Ramsey, C. F. Frazar, M. C. Rillig, J. E. Gannon, and W. E. Holben. 2003. Structure and seasonal dynamics of hyporheic zone microbial communities in free-stone rivers of the western United States. Microb. Ecol. 46, 200-215 (2003).