SEMINARS PLANNING COMMITTEE
Tina Bahadori is the National Program Director for Chemical Safety for Sustainability (CSS) at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). CSS research advances sustainable development, use and assessment of existing chemicals and emerging materials by developing and applying computational science, integrated chemical evaluation strategies, and decision-support tools. Before joining the EPA in May 2012, she was the Managing Director of the Long-Range Research Initiative at the American Chemistry Council (ACC). Dr. Bahadori is a past president of the International Society of Exposure Science and was an associate editor of the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. She has served as a member of several committees of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, including one that developed a research strategy for environmental, health, and safety aspects of engineered nanomaterials. Dr. Bahadori holds a doctorate in environmental science and engineering from the Harvard School of Public Health. From the Massachusetts Institute of Technology she holds an M.S. in chemical engineering and technology and policy, as well as B.S. degrees in chemical engineering and in humanities.
Carole Bewley is a Senior Investigator at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Chief of the Natural Products Chemistry Section in the Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. She received her Ph.D. in oceanography and marine natural products chemistry from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, and was a Cancer Research Institute Postdoctoral Fellow in protein nuclear magnetic resonance. Her current research program focuses on bioactive marine natural products, protein-carbohydrate recognition, and HIV entry. Dr. Bewley has received the NIH Director’s Award, is an editorial board member of Current Medicinal Chemistry–Anti-Infectives, and is a chartered member of Synthetic and Biological Chemistry (Center for Scientific Research/NIH) and Molecular Libraries (NIH Roadmap) study sections. She has been an active member of the American Chemical Society (ACS) for 15 years, serves on Editorial Advisory Boards and as an expert reviewer for multiple ACS journals, and is a member of the Long Range Planning Committee, Division of MedChem, for the ACS.
Edward DeLong has worked the past 10 years as a Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Department of Biological Engineering and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and has been a Professor of Oceanography at the University of Hawai‘i since 2014. Dr. DeLong has spent most of his career
developing molecular biological and genomic approaches to study naturally occurring microbial communities in the ocean. In the course of developing these new approaches Dr. DeLong and collaborators have made fundamental discoveries about the nature and properties of microbial life in the sea. Discoveries include the recognition of two new types of abundant marine Archaea in coastal marine habitats, the identification of methane-consuming Archaea in anoxic marine sediments, and characterization of the first known light-driven ion pumps (proteorhodopsins) in marine bacteria. Currently Dr. DeLong is applying genomics and systems biology approaches to study microbial community dynamics in the sea, and elucidating the ways that marine microbes garner energy from sunlight using opsin-based photosystems. Dr. DeLong is a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Science, the American Academy of Microbiology, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Honors include the Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky Medal of the European Geosciences Union, the Proctor & Gamble Award in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, the American Society for Microbiology D.C. White Research and Mentoring Award, and the University of California, Davis, College of Biological Sciences Outstanding Alumni Award. For the past 8 years, Dr. DeLong has served as Co-Director of C-MORE, and he will now serve as SCOPE Co-Director with Dr. David Karl.
Jim Fredrickson is a Biological Sciences Laboratory Fellow at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Dr. Fredrickson has performed scientific research on the physiology and phylogeny of subsurface microbial communities and the hydrogeological and geochemical factors controlling their distribution and function. These findings provided the foundation for the scientific discovery of microbial communities thriving in the deep subsurface and for utilizing such communities to remediate groundwater contaminated with radionuclides. He has also made contributions to understanding the biological and geochemical factors controlling the rate and extent of reduction of Fe(III) and the nature and composition of reduced solids, associated with Fe oxyhydroxide minerals by dissimilatory iron-reducing bacteria. He has also directed multi-institutional research that focused on mechanistic aspects of carbon metabolism and electron transport to metals in dissimilatory metal-reducing bacteria and applied systems microbiology approaches to understand how Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 senses and responds to its environment.
Barbara Gerratana is a Program Director in the Division of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). She oversees research, small business and training grants in enzyme catalysis and regulation, natural products, and biotechnology. She manages institutional predoctoral training programs in biotechnology, a center in system and synthetic biology, and a cooperative grant in “Genome to Natural Products.” Dr. Gerratana is also a scientific advisor for the International Cooperative Biodiversity research grants, an interagency funded program. Before coming to NIGMS, Dr. Gerratana served as an Associate Professor with tenure in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Maryland, College Park. She earned a B.S. in chemistry from the Università degli Studi di Pavia in Pavia, Italy, and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Dr. Gerratana conducted postdoctoral research at Johns Hopkins University.
