Southern Illinoise University Carbondale
My research laboratory focuses on microbial diversity in aquatic oligotrophic, geothermal, and ancient environments. Microorganisms from these environments possess characteristics valuable to applied research. The underlying fundamental principles are analyzed using biochemistry and bioinformatics, where we examine extant/extinct microbial biomes, characterize novel pathways to produce value added molecules/biofuels, determine critical species involved in remediation/recovery processes, and piecing together the mechanisms that support the origins of life.
While my research interests cover many areas of microbial biochemistry, the three research themes pursued currently are to: 1) isolate/characterize deep subsurface microorganisms to determine how life is sustained in oligotrophic environments; 2) design/develop anaerobic consolidated bioprocessing using microorganisms from geothermal/subsurface environments to convert bio-waste to value added molecules/biofuels; 3) design/develop algorithms based on next generation sequencing data that can evaluate the severity and recovery of damage to ecosystems from pollution or establish sustainable conditions to support important organisms.