Angie Bice

I completed my Bachelor's degree in geology at the University of Wyoming in December 2003. I am currently working with Dr. Istok in environmental engineering on the potential for using equilibrium based reactions to predict microbial and geochemical changes within natural aqueous systems. I chose the IGERT program because I felt the interdisciplinary approach not only coincided with my needs but would better equip me as a future scientist. Corvallis, itself, was a strong attractant and has lived up to my expectations. There are typically plenty of activities to choose from keeping my daughter and I occupied.

Stephanie Boyle

I am a native Northwestern, growing up mostly in Eastern Oregon, where I attended college and worked for the USDA before joining the OSU IGERT team. Currently I work with Dave Myrold in the soil science department. My research focuses on the diversity of bacteria and fungi involved in the N cycle in soils. More specifically I use molecular techniques to study denitrification and nitrate assimilation. I can't imagine any career more exciting or interesting than microbial ecology and plan to one day be a university professor. My background is a bit unique in that my undergraduate degree was in English. Between working hard as a scientist and student, I still find time to write nature essays, snowmobile, snowboard, hike, fish, and most importantly cheer on the Beavers in basketball and baseball. Go Beavs!

Read about Stephanie's research on the Subsurface Biosphere Center of Exellence web site at:

Elizabeth Brewer

I grew up in Rochester, NY and completed my B.S. and M.S. in Biology at Bradley University in IL. My masters work looked at increasing soil C with Ca and N amendments. I have a strong interest in biogeochemical cycling, particularly the role of soil microbial communities in these cycles. I am a student in Dave Myrold's lab and co-advised by Peter Bottomley. I am currently working on a project focusing on the turnover of dissolved organic nitrogen (DON). I am interested in the incorporation of DON into soil biological and chemical pools. I hope to utilize DO15N in an isotope dilution method to examine the turnover of the DON pool. Since arriving at OSU, I have also been working on a project with Dave and Tom Boutton at Texas A&M University characterizing soil microbial communities in grasslands undergoing woody encroachment.

Lisa Brutcher

I received my B.S. in Botany from Arizona State University and have since worked on a number of farms and gardens. I also had the opportunity to work at the UDSA-ARS Invasive Plant Lab in Ft. Lauderdale, FL in their molecular lab looking at the impacts of plant invasion on soil microbial communities.

Coming to OSU has given me the chance to participate in just the interdisciplinary graduate program I was looking for, combining my interests in soils, microbiology and agriculture. I am very pleased to be working under Drs. Anita Nina Azarenko (Horticulture) and Dave Myrold (Soils) investigating soil microbial ecology and nitrogen cycling in alternatively managed orchard systems.

The best part of IGERT, however, has to be the other students – they are all amazingly knowledgeable, accomplished, and best of all, willing to share what they know!

Sara Caldwell

My academic and professional goals and interests are strongly rooted in my rewarding field and laboratory experiences. I received my first B.S. in Zoology from Texas State University, San Marcos, in 1997, and a second B.S. in Earth and Planetary Sciences from the University of New Mexico (UNM), Albuquerque, in 2005. As a UNM student, I studied bacterial diversity in the shallow groundwater adjacent to the Rio Grande in the Albuquerque Basin. I also worked for the U.S. Geological Survey-Water Resources Discipline and as a student intern with Sandia National Laboratories. I have also volunteered for and been hired to work on geological and biological projects with other UNM students and faculty. During the summer of 2004, I participated in the collection of geochemical and microbial samples from over 100 hot springs and geysers for an extensive inventory of the microbial diversity and associated chemistries of geothermal features in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, a joint project between Anna-Louise Reysenbach at Portland State University and Cristina-Takacs Vesbach at UNM (plus other researchers). Working on this project, I became deeply interested in thermophilic microorganisms and the microbiology and geochemistry of hydrothermal ecosystems. I am currently working with Anna-Louise Reysenbach at Portland State University to better understand the phylogeny, eco-physiology and, more specifically, iron- and sulfur- mineral precipitation and biomineralization associated with the bacteria, Aquificales, in terrestrial geothermal environments. These metabolically diverse organisms play a significant role in biogeochemical cycling in hot spring (and other hydrothermal) ecosystems and may have profound implications for understanding life on early Earth or on other planets.

