Morgan Lindback

Morgan Lindback, an ecology and evolutionary biology Ph.D. student, receives the Office of Science Graduate Student Research Award! This program provides supplemental awards to U.S. graduate students to pursue part of their graduate thesis research at participating DOE laboratories and facilities. Research areas address scientific challenges central to the DOE Office of Science’s mission. This research opportunity assists students by providing access to expertise, resources, and the capabilities of the U.S. DOE laboratories and facilities. 

“I'm grateful for the investment of time, energy, and funds that the DOE, LLNL, my host Xavier Mayali, and my current PI, Melissa Duhaime, have made in me and my science,” they said. “The opportunity to expand my scientific skills in this way wouldn't be possible without the support from DOE.”

Lindback’s thesis asks, “How do viruses of heterotrophic bacteria alter the organic matter pool (OM)?”. With the help of their host scientist, Mayali, they hope to track the degradation of isotopically-labeled OM across a multi-species microbial assemblage and determine which microbes benefit from OM degradation.

“Microbes are largely responsible for the transformation of organic matter (OM) across environments, making their complex, cross-domain trophic interactions essential components of global carbon cycling,” stated Lindback. “It is well-documented that heterotrophic bacteria are major contributors to large reservoirs of recalcitrant dissolved organic matter (RDOM), but the microbial interactions, including viral infection, that give rise to these reservoirs are mostly unknown.”

They are excited to meet many new people, learn about scientific endeavors outside of their field, gain new expertise, and better understand the operation of the National Labs. This is Lindback’s first time working with experts at LLNL. They will be there from July until December this year, working towards a healthier climate. 

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