Russell Hill

Name: Russell

Surname: Hill


Position: Director and Professor

Institution: Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Address: 701 East Pratt Street, Suite 236, Baltimore MD 21202, USA


Research Projects

The major focus of Dr. Hill’s research is the investigation of symbiosis between bacteria and marine invertebrates, in particular, sponges. His laboratory was amongst the first to characterize the complex bacterial communities associated with marine sponges by 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis. His work on more than 20 sponge species from around the world has contributed to understanding of this diversity.  In subsequent functional studies, the Hill Laboratory has elucidated the role of symbiotic bacteria in nitrogen and phosphorus cycling in sponges and the surrounding coral reef environment as well as the signaling processes in these bacteria.  One practical reason for studying sponge symbionts relates to the finding of many important compounds with pharmaceutical potential in sponges and other invertebrates. In some cases, the compounds of interest are produced, not by the sponges themselves, but by bacteria associated with the sponges. The Hill Laboratory works on culturing many previously uncultured symbiotic bacteria and studying their role in production of bioactive compounds found in marine invertebrates. Another important research focus is the interaction between bacteria and microalgae that have potential in biofuel production.  The Hill Laboratory is investigating the diversity of bacteria associated with microalgae, the effect of these bacteria on the quality of biofuel produced from the microalgae and the positive and negative effects of the associated bacteria on the growth of microalgae.

Possible collaboration interests:

Sponge microbiology

Microalgae and biofuels


Publications in the last ten years:

Vicente, J., S. Zea and R. T. Hill. 2016.  Sponge epizoism in the Caribbean and the discovery of new Plakortis and Haliclona species, and polymorphism of Xestospongia deweerdtae (Porifera).  Zootaxa.  4178:209-233.

Vicente, J., N. Silbiger, B. A. Beckley, C. W. Raczkowski and R. T. Hill. 2016. Impact of high pCO2 and warmer temperatures on the process of silica biomineralization in the sponge Mycale grandis.  ICES Journal of Marine Science. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsv235.

Harinantenaina Rakotondraibe, L., R. Rasolomampianina, H-Y. Park, J. Li, C. Slebodnick, P. J. Brodie, L. C. Blasiak, R. T. Hill, O. Andriambeloson, Y. Shen, E. M. Suh, M. B. Cassera, F. Rejo-Fienena, D. G. I. Kingston.  2015.  Antiproliferative and antiplasmodial compounds from selected Streptomyces species.  Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 25:5646-5649.

Zhang, F., L. C. Blasiak, J. O. Karolin, R. J. Powell, C. D. Geddes, and R. T. Hill. 2015.  Phosphorus sequestration in the form of polyphosphate by microbial symbionts in marine sponges.  Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA.  doi/10.1073/pnas.1423768112

Zheng, L., Z. Cui, L. Xu, C. Sun, R. J. Powell and R. T. Hill. 2015.  Draft genome sequence of Rhodobacteraceae strain PD-2, an algicidal bacterium with a quorum-sensing system, isolated from the marine microalga Prorocentrum donghaiense.  Genome Announc. 3(1):e01549-14. doi:10.1128/genomeA.01549-14.

Zan, J., O. Choi, H. Meharena, C. L. Uhlson, M. A. E. Churchill, R. T. Hill and C. Fuqua.  2015.  A solo luxI-type gene directs acylhomoserine lactone synthesis and contributes to motility control in the marine sponge symbiont Ruegeria sp. KLH11.  Microbiology. 161:50-56.

Wang, H., R. T. Hill, T. Zheng, X. Hu and B. Wang.  2015. Effects of bacterial communities on biofuel-producing microalgae: Stimulation, inhibition and harvesting.  Crit. Rev. Biotechnol.  36:341-52.

Zhang, F., J. Vicente and R. T. Hill. 2014. Temporal changes in the diazotropic bacterial communities associated with Caribbean sponges Ircinia strobilina and Mycale laxissima. Front. Microbiol. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00561

Vicente, J., S. Zea, R. J. Powell, J. R. Pawlik and R. T. Hill. 2014.  New epizooic symbioses between sponges of the genera Plakortis and Xestospongia in cryptic habitats of the Caribbean.  Mar. Biol.  doi: 10.1007/s00227-014-2546-z

Zhang, F., L. Pita, P. M. Erwin, S. Abaid, S. López-Legentil, R. T. Hill. 2014.  Symbiotic archaea in marine sponges show stability and host specificity in community structure and ammonia oxidation functionality. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. doi: 10.1111/1574-6941.12427.

