Dr. Amanda Martino, a SFU alumnus, returned this past fall as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology. When she was a student (SFU Class of 2007), she majored in Biology, with a concentration in Environmental Science , and was also a member of the SFU Track and Field Team (a proud
thrower!). Classes at Saint Francis as well as a summer internship on the Chesapeake Bay sparked her interest in both molecular microbiology and ocean systems.
She went on to get her Ph.D. in Biogeochemistry and Geosciences from Penn State University, studying the microbial communities of the deep subseafloor. The deep ocean floor is subject to extreme pressures, cold temperatures, and severe nutrient limitation, and yet life is abundant,
even deep in the sediments and underlying rocks. This almost completely uncharacterized microbial life surviving at the seafloor and below is being accessed for study through the International Ocean Discovery Program, which drills into the seafloor to recover sediment and rocks
from great depths.
Dr. Martino has been involved with these efforts and has sailed on several research expeditions lasting longer than a month. Dr. Martino used advanced DNA sequencing and analysis techniques to determine possible identities and even possible ecosystem roles of many of these
microorganisms, which are only distantly related to previously known lifeforms. She continues research projects in this area, and looks forward to involving undergraduate students in this work.
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