Minerals, metals, and microbes in the Anthropocene
July 26, 12:00 pm
Presented by Carla Rosenfeld
Selenium (Se) critically influences both ecosystem and human health. In modern times, millions of people are impacted by Se deficiency or toxicity and in geologic history several mass extinctions have been linked to extreme Se deficiency. Additionally, Se chemistry forms the basis for several paleoenvironmental reconstructions of the Earth’s oxygenation history. Complex interactions between microbial activity and other environmentally relevant elements, however, obscure the ability to make accurate predictions and reconstructions. In this seminar, I will share ongoing research into how microbial activity and interactions with other metals or minerals can drastically alter Se oxidation state and form, including through biomineralization processes. I will also discuss the important role fungal biominerals can play in improving water quality and environmental remediation in contaminated surface environments.
About Carla Rosenfeld
Dr. Carla Rosenfeld is currently a Senior Research Associate and Associate Director of the Quantitative Bioelement Imaging Center (QBIC) at Northwestern University. She has a B.S. in Chemistry from McGill University, and Ph.D. in Soil Science and Biogeochemistry from Pennsylvania State University. Following her Ph.D., Carla was a Smithsonian Institution Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Museum of Natural History Department of Mineral Sciences, and an NSF EAR postdoctoral fellow at University of Minnesota Department of Earth Sciences.
Carla is a biogeochemist and biomineralogist whose primary research goals are directed toward understanding the chemical signatures of life and the interactions between living and non-living Earth systems. She aims to connect mechanistic mineralogical studies with ecosystem-scale questions. Her research program addresses essential questions related to biomineral formation and reactivity, element fate and transport, and coupled biogeochemical cycles by using cutting-edge analytical geochemistry and geomicrobiology tools.