Waters, A. L., O. Peraud, N. Kasanah, J. Sims, N. Kothalawala, M. A, Anderson, S. H. Abbas, K. V. Rao, V. R. Jupally, M. Kelly, A. Dass, R. T. Hill and M. T. Hamann. 2014. An analysis of the sponge Acanthostrongylophora igens’ microbiome yields an actinomycete that produces the natural product manzamine A. Front. Mar. Sci. 1:54. doi:10.3389/fmars.2014.00054

Wang, H., J. Li, T. Zheng, R. T. Hill and X. Hu.  2014. Permianibacter aggregans gen. nov., sp. nov., a novel bacterium of the family Pseudomonadaceae capable of aggregating potential biofuel-producing microalgae.  Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol.  64:3503-7. doi: 10.1099/ijs.0.065003-0.

Davis, J. and R. T. Hill.  2014.  Draft genome sequence of Hawaiian sea slug symbiont Vibrio sp. strain ER1A.  Genome Announc.  2:e00820-14. doi: 10.1128/genomeA.00820-14.

Powell, R. J. and R. T. Hill. 2014.  Mechanism of algal aggregation by Bacillus sp. strain RP1137. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 80:4042-4050.

Montalvo, N. F., J. Davis, J. Vicente, R. Pittiglio, J. Davis, J. Ravel and R. T. Hill. 2014.  Integration of culture-based and molecular analysis of a complex sponge-associated bacterial community. PLOS One. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0090517.

Powell R. J., T. R. Bachvaroff and R. T. Hill. 2014. Draft genome sequence of the alga-aggregating bacterium Bacillus sp. strain RP1137. Genome Announc. 2(1):e00973-13.

Powell R. J., R. White and R. T. Hill.  2014.  Merging metabolism and power: Development of a novel photobioelectric device driven by photosynthesis and respiration. PLoS ONE 9(1): e86518. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086518.

Wang, D., K. Ning, J. Li, J. Hu, D. Han, H. Wang, X. Zeng, X. Jing, Q. Zhou, X. Su, X. Chang, A. Wang, W. Wang, J. Jia, L. Wei, Y. Xin, Y. Qiao, R. Huang, J. Chen, B. Han, K. Yoon, R. T. Hill, Y. Zohar, F. Chen, Q. Hu, and J. Xu.  2014. Nannochloropsis genomes reveal evolution of microalgal oleaginous traits.  PLOS Genetics.10(1):e1004094. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004094.

Zan, J., Y. Liu, C. Fuqua and R. T. Hill.  2014.  Acyl-homoserine lactone quorum sensing in the Roseobacter clade.  Int. J. Mol. Sci. 15:654-669; doi:10.3390/ijms15010654.

Blasiak L. C., A. W. Schmidt, H. Andriamiarinoro, T. Mulaw, R. Rasolomampianina, W. Applequist, C. Birkinshaw, F. Rejo-Fienena, P. P. Lowry II, T. M Schmidt, R. T. Hill.  2014.  Bacterial communities in Malagasy soils with differing levels of disturbance affecting botanical diversity. PLoS ONE 9(1): e85097. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0085097

Blasiak, L. C., S. H. Zinder, D. H. Buckley and R. T. Hill. 2014. Bacterial diversity associated with the tunic of the model chordate Ciona intestinalis. ISME J.  8:309-390.

Davis, J., F. Fricke, M. T. Hamann, P. Dorrestein and R. T. Hill.  2013.  Characterization of the bacterial community of the chemically defended Hawaiian sacoglossan Elysia rufescens. Appl. Environ. Microbiol.  79:7073-7081.

Powell, R. J. and R. T. Hill. 2013.  Rapid aggregation of biofuel-producing algae by the bacterium Bacillus sp. strain RP1137.  Appl. Environ. Microbiol.  79: 6093-6101.

