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Jeffrey Marlow


Exploring the functional diversity, metabolic activity,

and limits of microbial life, on Earth and beyond...

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Jeffrey Marlow


Exploring the functional diversity, metabolic activity,

and limits of microbial life, on Earth and beyond...

Marlow_Jeffrey.jpeg

Microbes are - by definition - diminutive organisms, yet microbial communities play integral roles in many of Earth's fundamental processes, from climate regulation to elemental cycles that establish habitability for the rest of us on a global scale. As a researcher working at the intersection of marine environmental microbiology and geobiology, I seek to connect these scales, studying the dynamics of microbial metabolism to help develop fundamental principles of how microbial communities and environments interact. I am applying such knowledge to contemporary natural ecosystems, ancient regimes throughout geologic time, and engineered alternative energy platforms. By investigating these limits experimentally, we also gain unique insight into the search for life beyond Earth, one of the most fundamental scientific questions of our time.

My primary interest is in probing the limits of microbial life - through physical, biochemical, and energetic lenses - using metabolic activity-based methods. The last several years have seen vastly expanded habitats based on cell detection and gene surveys, but activity levels - the ultimate arbiter of a microbial community's impact - and lineage-specific functional roles are still largely unconstrained. And while many experimental approaches necessarily remove inter-organism spatial relationships from the analytical pipeline, such data are critical for understanding how intricate microbiological communities interact and effect environmental change. To bridge this gap, I am developing fluorescence in situ hybridization-based imaging techniques and non-canonical amino acid incorporation approaches to link identity, function, and location in complex communities. With these new tools, we are poised to change our understanding of how biology is structured, building from energetic context to inter-organism interactions, cell-specific activity profiles, and emergent functions.

Please see the [Research] page to learn more about the the experimental systems in which I have applied this research approach.

Elsewhere on this site, you'll find the [publications] I've contributed to, [scientific expeditions] I've participated in, as well as my work in [science writing] and [outreach]. Have a look around, and get in touch with any comments or questions!

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Recent and Upcoming Events


Recent and Upcoming Events


See you there?

August 25-27, 2019: United Nations Intergovernmental Conference on marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, Part 3 // New York CIty, NY

September 9-13, 2019: International FISH Course // Vienna, Austria

October 2019: Ad Astra Academy Nigeria, Part 1 // Nigeria


...And Good Times were Had by All

June 24-29, 2019: Astrobiology Science Conference, “Lessons from Earth Analogs to Inform the Search for Life in the Universe” session convener // Seattle, WA

April 3, 2019: SciCafe Presenter, American Museum of Natural History // New York City, NY

March 25-April 5, 2019: United Nations Intergovernmental Conference on marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, Part 2 // New York CIty, NY

March 17, 2019: The Explorers Club Annual Dinner, Invited Presenter // New York City, NY

February 28, 2019: Museum of Science, High School Science Series Keynote Speaker // Boston, MA

February 13, 2019: Biology Department Seminar, Boston University // Boston, MA

January 19, 2019: Ad Astra Academy Youth Science Initiative // Cambridge, MA

/// Click here for previous events ///