David Rockcliffe is a permanent Program Director in the Division of Chemistry in the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the National Science Foundation (NSF). He currently manages the Chemistry of Life Processes program and previously managed the Structural and Mechanistic Biology programs in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences. Prior to joining NSF, he was a faculty member in the Division of Mathematics and Sciences at Kentucky State University where his research was focused on investigating peptide mimics of the active sites of metalloproteins in order to understand structure–function relationships in the metal binding domain. He received his Ph.D. degree in chemistry at Loyola University of Chicago and undertook postdoctoral studies at Texas A&M University.
William P. Inskeep is a Professor of Geochemistry and Geomicrobiology at Montana State University (MSU), and has worked extensively on microbiomes associated with high-temperature environments in Yellowstone National
Park. Dr. Inskeep has focused his research on the integration of geochemical and genomic studies of chemotrophic microbial communities across a diverse group of extreme geothermal environments. He also has extensive prior experience in soil and hydrologic processes that govern the fate and distribution of chemical species in the environment. Dr. Inskeep is a founding member of the Thermal Biology Institute (at MSU) and has led several large collaborative and training initiatives supported by the National Science Foundation, including a Research Coordination Network and an Integrative Graduate Research and Training Program for Ph.D. students. He has led several genome sequencing projects of microbial communities in extreme environments supported by the U.S. Department of Energy–Joint Genome Institute, and recently served on a joint appointment with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory focused on microbial interactions in naturally occurring microbial communities.
Kelly C. Wrighton is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology at The Ohio State University. Dr. Wrighton’s research seeks to understand microbial roles in terrestrial ecosystems—focusing primarily on life and its chemical interactions in the subsurface. During her doctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley, she identified a physiological mechanism that Gram-positive metal-reducing bacteria use to transfer electrons onto extracellular minerals, findings with implications for microbial fuel cell technology and iron biogeochemical cycling. In her postdoctoral training, in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley, and the U.S. Department of Energy, she used genomic tools to characterize the metabolism of bacterial lineages that lack any cultivated representatives, generating new insights into subsurface fermentation, carbon dioxide fixation, and even defining size constraints for bacterial life. Her current research program interrogates the microbial diversity and physiology of ecosystems occurring more than a mile below the surface in natural gas wells, examining biogeochemical reactions catalyzed before and after hydrocarbon extraction. Interestingly, the methylamine metabolisms encoded in these deep subsurface microorganisms are also critical in the human gastrointestinal tract, helping to prevent heart disease, thus expanding Dr. Wrighton’s research into new ecosystems.
Trent R. Northen is currently Group Leader and Staff Scientist within the Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology Division (EGSB) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The Northen group’s research is focused on using exometabolomics to link genomes with environments to understand how webs of microbes cycle carbon and sustain biomes. Central to these efforts are the development of advanced mass spectrometry approaches and model laboratory ecosystems (EcoFABs) that are closely coupled to native ecosystems. Together these are enabling controlled studies and measurement of the spatial dynamics of complex biochemical pools within microbiomes. His group is using these approaches to advance foundational understanding and predictive models of the dynamic reciprocity of microbes within soil and plant microbiomes with the goal of enabling the development of carbon-negative biofuel approaches.
Dr. Northen obtained his B.S. in chemical engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He was a National Science Foundation (NSF) Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) fellow at the Biodesign Institute (Arizona State University), where he received his Ph.D. in chemistry and biochemistry under Neal Woodbury and was a postdoctoral fellow at The Scripps Research Institute under Gary Siuzdak. He has received numerous awards including a 2014 DOE Early Career Award, a 2013 R&D100 award, and was awarded a Presidential Award for Science and Engineering (PECASE) by President Obama in 2010. His research has resulted in more than 20 patent applications and more than 70 publications including numerous papers in influential, peer-reviewed journals, such as Nature, Nature Communications, Nature Plant, Nature Biotechnology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Energy and Environmental Sciences, Journal of Biochemistry, and Analytical Chemistry. Dr. Northen currently serves on a number of Scientific Advisory Boards and has diverse leadership responsibilities including being Director of Biotechnology for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ecosystems and Networks Integrated with Genes and Molecular Assemblies (ENIGMA) Scientific Focus Area, Director of Array-Based Assays at Joint BioEnergy Institute, and Metabolomics Program Lead at Joint Genome Institute. He actively participates on many Berkeley Lab committees, including co-leading the Microbes-2-Biomes Initiative, and serves as the lead for the Biosciences Environmental Strategy.