Zan, J., J. E. Heindl, Y. Liu, C. Fuqua and R. T. Hill. 2013.  The cckAchpTctrA phosphorelay system is regulated by quorum sensing and controls flagellar motility in the marine sponge symbiont Ruegeria sp. KLH11. PLOS One. 8:e66346.

Wang, H., J. Li, T. Zheng, R. T. Hill and X. Hu.  2013. Imperialibacter roseus gen. nov., sp. nov., a novel bacterium of the family ‘Flammeovirgaceae’ isolated from Permian groundwater.  Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 63:4136-4140.

Palomo, S., I. González, M. de la Cruz, J. Martín, J. R. Tormo, M. Anderson, R. T. Hill, F. Vicente, F. Reyes and O. Genilloud.  2013. Sponge-derived Kocuria and Micrococcus spp. as sources of the new thiazolyl peptide antibiotic kocurin.  Mar. Drugs. 11:1071-1086.

Martín, J., T. da S. Sousa, G. Crespo, S. Palomo, I. González, J. R. Tormo, M. de la Cruz, M. Anderson, R. T. Hill, F. Vicente, O. Genilloud and F. Reyes.  2013. Kocurin, the true structure of PM181104, an anti-methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) thiazolyl peptide from the marine-derived bacterium Kocuria palustris.  Mar. Drugs 11:387-398.

Vicente, J., A. Stewart, B. Song, R. T. Hill and J. L. Wright.  2013.  Biodiversity of actinomycetes associated with Caribbean sponges and their potential for natural product discovery.  Mar. Biotechnol.  DOI 10.1007/s10126-013-9493-4.

Zan, J., E. M. Cicirelli, N. M. Mohamed, H. Sibhatu, S. Kroll, O. Choi, C. L. Uhlson, C. L. Wysoczinski, R. C. Murphy, M. A. E. Churchill, R. T. Hill and C. Fuqua.  2012.  A complex LuxR-LuxI type quorum sending network in a roseobacterial marine sponge symbiont activates flagellar motility and inhibits biofilm formation.  Mol. Microbiol.  85:916-933.

Walmsley, T. A., G. F. Matcher, F. Zhang, R. T. Hill, M. T. Davies-Coleman and R. A. Dorrington.  2012.  Diversity of bacterial communities associated with the Indian Ocean sponge Tsitsikamma favus that contains the bioactive pyrroloiminoquinones, tsitsikammamine A and B.  Mar. Biotechnol.  14:681-691.

Wang, H., H. D. Laughinghouse IV, M. A. Anderson, F. Chen, E. Williams, A. R. Place, O. Zmora, Y. Zohar, T. Zheng and R. T. Hill.  2012.  A novel bacterial isolate from Permian ground water capable of aggregating potential biofuel-producing microalga Nannochloropsis oceanica IMET1.  Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 78:1445-53.

Bergman, O., B. Mayzel, M. Anderson, M. Shpigel, R. T. Hill and M. Ilan.  2011.  Examination of marine-based cultivation of three demosponges for acquiring bioactive marine natural products.  Mar. Drugs 9:2201-2219.

Montalvo, N. F. and R. T. Hill. 2011.  Sponge-associated bacteria are strictly maintained in two closely related but geographically distant sponge hosts.  Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 77:7207-7216.

Zan, J., W. F. Fricke, C. Fuqua, J. Ravel and R. T. Hill. 2011.  Genome sequence of Ruegeria sp. strain KLH11, an N-acylhomoserine lactone-producing bacterium isolated from the marine sponge Mycale laxissima. J. Bacteriol.  193:5011-5012.

Bergman, O., M. Haber, B. Mayzel, M. A. Anderson, M. Shpigel, R. T. Hill and M. Ilan.  2011.  Marine-based cultivation of Diacarnus sponges and the bacterial community composition of wild and maricultured sponges and their larvae.  Mar. Biotechnol. 13:1169-1182.

Zan, J., C. Fuqua and R. T. Hill. 2011.  Diversity and functional analysis of luxS genes in Vibrios from marine sponges Mycale laxissima and Ircinia strobilina. ISME J. 5:1505-1516.

