Denise Akob is a Research Microbiologist for the USGS Geology, Energy & Minerals (GEM) Science Center in Reston, VA.
Dr. Denise M. Akob is a microbial ecologist and biogeochemist whose research aims to understand interactions between microbes and their environment in order to solve anthropogenic issues. 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 as a research scientist in the Water Mission Area, and move to the Geology, Energy, and Minerals Science Center in 2020. 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
- 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 Affiliations or Activities
- Associate Editor, Biogeosciences, 2016-present.
- Editorial Board Member, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 2016-present.
- Editorial Board Member, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, January 1, 2018- December 31, 2020.
- President, Washington, D.C. Branch of the American Society for Microbiology, 2019-present.
- President-Elect, Washington, D.C. Branch of the American Society for Microbiology, 2017-2019.
- 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
Science and Products
Science and Products
Pre-USGS PublicationsKeiner, R., A. Rusznyak, D. M. Akob, S. Hanf, K. Küsel, J. Popp, and T. Frosch. 2013. Raman spectroscopy – an innovative and versatile tool to follow the respirational activity and carbonate biomineralization of important cave bacteria. Analytical Chemistry, 85(18): 8708–8714 (DOI: 10.1021/ac401699d).Gray, S. M., D. M. Akob, S. J. Green, and J. E. Kostka. 2012. The predictability of bacterial composition within the Sarracenia purpurea model system: local scale differences and relationships with the other members of the food web. PLoS One 7(12): e50969.Akob, D. M.*, S. H. Lee*, M. Sheth, K. Küsel, D. B. Watson, A.V. Palumbo, J.E. Kostka, and K.-J. Chin. 2012. Gene expression correlates with process rates quantified for sulfate- and Fe(III)-reducing bacteria in U(VI)-contaminated sediments. Frontiers in Terrestrial Microbiology, 3:280. *Equal contribution.Risse-Buhl, U., M. Herrmann, D. M. Akob, P. Geesink, N. Pizani, W. Schönborn, K.-U. Totsche and K. Küsel. 2012 Phagotrophic protist diversity in the groundwater of a karstic aquifer - morphological and molecular analysis. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, 60(5): 467–479 (DOI: 10.1111/jeu.12054.Rusznyák, A., D. M. Akob, S. Nietzsche, K. Eusterhues, K. U. Totsche, T. R. Neu, T. Frosch, J. Popp, R. Keiner, J. Geletneky, L. Katzschmann, E.-D. Schulze, and K. Küsel. 2012. Calcite biomineralization by bacterial isolates from the recently discovered pristine karstic Herrenberg Cave. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 78(4): 1157–1167.Akob, D. M. and K. Küsel. 2011. Where microorganisms meet rocks in the Earth's Critical Zone. Biogeosciences 8, 3531-3543.
Akob, D. M., L. Kerkhof, K. Küsel, D. B. Watson, A. V. Palumbo, and J. E. Kostka. 2011. Linking specific heterotrophic bacterial populations to bioreduction of uranium and nitrate using stable isotope probing in contaminated subsurface sediments. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 77(22):8197-8200
Burkhardt, E.-M., S. Bischoff, D. M. Akob, G. Büchel, and K. Küsel. 2011. Heavy metal tolerance of Fe(III)-reducing microbial communities in a contaminated creek bank soil. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 77(9): 3132-3136.
Lu, S., S. Gischkat, M. Reiche, D. M. Akob, K. B. Hallberg, and K. Küsel. 2010. Ecophysiology of Fe-cycling Bacteria in Acidic Sediments. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 76 (24): 8174-8183.
Vishnivetskaya, T. A., C. C. Brandt, A. S. Madden, M. S. Drake, J. E. Kostka, D. M. Akob, K. Küsel, and A. V. Palumbo. 2010. Microbial Community Changes in Response to Ethanol or Methanol Amendments for U(VI) Reduction. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 76(17): 5728-5735.
Sitte, J., D. M. Akob, C. Kaufmann, K. Finster, D. Banerjee, E.-M. Burkhardt, J. E. Kostka, A. Scheinost, Georg Büchel and K. Küsel. 2010. Microbial Links between Sulfate Reduction and Metal Retention in Uranium and Heavy Metal-contaminated Soil. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 76(10): 3143–3152.
Green, S. J., O. Prakash, T. M. Gihring, D. M. Akob, P. Jasrotia, P. M. Jardine, D. B. Watson, S. D. Brown, A. V. Palumbo and J. E. Kostka. 2010. Denitrifying bacteria from the terrestrial subsurface exposed to mixed waste contamination. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 76(10): 3244–3254.
Burkhardt, E.-M., D. M. Akob, S. Bischoff, J. Sitte, J. E. Kostka, D. Banerjee, A. C. Scheinost, K. Küsel. 2010. Impact of Biostimulated Redox Processes on Metal Dynamics in an Iron-rich Creek Soil of a former Uranium Mining Area. Environmental Science & Technology 44(1): 177-183.O. Prakash, T.M. Gihring, D.D. Dalton, K.-J. Chin, S.J. Green, D.M. Akob, G. Wanger, J.E. Kostka. 2010. Geobacter daltonii sp. nov., an iron(III)- and uranium(VI)-reducing bacterium isolated from the shallow subsurface exposed to mixed heavy metal and hydrocarbon contamination. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 60: 546-553.D. M. Akob, H. J. Mills, T. M. Gihring, L. Kerkhof, J. W. Stucki, Kuk-Jeong Chin, Kirsten Kuesel, Anthony V. Palumbo, David B. Watson, and Joel E. Kostka. 2008. Functional diversity and electron donor dependence of microbial populations capable of U(VI) reduction in radionuclide contaminated subsurface sediments. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 74: 3159-3170.
Blöthe, M., D.M. Akob, K. Walter, J.E. Kostka, H.L. Drake, and K. Küsel. 2008. Heterogeneity of Fe(III)-reducing microorganisms in coal-mining lake sediments caused by a pH gradient. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 74(4): 1019–102.
D. M. Akob, H. J. Mills, D. L. Swofford, J. E. Kostka. 2007. Metabolically-Active Microbial Communities in Uranium-Contaminated Subsurface Sediments. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 59: 95-107.