Mark E. Hay is the Teasley Professor of Environmental Biology, a Regents Professor, and founder and co-director of the Center for Aquatic Chemical Ecology at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is a marine ecologist known for his work on chemical and community ecology. His research focuses most heavily on understanding the structure and function of marine communities and ecosystems and the role that chemical cues and signals play in the interactions affecting the resilience or degradation of natural communities, especially coral reefs. Much of his research has been focused on larger organisms where manipulative experiments in the field can be used to rigorously test ecological principles and to separate cause, effect, and the mechanisms involved. Many of the mechanisms controlling critical interactions are chemically mediated, which should not be surprising given that most organisms have neither eyes nor ears and must use chemical cues and signals to sense and interact with the world around them. This is especially true for microbial ecology, where all behaviors must be chemically mediated to some degree. He has recently initiated collaborations with marine microbiologists and genomics researchers to begin similar investigations focused on understanding the roles of chemical signals and cues in mediating interactions among microbes and among macroorganisms and the multitude of commensal microbes with which they live (their microbiomes). Chemical cues constitute the “language of microbes.” Dr. Hay and his collaborators are focused on interpreting and understanding this language as a means of gaining ecological and evolutionary insight into microbial processes and the cascading impacts of microbes on macroorganisms.
Daniel J. Repeta is a Senior Scientist in the Department of Marine Chemistry at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. His research explores the interactions between microbial communities and dissolved organic matter in the marine water column, most recently at Station ALOHA, a long-term study site in the oligotrophic North Pacific Ocean near Hawai‘i. The oceans present unique challenges to studying the chemistry of microbiomes, and a key aspect of Dr. Repeta’s research has been the development of new analytical approaches to characterize and track organic nutrients at the molecular level. Dr. Repeta was an investigator in the Center for Microbial Oceanography Research and Education (C-MORE), a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center (NSF-STC) designed to explore new concepts in marine microbial cycling, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Marine Microbiology Initiative (GBMF-MMI), and was a founding member of the Simons Foundation Collaborative on Ocean Processes and Ecology (SCOPE), a new initiative to study energy and mass flux through marine microbial ecosystems.
Mak A. Saito is an Associate Scientist in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. His research group develops and deploys new methods to enable the study of biogeochemical cycles in the oceans and their influence on the Earth’s climate and habitability, with a focus on metal and vitamin nutrition in marine phytoplankton and microbial communities. He has studied the influence and cycling of cobalt, iron, nickel, cadmium, zinc, vitamin B12, and macronutrients on microbial communities throughout the oceans, from the Ross Sea of Antarctica to the Arctic Ocean and through geologic time. Dr. Saito’s research group has contributed to the understanding of colimitation in marine microbes and phytoplankton and has described the importance of vitamin B12 as a colimiting nutrient in the Southern Ocean. In recent years, his laboratory has developed novel methods to investigate the proteomes of microbes as a means to characterize ecosystem function and biogeochemical processes, developing protein biomarkers as indicators of nutritional stress in microbial communities. His research team has also been developing methods to discover novel metalloenzymes in the marine microbes and pathogens.
Saito received his B.S. at Oberlin College, his Ph.D. in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology–Woods Hole Joint Program in Chemical Oceanography with James Moffett and Penny Chisholm, and conducted postdoctoral research at Princeton University with François Morel. He has participated in 20 research expeditions, including being Chief Scientist and Expedition Leader on seven oceanic and sea ice expeditions, and has authored more than 80 publications. He was a recipient of the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, was named a National Academy of Sciences Kavli Fellow, and is currently a Gordon and Betty Moore Marine Microbial Inves-
tigator. He is currently leading the development of a National Science Foundation (NSF) EarthCube Ocean Protein Portal to facilitate data sharing of protein data and the study of changes in ocean metabolism across time and space.
Pieter C. Dorrestein is a Professor at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He is the Director of the Collaborative Mass Spectrometry Innovation Center and a Co-Director, Institute for Metabolomics Medicine in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Department of Pharmacology and Pediatrics. Since his arrival to UCSD in 2006, Dr. Dorrestein has been pioneering the development of mass spectrometry methods to study the chemical ecological crosstalk between populations of microorganisms, including host interactions for agricultural, diagnostic, and therapeutic applications.