Waters, A. L., R. T. Hill, A. R. Place and M. T. Hamann.  2010.  The expanding role of marine microbes in pharmaceutical development.  Curr. Opin. Biotechnol.  21:780-786.

Radwan, M., A. Hanora, J. Zan, N. M. Mohamed, D. M. Abo-Elmatty, S. H. Abou-El-Ela and R. T. Hill.  2010. Bacterial community analyses of two Red Sea sponges.  Mar. Biotechnol. 12:350-360.

Dib, J. R., M. Wagenknecht, R. T. Hill, M. E. Farías and F. Meinhardt.  2010.  Novel linear megaplasmid from Brevibacterium sp. isolated from extreme environment.  J. Basic Microbiol.  50:1-5.

Dib, J. R., M. Wagenknecht, R. T. Hill, M. E. Farías and F. Meinhardt.  2010.  First report of linear megaplasmids in the genus Micrococcus.  Plasmid 63:40-45.

Mohamed, N., K. Saito, Y. Tal and R. T. Hill. 2009. Diversity of aerobic and anaerobic ammonia oxidizing bacteria in marine sponges.  ISME J. 4:38-48.

To Isaacs, L., J. Kan, L. Nguyen, P. Videau, M. A. Anderson, T. L. Wright and R. T. Hill.  2009.  Comparison of the bacterial communities of wild and captive sponge Clathria prolifera from the Chesapeake Bay.  Mar. Biotechnol. 11:758-770.

Kelman, D., Y. Kashman, R. T. Hill, E. Rosenberg, and Y. Loya.  2009.  Chemical warfare in the sea: The search for antibiotics from Red Sea corals and sponges.  Pure Appl. Chem.  81:1113-1121.

Mohamed, N. M., A. S. Colman, Y. Tal, and R. T. Hill. 2008. Diversity and expression of nitrogen fixation genes in bacterial symbionts of marine sponges.  Environ. Microbiol.10:2910-2921.

Na, M., D. A. F. Meujo, D., M. T. Hamann, M. Anderson, and R. T. Hill.  2008. A new antimalarial polyether from a marine Streptomyces sp. H668.  Tetrahedron Lett. 49:6282-6285.

Mohamed, N. M., V. Rao, M. T. Hamann, M. Kelly and R. T. Hill.  2008. Monitoring bacterial diversity and metabolite production of the marine sponge Ircinia strobilina on transfer into aquaculture.  Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 74:4133-4143.

Mohamed, N. M., J. J. Enticknap, J. E. Lohr, S. M. McIntosh, and R. T. Hill. 2008. Changes in bacterial communities of the marine sponge Mycale laxissima on transfer into aquaculture.  Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 74:1209-1222.

Lampert, Y., D. Kelman, Y. Nitzan, Z. Dubinsky, A. Behar and R. T. Hill. 2008. Phylogenetic diversity of bacteria associated with the mucus of Red Sea corals.  FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 64:187-198.

Hilyard, E. J., J. M. Jones-Meehan, B. J. Spargo and R. T. Hill.  2008.  Enrichment, isolation and phylogenetic identification of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria from Elizabeth River sediments. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 74:1176-1182.

Ries, J. B., M. A. Anderson and R. T. Hill.  2008. Seawater Mg/Ca influences polymorph mineralogy of microbial CaCO3: A proxy for calcite-aragonite seas in Precambrian time.  Geobiol.  6:106-119.

Mohamed, N. M., E. M. Cicirelli, J. Kan, F. Chen, C. Fuqua and R. T. Hill. 2007. Diversity and quorum sensing signal production of Proteobacteria associated with marine sponges.  Environ. Microbiol. 10:75-86.

Hamann, M. T., S. Roggo and R. T. Hill. 2007. Marine natural products.  Key advances to the practical application of this resource in drug development.  Chimia 61:313-321.

Taylor, M., R. T. Hill, J. Piel, R. W. Thacker and U. Hentschel.  2007.  Soaking it up: The complex lives of marine sponges and their microbial associates. ISME J.  1:187-190.