Microorganisms and their interaction within marine and terrestrial environments are my primary academic interests. Specifically, my research seeks to understand the global nitrogen cycle and fundamental mechanisms operated by microorganisms. Currently, I am a postdoctoral researcher studying Prochlorococcus, which are the most abundant photosynthetic bacteria in global oceans, in Dr. Sallie (Penny) Chisholm's lab. These bacteria have been served as well-developed models for microbial ecology and biogeochemistry in marine habitats.
I did my MSc research with Drs. David Myrold and Peter Bottomley at Oregon State University. As a member of the research project "Niche differentiation of nitrification in soils" (supported by United States Department of Agriculture), I focused on elucidating the relative contributions of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) in nitrification comparing to their counterparts, ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), in acidic forest soils.
I joined Dr. Josh Neufeld's lab for my PhD in Fall 2014 investigating the biogeography of terrestrial ammonia-oxidizing archaea, green-house gas emissions and other potential functions in the terrestrial environment. In addition to the nitrogen cycle, microbial cobalamin (vitamin B12) dynamics in soil were also a research focus of my collaborative thesis research. We revealed key producers and in situ concentrations of this "most beautiful coenzyme" required by organisms across all domains of life but only produced by a limited cohort of bacteria and/or archaea.
In addition to my passion for science, I also enjoy hiking, fishing, photography, and road trips. Those activities connect me better to nature and, as a scientist, I enjoy exploring the unknown, both in science and life, and try to remain a humble but keen learner and observer.
PhD Univ. of Waterloo, Canada, 2018
MSc Oregon State Univ., USA, 2014
BSc Nanjing Agri. Univ., China, 2012