Our group combines molecular ecology and physiological approaches to exploit bacteria and their activities and products for the benefit of human health and the environment. We seek patterns in the diversity and community structure of bacteria in oligotrophic environments including arid mine tailings from around the world, subsurface soils, desert soils and carbonate caves, and household dusts. These patterns are then related to soil formation and nutrient cycling processes to better understand the potential for these environments to withstand anthropogenic and climate induced stress. A second major area of research focuses on microbially produced surfactants (biosurfactants). These amazing molecules have been the basis for several research discoveries related to the field of environmental cleanup as well as two patents.
Ph.D. Microbiology, Rutgers University, 1998