Curriculum Vitae

Joy Buongiorno (Altom)
502 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway
Maryville, TN 37804


Maryville College

  • Assistant Professor of Environmental Biology, 2020 - present

Education and Professional Experience

Carnegie Institution of Washington, Geophysical Laboratory

  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 2019 - 2020

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

  • Ph.D. Microbiology, GPA: 3.95, 2014-2018

  • M.Sc. Geoscience, GPA: 3.94, 2012-2014

Tennessee Technological University

  • B.S. Biology, summa cum laude, minor geology, GPA: 3.92, 2011

Agouron Institute

  • International Geobiology Course graduate, 2015


Under Review, Flieder M, Buongiorno J, Herbold C, Hausmann B, Rattei T, Lloyd K, Loy A, Wasmund K (ISME J) Pre-print:: BioRxiv doi:

Buongiorno J., Sipes K., Wasmund K., Loy A., Lloyd K.G. (2020) Woeseiales transcriptional response to shallow burial in Arctic fjord surface sediment. PLoS ONE 15(8): e0234839.

Morrison S.M., Buongiorno J., Downs R.T., Eleish A., Fox P., Giovannelli D., Golden J.J., Hummer D.R., Hystad G., Kellogg L.H., Kreylos O., Krivovichev S.V., Liu C., Merdith A., Prabhu A., Ralph J., Runyon S.E., Zahirovic S. and Hazen R.M. (2020) Exploring Carbon Mineral Systems: Recent Advances in C Mineral Evolution, Mineral Ecology, and Network Analysis. Front. Earth Sci. 8:208. doi: 10.3389/feart.2020.00208

Lloyd, K.G., Bird, J.T., *Buongiorno, J., Deas, E., Kevorkian, R., Noordhoek, T., Rosalsky, J., Roy, T. (2020), Evidence for a growth zone for deep subsurface microbial clades in near-surface anoxic sediments. Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Accepted, Nayfach, S., Roux, S., … IMG/M Data Consortium. A Genomic Catalogue of Earth's Microbiomes. Nature Biotechnology.

In preparation, Buongiorno, J., Giovannelli, D., Morrison, S., Hazen, R., Falkowski, P., Tectonics, metal availability and the evolution of biogeochemistry (Science).

Under revision, Fullerton, K. M., Schrenk, M., Yucel, M., Manini, E., Marco, B., Rogers, T. J., Buongiorno, J. … Lloyd, K. (2019, October 13). Plate tectonics drive deep biosphere microbial community structure. Pre-print:: EarthRxiv doi: (Nature).

Co-signatory: Next generation of polar researchers agree on three priorities (2019). Nature, 570(36). doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-01718-1. Outcome of the Next Generation of Polar Researchers Leadership Symposium (

Buongiorno, J., L.C. Herbert, L.M. Wehrmann, A. Michaud, K. Laufer, H. Røy, B. B. Jørgensen, A. Szynkiewicz, A. Faiia, K. M. Yeager, K. Schindler, K. G. Lloyd. (2019). Complex microbial communities drive iron and sulfur cycling in Arctic fjord sediments. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 00949-19; doi: 10.1128/AEM.00949-19.

Buongiorno, J. , Gomez, F. J., Fike, D. A., & Kah, L. C. (2019). Mineralized microbialites as archives of environmental evolution, Laguna Negra, Catamarca Province, Argentina. Geobiology, 17(2), 199-222.

Vishnivetskaya T., Buongiorno J. , Bird J. T., Krivushin K., Spirina E., Oshurkova V., Shcherbakova S., Wilson G., Lloyd K. G., Rivkina E. (2018). Methanogens in the Antarctic Dry Valley Permafrost. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 94(8).

Buongiorno J., Turner S. Webster G., Asai M., Shumaker A. K., Roy T., … & Lloyd K. G. (2017). Interlaboratory quantification of Bacteria and Archaea in deeply buried sediments of the Baltic Sea (IODP Expedition 347). FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 93(3).

