Wesley Wiggins ’21



Project Title

Protein Nanocompartments in Anammox Bacteria

Presentation Link

View Wesley's Presentation

Certificate(s): Environmental Studies

I worked in the Ward Lab, which focuses mainly on the ocean nitrogen cycle. My project focused on using genetic techniques to identify nanocompartments in the marine bacteria that perform anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox). Anammox is responsible for 29 percent of the release of ocean nitrogen in the form of dinitrogen gas. The process that makes up the other 71 percent is denitrification, and both processes mainly occur in oxygen minimum zones. Encapsulin nanocompartments are theoretical cage-like organelles that protect the cell from dangerous chemical intermediates formed during anammox reactions, such as hydrazine and nitrogen monoxide. During the summer, I learned valuable lab procedures including DNA extraction, RNase treatment, E. coli culturing, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). I also learned valuable scientific problemsolving skills, gained general lab experience, and started identifying career goals involving research and science communication.

Internship Year


Project Category

Climate Change and Environmental Science


Ward Lab, Department of Geosciences, Princeton University-Princeton, New Jersey


Bess Ward, William J. Sinclair Professor of Geosciences and the Princeton Environmental Institute