Nick Chambers

Hello everybody, my name is Nick. I grew up mostly in Connecticut and now have found quite a good place to live here in the more relaxed and laid back atmosphere of Corvallis. I love that I am within an hour of almost any environment I could possibly hope to enjoy: mountains both small and big, the best coastline in the world, rivers both calm and crazy, and amazingly flat, green valleys. Yep, Corvallis is easy living. I am a PhD student in the Soil Science department here at OSU working with Dr. John Baham. I came here with a BS in Geology from Beloit College in Beloit, WI. It was a very small school (1200 students) so it was a shock to come to a school with over 19,000 enrolled like OSU. My particular projects here at OSU have centered around the chemistry of soil water and the seasonal solubilization of iron in the soils of Oregon. My study area encompasses the coast of Oregon from Florence to Lincoln City. At the coast I am examining how iron-cemented layers of sandy soil form and perch water tables as part of a larger project to completely characterize the dune sheets of the western coastal United States. This project is funded by an Oregon SEAGRANT. More recently I have begun to look at iron isotopes at the coast using multi-collector ICP-MS. There are many ways in which iron isotopes can be fractionated in nature, the most extreme of which occur in low temperature systems like the coastal soils that I study. Biological fractionation of iron isotopes may produce signatures that are experimentally distinct from abiotic fractionations. The search for distinct evidence of biological Fe isotope fractionation is what is driving my current interest in iron isotopes. My hope is that iron isotope research will be the final chapter in my thesis. Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed reading about me as much as I've enjoyed telling my story. Later skaters.

Jed Eberly

I received my bachelor's degree in biology from Montana State University in 2004. I am currently working on a PhD in Biological and Ecological Engineering with Roger Ely and Mark Dolan as my co advisors. My areas of interest are thermophiles and alternative energy and my research has allowed me to combine both these interests. My research is focused on hydrogen production in thermophilic cyanobacteria and the effects of high temperature on protein stability and electron flow between the photosystems and the hydrogenase enzyme. I was attracted to the IGERT program because of its interdisciplinary nature. As an undergraduate, I completed an internship with the Biomedical Infrastructure Resource Network sponsored by NIH. Through this program I came to realize the value of interdisciplinary collaborations and I wanted to have the same collaborative opportunities in graduate school, which IGERT has provided. In my free time I enjoy camping, hiking, and photography.

Gilbert Flores

I am a native San Diegan who moved to northern California to attend Humboldt State University in Arcata for my undergraduate degree. I studied environmental science with a concentration in water quality and received my B.S. in 2001. I then moved onto the University of California, Davis where I conducted research for the wildlife department from 2002-2004. My research at Davis focused on rodent pest control in agricultural settings. This experience made me realize that I enjoyed research and wanted to continue research just not in that particular field. So, I applied to several graduate schools and decided to attend the University of Idaho in Moscow where I had previously done an REU program under Dr. Don Crawford. I received my M.S. in environmental science from the University of Idaho in the summer of 2006 under the guidance of Dr. Susan Childers of the geology department. The title of my thesis was "Microbial oxidation of inorganic arsenic in geothermal waters of the Alvord Basin, Oregon: field and laboratory investigations." Currently, I am in my first year in the IGERT program at Portland State University working with Dr. Anna-Louise Reysenbach. My research at PSU focuses on the ecology of thermoacidophiles from deep-sea hydrothermal vents. I hope to combine field and laboratory work to look at their distribution and associations with specific minerals and other microorganisms. I was attracted to the IGERT program specifically for the interdisciplinary nature that fits with my past training.