Buongiorno J. , Bird J.T., Lloyd K. G., Vishnivetskaya. T. (2016). Draft Genome Sequence of Antarctic Methanogen enriched from Dry Valley Permafrost. Genome Announcements, 4(6).

Competitive Research Grants and Scholarships

NASA Astrobiology Early Career Collaboration Award, Carnegie Institution for Science ($5,000) 2019

Student/Faculty Research Award, Univ. of TN ($2,016) 2016

Explorer's Club Student Research Grant, Univ. of TN ($1,500) 2016

David C. White Travel Award ($500) 2016

Graduate Student Senate Travel Award, Univ. of TN ($700) 2015

Society for Sedimentary Geology Student Assistance Grant ($1,000) 2015

Geological Society of America Research Grant, Univ. of TN ($1,250) 2015

Spackman Award, The Society for Organic Petrology, Univ. of TN ($1,000) 2013

Society for Sedimentary Geology Student Assistance Grant ($750) 2013

Geological Society of America Research Grant, Univ. of TN ($1,913) 2013

Bill Ross Field Camp Scholarship, Univ. of TN ($750) 2013

Graduate Student Senate Travel Award, Univ. of TN ($2,500) 2013

Honors and Awards

Extraordinary Scientist Advocate, Union of Concerned Scientists 2018

Carolyn W. Fite Award for Outstanding Scholarly Achievement 2018

Professional Promise Award 2018

Jimmy and Ileen Cheek Graduate Student Medal of Excellence 2018

Dept of Microbiology Graduate Award for Scientific Achievement 2017

Graduate Student Senate Award for Excellence in Research 2017

Recipient of UT Police Dept. challenge coin 2016

Mamont Scholar, Explorer's Club 2016

Best oral presentation, 3rd Annual Southeastern Biogeochemistry Symposium 2016

Chancellor's Fellowship, Univ. of TN ($3,000 for 4 years) 2014

Liberal Arts and Sciences Award, Tennessee Tech 2011

W.H. Farley Award, Tennessee Tech 2010

Invited talks

2020, "Data science approaches reveal environmental drivers behind microbial oxidoreductase abundance in volcanic ecosystems". American Society of Microbiology DC Branch meeting, Washington, DC.

2020, "The Microbial Ferrous Wheel in the Arctic". Next Generation of Explorer's Friday Seminar Series, Explorer's Club, NY.

2020, "Oxidoreductase enzyme abundance in marine and terrestrial volcanic ecosystems". Department of Mineral Sciences, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

2019, "Influences of trace element chemistry on oxidoreductase evolution". ENIGMA seminar series, Rutgers University, Newark Campus, NJ

2019, "Predicted restructuring of microbial communities with climate change in Svalbard fjords". Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University, Newark Campus, NJ.

2019, "Climate change and the microbial ferrous wheel: Implications of Arctic warming on biogeochemical cycling in sediments". Department of Marine and Coastal Science, Rutgers University, Cook Campus, NJ.

2017, "High-resolution microbial community abundance and composition analysis of two iron-rich fjords, Kongsfjorden and Van Keulenfjorden, Svalbard (79°N): Implications for climate response". Center for Biofilm Engineering, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT.

Recent Conference Proceedings

2019, Giovannelli, D., Buongiorno, J. , Prabhu, A., Eleish, A., Huang, F., Fox, P. A., Hazen, R., Morrison, S. M., Tracking the evolution of our planet using large scale geochemistry and metagenomic data. American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, CA.

2019, Buongiorno, J. , Morrison S., Giovannalli D., Shrenk M., Barry P., DeMoor, M., Lloyd K.G., & Hazen R., "Using data science tools to unravel interactions between microbial communities and their geologic environment". Deep Carbon Observatory: Decade of Discovery, Washington, DC.

2019, Buongiorno, J. , Fullerton K., Rogers T., Giovannalli D., DeMoor M., Barry P., Shrenk M., Lloyd K., Morrison S. & Hazen R., "Interactions Between Microbial Communities and Their Geologic Environment at the Costa Rica Active Margin". Goldschmidt, Barcelona, Spain.

