Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Tracy Mincer

Curriculum Vitae

Tracy John Mincer

Associate Scientist

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry

266 Woods Hole Road, MS 51                                     Tel: 508-289-3640

Woods Hole, MA 02543                                                


Ph.D. Oceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. Advisor, Professor William H. Fenical. Degree awarded Fall 2004

B.S. Chemistry/Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego. Spring, 1995

Professional Experience:

Assistant/Associate Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, June 2008 – Present

Postdoctoral Associate/Lecturer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Advisor, Professor Edward F. DeLong. October, 2004- March, 2008

Staff Research Associate I/II, University of California San Diego, Department of Biology, Laboratory of Prof. Donald R. Helinski. Spring 1995 - Fall 1998

Selected Honors and Recognition:

Pre-doctoral Fellowship, Living Oceans Foundation: $ 25,000/year fellowship (Fall 2001 – Spring 2004) covering stipend and expenses, 36 months of support

Faculty of 1000, Biology, “Exceptional,” “Must Read” or “Recommended” critical recognition for 4 publications, indicated below in Publications

Research Interests:

–Chemical ecology of microbes: chemical communication, allelopathic mediation of bacterial epibiosis, microbiome composition, and deterrence of grazing—applications of chemical ecology for drug-discovery

–Biogeochemical cycling of volatile organic compounds (methanol) produced by bloom-forming phytoplankton

–Interactions of microbes with plastic debris in the marine environment and its influence on larger ecosystems

Patents Awarded:

  1. “Marine actinomycete taxon for drug and fermentation product discovery.”

Inventors: Mincer, T. J.; Jensen, P. R. & Fenical, W. H.

United States Patent number7,144,723

IssuedDecember 5, 2006

  1. “Salinosporamides and methods for use thereof”

Inventors: Feling, R. H., Mincer, T. J.; Jensen, P. R. & Fenical, W. H.

United States Patent number:  7,176,233

IssuedFebruary 13, 2007

Provisional Patent Applications:

Mincer, T. J. & Whalen, K. R. “Method for reducing antibiotic resistance through efflux pump inhibition” July 18, 2014, Serial Number 61/615586.

Recent Professional Talks and Academic Panels (Since 2012):

  • VII Nicaraguan Biotechnology Conference Marine Biodiversity and Genomics in Central America May 8 & 9, 2014 Talk title: “A Natural History Approach to Natural Products: Microbial Chemical Ecology Aiding Drug-Discovery”—and Invited presenter and special Advisory Panel Participant May 10, 2014.
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. Marine Ecology Seminar Series, Special Invitation by Biology Department Graduate Students. “Microbial Interactions with Plastic Marine Debris: An Unnatural History” April 23, 2014.
  • University of Connecticut, Marine Sciences, Avery Point, Connecticut. Spring 2014 Seminar Series, Invited. “Microbial Interactions with Plastic Marine Debris: An Unnatural History” March 28, 2014.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Microbial Systems Seminar Series, Invited Speaker: “Production of Methanol by a Wide Phylogenetic Range of Phytoplankton” May 8, 2013.
  • William and Mary-Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Environmental Chemistry Seminar, Invited Speaker: “Microbial interactions with plastic debris in the marine water column” November 9, 2012.
  • ASLO 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting, Honolulu, HI, February, 24, 2014. Oral Presentation and session Organizer and Co-Chair. “Investigation Of Microbial Adherence And Virulence Factors Associated With Open-Ocean Derived Plastic Marine Debris: Vibrio Bacteria As A Model System.”


