As a recent faculty hire in the Department of Environmental Sciences, assistant professor Katherine Dawson’s research primarily focuses on the interactions between organisms and their environment, as well as understanding the molecular and chemical imprints microbes leave behind in the geologic record. Dawson is an environmental microbiologist who works at the interface of geomicrobiology and organic geochemistry. She studies microbial ecology, microbial transformation of organic molecules, and the molecular and isotopic imprints microbes leave behind in the geologic record.
A native of Philadelphia, Dawson received an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Goucher College and a Ph.D. in geosciences from Penn State. Prior to her appointment at Rutgers, she was a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology.
Dawson embraces the new opportunity to merge her interests at Rutgers. Throughout her undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral years, she often split her time between environmental microbiology and geochemistry labs. “I’m looking forward to combining these spaces and building an interdisciplinary space for students in my new lab.”
Outside the lab, Dawson likes to stay active and spend her free time hiking, backpacking, running, and playing soccer. While on the West Coast, she took advantage of the extensive hiking trails. “In the past year, I walked the first 100 miles of the southern section of the Pacific Crest Trail, as well as a few other 30-mile weekend backpacking loops in California and Oregon.”
Editor’s Note: This faculty profile is part of an ongoing series highlighting new faculty hires and faculty promotions in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.