Babur Mirza

Babur Mirza
Assistant Professor

Academic Interests

I am very much interested in studying the ecology of useful soil microorganisms’ in different ecosystems using advanced molecular techniques. In the past few years, I have been actively using molecular techniques such as qPCR, high throughput sequencing of both 16S rRNA and functional genes, DNA fingerprinting techniques, functional gene microarrays, and Fluorescent In situ hybridization to address issues related to both basic and applied microbiology. My research in microbial ecology and environmental microbiology is focused on three major areas: (i) ecology of symbiotic and free-living nitrogen fixing microorganisms in soil and the rhizosphere of the host and non-host plants, (ii) the impact of land use changes on the structural and functional microbial communities involved in N cycling, and (iii) characterization of the functional microbial communities involved in the transformations of both natural and man-made toxic environmental contaminants (arsenic and trichloroethene).

Top Scholarly Accomplishments

Selected publications

  • Mirza B.S., D.L. Sorensen, R.R. Dupont, and J.E. McLean (2017). "New Arsenate Reductase Gene (arrA) PCR Primers for Diversity Assessment and Quantification in Environmental Samples." Applied and Environmental Microbiology 83: eAEM2725-16.
  • Mirza B.S., D.L. Sorensen, R.R. Dupont, D. McGlinn, and J.E. McLean (2017). "General Community and Dehalococcoides Populations’ Characterization from Differentially Trichloroethene Dechlorinating, Large Flow-through Columns." Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 101:4799-4813.
  • Meyer K.M., A.M. Klein, J.L.M. Rodrigues, K. Nüsslein, S. Tringe, B.S. Mirza, J.M. Tiedje, T. Brown, and B.J.M. Bohannan (2017). "Conversion of Amazon Rainforest to Agriculture Alters Community Traits of Methane-cycling Organisms." Molecular Ecology 26:1547-1556.
  • Mirza B.S., D.L. Sorensen, R.R. Dupont, and J.E. McLean (2016). "Dehalococcoides Abundance and Alternate Electron Acceptor Effects on Large, Flow-through Trichloroethene Dechlorinating Dolumns." Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 100: 2367-2379.
  • Mirza B.S., C. Potisap, K. Nüsslein, B.J.M. Bohannan, and J.L.M. Rodrigues (2014). "Response of Free-living Nitrogen-fixing Microorganisms to Land Use Change in the Amazon Rainforest." Applied and Environmental Microbiology 80: 281-288.

Plus numerous other scholarly publications.

Previous Experience

  • February 2015–2017—Researcher III in Environmental Microbiology, Utah Water Research Laboratory, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Utah State University, UT.
  • 2013–2015—Postdoctoral research associate in Environmental Microbiology, Utah Water Research Laboratory, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Utah State University, UT.
  • 2010–2012—Postdoctoral research associate in Molecular Microbial Ecology, University of Texas at Arlington, TX.
  • 2006–2009—Ph.D. in Aquatic Resources Program (Microbial ecology), Texas State University, TX.


Rawalpindi, Pakistan


  • I love playing cricket and table tennis.
  • Enjoy spending time with kids. 

Future Goals and Aspirations

I am excited by the prospect of developing a strong teaching and externally funded research program in the Department of Biology at Missouri State University. I have always found teaching very rewarding, and it is my goal to establish myself as an excellent teacher/mentor and actively contribute toward both undergraduate and graduate level teaching at MSU. As a faculty member at Missouri State University, I will develop undergraduate and graduate level advanced courses in microbiology, environmental microbiology, and microbial ecology.

Life Outside the University

I love to spend time with my family and friends. I have two cute little daughters and a two-year-old son and always it has been fun to spend time with them.