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Research Overview


We conduct experiments to unravel the fundamental microbiological and environmental (physicochemical) controls that drive Earth’s biogeochemical cycles. Much of our experimental infrastructure is custom designed/built to our applications.  

On-going Projects

Clumped isotope signals of methane as a putative biosignature. 

  • Dartmouth team: W. Leavitt (PI), Jiawen Li (PhD student) and V. Nathan (M.S. student)

  • Collaborators: E. Young (UCLA), T. McCollom (CU Boulder), & J. Labidi (IPGP)

  • Funding: NASA Exobiology

Clumped isotope signals of methane from non-traditional sources.​

  • Dartmouth team: W. Leavitt (PI)

  • Collaborators: E. Young (UCLA), X. Zhang (Princeton)

  • Funding: Simons Foundation

Tracking the H-isotopic compositions of archaeal GDGTs in response to energy and the environment.

  • Dartmouth team: J. Rhim (postdoc), C. Harris (PhD student), W. Leavitt (PI). 

  • Collaborators: S. Kopf (CU Boulder), A. Pearson (Harvard), and F. Elling (Univ. Kiel).

  • Funding: NSF-EAR-LowT Geochem. & Geobio.

Thermoacidophile GDGT cyclization in response to pH and temperature in hot springs 

  • Dartmouth team: L. Blum (M.S. student), W. Leavitt (PI), O. Zhaxybayeva (collaborator, Biology)

  • Collaborators: E. Boyd & D. Colman (Montana State Univ.), E. Eloe-Fadrosh & M. Kellom (JGI DoE)

  • Funding: American Chemical Society, Dartmouth College


Mechanisms of GDGT cyclization in Sulfolobus islandicus.

  • Led by: B. Chiu (Research Asst./Lab Mgr.), W. Leavitt (PI)

  • Collaborators: A. Pearson (Harvard), E. Eggleston (Middelbury Coll). F. Elling (Univ. Kiel),

  • Funding: DOE-JGI CSP

Present Funding

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Past Funding

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