Faculty - Sallie W. (Penny) Chisholm

Sallie W. (Penny) Chisholm's photo

Sallie W. (Penny) Chisholm

Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies

Professor of Biology

Room 48-419
15 Vassar Street
Cambridge, MA, 02139

Telephone: 617.253.1771 Email: chisholm@mit.edu Research Website: http://chisholmlab.mit.edu/ Assistant: James Long / jmlong@mit.edu


  • B.A. 1969, Skidmore College
  • 1970, Cornell University
  • Ph.D. 1974, S.U.N.Y. Albany

Research Interests

  • General areas
    • Biological oceanography
    • Microbial ecology
    • Ecological Genomics
  • Current interests
    • Ecology, evolution, and comparative genomics of marine cyanobacteria and viruses that infect them
    • The ecological and policy dimensions of large-scale ocean fertilization

Teaching Interests

  • Ecology
  • Microbial Oceanography

Awards and Honors

  • 2013 Ramon Margalef Prize in Ecology, Government of Catalonia, Spain
  • 2013 Resident Scholar - Bellagio Conference and Study Center, Italy
  • 2013 Awarded 2011 National Medal of Science, the White House
  • 2013 Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • 2012 Elected Fellow, Ecological Society of America
  • 2012 Ruth Patrick Award, American Society of Limnology and Oceanography
  • 2011 Darbaker Prize: Botanical Society of America
  • 2010 Agassiz Medal in Oceanography:  National Academy of Sciences
  • 2005 Huntsman Award for Excellence in Marine Science
  • 2004-2012 Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Marine Microbiology Investigator 
  • 2003 Member the National Academy of Sciences
  • 1998 Resident Scholar, Bellagio Study Center, Lake Como, Italy
  • 1997 Guggenheim Fellow
  • 1996 Fellow American Geophysical Union
  • 1993 Fellow American Academy of Microbiology
  • 1992 Fellow American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 1991 Rosensteil Award in Ocean Sciences

Selected Publications

    2014: Kashtan, N. SE Roggensack, S. Rodrigue, JW Thompson, SJ Biller, A Coe, H Ding, P Marttinen, R Stocker, M. Follows, R. Stephanauskas, and SW Chisholm. Single cell genomics reveals hundreds ofcoexisting subpopulations in wild Prochlorococcus. Science Vol. 344 no. 6182 pp. 416-420. 

    2014: Biller, SJ, F Schubotz, SE Roggensack, AW Thompson, RE Summons, and SW Chisholm. Bacterial vesicles in marine ecosystems. Science Vol. 343 no. 6167 pp. 183-186.

    2012:  Chisholm, S.W. Unveiling Prochlorococcus.  In Microbes and Evolution: The World that Darwin Never Saw. R. Kolter and S. Malow [eds]. ASM Press.

    2012: Malmstrom, R.S. Rodrigue, K.H. Huang, L. Kelly, S. Kern, A. Thompson, S. Roggensack, M. Henn, and S.W. Chisholm.  Ecology of uncultured Prochlorococcus clades revealed through single-cell genomics and biogeographic analysis.  ISME Journal 7:184-198.

    2009:  Strong, A.L., J.J. Cullen and S.W. Chisholm.  Ocean fertilization: Science policy and commerce.   Oceanography Magazine 22 (3):236-261.

    2007: Coleman, M.L. and S.W. Chisholm Code and Context: Prochlorococcus as a model for cross-scale biology. Trends in Microbiology 15:398-407.

    2006: Coleman, M.L., M.B. Sullivan, C. Steglich, E.F. DeLong and S.W. Chisholm. Genomic Islands and the ecology and evolution of Prochlorococcus. Science 311:1768-1770.

    2006: Johnson Z, Zinser ER, Coe A, McNulty NP, Woodward EMS, Chisholm SW. Niche partitioning among Prochlorococcus ecotypes along ocean-scale environmental gradients. Science 311:1737-1740.

    2005: Lindell, D, J. D. Jaffe, Z. I. Johnson, G. M. Church, S. W. Chisholm. Photosynthesis genes in marine viruses yield proteins during host infection. Nature 438:86-89.

    2003: Rocap G, Larimer F, Lamerdin J, Malfatti S, Chain P, Ahlgren N, Arellano A, Coleman M, Hauser L, Hess W, Johnson Z, Land M, Lindell D, Post A, Regala W,