  • NSF-PEER Nicaraguan Biotechnology Marine Biodiversity and Genomics Workshop Organizer August 17-23, 2014. Invited organizer and presenter of a 5-day lecture and workshop on cultivation of diverse microbes, merging biotechnology and chemical ecology.
  • MIT/WHOI Marine Organic Chemistry, 4-11-13, Guest Lecturer, “Marine Toxins and Natural Products”
  • MIT/WHOI 7.439: Topics in Marine Microbiology, Fall 2009, Functional Analyses of Microbial Communities: Insights into Activities, Pathways, and Interactions, Co-instructor
  • MIT/WHOI Marine Organic Chemistry, 4-23-09, Guest Lecturer, “Marine Toxins and Natural Products”

Education and Academic Service:

•           WHOI MC&G Postdoctoral Fellowship Committee Representative 2014-2015

•           Oscar Sosa (Current MIT-WHOI Joint Program Student) dissertation committee member since fall 2012

•           WHOI MC&G Joint Program Student Faculty Mentor, 2010-2011

•           WHOI Summer Undergraduate Fellow Department Coordinator – 2010-2012

•           Amalia Aruda (Current MIT-WHOI Joint Program Student) dissertation committee member since fall 2011

•           Kathleen Munson (MIT-WHOI Joint Program Student- Graduated 2011) dissertation committee member fall 2010- winter 2014

•           Jessie Kneeland (MIT-WHOI Joint Program Student- Graduated 2011) thesis defense Chair

•           JCCO General Exam Coordinator, 2010-2011

•           First year JCCO Advisor, 2010

•           MC&G Summer Student Fellow Representative, 2010-present

•           WHOI Joint Program Student Generals Paper Reviewer for 4 students

•           Laura Hmelo – (MIT/WHOI Joint Program Graduate Student – Graduated 2010) dissertation committee member and collaborator

•           Kristen Pangallo, (MIT-WHOI Joint Program Student- Graduated 2010), dissertation committee member

•           Annette Hynes (MIT-WHOI Joint Program Student- Graduated 2009) dissertation committee member

•           Adam Rivers (MIT-WHOI Joint Program Student- Graduated 2009) dissertation Chair


Staff Supervisor:

•           Misty Miller, Research Assistant II, full-time October 2009 – April 2010

•           Kristen Rathjen, Research Assistant III/ Associate II, full-time November 2011-July 2014

•           Athena Aicher, Research Assistant I, full–time March 2012-Present

•           Hilary Ranson, Research Assiatant II, January 2013-May 2013 Part-time – Full time May 2013- present

•           Dr. Kristen Whalen, Research Associate III, November 2012– Present – Part-time

•           Catherine Stark, Part-time lab helper, June-August 2013

Academic Advising:

•           Shiye Zhao, Guest Student, Ph. D. candidate, East China Normal Univ. Shanghai, China, September 2014—present

•           Elena Perry, WHOI Summer Student Fellow – Summer 2014

•           Dr. Kelsey Poulson-Ellestad, Postdoctoral Researcher, June 2013—present

•           Vincent Guzzetta, WHOI Summer Student Fellow, May-August 2013.

•           Athena Aicher, Guest Student, June–July 2011

•           Dr. Emelia DeForce, Guest Investigator, July 2011

•           Alex Flynn-Caroll, Undergraduate Guest Student, May–August 2011

•           Dr. John LaFleur, M.D. – University of Massachusetts MD/PhD candidate Guest Student, September 2009–January 2011

•           Tanner Miller, WHOI Winter Undergraduate Fellow, January 2010—and, WHOI Summer Undergraduate Fellow May–August, 2010

•           Paige Roberts, WHOI Summer Guest Student, May–August 2010

•           Emmanuel Vázquez, WHOI Summer Guest Student, January – April 2010

•           Dr. Amy Apprill – WHOI Postdoctoral Scholar Fellow, September 2009-December 2011 (Dr. Apprill is now a member of the WHOI Scientific Faculty)

•           Rose Kantor – WHOI Summer Student Fellow – Summer 2009


Scientific and Community Outreach:

  • Mentor of Falmouth MA Science Fair Student project, Falmouth Academy student Brianna Feldott (this student received Honorable Mention and a Special Award in the local competition and First Place and a Special Award at the regional level)
  • Mentor of Falmouth MA Science Fair Student project, Falmouth High School student Catherine Stark (this student received First Place in the local and Second Place in the regional competitions as well as First Place at the Massachusetts State Science and Engineering Fair).
  • Student Spaceflight Experiments Program: sponsor of project by students from Montachusett Technical High School, Montachusett MA. This project titled “Effect of Arthrobacter on polyethylene decomposition rate in microgravity” successfully sent to the International Space Station on the first SpaceX Dragon Mission October 28, 2012.
  • Elected Town Meeting Member of Precinct 2, Falmouth MA. Three year term, May 2013-2016.


Academic Leadership:

Editorial Board Member- Frontiers in Microbiology GrantProposal Reviewer-National Science Foundation Panelist and Proposal Reviewer for National Institutes of Health- International Cooperative Biodiversity Group program Maryland Sea Grant; California Sea Grant Reviewer for: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Aquatic Microbial Ecology, ISME Journal, Environmental Microbiology, EM Reports, Geomicrobiology Journal, Deep Sea Research, Limnology and Oceanography, Marine Pollution Bulletin, FEMS Microbial Letters.

Peer-Reviewed Publications:


  1. Whalen, K. E.*, Poulson-Ellestad, K. L., Deering, R. W.,  Rowley, D. C., Mincer, T. J.* “Enhancement of antibiotic activity against multidrug resistant bacteria by the efflux pump inhibitor, 3,4-dibromopyrrole-2,5-dione, isolated from a Pseudoaltermonas sp.” Submitted to Journal of Natural Products.
  2. Walworth, N., Pfreundt, U., Nelson, W. C., Mincer, T. J., Heidelberg, J. F., Fu, F.,  Waterbury, J. B., del Rio, T. G., Goodwin, L., Kyrpides, N. C., Land, M. L., Woyke, T., Hutchins, D. A., Hess, W. R., Webb, E. A. “Trichodesmium genome maintains abundant, widespread noncoding DNA in situ, despite oligotrophic lifestyle” Currently in Review at Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  3. Schmidt, V., Reveillaud, J., Zettler, E. R., Mincer, T. J., Murphy, L., Amaral-Zettler, L. “Oligotyping reveals community level habitat selection in the genus Vibrio” Frontiers in Microbiology. Accepted for Publication September 2014.
  4. Apprill, A.*, Robbins,J., Eren, A. M., Pack, A. A., Reveillaud, J., Mattila, D., Moore, M., Niemeyer, M., Moore, K. M. T., Mincer, T. J.* “Humpback whale populations share a core skin bacterial community: towards a health index for marine mammals?” (2014) 9(3): e90785. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090785, PLoS ONE.
  5. Wuchter, C., Banning, E., Mincer, T. J., Drenzek, N. J., Coolen, M. J. L., "Microbial diversity and methanogenic capability of Antrim Shale formation waters from recently fractured wells." Frontiers in Microbiology, 4:367. (2014) doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2013.00367
  6. Zettler, E. R., Mincer, T. J.*, Amaral-Zettler, L.*, “The unnatural history of the ‘Plastisphere’: Microbes on plastic marine debris.” Environmental Science and Technology, Volume 47: Pages 7137-7146, June 2013.
  7. Bayer, .T. Neave, M., Alsheikh-Hussain, A., Aranda, M., Yum, L., Mincer, T. J., Hughen, K., Apprill, A., Voolstra, C. “The microbiome of the Red Sea coral Stylophora pistillata is dominated by tissue-associated Endozoicomonas bacteria” Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Volume 79: pages 4759-4762, July 2013.
  8. Apprill, A., Hughen, K., & Mincer, T. J. “Major similarities in the bacterial communities associated with lesioned and healthy Fungiidae corals.” Environmental Microbiology, Volume 15: pages 2063-2072, July 2013.
  9. Cordero, O. X., Wildschutte, H., Kirkup, B., Proehl, S., Ngo, L., Hussain, F., Le Roux, F., Mincer, T. J., & Polz, M. F. “Ecological Populations of Bacteria Act as Socially Cohesive Units of Antibiotic Production and Resistance.”  Science, Volume 337, pages 1228-1231, September 2012.
  10. Hmelo, L. R., Van Mooy, B.A.S. & Mincer, T. J.* “Characterization of bacterial epibionts on the cyanobacterium Trichodesmium.Aquatic Microbial Ecology, Volume 67, pages 1-14, July 2012.
  11. Van Mooy, B. A. S., Hmelo, L. R., Sofen, L. E., Campagna, S. R., May, A. L.,  Dyhrman, S. T., Heithoff, A., Webb, E. A., Momper, L. & Mincer, T. J. “Quorum sensing control of phosphorus acquisition in Trichodesmium colonies.” (2012) The ISME Journal, 6, 422–429.
  12. Hmelo, L. R., Mincer, T. J. & Van Mooy, B.A.S. “Possible influence of bacterial quorum sensing on the hydrolysis of sinking particulate organic carbon in marine environments.” (2011) Environmental Microbiology 6, 682–688.
  13. Van Mooy, B. A. S., Fredricks, H. F., Pedler, B. E., Dyhrman, S. T., Karl, D. M., Koblížek, M., Lomas, M., Mincer, T. J., Moore, L. R., Moutin, T., Rappé, M. and Webb, E. A. “Phytoplankton in the oligotrophic ocean substitute phospholipids in response to phosphorus scarcity.” (2009) Nature 458, 69-72. **Must Read Faculty of 1000 rating**
  14. Mincer TJ, Church MJ, Taylor LT, Preston C, Karl DM, DeLong EF “Quantitative distribution of presumptive archaeal and bacterial nitrifiers in Monterey Bay and the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre.” (2007) Environmental Microbiology 9, 1162-1175.
  15. Frigaard, N. U., Martinez, A., Mincer, T. J. & DeLong, E. F. “Proteorhodopsin lateral gene transfer between marine planktonic Bacteria and Archaea” (2006) Nature 439, 847-50. **Exceptional Faculty of 1000 rating**
  16. Hallam, S. J., Mincer, T. J., Schleper, C., Preston, C. M., Roberts, K., Richardson, P. M. & DeLong. E. F. “Environmental genomic reconstruction of potential carbon assimilation and ammonia oxidation pathways in marine Crenarchaeota” (2006) PLoS Biology 4, 520-536.
  17. DeLong, E. F., Preston, C. M., Mincer, T., Rich, V., Hallam, S. J., Frigaard, N. U., Martinez, A., Sullivan, M. B., Edwards, R., Brito, B. R., Chisholm, S. W. & Karl, D. M. “Community genomics among stratified microbial assemblages in the ocean's interior” (2006) Science 311, 496-503. **Recommended Faculty of 1000 rating**
  18. Mincer, T. J., Jensen, Paul R., & Fenical, William H. “Targeted amplification of specific actinomycete 16S ribosomal gene sequences from marine sediments using a nested PCR technique.” (2005) Appl Environ Microbiol 71, 7019-28.
  19. Maldonado, L. A., Fenical, W., Jensen, P. R., Kauffman, C. A., Mincer, T. J., Ward, A. C., Bull, A. T. & Goodfellow, M. “Salinispora arenicola gen. nov., sp. nov. and Salinispora tropica sp. nov., obligate marine actinomycetes belonging to the family Micromonosporaceae” (2005) Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 55, 1759-66.
  20. Jensen, P. R., Mincer, T. J., Williams, P. G. & Fenical, W. H. “Marine actinomycete diversity and natural product discovery” (2005) Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek 87, 43-8.
  21. Jensen, P. R., Gontang, E., Mafnas, C, Mincer, T. J. & Fenical, W. H. “Culturable marine actinomycete diversity from tropical Pacific Ocean sediments.”  Environ Microbiol (2005) 7, 1039-48. 
  22. Mincer, T. J., Spyere, A., Jensen, P. R. & Fenical, W. H. “Phylogenetic and secondary metabolite analyses of marine bacteria belonging to the genus Saprospira.” (2004) Curr Microbiol 49, 300-7.
  23. Jensen, P. R., Mincer, T. J., Fenical, W. H. “The true potential of the marine microorganism.” Current Drug Discovery (2003) 17-19.
  24. Feling, R. H., Buchanan, G. O., Mincer, T. J., Jensen, P. R. & Fenical, W. H. “Salinosporamide A, a potent proteasome inhibitor from a novel microbial source.” (2003) Angew Chem Int Ed Engl 42, 355-7.
  25. Mincer, T. J., Jensen, P. R., Kauffman, C. A. & Fenical, W. H. “Widespread and persistent populations of a major new marine actinomycete taxon in ocean sediments.” (2002) Appl Environ Microbiol 68, 5005-11. **Exceptional Faculty of 1000 rating**
  26. Zhong, Z., Caspi, R., Mincer, T., Helinski, D., Knauf, V., Boardman, K., Wilkinson, J. E., Shea, T., DeLoughery, C. & Toukdarian, A. “A 50-kb plasmid rich in mobile gene sequences isolated from a marine Micrococcus.” (2002) Plasmid 47, 1-9.
  27. Johnson, E. P., Mincer, T., Schwab, H., Burgin, A. B. & Helinski, D. R.  “Plasmid RK2 ParB protein: Purification and nuclease properties.” (1999) J Bacteriol 181, 6010-8.
  28. Sobecky, P. A., Mincer, T. J., Chang, M. C., Toukdarian, A. & Helinski, D. R. “Isolation of broad-host-range replicons from marine sediment bacteria.” (1998) Appl Environ Microbiol 64, 2822-30.
  29. Sobecky, P. A., Mincer, T. J., Chang, M. C. & Helinski, D. R. “Plasmids isolated from marine sediment microbial communities contain replication and incompatibility regions unrelated to those of known plasmid groups.”  (1997) Appl Environ Microbiol 63, 888-95.