Jessica Goin

The Subsurface Biosphere IGERT program at Oregon State/Portland State is exactly the educational niche I have been looking for since beginning college. I have a bachelors degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Geology and a masters degree in Enology (winemaking). I am very happy to be in a program that encourages the further development of my multidisciplinary background. The students and professors involved in the IGERT program are great to work with, and the topics we approach as a team are all extremely interesting.

My research area is in microbial fossilization, especially as it pertains to the search for early life on earth. I work with Sherry Cady in geomicrobiology at Portland State University.

Stephanie Harrington

My name is Stephanie Harrington, and I am a native Oregonian. I grew up on a 5 acre farm along Kings Valley Highway and moved to McMinnville when I was 12. I came to OSU to pursue an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering in 1996, and after graduating in 2000 went to Eugene to work in industry for a year. I came back to OSU in the winter of 2002 to continue my education, receiving my M.S. Degree in Environmental Engineering with a minor in Radiation Health Physics in 2004. I decided as I was finishing my M.S. program that I would like to do research at a National Lab somewhere when I am finished, so I am continuing on with my PhD in Environmental Engineering with professor Brian Wood. I heard about the IGERT program from colleagues in my department as I was finishing my M.S. program and thought that it was a great opportunity to further my already diverse education.

Dannie Jansik

My name is Dannie Jansik and I am a native Oregonian. After attending college in Portland, I came to Oregon State to pursue a degree in Geology. In 2006, I received my B.S. in Geology with a minor in Environmental Engineering. While completing my undergraduate degree I became interested in groundwater and multiphase flow. I am currently working under Dorthe Wildenschild in Environmental Engineering, examining how the three-dimensional spatial arrangements of biofilms in porous media impact fluid hydrodynamics. I am also interested in looking at the effect of surfactants and surfactant producing microorganisms on interfacial area in oil/water systems. I was primarily attracted to the IGERT program because of its multidisciplinary approach and opportunities for collaboration.

Jennifer Josef

My interest in IGERT grew from my desire to combine both biology and geology into one research project. After finishing my undergraduate degree in Marine biology and Earth Sciences at Boston University and my Master's in Geology at the University of South Carolina, I was looking for a program that would allow me to combine my two interests and IGERT is the place to do exactly that. Here at OSU I'm working with Martin Fisk and Steve Giovannoni to understand the geochemical interactions between microbes and ocean crust (specifically basaltic glass and olivine). Then once I win the Nobel Prize I'm going to travel the world to seek out other microbe-rock interactions!! Just kidding.

Sara Kelly

I first became interested in the wonderful world of microbes while working as a technician in a natural products chemistry lab at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. My work at SIO gave me a small glimpse of the enormous microbial diversity on our planet and I immediately knew that I wanted to pursue my PhD studies in this area. I am interested in not only diversity and community structure, but also more importantly, in understanding the interactions that the microbes have with each other and their physical and chemical environment. The IGERT program has given me the perfect opportunity to combine my interests in chemistry, microbiology and oceanography and gain fundamental understanding of microbial communities in the subsurface in a way that has not been understood previously. I am now working with Dr. Anna-Louise Reysenbach at Portland State University, studying the microbial diversity of deep-sea hydrothermal vents.

Melissa Kendall

I am currently working on a PhD in Biology at Portland State University under the direction of David Boone. My research focuses on methanogens and their role in carbon cycling in marine sediments. Methanogens are microbes that produce methane as an end product of their metabolism. Methanogens have been well-studied in many environments, but their role in carbon remineralization in marine sediments is poorly characterized probably because of the difficulty of obtaining samples and the difficulting of cultivating these very fastidious organisms in the laboratory. I use a combination of cultivation-dependent and -independent techniques to describe the diversity of methanogens in oceanic sediments. In this photograph, I am preserving samples for molecular analysis aboard the R/V Alpha Helix at Skan Bay, Alaska, one of our study sites.

Laurel Kluber

I became interested in soil microorganisms and the roles they play in nutrient cycling and soil health through working on organic farms. After receiving a bachelor degree from The Evergreen State College, I entered graduate school with the goal of studying soil microbiology and was attracted to the IGERT program because of its interdisciplinary approach and focus on the subsurface biosphere. I am currently working with Dr. David Myrold in the Soil Science department at OSU.

