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Conversations on Sustainability: Microbes and Climate Change
Caltech scientists and MacArthur Fellows Dianne Newman and Victoria Orphan speak with science writer Lori Dajose (BS ’15) about the role of microorganisms in sustaining life on a warming planet, from enabling precision agriculture to cycling carbon in the ocean to mitigating the greenhouse gases produced by livestock.

Presented by the Caltech Science Exchange

Dec 8, 2021 11:00 AM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Dianne Newman
Gordon M. Binder/Amgen Professor of Biology & Geobiology; Ecology & Biosphere Engineering Lead, Resnick Sustainability Institute
Newman and researchers in her lab study how microorganisms co-evolve with their environments, whether that environment is a plant’s root system or the human lung. Their long-term goal is to contribute new approaches to promoting both human and environmental health. Newman served as the founding director (2012–2020) and as Allen V. C. Davis and Lenabelle Davis Leadership Chair (2017–2020) for the Center for Environmental Microbial Interactions. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2016.
Victoria Orphan
James Irvine Professor of Environmental Science & Geobiology; Allen V. C. Davis & Lenabelle Davis Leadership Chair
Orphan’s geobiological research spans the interface between environmental microbial ecology, geochemistry, and geology. Her lab investigates the activities and interactions of environmental archaea, bacteria, and viruses—from the ocean surface to deep in the Earth’s crust—to elucidate how they perform globally important geochemical processes like cycling methane and sequestering carbon. Orphan directs Caltech’s Center for Environmental Microbial Interactions and Kerckhoff Marine Laboratory. She is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2016.
Lori Dajose
Lori Dajose is a content strategist and science writer in Caltech’s Office of Strategic Communications covering biology, bioengineering, and neuroscience. Lori received her undergraduate degree from Caltech in 2015 and began working in OSC shortly afterward.