Current Research Support:

  • Flatley Discovery Lab              Mincer (PI)                  08/25/11-08/24/14

Microbial Bioactive Natural Products from the Marine Environment

$1,181,770—Currently in a process of year-to-year renewal.

  • OCE-1131415                         Mincer (PI)                  09/01/11-08/31/14

National Science Foundation

Microbial Supply and Demand of Methanol in the Marine Euphotic Zone


  • OCE-1155671                         Mincer (PI)                  03/01/12-02/28/15

National Science Foundation

Microbial Interactions with Marine Plastic Debris: Diversity, Function and Fate


  • 3301                            B. Van Mooy (PI), Mincer (Co-PI)      10/09/12-09/30/15

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation  

Infochemical Control of Microbial Interactions and Nutrient Cycling in the North Atlantic



Published Presentation Abstracts:


Mincer, T. J., Johnson, M. D., Flynn-Carroll, A., Sharma, R. S., Wildschutte, H., Polz, M. “Indole as a Mediator of Protozoan Grazing of Bacteria: A New Role for a Multifaceted Infochemical” 2014 American Society for Microbiology, Boston, MA, May 17-20, 2014.


Whalen, K. E., Ranson, H. J., Mincer, T. J. “Identification of Novel Small Molecules Secreted by Marine Bacteria with Bactericidal Activity against Multidrug-Resistant Gram-Negative Pathogens” 2014 American Society for Microbiology, Boston, MA, May 17-20, 2014.


Ranson, H. J., Rathjen, K., Poulson-Ellestad, K., Mincer, T. J. “Optimization of Marine-Derived Microbial Crude Extract Production for Natural Product Discovery” 2014 American Society for Microbiology, Boston, MA, May 17-20, 2014.


