Exploring microbial genetics and function
The Microbial Ecology and Physiology Group focuses on microbial ecology and genomics of environmental organisms. The research is concerned with the basic science underlying bioenergy production, bioremediation efforts, carbon cycling and sequestration, as well as other uses of biotechnology.
The research integrates molecular biology, DNA technology, genomics, and bioreporter techniques with traditional microbiological methods to investigate microbial communities and the processes by which microorganisms transform materials and energy. The goal of these investigations is to increase the understanding of bioenergy production, microbial ecology, nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, and microbial degradation of hazardous contaminants; to demonstrate application of innovative microbial techniques and bioremediation approaches in solving sediment, soil, surface water, and ground water contamination problems; and to transfer new technology to industry. Much of the funding for the group is provided by the Department of Energy’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER), and by the DOE Office of Fossil Energy. The group participates in the research conducted at ORNL by the Center for Bioenergy Innovation (CBI).