My students and I study organic molecules from all parts of the Earth system: from modern oceans, soils, plants and bacteria, to ancient rocks. In particular, we use the abundance of stable isotopes in these organic molecules to study questions that range from microbial ecology to carbon cycling to ancient environmental conditions. Some of our Current research projects are described here. This work is variously described as organic geochemistry, geobiology, or biogeochemistry.
I am in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences at Caltech, and am affiliated with the geobiology, geochemistry, and environmental science academic options. I currently teach three courses in these programs: Organic Geochemistry (Ge 143), Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (Ge 145), and Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry (Ge 146). Ge-143 and 145 are taught in the fall in alternate years, 146 is in the spring term. I also teach in the Agouron International Geobiology Course during the summers, and highly recommend it.
My research group currently consists of a lab manager, 2 postdocs, and 1 PhD student. You can see their smiling faces here. If you are interested in coming to work with me as a student or postdoc, please email.