2019, Buongiorno, J. , Wasmund, K., Loy, A., Lloyd, K. G., "Genomic and transcriptional evidence for physiological responses to burial of the dominant carbon-fixing clade Woeseiaceae in Arctic fjord sediment". 2nd Annual Geobiological Society Meeting, Banff, Canada.

2018, Buongiorno, J. A. Szynkiewicz, A. Faiia, L. Herbert, L. Wehrmann, Lloyd, K. G.,"Biological catalysis of a complete iron and sulfur cycle in Arctic marine fjord sediments, Van Keulenfjorden, Svalbard(79°N)". International Symposium on Microbial Ecology in Leipzig, Germany.

2018, Buongiorno, J. , Szynkiewicz A., Faiia, A., Yeager K., Schindler, K., Lloyd, K. G., "Microbial community data supports biologically mediated cryptic sulfur cycling in Arctic sediments, Van Keulenfjorden, Svalbard (79°N)". Southeastern Geological Society of America Meeting, Knoxville, TN.

2017, Buongiorno, J. , Szynkiewicz A., Faiia, A., Yeager K., Schindler, K., Lloyd, K. G., Environmental drivers of microbial abundance and composition in Arctic sediments, Kongsfjorden and Van Keulenfjorden, Svalbard (79°N): Evidence from stable and radioactive isotopes". American Geophysical Union Meeting in New Orleans, LA.

2017, Buongiorno J., Lloyd, K., "Network analysis of microbial communities show complex ecological linkages in Arctic fjord sediments, Van Keulenfjorden, Svalbard, (79°N)". KY-TN branch of ASM meeting, Cookeville, TN.

2017, Buongiorno J., Lloyd, K., "High resolution microbial community analysis of sediments from the high Arctic, Kongsfjorden and Van Kuelenfjorden, Svalbard". 4th Annual Southeastern Biogeochemistry Symposium in Athens, GA.

Teacher Training and Certifications

UT Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning

Scholar Level Certification 2017

Practitioner Level Certification 2016

Best Practices in Teaching Pedagogy course 2016

Guest lectures

Univ. of TN, Department of Microbiology; Bioinformatics course, Metatranscriptomics and MAGs Fall 2019

Univ. of TN, Division of Biology; Cellular and Molecular Biology course, Energy and Enzymes Fall2016

Univ. of TN, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences; Earth, Life, and Time course, Fossil records Spring 2014

Teaching Experience

Software Carpentry Workshop Dec. 2017

Division of Biology Graduate Teaching Assistant, Univ. of TN, Knoxville 2014-2015

Organization/Function of the Cell

Cellular and Molecular Biology

Tennessee Governor's School for the Sciences and Engineering

Biodiversity and Evolution June2013

Scientific Thinking June 2014

Earth and Planetary Sciences Dept., Univ. of TN, Knoxville 2012-2014

Historical Geology

Environmental Geology


Biology Dept., TN Technological Univ., Cookeville 2009-2011

General Biology II

General Biology I


Field Experience

Hot springs in the Andean Puna, Argentina (4600m asl) Feb. 2019

Kongsfjorden; Smeerenburgfjorden, Svalbard (79°N); Team lead July 2017

Kongsfjorden, Svalbard (79°N) August 2016

Long Valley Caldera, California June 2015

Laguna Verde Complex, Andes Mountains, Argentina (4100m asl); Team lead August 2013

Skills and Training

Next Generation of Polar Researchers Workshop 2019

Networks and Machine Learning Workshop 2019

Communications Bootcamp for Scientists (American Institution for Biological Sciences) 2019

Bystander Training 2017

Software Carpentry Workshop 2015

Computational Microbiology Workshop (C-DEBI) 2015


Carnegie Institution of Washington, Geophysical Laboratory, Washington, DC

PI: Robert Hazen, Ph.D.

