Denise M. Akob, Ph.D.
U.S. Geological Survey
Denise M. Akob, Ph.D., is a microbial ecologist and biogeochemist whose research aims to understand interactions between microbes and their environment in order to solve anthropogenic issues. She obtained her Ph.D. in biogeochemical oceanography from the Florida State University in 2008, and then was a Marie Curie postdoctoral research fellow at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena from 2008-2012. Akob joined the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in 2012 as the head of the Reston Microbiology Laboratory, and moved to the Geology, Energy, and Minerals Science Center in 2020.
Akob's research focuses primarily on understanding microbial impacts on Cold War Biogeochemistry (uranium and chlorinated solvent contamination); energy production (either by mitigating degradation of contaminants—from hydraulic fracturing or oil spills—or by enhancing natural gas production) and carbon cycling. She has published more than 40 papers on uranium bioremediation, microbe-metal interactions, subsurface biodiversity, acetylenotrophy and environmental effects of oil and gas development.
Akob is an associate editor for Biogeosciences and serves on the editorial board of Applied and Environmental Microbiology and FEMS Microbiology Ecology. In addition, Akob is the councilor of the Washington, D.C. Branch of ASM. She was vice-chair of the 2021 Applied and Environmental Microbiology Gordon Research Conference, and received a USGS Early Career Leadership Award in 2017 for her outstanding service and scientific achievements in representing the agency.