News

1 October, 2021
Ari’s recorded talk is now on the ACA’s webpage! Woohoo! So proud. Listen to her talk here

13 September, 2021
What started as a conversation at QUBES BIOME about how to best integrate into the classroom data that speaks to environmental justice issues turned into me joining a faculty mentoring network! Today, the Environmental Data-driven Inquiry & Exploration (EDDIE) FMN met to discuss goals for the next term. Excited to learn how to harness large data sets to teach data literacy while shining a light on environmental health disparities and environmental justice issues.

17 July, 2021
Congrats to rising sophomore, Ari Brown, for her successful Ledford grant proposal funded through the Appalachian College Association. Read about what she is doing this summer here . P.S. A colleague brought to my attention that Ari and I are featured on the Council for Undergraduate Research’s homepage!

20 April, 2021
Great science happens when a large interdisciplinary team comes together to use their strengths to answer big questions! Read the Science press release about our latest paper in Nature Geoscience here.

18 March, 2021
Woohoo! I officially accepted a position as an editorial board member of the ISME Journal!

9 December, 2020
The vast microbial empire beneath your feet is weirder than you think! Listen to Karen Lloyd’s talk for this year’s International Microorganism Day in which she highlights how exploratory science (like what we did in the Arctic) can shed light on microbial adaptations for thriving in some of the most inhospitable places on Earth!

2 November, 2020
Thank you to Maryville College for supporting my proposal to explore microbial communities in MC Woods using culture-indepedant techniques with my Earth System Science class. My students will get to see me geek out over fluorescence in situ hybridization and I’m so excited!

30 September, 2020
I was interviewed by the Highland Echo about my thoughts on life in the clouds of Venus. Read the article by S3 scholar, Markayla Love here.

10 September, 2020
Officially announced as new faculty at MC. I just had to wear my T. rex necklace for my official headshot, haha. Read about it here.

20-21 August, 2020
Even though we are scattered across the globe during the pandemic, that did not stop us from exploring data driven discovery projects with the Deep-Time Data Driven Discovery team! The digital meet up allowed me to re-connect with colleagues from around the world, including data scientists from from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Purdue, George Mason, the Carnegie Institution for Science as well as the Universities of Naples, Toronto, and Southern Illinois.

10 - 15 August, 2020
This summer’s Scots Science Scholars program at Maryville College looked a little different (masks, social distancing, etc.), but they had a wonderful time learning how to perform geobiological investigations!

31 July, 2020
I was able to share my advice on navigating a career in STEM to 7th and 8th grade GOALS girls at the Intrepid Museum. My final words of wisdom: Set people free of their expectations for you. Show them you’re more than they thought you could be.

1 July, 2020
Freedom Schools have gone virtual this summer. Check out my video demonstration for extracting DNA from strawberries!

5 June, 2020
Our latest paper on Svalbard microbial communities is now available as a pre-print on bioRxiv. We examined the transcriptional response of a dominant Gammaproteobacteria clade to burial and found a potentially important and overlooked physiological adaptation to the sediment environment.

11 April, 2020
I’m excited to share that I have accepted a tenure track assistant professor position at Maryville College. It’s a small, private, selective liberal arts college right outside of Knoxville. I’m so very excited about the new opportunities to engage with students and encourage them on their STEM journeys.

21 Feburary, 2020
I was invited to give an Early Career talk at the DC Brach meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. I got to meet Dr. Rita Colwell, y’all!!!!

25 October, 2019
I shared my research at the final international Deep Carbon Observatory meeting at the National Academies of Science in Washington DC, USA. The future of Deep Carbon science requires collective action to tackle climate change - We’re facing a climate crisis and we need to apply our collective knowledge across disciplines, including historically underrepresented voices to tackle it.

I also got to visualize data in 3D!


28 September, 2019
Volunteered with First Light CASE.

23 to 28 August, 2019
Attended Goldschdmit in Barcelona, Spain.

24 to 28 June, 2019
Attended AbSciCon in Seattle! So much exciting research. NASA announched their plans for the Titan rover, Dragonfly, which is actually a dual rotor quadrocopter. I learned about new techniques for biosignature detection, microbe-mineral interactions, and even the philosophy behind needing to place statistical constraints on detecting life. We should shift from asking, is this life?, to asking, are the signatures we detect are within 3 standard deviations from our definition, given some priors within a Baysian framework.

9 to 13 June, 2019
Some of my favorite people are geobiologists. That’s why I’m so excited to be at the 2nd Annual Geobiology Conference in Banff, Canada!


4 to 6 June, 2019
Participated in data science workshop at Rutgers University with other members of the NASA Astrobiology Inst. ENIGMA team.

4 June, 2019
One of the outcomes of the NGPR workshop at Catalina was a Correspondance published in Nature . Academic reward structures need reforming to recognize that community, communication and policy involvement are as crucial as funding and publishing: inclusion, retention and service efforts must be rated more highly by universities, funding agencies and governments. And those bodies should strengthen ties across subfields of polar science to promote genuinely transdisciplinary research.

5 to 11 May, 2019
Tackling the multifaceted challenges brought on by climate change requires an transdisciplinary team of scientists, community members, local stakeholders, and leaders. I am excited to be in this cohort of the Next Generation of Polar Researchers. This leadership program took place on the beautiful Catalina Island, California.


10 May, 2019
Our latest Svalbard paper is out! In this study, we examined microbial communites in Van Keulenfjord alongside organic geochemistry and found the key taxa potentially invovled in recycling iron and sulfur. Published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

18 February, 2019
Sampling hot springs in the Argentinian Andes plateau (Catamarca Province). Awesome sights–and microbes–to behold above 4,000 m elevation!

17 February, 2019
Remember that episode of the Big Bang Theory in which the geologist Bert gets the MacArthur Genius grant for studying microbes that live in rocks? Check out my paper, just published in Geobiology, about microbes that help build and live in rocks. We got the cover!

25 January, 2019
Hello, Italy! At the University of Naples, Frederico II, Dipartimento di Biologia Strutturale e Funzionale to train for a while under Dr. Donato Giovannelli. This will be my habitat for the coming months.

10 January, 2019
Gave an invited talk to researchers at the Department of Coastal and Marine Sciences at Rutgers University.

7 January, 2019
I started my post at the Broad Branch Road campus of Carnegie Institution for Science!

27 October, 2018
Today, I very excitedly accepted a position to be a postdoc working on a NASA Astrobiology Institute project. I will be working in Washington, D.C. with an amazing group of researchers at Carnegie Institute who are using big data to interrogate the co-evolution between the biosphere (life) and geosphere (Earth and its varied environments).

7 October, 2018
I was interviewed for Time Scavengers, a blog that is dedicated to scavenging the fossil record for clues about Earth’s cliamte and life. Read the interview here.