NASA Astrobiology Institute project: Evolution of Nanomachines in Geospheres and Microbial Ancestors (ENIGMA) (

Using data-driven discovery approaches and cutting-edge visualization techniques of metagenomic and geochemistry data to untangle the co-evolution of microbial oxidoreductase enzymes and their geologic environment.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

PI: Karen G. Lloyd, Ph.D. 2014-2018

The role of uncultured microbes in the Arctic marine sediment carbon cycle

Performed high resolution molecular analyses of microbial abundance, population structure, and biological function by coupling next generation sequencing of metagenomes, transcriptomes, and metabolomes with geochemical data of the anoxic sediment environment of Svalbard (79°N) to discover that depositional environment is a strong control on the distribution of anaerobic respiration pathways.

Evolutionary adaptations and metabolic pathways of methanogens in Antarctic Permafrost

Reconstructed the first publicly available methanogen genome from Antarctic permafrost. I also performed protein structure modeling, phylogenetics, and pathway reconstruction to determine structural adaptations to its harsh, cold environment and found several pathways by which methane can be generated with future warming conditions.

The deep biosphere in Baltic Sea Basin sediments

Collected and compared quantitative PCR data and direct cell counts of the Baltic Sea deep subsurface biosphere in an interlaboratory meta-analysis that found CARD-FISH is severely limited in its utility in energy-starved, low biomass sediments.

PI: Linda C. Kah, Ph.D. 2012-2014

Mineralized microbialites as archives of environmental evolution of a hypersaline lake basin: Laguna Negra, Catamarca Province, Argentina

Performed geomicrobiological analyses on microbial carbonates from the High Andes, NW Argentina in collaboration with the University of Córdoba, Argentina and The National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET). This work coupled carbon and oxygen isotope analysis with mineralogical, organic matter, and petrographic observations to establish the utility of microbialites as faithful records of lake basin evolution.

Professional Affiliations

American Society for Microbiology (ASM)

Explorer's Club (Term member)

Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM)

Geological Society of America (GSA)

International Society of Microbial Ecology (ISME)

Recent Synergistic Activities and Service

Conference convener

Goldschmidt 2020 June 2020 - 06i Harnessing Multidimensionality in Complex, Co-evolving Earth Systems; 11e Recognizing Preserved Microbial Signatures in Modern and Ancient Environments

Peer reviewer, Journals - Applied and Environmental Biology; Microbiome; mSystems; International Society of Microbial Ecology Journal (ISME J); Microbial Ecology.

Peer reviewer, Granting agencies - Review panelist, Joint Genome Institute April 2020; Review panelist, NASA Exobiology April 2020; Review panelist, NSF Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems Jan. 2020; Ad hoc reviewer, NSF Office of Polar Programs June 2019.

East TN Freedom Schools Summer 2018

Producer of Scientific Programming/Volunteer Coordinator

Service to the community

500 Women Scientists

Member of National Leadership 2017-2019

Knoxville Pod Coordinator 2017-2018

American Institute of Biological Sciences Congressional Visits Day, Capitol Hill 2018

Career Planning Task Force member, UT 2017-2018

Dean's Graduate Student Advisory Council representative, UT 2017-2018

Media Relations Officer, Forum of Science Ethics and Policy, UT 2017-2018

tnAchieves mentor 2016-2017

Social Media coordinator for UT Department of Microbiology 2016-2017

Southeastern Biogeochemistry Symposium, student steering committee 2016

Darwin Day at UT

Head of advertising 2016

Co-president 2015

McClung Museum Exhibitor of Geobiology Research 2015

Public Talks

Ciencia Puerto Rico Benefit, Knoxville, TN (Organizer and presenter) 2017

Sunbright Elem., Morgan Co., TN 2017

Camp Creek Elem., Greene Co., TN 2017

Bearden Elem., Knox Co., TN 2017

Spring Hill Elem., Knox Co., TN 2014

Algood Elem., Putman Co., TN 2011

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