Erika Kraft

In 2003, after graduating in Biology from Humboldt State University, I came to Corvallis to work with Dr. John Selker in the Bioengineering department here at OSU. I am currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Water Resources Engineering, part of the new interdisciplinary Water Resources Graduate Program on campus. My research involves using the light-transmission technique to elucidate microbial and colloidal transport processes in variably-saturated porous media under heterogeneous conditions. This work pertains to water quality and bioremediation due both to the role that colloids play in contaminant transport, and to the effects of microbial transport on contaminant degradation. As a student and lover of water, I am active with Hydrophiles the student water resources group on campus. Here's a recent interview published by our campus news paper:

James Laidler

Twenty-four years after receving my BS in Chemistry, I decided to return to school and pursue a PhD in Biology. In the intervening years, I had done a number of things, including some clinical research and raising a family (they're still in the "raising" stage of development - I was a "late starter"), but found myself wanting to do research into some of the more fundamental aspects of life. And what could be more fundamental - and less understood - than the subsurface biosphere?

Currently, I'm working with Ken Stedman at PSU, where my research time is split between the molecular genetics of viruses that infect hyperthermophilic archaea and the making and detection of virus fossils.

Olivia Mason

After completing a master's degree with Anna-Louise Reysenbach at Portland State University I joined the IGERT program at Oregon State University. I am currently working towards a PhD in Oceanography with Martin Fisk and Stephen Giovannoni as co-advisors. The primary goal of my thesis research is to discern microbial interactions with olivine-bearing rocks. Olivine is an iron-magnesium silicate and is a common mineral in the rocks that make up oceanic crust. Further, olivine is the most abundant mineral in the Earth's mantle. On geological time scales olivine-bearing rocks weather rapidly. Both its ubiquity and rapid weathering implicates this mineral in influencing the geochemistry of its environment and beyond. Understanding the microbial role in olivine-bearing rock dissolution is central to this research project. Specifically, I am interested in the implications of biologically mediated dissolution in biogeochemical cycling. Culture-dependent and independent methodologies will be employed to elucidate the relationship between microbes and olivine-bearing rocks. Outside of my academic pursuits I enjoy spending time with my husband, Jon, and my two dogs, Kaya and Indigo.

Mandy Michalsen

I was born in Georgia, raised in Alabama and received my B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Iowa 2002. Big pine trees, mountainous wilderness and famous coffee inspired me to consider Oregon State for graduate school. It turned out to be a perfect fit! I received my M.S. in Environmental Engineering from OSU in 2003 and am currently pursuing my PhD. I love the Civil Engineering Department, the interdisciplinary nature of the IGERT program, my peers, my research and Oregon!! I could not have made a better choice for graduate school.

Read about Mandy's research on the Subsurface Biosphere Center of Exellence web site at:

Humberto Nation - picture and bio coming soon!

Mark Nielsen

Participating in the IGERT program has given me an appreciation for, and a better understanding of, the natural world. Prior to graduate school I worked for 6 years as a ground water geologist. However, it was not until my exposure to microbiology in the IGERT program that I realized the tight coupling between biological, chemical and physical processes in the subsurface.

My primary research interest is the development of benthic microbial fuel cells. I work in Clare Reimers' lab group at OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. In our fuel cells, we take advantage of microbially mediated redox reactions that naturally occur in seafloor sediments. These reactions provide electron donors, which can in turn be used to produce a small amount of electrical current. My project is to investigate the role of advection in delivering electron donors to the electrode. To accomplish this we design and deploy fuel cells in the field as well as in the laboratory.

My interest in oceanography is fueled by my passion for sailing. In other free time, I can be found spending time with my wife Steph, cooking, outside playing with my dogs, or playing ice hockey.

