Andrew Babbin is a marine biogeochemist, working on the nitrogen cycle, and especially on the processes that return fixed nitrogen in the ocean back to nitrogen gas. This work is relevant, for instance for understanding the controls on marine productivity and the ocean’s potential for storing carbon. In his short career, Andrew has already made some major contributions to this field, especially with regard to the contributions of anaerobic metabolisms (e.g. ammonium oxidation (anammox) and denitrification) in the ocean. He aims to expand his observational biogeochemical studies by using microfluidic devices to reproduce a variety of chemical conditions simultaneously and finely control the chemistry experienced by microbes.
In addition to opening exciting new lines of research at EAPS—at the interface of physical-, chemical-, and (micro)biological oceanography and climate—his recruitment strengthens partnerships across campus (e.g. with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering) and beyond (e.g. with the MIT-WHOI Joint Program). Babbin received a BS degree from Columbia University (2008) and his doctoral degree (2014) from Princeton University. He came to MIT in November 2014 as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Civil and Environmental Engineering before joining the EAPS faculty as of January 2017. His lab group conducts research across a variety of avenues, coupling observational oceanography with laboratory experiments to understand the chemical underpinnings that control microbes in the environment and how these microbes in turn reshape Earth’s climate.