Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Scientist Elected Fellow of American Academy of Microbiology

Newswise – Woods Hole, MA (March 7, 2022) – Colleen Hansel, Senior Scientist in the Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). Sixty-five fellows from around the world, including Hansel, have been inducted into the class of 2022 for their scientific achievements and original contributions that have advanced microbiology.

“I am deeply honored to be elected a Fellow of the Academy,” said Hansel. “This recognition would not have been possible without all the students, postdocs and colleagues with whom I have worked and collaborated over the years and whose contributions have been essential to our research and scientific discoveries. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to dedicate my career to understanding the biogeochemical processes that control the health of our world and its inhabitants.

His lab’s work focuses on various life forms, ranging from bacteria to corals, explores a variety of chemical elements, and studies various geochemical niches, including coral reefs and rocky varnish on Mars.

Hansel’s integrative and innovative work has led to impactful discoveries that have shaped future exploration in the field of geomicrobiology and ecological chemistry. For example, his work has shed light on the intimate coupling of microbiological and geochemical processes in the cycling and mineralization of elements, such as iron and manganese, within various ecosystems. Over the years, his research has revealed the concept that biogeochemical cycles are often controlled by reactive, short-lived chemicals that are notoriously difficult to measure.

His research has impacted future research directions and approaches within the scientific community by highlighting the need to investigate indirect enzymatic and metabolic impacts on biogeochemical processes. Hansel’s work uncovered the importance of hidden reactions that underline and control larger biogeochemical cycles. She has dedicated her program to the scientific and professional development of the next generation of scientists over the years, including many undergraduate and graduate students, visiting scholars, and postdoctoral scientists.

Hansel received her doctorate in biogeochemistry from Stanford University in 2004. She became an assistant professor at Harvard University in 2007 before joining WHOI as an associate scientist in 2012. Looking back on her career so far , she feels honored to be a woman. leader in a STEM field.

“As a first-generation graduate, mother of three, and one of only four female graduates of OMSI’s Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, I hope to be able to serve as a role model for younger generations. I am honored to also having served on many panels over the years to share my experiences and advice in navigating a career in science as a woman,” Hansel said.

ASM’s mission is to promote and advance microbial science through conferences, publications, certifications, and educational opportunities. It enhances laboratory capacity worldwide through training and resources and provides a network for scientists in academia, industry and clinical settings. Additionally, ASM promotes a deeper understanding of microbial science among diverse audiences.

WHOI scientist elected as Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology


About Woods Hole Institute of Oceanography

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is a private, nonprofit organization in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Founded in 1930, its primary mission is to understand the ocean and its interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate an understanding of the role of the ocean in the changing global environment. WHOI’s pioneering discoveries stem from an ideal combination of science and engineering, which has made it one of the most trusted and technically advanced leaders in fundamental and applied ocean research and exploration. WHOI is known for its multidisciplinary approach, superior ship operations, and unparalleled deep-sea robotic capabilities. We play a leading role in ocean observation and operate the world’s most comprehensive suite of data collection platforms. Top scientists, engineers and students collaborate on more than 800 simultaneous projects around the world, both above and below the waves, pushing the boundaries of knowledge and possibility. For more information, please visit www.whoi.edu.

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