William Hickey


William (Bill) Hickey – Professor

Soil microbiology, biodegradation, environmental toxicants, molecular physiology, functional genomics, microbial nanostructure, biotechnology.

UW-Madison, Department of Soil Science
1525 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1299, USA
Office: 205B Hiram Smith Annex

Phone: 608.262.9018
Fax: 608.265.2595

Email: wjhickey@wisc.edu

Program Affiliations

  • Department of Soil Science
  • Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Program
  • Microbiology Doctoral Training Program
  • Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies


  • B.A. Biology, 1982, State University of New York
  • M.S., Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry, 1986, Iowa State University
  • Ph.D., Soil Science, 1990, University of California, Riverside

Awards and Honors

  • 1994 Young Investigator Award. US Dept. Agriculture

Teaching and Research Overview

In the spring, I teach Soils/Bact. 523 (Soil microbiology and biochemistry), and lecture in Bact./Oncology 545 (Topics in Environmental Biotechnology). In the fall, I coordinate Molec. and Environ Tox. 606 (Colloquium in Environmental Toxicology), and give modules or lectures in Soils/Plant Path 323 (Soil Biology) and Molec. and Environ Tox. 634 (Ecotoxicology).

Current research topics are: Molecular mechanisms by which bacteria extract iron from clay minerals, development of new biomarkers that may be used as alternatives to antibiotics for use in studies of soil-borne pathogenic bacteria, elucidation of the architecture, biogenesis and physiological functions of a novel bacterial nanostructure, genome-wide analysis of bacterial biodegradation systems.

Selected Publications

Chen, S., W. F. Bleam and W. J. Hickey (200x). “Simultaneous analysis of bacterioferritin gene expression and intracellular iron status in Pseudomonas putida KT2440 by using a rapid dual luciferase reporter assay.” Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (In Review).

Jencova, V., H. Strnad, Z. Chodora, P. Ulbrich, W.J. Hickey, C. Vlcek, V. Paces (2008) “Nucleotide sequence, organization and characterization of the chlorobenzoic acids catabolic plasmid pA81 from Achromobacter xylosoxidans A8.” Res. Microbiol. 159:118-127.

Starkenburg, S.R., P.S.G. Chain, L.A. Sayavedra-Soto, L. Hauser, M.L. Land, F.W. Larimer, S.A. Malfatti, M.G. Klotz5, P.J. Bottomley, D.J. Arp, and W.J. Hickey (2006) “The genome sequence of the chemolithoautotrophic nitrite-oxidizing bacterium Nitrobacter winogradskyi Nb-255.” Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 72:2050-2063.

Burton, E.O., H.W. Read, M.C. Pellitteri and W.J. Hickey (2005) “Identification of acyl-homoserine lactone signal molecules produced by Nitrosomonas europaea strain Schmidt.” Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 71:4906-4909.

Vacca, D.J., W.F. Bleam and W.J. Hickey. (2005) “Isolation of soil bacteria adapted to degrade humic acid-sorbed phenanthrene.” Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 71:3797-3805.

Jencova, V., H. Strnad, P. Ulbrich, W.J. Hickey and V. Paces. (2004) “Chlorocatechol catabolic enzymes from Achromobacter xylosoxidans A8.” Int. Biodeter. Biodeg. 54:175-181.

Yuroff, A.S. and W.J. Hickey (2003) “Transporter-mediated uptake of 2-chloro- and 2-hydroxy-benzoate by Pseudomonas huttiensis strain D1.” Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 69:7401-7408.

Rose, P., J.M. Harkin, and W.J. Hickey (2003) “Competitive touchdown PCR for estimation of Escherichia coli DNA recovery in soil DNA extraction.” J. Microbiol. Meth. 52:29-38.

Hickey, W.J. and G. Sabat. (2001) “Integration of MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry and molecular cloning for the identification and functional characterization of mobile ortho-halobenzoate oxygenase genes in Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain JB2.” Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 67:5648-5655.

Hickey,W.J., G. Sabat, A.S. Yuroff, A.R. Arment and J. PĂ©rez-Lesher (2001) “A novel, mobile cluster of biodegradation genes from Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain JB2: Cloning, nucleotide sequencing, and functional analysis.” Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 67:4603-4609.