Title: Assistant Professor
Area of Study: Geomicrobiology, Marine Microbial Processes, Microbial Genomics
Phone: (252) 328-5276
Fax: (252) 328-4178
Website: Field Lab Website
Office: S303D Howell Science Complex
Address: East Carolina University
Department of Biology
Howell Science Complex
Greenville, NC 27858
Ph.D.: Microbiology, Montana State University, 2011
B.S.: Environmental Science Biology, Southampton College of LIU, 2005
Microbes are important drivers of geochemical
transformations in the environment, but because their role is complex it
remains poorly understood. My research explores the relationship between microbes
and their environment in an effort to understand the microbial role in water
treatment, contaminant mobility, nutrient transport, and biogeochemical cycling.
While my research interests are diverse, much of
my work focuses on microbe-metal interactions including microbial interactions
with iron: one of the most abundant metals on Earth. One of my research areas
investigates the contribution of iron-oxidizing bacteria to biogeochemical
cycling and nutrient transport. Biologically produced iron oxides are highly
reactive and can sequester nutrients such as phosphorous, nitrogen, and organic
carbon as well as other metals. Unfortunately, there are many unanswered
questions about what environmental factors impact this process and how this
association influences the microbes themselves. My research focuses largely on
marine iron-oxidizing bacteria found in estuaries, coastal regions, and
seamounts, but these interactions are also very important in terrestrial and
freshwater environments. As environmental microbes are notoriously difficult to
cultivate, I am also interested in using –omics-based techniques such as
metagenomics and single cell genomics to develop new enrichment and isolation
strategies to study these organisms in the lab. By integrating microbial and
geochemical analyses through comparative genomics, laboratory experiments with
environmental isolates, and field studies we can begin to answer many critical
questions about biological iron oxidation and other microbial processes in the
Field EK, Kato S, Findlay AJ, MacDonald DJ, Chiu BK, Luther GW, Chan CS. (2016) Planktonic marine iron oxidizers drive iron mineralization under low-oxygen conditions. Geobiology 14(5):499-508.
Munson-McGee JH, Field EK, Bateson M, Rooney C,
Stepanauskas R, Young M. (2015) Nanoarchaeota,
their Sulfolobales host, and Nanoarchaeota virus distribution across
Yellowstone National Park Hot Springs. Applied
and Environmental Microbiology 81:7860-7868.
Labonté JM, Field EK, Lau M, Chivian D, Van Heerden E,
Wommack KE, Kieft TL, Onstott TC, Stepanauskas R. (2015) Single cell genomics
indicates horizontal gene transfer and viral infections in a deep subsurface
Firmicutes population. Frontiers in
Field EK, Sczyrba A, Lyman AE, Harris CC, Woyke T,
Stepanauskas R, Emerson D. (2015) Genomic insights into the uncultivated marine
Zetaproteobacteria at Loihi Seamount.
ISME Journal 9:857-870.
Swan BK, Chaffin M, Martinez-Garcia M, Morrison HG,Field EK, Poulton NJ, Masland EDP,
Harris CC, Sczyrba A, Chain PSG, Koren S, Woyke T, Stepanauskas, R. (2014)
Genomic and metabolic diversity of Marine Group I Thaumarchaeota in the
mesopelagic of two subtropical gyres. PLoS
One 9(4): e95380.
Wilkins MJ, Kennedy DW, Castelle CS, Field EK,
Stepanauskas R, Frederickson JK, Konopka AE. (2014) Single-cell genomics reveal
metabolic strategies for growth and survival in an oligotrophic aquifer. Microbiology 160:362-372.
Emerson D, Field EK, Chertkov O, Davenport KW, Goodwin L,
Munk C, Nolan M, Woyke T. (2013) Comparative genomics of freshwater
Fe-oxidizing bacteria: Implications for physiology, ecology, and systematics. Frontiers in Microbiology 4:254.
Field EK, Gerlach R, Viamajala S, Jennings LK, Peyton BM,
Apel WA. (2013) Hexavalent chromium reduction by Cellulomonas sp. strain ES6: the influence of carbon source, iron
minerals, and electron shuttling compounds. Biodegradation
Gerlach R, Field EK, Viamajala S, Peyton BM, Apel WA,
Cunningham AB. (2011) Influence of carbon sources and electron shuttles on
ferric iron reduction by Cellulomonas
sp. strain ES6. Biodegradation
Field, EK, D’Imperio S, Miller AR, VanEngelen MR, Peyton
BM, Gerlach R, Lee BD, Apel, WA. (2010) Application of molecular techniques to
elucidate the influence of cellulosic waste on the bacterial community
structure at a simulated Low-Level-Radioactive-Waste site. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 76(10):3106-3115.
VanEngelen, MR, Field, EK, Gerlach R, Lee BD,
Apel WA, Peyton BM. (2010) UO22+ speciation determines
uranium toxicity and bioaccumulation in an environmental Pseudomonas sp.
isolate. Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry 24(4):763-769.