Read about Mark's research on the Subsurface Biosphere Center of Exellence web site at:

Hollie Oakes-Miller

When I came across the IGERT subsurface biosphere program it seemed a perfect match for my interdisciplinary interests. As an undergraduate in geology I developed a deep interest in research involving the interrelationships between geology and microbiology. In pursuit of this interest I am working towards a PhD in Geology/Environmental Sciences and Resources with my advisor, Dr. Sherry Cady, at Portland State University. My research is focused on characterizing chemical and morphological biosignatures of extant thermophilic bacteria associated with the Yellowstone thermal ecosystem. These studies will provide information that may allow for better interpretation of potential biosignatures in ancient deposits formed in similar environments. As my first geology instructor, Mike Strickler, taught on the first day of class, "the present is the key to the past".

I enjoy spending my free time with my husband, Gary, our son, Matthew and our two dogs, Jasper and Echo. We like to hike, camp, swim, rock hunt and visit with family and friends over good food and wine. My husband and I also enjoy do-it-yourself projects around our house such as transforming our primarily grass yard into a low-water, low-maintenance oasis sans "the lawn".

Nell Orscheln

I was picking up info about OSU for a friend at a meeting when I heard about IGERT. I thought it sounded so interesting, I decided to apply and started in the Fall of 2003. I am studying here at OSU with Gary Klinkhammer and Jim McManus for a degree in oceanography with a focus on marine geology, specifically the subsurface of marine sediments.

Laila Parker

I became interested in the IGERT program after being frustrated with the lack of interactions & cooperations between the science departments at my undergraduate school. With a background in biology and geology, I was intrigued by the possibility of studing the physical and chemical interactions between microbes, soil and water. I now work with John Selker in the Bioengineering Department. We use a bacteria tagged with a lux gene in a light transmission chamber, which enables us to observe the effects of microbial colonization on hydrodynamics. We are particularly interested in effects at textural interfaces in the soil and potential impacts to capillary barriers. Conversely, we can attempt to stimulate microbial populations using various techniques to study methods of bioremediation. While I find these academic pursuits interesting, in the future I hope to work in a public service/policy setting. In my free time, I am exploring the mountains, beaches, deserts and gardening possibilites of Oregon, all of which are a constant source of fascination to me.

Rebecca Poulson

I did my Master's work at the University of Wisconsin - Madison (my hometown) in geology - Fe isotope geochemistry, to be specific. I knew that I wanted to continue on with isotope work in my PhD, but I wanted to do something completely different - and working in the oceanography department through the IGERT program at Oregon State has been the perfect fit. I am currently working with Prof. Jim McManus in Marine Geology investigating Molybdenum isotopes in marine sediments. The kind of research I am pursuing is inherently multidisciplinary, as it incorporates aspects of oceanography, geology, chemistry, microbiology, isotope geochemistry, etc. Participation in the IGERT program was an obvious choice for me - it has afforded me incredible opportunities for research and travel that I would not have otherwise had, as well as access to faculty and students from a wide variety of fields, all of whom share my interest in integrating a number of disciplines for comprehensive scientific study.

Read about Rebecca's research on the Subsurface Biosphere Center of Exellence web site at:

Andy Sabalowsky

I graduated from Virginia Tech in 1994 with a BS in Aerospace Engineering and a minor in philosophy because I wanted to know why airplanes fly and the meaning of the universe. After contemplating the latter for a couple years more, I decided some questions are best left unanswered and returned to Virginia Tech for an MS in Environmental Engineering. I worked as a consultant for 2 or 3 years after that and realized academia was much more rewarding. Now, I look forward to my work, which is presently studying a Dehalococcoides-containing mixed anaerobic culture. My goals are to cultivate a well-characterized attached-growth system and model dechlorination behavior, comparing community structure and performance to suspended growth.

Sean Sandborgh

Greetings! My name is Sean Sandborgh. I received my BS degrees in Biochemistry and Physics at Montana State University-Bozeman. I then went to Stanford University to complete my MS degree in Environmental Engineering. I am now at Oregon State University working on completing my PhD in Environmental Engineering with Mark Dolan. My research involves the search for sentinel gene activity of Nitrosomonas europaea when exposed to a variety of aromatic compounds. My background in multiple fields has always made interdisciplinary topics of great interest to me, and IGERT has allowed me to participate and learn about a wide range of subjects. My wife and I enjoy living in Corvallis greatly, having been both in the San Francisco Bay Area and Montana.

