Denise M Akob, Ph.D.


Dr. Denise M. Akob is a geomicrobiologist whose research focuses on understanding how microorganisms impact their environment and biogeochemical cycles. She investigates both contaminated and pristine environments. Her research focuses primarily on understanding microbial impacts on Cold War Biogeochemistry (uranium and chlorinated solvent contamination); energy production (either by mitigating degradation of contaminants (from hydraulic fracturing or oil spills) or by enhancing natural gas production)); and carbon cycling. Dr. Akob joined the U.S. Geological Survey in 2012 and is a research scientist in the Water Mission Area's Earth System Processes Division Water Cycle Branch. For more information please visit the Reston Microbiology Lab website.


  • Ph.D. 2008, Florida State University, Department of Oceanography, Advisor: Dr. Joel E. Kostka
  • B.A. 2002, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Major: Biology

Professional Experience

  • Affiliated Professor, Department of Biology at George Mason University, 2017-current.
  • Affiliated Professor, Department of Geology, Appalachian State University, 2017- present.
  • Adjunct Graduate Faculty, University of Alabama, Department of Biological Sciences, 2016-present.
  • Affiliated Professor, Department of Geography and Planning, Appalachian State University, 2016-current.
  • Affiliated Professor, Environmental Science and Policy Department at George Mason University, 2013-current.
  • Research Microbiologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Water Mission Area, Reston Microbiology Laboratory. 2012-current
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Friedrich-Schiller University Jena. 2010-2012
  • Marie Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Friedrich-Schiller University Jena. 2008-2010

Professional Activities 

  • Associate Editor, Biogeosciences, 2016-present.
  • Editorial Board Member, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 2016-present.
  • President-Elect American Society of Microbiology Washington, D.C. Branch, 2017-present.
  • Editorial Board Member, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, January 1, 2018- December 31, 2020.
  • USGS Community for Data Integration’s Bioinformatics Community of Practice, co-organizer, 2017-present.
  • USGS Eastern Water Science Series, co-organizer, 2017-present.
  • Applied and Environmental Microbiology Gordon Research Seminar Mentor, July 15-16, 2017.
  • USGS NRP-EB Weekly Science Series, co-organizer (2013-2017)
  • Geobiology Theme Chair, Goldschmidt 2015 25th Anniversary Meeting
  • Co-Chair for Session T50. Microbial Hydrocarbon Formation and Biodegradation: Organisms, Pathways, Environmental Limitations, and Isotope Signatures, 2015 Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD


  • USGS Early Career Leadership Award, 2017