Welcome to the Zhang Geomicrobiology and Biogeochemistry Lab
The Zhang laboratory seeks to understand microbial nutrient and energy transfer in past and present environments. Our interdisciplinary approach, which draws inspiration from culture-based microbiology, molecular microbial ecology, and stable isotope geochemistry, is imbued by strong consideration of microbial metabolism at cellular and community scales and involves research in both laboratory and field settings.
Metalloproteins are a central theme in our research as they catalyze nearly all energy transfers in biology. Despite their importance, much remains to be understood about what controls metalloprotein activity in the environment. This fundamentally limits our ability to address changes in climate, elemental cycling, and the energy landscape. We believe that viewing metalloprotein activity in the context of broader metabolic fluxes within and between cells will aid in resolving long-standing questions in microbial biogeochemistry.
Opportunities for microbe lovers at both graduate and post-doc levels are available! Postdoc positions are available for benthic N2 fixation, methane,and alternative nitrogenase related projects. Undergrads interested in gaining research experience should take a look at summer internships in the Zhang lab funded by the The High Meadows Environmental Institute (see https://environment.princeton.edu/education/internships/ )
Please contact [email protected] for more information.
Princeton University, Department of Geosciences, M47 Guyot Hall, Princeton NJ 08544
Phone: (609) 258-2489
E-mail: [email protected]
Katja's recent publication, "Carbon substrate re-orders relative growth of a bacterium using Mo-, V-, or Fe-nitrogenase for nitrogen fixation" just received international press from a group of grad students…
Biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) by canonical molybdenum and complementary vanadium, and iron-only nitrogenase isoforms is the primary natural source of newly fixed nitrogen. Understanding controls on global nitrogen cycling requires knowledge of the isoform responsible for environmental BNF. The isotopic acetylene reduction assay (ISARA),…
Understanding microbial niche differentiation along ecological and geochemical gradients is critical for assessing the mechanisms of ecosystem response to hydrologic variation and other aspects of global change. The lineage-specific biogeochemical roles of the widespread phylum Acidobacteria in hydrologically sensitive ecosystems, such as…
New bioavailable nitrogen (N) from biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) is critical for the N budget and productivity of marine ecosystems. Nitrogen-fixing organisms typically inactivate BNF when less metabolically costly N sources, like ammonium (NH 4 +), are available. Yet, several studies have observed BNF in benthic…