MIT EAPS Directory

Fatima Husain

Graduate Student and Science Writer

Fatima Husain is a Cambridge-based science producer and Ph.D. student in the EAPS Summons and Fournier Labs. Before joining MIT EAPS, Fatima earned her Master's degree from the MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing, for which she focused on audio and video production about the geosciences. Before that, she earned her Bachelor's degree with Honors in Geology and Chemistry from Brown University.
In addition to writing and lending her voice for Scientific American Custom Media, MIT Abstracts, BIOmarkers, Rhode Island NPR 89.3FM's Possibly, NOVA | PBS, MIT News, and EAPS News, she works in the Summons Lab to tell different kinds of stories — ones starring lipid biomarkers, tiny molecular fossils that archive Earth's environmental history. In the Fournier Lab, she studies the history and evolution of proteins associated with major events in Earth's history using computational phylogenomic methods.  
Outside of the lab, Fatima is a regular invited guest and "Eco Hero" on Iowa's KFMG 98.9FM's Green City, an MIT Presidential Fellow, MIT WISDM Fellow, and an avid gardener. 

Research Description

In my research, I work to decipher the fossil code that tracks the evolution of life on Earth at the intersection of molecular phylogenomics and molecular biogeochemistry. Some of the questions to which I have directed attention recently include: how can we most effectively characterize eukaryotic microbes in analog Cryogenian environments?; which enzymes can we examine to better understand the timing of local and global oxygenation in Earth’s Archaean?; what are the mechanisms that principally control isotopic fractionation in oxygen-producing microbes? In the past, I have worked with my close colleague, Ainara Sistiaga, to reconstruct the climate history of Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, a site distincly important for our early hominin ancestors, using archeological sediments. In addition to my research projects, I apply my S.M. in science writing (MIT graduate class of 2018) to share scientific innovations and address science skepticism in professional media outlets including MIT Abstracts, Possibly which airs weekly on RI’s NPR Morning Edition, NOVA | PBS, MIT Technology Review, and MIT News.