Assistant Professor, Biology
Research Expertise: extremophiles, virology
VPL Focus: Task B: Earth through TimeHomepage: https://apps.carleton.edu/people/randerson/
I'm an assistant professor at Carleton College in the Biology department. The overarching goal of my research is to understand how life co-evolves with its environment over time. We use next-generation sequencing tools to better understand the processes that drive microbial and viral evolution over time. We collaborate with astronomers, geologists, chemists, and atmospheric scientists to ask big-picture questions in astrobiology and oceanography.
My work with VPL focuses on the analysis of phylogenetic trees to better constrain when specific microbial metabolisms were radiating across the tree of life. I collaborate with geochemists to corroborate these findings with the geochemical record. Our hope is to better understand which microbial metabolisms were most important at specific points in Earth's history and to connect that with possible observable biosignatures.