Division of Environmental and Biomolecular Systems

Our research emphasizes intense, collaborative, cutting-edge research in areas of high scientific and societal impact.

Research performed within the division addresses physical, chemical and biological processes that occur within and at the interface of biomolecular systems, including the natural environment and living organisms.  

Three overarching goals characterize our research programs: 

  1. Fundamental understanding of processes at molecular, cellular, and particle levels;  
  2. Holistic, process-based understanding of ecosystems, and individual organisms;  
  3. Effective use of science in society’s approaches to ecosystems health, human health, and economic development.  Our research has national and international impact, as well as serving the specific needs of the Pacific Northwest.

Bradley Tebo

  • tebob@ohsu.edu
  • Research areas: Geomicrobiology and microbial biogeochemistry of metal-microbe-mineral interactions; marine microbiology and biotechnology; bioremediation. 

António Baptista

  • baptista@ohsu.edu
  • Research areas: Integrated understanding and prediction of hydrodynamic and environmental processes in estuaries and coasts. Development of associated concepts and technologies: environmental observation and forecasting systems, numerical methods and models, physically-based ecological indicators.

Ninian Blackburn

  • blackbni@ohsu.edu
  • Research areas: Structure and function of oxidase and oxygenase metalloenzymes; spectroscopy of metal sites in proteins with emphasis on EPR, EXAFS, absorption edge, and FTIR spectroscopies; coordination chemistry and biochemistry of copper. Biochemistry of metal trafficking in cells.

Richard Johnson

  • johnsori@ohsu.edu
  • Research areas: Physical and chemical behavior of organic contaminants in the air, soil, and water; analytical organic chemistry; groundwater transport, fate, and modeling of contaminants in porous and fractured porous media.

Pierre Moënne-Loccoz

  • moennelo@ohsu.edu
  • Research areas: Structure-function relationships within proteins. Metalloenzymes and hemoproteins. Spectroscopic studies of enzymatic active sites, cofactors, and metal clusters. Reaction intermediates within catalysis. Nitric oxide in bioinorganic chemist.

Michiko Nakano

  • nakanom@ohsu.edu
  • Research areas: Anaerobiosis of Bacillus subtilis; oxygen-controlled gene regulation; two-component signal transduction system; transcriptional activation; nitrate/nitrite reductases; flavohemoglobin; anaerobic electron transport; nitric oxide signaling.

Joseph Needoba

  • needobaj@ohsu.edu
  • Research areas: Marine biogeochemistry; in situ sensors and instruments; phytoplankton ecology and physiology; stable isotope ecology.

Tawnya Peterson

  • petertaw@ohsu.edu
  • Research areas: Biological oceanography; ecology and physiology of phytoplankton; harmful algal blooms; ocean observatories

Holly Simon

  • simonh@ohsu.edu
  • Research areas: Microbial ecology; environmental genomics and gene sensing technologies; bioremediation.

Paul Tratnyek

  • tratnyek@ohsu.edu
  • Research areas: Pathways, kinetics, mechanisms, and other fundamental, molecular aspects of environmental oxidation-reduction reactions. Applications to remediation of contaminated groundwater, treatment of waste and drinking water, risk assessment of emerging contaminants.

Peter Zuber

  • zuber@ohsu.edu
  • Research areas: Regulation of prokaryotic gene expression and development in response to stress; signal transduction; regulation and mechanism of peptide antibiotic biosynthesis; regulation of genetic competence in Bacillus subtilis.

General research areas