Kiara Smith

Hello! My name is Kiara Smith. I am interested in the transport and fate of heavy metals in the environment-an interest that grew out of a water pollution biology course I took as an undergraduate at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. This graduate level class clearly demonstrated the importance of an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of anthropogenic effects on the environment. After receiving a bachelor's degree in biology, I decided that I would need to encompass many scientific disciplines to understand environmental problems of today and tomorrow. An interdisciplinary approach to scientific inquiry is important to me because I do not want my research to be limited by what I do not know about another scientific discipline. Consequently, my search for a suitable graduate program led me to the Subsurface Biosphere IGERT program at Portland State University and Oregon State University. Currently, I am working with Dr. Bill Fish in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Resources at PSU.

Shawn Starkenburg

My interest in the microbial world flourished while working as a research technologist at Northwestern University, studying the iron acquisition mechanisms of Legionella pneumophila. While I found this work extremely satisfying and challenging, I wanted to engage in research that was interdisciplinary and environmentally focused. This pursuit led me to the IGERT program here at OSU. As a student of both Peter Bottomley and Dan Arp in the Department of Microbiology, my research is focused on understanding the role nitrifying bacteria play in soil and waste water treatment processes. Specifically, I would like to elucidate the interactions that may occur between ammonia and nitrite oxidizing bacterial community members at the genetic level. As a springboard for this effort, I recently completed an IGERT sponsored internship at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, in which I participated in the sequencing of two nitrite oxidizing bacterial genomes, Nitrobacter winogradskyi and Nitrobacter hamburgensis.

Read about Shawn's research on the Subsurface Biosphere Center of Exellence web site at:

Ellen Swogger

I grew up in Miles City, a small town in the badlands of eastern Montana. I went to college at Montana State University in Bozeman and received my B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2005. While at Montana State, I worked at the Center for Biofilm Engineering for three years on medical biofilm research. Upon graduating, I decided that I wanted to save the earth and pursued graduate school in Environmental Engineering. My advisor is Lew Semprini and I am currently working on growing biofilms of Nitrosomonas europaea to assess changes in gene expression with exposure to certain toxic compounds. This is part of a larger project, the goal of which is to identify a sentinel gene in N. europaea for the detection of toxins in wastewater treatment. I was attracted to the IGERT program because it has the same multidisciplinary aspect that I had enjoyed while working in research at Montana State. Corvallis has been good so far and I am happy to be living so close to the ocean, the mountains and Smith Rock.

Anne Taylor

I completed both my undergraduate and masters degrees at Oregon State University in Bioresource Research and Environmental Soil Science respectively. Before joining the IGERT program as a student in the Environmental Engineering department I worked as a research assistant in the OSU microbiology department. IGERT is a good fit for me because my research interests involve soil science, microbiology, environmental engineering, genetics and biochemistry. Lew Semprini in Environmental Engineering and Peter Bottomley in Microbiology are my coadvisors, and both collaborate extensively with researchers in other disciplines. My research project involves the bioremediation of pollutants in the subsurface, particularly chlorinated solvents in groundwater systems. The primary objectives of my research are to 1) investigate substrate range, induction, inhibition, and cometabolism of organisms that primarily grow on 2C alkenes, 2) isolate novel Ethylene (Eth), Vinyl Chloride (VC) and Fluoroethylene (FE) degrading bacteria to allow a wider comparison of the halogenated ethene degradation ability, 3) characterize phylogenetic and physiological diversity among Eth, FE and VC utilizing organisms to identify genes responsible for substrate range, and 4) apply findings to determine the degradation potential in sediments obtained from a contaminated site at Ft. Lewis, WA.

Read about Anne's research on the Subsurface Biosphere Center of Exellence web site at: