Alison Buchan is a marine microbial ecologist studying the interactions heterotrophic marine bacteria have with one another; other members of the microbial community; phytoplankton; living and detrital organic matter; and the viruses (phages) that infect them. Her lab uses representatives of the environmentally relevant Roseobacter group of marine bacteria to uncover the molecular mechanisms that underlie these diverse interactions. She received her BSc in Biology from James Madison University in 1994. She received both a MSc in Microbiology with Robert Hodson (1997) and PhD in Marine Sciences under the advisement of Mary Ann Moran (2001) from the University of Georgia. Her doctoral work elucidated the pathways utilized by Roseobacters to degrade plant-related aromatic compounds. Buchan was awarded an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Microbial Ecology to work with Nicholas Ornston at Yale University. During her time there she investigated aromatic compound transporters in the soil bacterium, Acinetobacter. She joined the University of Tennessee in 2005, where she is now the Carolyn Fite Professor and Associate Head of Microbiology.