Microbes are responsible for the habitability of Earth: the ability of plants to thrive in soils, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, the circulation of biomass in the oceans—everything that we care about when we think of the stability of our environment. For my postdoc in the Yeh Lab at Stanford, I wanted to apply my expertise to achieving sustainable biofuel production. To this end, I am working with the micro-alga Botryococcus braunii.
I like to let biology lead the way: I always look for new organisms that are most suited to my questions, rather than the other way around. This has led me to work with, and develop new tools for, Tetrahymena thermophila, Seminavis robusta, Citrobacter portucalensis, and, soon, Botryococcus braunii.
Sometimes, you observe something under the microscope and don't know what to even say. If you have any insight or interest in figuring out these spontaneous waves across a colony surface, please get in touch!
Doing good research doesn't make you a good person. Scientists have an obligation to determine how their ethics are reflected in and shaped by their work. I write more on this for Caltech Letters, here.
Photography by me and illustration by Isabel Swafford
Photography by John Ciemniecki
Microscopy by Jacek Myslowski
Microscopy done by me and John Ciemniecki
Illustrated by me
Photography by me