Aicher, A. C., Mincer, T. J. “Volatile Organic Molecule Production by Cyanobacteria and Eukaryotic Phytoplankton” 2014 American Society for Microbiology, Boston, MA, May 17-20, 2014.


Poulson-Ellestad, K. L., Harvey, E. L., Rathjen, K., Johnson, M. D., Mincer, T. J. “Sound the Alarm: Listening in on Predator-Prey Interactions among Marine Protists” 2014 American Society for Microbiology, Boston, MA, May 17-20, 2014.


Aruda-Almada, A., Baumgartner, M., Mincer, T. J., Tarrant, A. “Impacts of Copepod Host Physiology on Its Associated Microbial Communities” 2014 American Society for Microbiology, Boston, MA, May 17-20, 2014.


Mincer, T. J., Guzzetta, V., Slikas, B., Zettler, E. R., Amaral-Zettler, L. A. Investigation Of Microbial Adherence And Virulence Factors Associated With Open-Ocean Derived Plastic Marine Debris: Vibrio Bacteria As A Model System. ASLO 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting, Honolulu, HI, February, 24, 2014. Oral Presentation and session Organizer and Co-Chair.


Mincer, T. J. “Production of Methanol by Phytoplankton: Implications for Epibiont Interactions” ASLO 2013 Aquatic Sciences Meeting, New Orleans, LA, February, 20, 2013. Oral Presentation.


Zettler, E. R., Mincer, T. J., Proskurowski, G., Amaral-Zettler, L. A.  The ‘‘Plastisphere’’: A new and expanding habitat for marine protists. 56th meeting of the Phycological Society of America. July 12–16, 2011. *Oral presentation


Apprill, A., Robbins, J. Mincer, T. J., Pack, A. A., Mattila, D. K. Specificity of

the humpback whale microbiome across geographically distinct populations. 19th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals. Tampa, FL. Nov. 28 – Dec. 2, 2011.


Apprill A, Hughen K, Mincer T. J. Bacterial communities associated with healthy and lesioned corals in comparison to reef water biogeochemistry. ASLO Meeting, February 14 – 18, 2011, San Juan, Puerto Rico. *Oral presentation


Apprill A, Miller T, Hughen K, Mincer T. J. Quantification of SSU rRNA gene copies from Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya in mixed templates of nucleic acids from marine environments. Marine Microbes Gordon Research Conference, July 4 – 9, 2010, Tilton, NH.


Proskurowski, G., Mincer, T. J., Amaral-Zettler, L. A., Zettler, E. R., DeForce, E., Aicher, A., Moret-Ferguson, S., Lavender-Law, K. Microbial Biofouling of Plastic Marine Debris. Fifth International Marine Debris Conference, March 20-25, 2011. Honolulu, Hawaii. *Oral presentation


Apprill A, Mincer T. J., Moore M. Epithelial microbial communities: a useful health diagnostic tool for right whales? North Atlantic Right Whale Constortium, November 17 – 18, 2009, New Bedford, MA. *Oral presentation


Hmelo, L., Van Mooy, B. A. S., & Mincer, T. J. “Quorum sensing by particle-associated bacteria affects attenuation of particulate organic carbon flux in the oceans.” Ocean Sciences Meeting, February, 2010.


Miller, M. R., Kantor, R., Hmelo, L., Van Mooy, B.A S., Mincer, T. J. “Cultivation-based analyses of methylotrophic bacteria isolated from sinking marine aggregates in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia.” Ocean Sciences Meeting, February, 2010.


A.M. Hynes; T.J. Mincer; S.C. Doney; J.B. Waterbury. “Clade-Specific Field Distributions of the Nitrogen-Fixing,Marine Cyanobacterium Trichodesmium Using QPCR.” Ocean Sciences Meeting, February, 2010.


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