Curtis Huttenhower is an Associate Professor of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and an Associate Member at the Broad Institute. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University, where he also performed his postdoctoral research at the Lewis-Sigler Institute. Dr. Huttenhower was an analysis lead in the National Institutes of Health Human Microbiome Project and currently co-leads the “HMP2” Center for Characterizing the Gut Microbial Ecosystem in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. His lab focuses on computational methods for functional analysis of microbial communities. This includes systems biology reconstructions integrating metagenomic, metatranscriptomic, and other microbial community omics, the human microbiome in autoimmune disease such as inflammatory bowel disease, and its potential as a diagnostic tool and point of therapeutic intervention.
Emily P. Balskus is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, where she first became interested in chemistry as a high school student. She graduated from Williams College in 2002 as valedictorian with highest honors in chemistry. After spending a year at the University of Cambridge as a Churchill Scholar in the lab of Dr. Steven Ley, she pursued graduate studies in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology (CCB) at Harvard University, receiving her Ph.D. in 2008. Her graduate work with Dr. Eric Jacobsen focused on the development of asymmetric catalytic transformations and their application in the total synthesis of complex molecules. From 2008 to 2011 she was a National Institues of Health (NIH) postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School in the lab of Dr. Christopher T. Walsh. Her research in the Walsh lab involved elucidating and characterizing biosynthetic pathways for the production of small molecule sunscreens by photosynthetic bacteria. She also received training in microbial ecology and environmental microbiology as a member of the Microbial Diversity Summer Course at the Marine Biology Lab at Woods Hole during the summer of 2009.
She joined the CCB faculty in 2011 and is currently the Morris Kahn Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. She is also an Associate Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a Faculty Associate of the Microbial Sciences Initiative at Harvard, and a member of the Harvard Digestive Diseases Center. Her independent research, which lies at the interface of chemistry and microbiology, seeks to use chemical approaches to enhance our understanding of microbes and microbial communities (microbiomes). A major area of interest is elucidating how the metabolic capabilities of the human gut microbiome contribute to human health and disease. Her work has been recognized with multiple awards, including the 2011 Smith Family Award for Excellence in Biomedical Research, the 2012 NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, the 2013 Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, and, most recently, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute-Gates Faculty Scholar Award. She was also named one of MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35 in 2014.
All Systems Seminar
Mohammad R. Seyedsayamdost is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Molecular Biology at Princeton University as well as an associated faculty member of the Princeton Environmental Institute. His lab is interested in deciphering the chemical language that microbes use to communicate and compete with one another, with the
goal of understanding the molecular principles that drive short- and long-term symbiotic associations. These studies focus on naturally occurring marine algal–bacterial symbioses as well as on bacterial–bacterial interactions in complex environments, including soil and the human microbiome. Research in the Seyedsayamdost lab blends approaches from microbiology, bacterial genetics, small molecule chemistry, and mechanistic enzymology.
He received a combined B.S./M.S. degree with highest honors from Brandeis University and conducted undergraduate thesis work in the lab of Dr. L. Hedstrom. His graduate studies were carried out in the Department of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under the guidance of Dr. J. Stubbe. Subsequently, he joined the laboratories of Dr. J. Clardy and Dr. R. Kolter at Harvard Medical School for his postdoctoral studies as a Life Sciences Research Foundation fellow. In January 2013, he started his independent career at Princeton University. He has been named a Searle Scholar and a Pew Biomedical Scholar, and has been the recipient of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pathway to Independence Award and the NIH New Innovator Award.
Timothy K. Lu received his undergraduate and M.Eng. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in electrical engineering and computer science. Thereafter, he obtained an M.D. from Harvard Medical School and Ph.D. from the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Medical Engineering and Medical Physics Program. Dr. Lu joined MIT as Assistant Professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 2010 and obtained a joint appointment at the Department of Biological Engineering in 2012.
Jennifer L. Reed is a Harvey D. Spangler Faculty Scholar in the College of Engineering and an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She received her B.S in bioengineering: biotechnology and Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego. She has received numerous awards for her research, including a National Science Foundation Early Career Award, U.S. Department of Energy Early Career Award, and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. She is an American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering Fellow and a National Academy of Sciences Kavli Fellow. Her group develops and applies systems biology approaches to study and engineer microbial metabolism and regulation for a variety of applications.