Joe Russell, Microbiology. I attended the University of Arizona and began college as an astronomy major. A part time job in the labs of Dr. Chris Impey and Dr. Neville Woolf introduced me to astrobiology, origin of life research, and molecular/microbiology in general. After developing a fascination of the intricacy and diversity of microbial life, I switched majors to microbiology. For the remainder of my undergraduate career I worked in the Human Origins Genotyping Lab processing samples for National Geographic's Genographic Project in an effort to study the human journey out of Africa through DNA. I completed a Bachelor's in Microbiology in 2008. After working in the bio-tech industry in Boston for 2 years as well as a fortunate 2 month stint on an oceanographic research vessel in the Pacific, I relocated to Lewes, Delaware where I am currently pursuing a PhD in marine microbiology at the University of Delaware under Dr. Jennifer Biddle. My research focuses on the microbial ecology and metagenomics of unique and extreme environments such as the microbialites of Pavilion Lake and sub-seafloor sediments. With PLRP, my main focus is understanding how differing bacterial communities comprising the microbialites affect the morphology of these structures as well as the differences in microbiology of lithifying vs. non-lithifying microbial mats.
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