Hansel Lab in

Microbial Geochemistry


Members of the Hansel lab are broadly interested in the interactions between microorganisms, metals, and minerals.  Coupling lab- and field-based studies, we aim to identify the enzymatic and geochemical mechanisms responsible for metal speciation and the formation/dissolution of minerals within various environments ranging from coastal estuaries to the deep sea to coral reefs.  Our research has revealed the importance of microbial metabolites (e.g., reactive oxygen species) and reactive intermediates (e.g., elemental sulfur) in the redox cycling and mineralization of metals, specifically iron, manganese and mercury. We therefore also explore the biochemical pathways responsible for formation of reactive metabolites and the regulation of these processes as a function of biological interactions (e.g., animal-phytoplankton-heterotrophic interfaces) and geochemical gradients (e.g., acidification, temperature, light).  To explore these interactions, we take a multi-disciplinary approach, including metabolomic/proteomic analysis, protein purification and mutagenesis of putative enzymes within model organisms, geochemical modeling of reactive aqueous species, and spectroscopic/microscopic (e.g., X-ray absorption spectroscopy, electron microscopy) interrogation of mineral-biota interfaces. The Hansel lab is multidisciplinary, with research spanning geomicrobiology, microbial physiology, mineral-microbe interactions, mineralogy, and sediment and aqueous geochemistry.


Research at the intersection of microbiology and geochemistry

Last updated: August 2015