Faculty

  Jess F. Adkins
Professor of Geochemistry and Global Environmental Science

Geochemical investigations of past climates using corals, sediments and their interstitial waters; rate of deep ocean circulation and its relation to mechanisms of rapid climate changes; metals as tracers of environmental processes; radiocarbon and U-series chronology; chemical oceanography; biomineralization of CaCO3 skeletons; sulfur biogeochemistry and early earth records of sulfur isotopes. Webpage

 

  Woodward W. Fischer
Professor of Geobiology

Research in the Fischer Group generally addresses questions that are historical in nature and stem from geological observations. We employ field geology, petrography and geochemical measurements on returned field samples, and laboratory experiments concerning the metabolisms and molecular biology of selected extant organisms, chosen to provide insight into ancient geobiological processes. Broadly, we work to understand the coevolution of life and Earth surface environments during Precambrian time (> 542 Ma).; Much of our research focus is aimed at understanding the geobiology of the Archean Earth, just prior to the rise of atmospheric oxygen. We are also currently exploring the evolution of lipid biomarker synthesis, the origin of unusual carbonate rock textures once common on ancient carbonate platforms, and the coupled behavior of redox and acid-base processes at critical transitions (e.g. carbon cycle perturbations and mass extinctions) in Earth history. Webpage

 

  John P. Grotzinger
Fletcher Jones Professor of Geology

In the Grotzinger group we are interested in the co-evolution of surficial environments and life on Earth and Mars. Our research addresses the chemical development of the early oceans and atmosphere, and the environmental context of early evolution. Field mapping studies are the starting point for more topical laboratory-based studies involving geochemical, paleontological, and geochronological techniques. Webpage

 

  Joeseph L. Kirschvink
Nico and Marilyn Van Wingen Professor of Geobiology
Webpage

 

  Jared Leadbetter
Professor of Environmental Microbiology Webpage

 

  Dianne K. Newman
Gordon M. Binder/Amgen Professor of Biology and Geobiology

In the Newman Lab, we take an interdisciplinary approach to studying the molecular mechanisms that underlie putatively ancient forms of metabolism. By understanding the way extant organisms function at the molecular level, we hope eventually to gain insights into the evolution of ancient metabolic and biomineralization pathways, interpret the chemical signatures of early life found in the geologic record, an understand how multicellular bacterial communities survive in the context of anaerobic infections. Webpage

 

  Victoria J. Orphan
James Irvine Professor of Environmental Science and Geobiology

The Orphan lab is broadly interested in defining the specific metabolic roles of microorganisms within natural ecosystems, with an emphasis on methane, sulfur, and nitrogen cycling and microbe-microbe interactions (syntrophy) in anoxic and extreme environments. We use a combination of geochemical, isotopic, molecular, and metagenomic approaches to understand the metabolic and ecological relationships between uncultured microorganisms, specializing in high-resolution, single cell molecular and chemical analysis. Webpage

 

  Alex L. Sessions
Professor of Geobiology

Professor Sessions is an organic geochemist by training, who specializes in studying the stable isotope composition of organic molecules in both modern environments and ancient rocks. His research group uses these techniques to study a range of questions in geobiology and geochemistry. Current projects include understanding the biological control of hydrogen isotope fractionation in lipids; the sulfurization of organic matter in sediments and the environmental signals preserved in organic sulfur isotopes; records of environmental change during the Precambrian; and development of new analytical methods for studying multiple isotope substitutions in organic compounds. Sessions teaches 3 courses: Ge-143, Ge-140c, and Ge-145. He is the Geobiology option representative. Webpage