NIMBioS welcomes Alison Buchan, associate professor of microbiology at UT, as NIMBioS’ associate director for graduate education, effective Sept. 1.
Buchan’s research focuses on the roles of microbes in natural environments. Major objectives in Buchan’s lab include linking microbial taxa to critical ecosystem processes, exploring functional gene diversity and its relation to community structure and biogeochemical processes, and identifying novel enzymes and/or catabolic pathways.
Much of Buchan’s work focuses on the Roseobacter clade, an abundant, broadly distributed and biogeochemically relevant group of heterotrophic marine bacteria. Aspects of Roseobacter biology that are of particular interest include catabolism of plant-derived compounds, attachment and colonization of surfaces, and geographical distributions. In addition, Buchan also examines viruses that infect the Roseobacter clade in order to understand how phage lysis influences Roseobacter populations as well as to understand the chemical nature of dissolved organic matter that is released due to phage activity.
Buchan is also on the faculty of UT’s Genome Science and Technology Graduate Program and UT’s Center for Environmental Biotechnology.
Cynthia Peterson, emeritus associate director for graduate education, has accepted a new role as interim associate dean for academic personnel within UT’s College of Arts & Sciences.