Joseph Wirth

Postdoctoral scholar in Interdisciplinary Computation

F.W. Olin Science Center, Room 1253
1250 N. Dartmouth Ave.
Claremont, CA 91711

Education and Professional Experience

  • B.S.; Molecular and Cellular Biology; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2012)
  • Ph.D.; Microbiology; University of Georgia (2019)


  • CS5 Green: Introduction to Computer Science (Fall)
  • Bio 52: Introduction to Biology (Spring)

Research Interests

I am interested in the ecology, evolution, and physiology of microbes, especially those organisms that are environmentally or clinically relevant. I seek to apply a combination of genetic, biochemical, physiological, and computational approaches to try and understand both how a microbial cell works and the evolutionary events that produced it. Currently, my research is focused on developing computational tools to improve the taxonomic classification of bacterial and archaeal organisms, especially when delineating taxonomic ranks greater than species (eg. genus, family, etc.). I am also helping to develop software capable of detecting horizontal gene transfer events and mapping the history of these events onto a phylogenetic tree.

Selected Publications

Wirth JS, Madhaiyan M, Saravanan VS, Whitman WB. 2020. Phylogenomic analyses of the
Staphylococcaceae family suggest the reclassification of five species within the genus
Staphylococcus as heterotypic synonyms, the promotion of five subspecies to novel
species, the taxonomic reassignment of five Staphylococcus species to Mammaliicoccus
gen. nov., and the formal assignment of Nosocomiicoccus to the family
Staphylococcaceae. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.

Madhaiyan M, Saravanan VS, Wirth JS, Alex THH, Kim SJ, Weon HY, Kwon SW, Whitman
WB, Ji L. 2020. Sphingomonas palmae sp. nov. and Sphingomonas gellani sp. nov.,
endophytically associated phyllosphere bacteria isolated from economically important
crop plants. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek. doi:10.1007/s10482-020-01468-5

Wirth JS, Wang T, Huang Q, White RH, Whitman WB. 2020. Dimethylsulfoniopropionate sulfur
and methyl carbon assimilation in Ruegeria species. mBio. doi:10.1128/mBio.00329-20

Madhaiyan M, See-Too WS, Ee R, Saravanan VS, Wirth JS, Alex THH, Lin C, Kim SJ, WeonHY,
Whitman WB, Kwon SW, Ji L. 2020. Chitinasiproducens palmae gen. nov., sp. nov.,
a new member of the family Burkholderiaceae isolated from leaf tissues of oil palm
(Elaesis guineensis Jacq.). International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.


Madhaiyan M, Saravanan VS, Wirth JS, Whitman WB. 2020. Reclassification of Sphingomonas
aeria as a later heterotypic synonym of Sphingomonas carotinifaciens based on whole-
genome sequence analysis. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary
Microbiology. 10.1099/ijsem.0.004045

Wirth JS, Whitman WB.  2018. Phylogenomic analyses of a clade within the roseobacter group
suggest taxonomic reassignments of species of the genera Aestuariivita, Citreicella,
Loktanella, Nautella, Pelagibaca, Ruegeria, Thalassobius, Thiobacimonas and
Tropicibacter, and the proposal of six novel genera. International Journal of Systematic
and Evolutionary Microbiology. doi:10.1099/ijsem.0.002833

Youngblut ND, Wirth JS, Henriksen JR, Smith, MW, Simon, HM, Metcalf, WW, Whitaker, RJ.
2015. Genomic and phenotypic differentiation among Methanosarcina mazei populations
from Columbia River sediment. The ISME Journal. doi:10.1038/ismej.2015.31