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Kirsten Hofmockel is an assistant professor in the Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology Department at Iowa State University.  She directs the Microbial Ecology Laboratory, which focuses on connecting microscale mechanism to ecosystem-scale biogeochemical processes.

I am a masters student in the Interdepartmental Microbiology Program. My main interest is environmental microbiology, more specifically the terrestrial ecology of microorganisms.

I'm a PhD student in the Microbiology dept rotating through Dr. Hofmockel's lab. I have a master's studying the microbial ecology of leaf decomposition from Ole Miss (go Rebels!!) and a BS in Microbiology from Chico State in California.

Research Interest
Organizing, presenting complex data problems and implementing centralized database systems for tracking data in environmental research. Promoting understanding of complex data using principles from technology and visual arts.

I am a PhD Candidate in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Program. I am interested in the effect of environmental gradients and land management on microbial community abundance and activity and, in turn, how changes in microbial communities feedback to influence nutrient cycling. My research focuses on the effect of alternative biomass cropping systems on carbon and nitrogen cycling, with specific focus on denitrification at the Landscape Biomass Project @ the Uthe Farm.
Email: sharg(at)

Currently I assist Alescia and Sarah with their projects by either adventuring out into the field or conducting routine lab work. I am a senior in Microbiology with interests in microbial ecology and mirobes in general. My other interests include cycling, being eco-friendly, reading horror novels, Bears football, wood-working, beer brewing and baking.

I am a Ph. D. student interested in soil microbial community function and prairie restoration. Specifically, I am measuring the effects of soil aggregate size distribution and pore space distribution within aggregates on soil enzyme activity and organic matter turn-over. My research is based at the Iowa State Comparison of Biofuel Systems (COBS) research site, examining the economic and ecological benefits of utilizing diverse prairie systems as a potential bioenergy feedstock. I am also involved in several prairie restoration and management activities.


I am a Ph. D. student interested in the effect of microbial community processes on ecosystem processes. By working in soil I hope to strengthen our knowledge about interactions between physical, chemical, and biological processes at different scales. More specifically, I study the link between soil microbial activity and greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, CH4, and N2O) in agro-ecosystems at the Uthe Farm Landscape Biomass Project.

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I am working at the Hofmockel lab as part of the 2011 Biogeosciences Research Experience for Undergraduates Program at Iowa State University. This fall I will be a junior at St. Olaf College, a private liberal arts college in Northfield, Minnesota. I am currently pursuing degrees in biology and environmental science. This fall I will be studying abroad in Tanzania (you should check out the link to my blog!) and will be conducting independent research in the Tarangire National Park. Ultimately, I hope to work with implementing sustainable agricultural practices in developing countries.

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I have been working in Dr. Kirsten Hofmockel's lab as part of the 2011 Biogeosciences Research Experiences for Undergrads program through Iowa State University. I have had an amazing summer learning so many new things about soil and getting to know some wonderful people. I recently moved to Ames, Iowa from Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa following graduating with an Associate of Science in Pre-Engineering. I will continue my education at Iowa State University this fall pursuing a Bachelors degree in Industrial Engineering along with a Master of Business Administration. I am super excited to be getting these degrees from ISU and I look forward to meeting new people and learning new things.

I am currently and undergraduate research assistant majoring in Biology and Environmental Studies. I have been part of the Hofmockel lab since the fall of 2010. I started by doing DNA extractions to measure changes in the diversity of microbial communities in response to native and exotic plant communities. Since then I have been working on the Landscape Biomass Project as well as the Comparison of Biofuel Systems Project. For these projects I help with gas sampling, extracellular enzyme assays, and biogeochemical measurements such net mineralization. In the past I was a land steward intern at the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, which focuses largely on prairie conservation. My time spent at the Heritage Foundation as well as my involvement with this lab has helped me determine that I have a passion for conservation. I hope to go on to graduate school in natural resource management with a focus on soil and water conservation.

I am an undergraduate majoring in Animal Science. I hope to go on to Graduate school and study Animal Breeding and Genetics. In the Hofmockel Lab I work on both the Landscape Biomass and COBS projects. For these projects I have done a lot of fieldwork, sieving, grinding, and nutrient and mineralization assays, and I am known as the “king of the microbalance”. When I first started I didn’t think I would enjoy working with soil, but after a few weeks here I realized how important the study of soil is to everything. I have enjoyed working here with great graduate students and other undergrads.

I'm an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Hofmockel Lab. I'm currently a senior kinesiology pre-med major with a biology minor at Iowa State University. During my past two years with the lab, I have been involved with many different experiments. Specifically, I have helped with many aspects of the Landscape Biomass Project. I have measured extracellular enzyme activity, greenhouse gas flux, net mineralization, and denitrification enzyme activity. Additionally, I completed an independent study during my junior year in which I studied the effect of landscape position and cropping system on cellobiohyrdolase activity. Following graduation from ISU, I plan to attend medical school.

I am an undergraduate majoring in Biological Pre-Medical Illustration. I am the “director of the image department” of the Hofmockel Lab. I render images representing conceptual models and methods that are used in presentations and posters by members of the lab group. I am also involved in other activities including playing the clarinet in the ISU Cyclone Football ‘Varsity’ Marching Band and rowing with the ISU Crew Club. I am hoping to continue my studies in Medical Illustration in graduate school after leaving ISU.

My Masters research focuses on the implications of conventional crop rotations and diversified, low external input crop rotations for soil nutrient cycling at Marsden Farm in Boone County, Iowa. I use measures of soil microbial biomass and enzyme activity throughout the growing season to study the pools and processes that drive nitrogen availability. The overarching goal of my research is to understand the belowground processes underpinning sustainable agricultural systems.

Email: aeking (at) iastate (dot) edu

I’m a soil microbial ecologist interested in the mechanisms underlying the structure and diversity of soil-born bacterial and fungal communities. Specifically, I seek to provide new insights into how specific soil parameters, such as habitat connectivity as determined by soil structure and hydration status influence microbial interactions as well as bacterial and fungal community structure at scales relevant to microbes, which are the aggregate and pore scale. In my research I combine culturing approaches and microcosm experimentation with field-surveys and high-throughput sequencing techniques.
My current research goal is to contribute to a better understanding of the contributions of microbial diversity to ecosystem functioning. Specifically, I aim at gaining new insights into the relationships between soil structure, microbial community composition and ecosystem carbon cycling by combining lab experiments and field-surveys.


I am a Ph.D. student in the Interdepartmental Microbiology program. My research focuses on determining the key microbial organisms involved in C cycling, particularly cellulose degradation. I use a combination of field experiments, to determine the impact of plant/soil interactions on microbial cellulose degradation, and lab incubations with fluorescently labeled cellulose nanocrystals to directly determine the key microbes involved in C cycling.

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