I am a geomicrobiologist in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and a member of the BioTechnology Institute at UMN. My research examines the impact of microbial activity on geological and environmental processes such as mineral formation, mineral alteration and weathering, metal(loid) redox transformations, nutrient biogeochemical cycling, and the remediation of polluted environments. My specific research objectives are driven by conducting fundamental scientific research on environmentally relevant biogeochemical processes and key elements in nature that are further influenced by anthropogenic activities (e.g., mining, agriculture, and climate change). Because of the highly interdisciplinary nature of my research, I work with a multidisciplinary team of scientists and students with diverse scientific training and expertise. We use multiple approaches ranging from metagenomics, genomics, and transcriptomics to understand microbial communities and molecular mechanisms associated with specific biogeochemical activities to mineralogical X-ray and spectroscopic techniques to identify and characterize biomineralization products and stability of these products in a changing environment. In addition to answering key questions on the mechanisms, metabolic pathways, and geochemical impact of mineral—metal-microbe interactions, we seek to inform and improve strategies for remediating inorganic pollutants to improve the quality and health of water and soil environments.
To learn more about me and my research group, visit my Santelli Geomicrobiology Lab website or follow me (@biominerals) on Twitter.