Archana Yadav is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area (EESA) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Her research area is focused on environmental microbiology, metagenomics, and microbial ecology. We recently talked with Archana about her research. (Answers have been lightly edited.)
How did you get interested in microbiome research?
In my PhD lab, we conducted an extensive metagenomic study focused on an anaerobic spring abundant in sulfur and sulfide. I found it incredibly fascinating to uncover insights about the microbial communities residing in this specific environment and the essential roles they play in biogeochemical cycling. Microbiome research offers a remarkable opportunity to enhance our understanding of various ecosystems, whether they are rivers, springs, forests, or even the human gut. This aspect truly captivates me.
Briefly describe your project as if you were talking to your grandmother. What excites you about your current research project?
In my current project, I am looking at microbes that are happily living in an environment contaminated with heavy metals. I examine what microbes are there, how they interact with each other, and how they break down the contaminants. I’m also interested in understanding how these organisms evolved to survive in such environments. I find it fascinating to see how microbes can adapt and evolve to do cool things like breaking down contaminants, which they actually use as their food. This is what excites me about my project.
How does your work contribute to researchers’ understanding of the microbiome?
My work contributes to the overall understanding of microbial abundance and interactions in nature and especially in subsurface contaminated environments. Additionally, I perform genome analyses on numerous isolates obtained from our research site. This analysis helps us comprehend the physiology and metabolic potential of these isolates, many of which belong to unique taxonomic groups. Such understanding is highly valuable in the field of microbiology as it allows us to gain deeper insights into the microbial world.
What song do you currently have on repeat?
Forever young by Jay-Z.
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