November 10, 2017

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Andrea Rocha to Present at Geological Society Meeting

Andrea Rocha (Tennessee) will deliver a presentation entitled "High-throughput Sequencing as a Microbial Diagnostic Tool for Defining and Managing Environmental Processes" at the East Tennessee Geological Society Meeting in Knoxville, Tennessee on November 13, 2017.

Andrea helps clients by conducting leading-edge research using an array of geochemical, microbial, computational, and genomics techniques within the areas of environmental microbiology, computational biology, and engineering science. She has proven success in spearheading projects, leading multi-disciplinary teams toward project completion, establishing collaborations across organizations and United States Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories. Andrea's specific areas of expertise include the application of molecular technologies for defining and managing environmental processes; the utilization of computational biology tools for characterization of potentially key microbial metabolic processes involved in bioremediation and bioenergy; and the implementation of newly developed biotechnology for microbial detection and assessment.

The East Tennessee Geological Society is a non-profit organization of nearly 100 geoscientists in East Tennessee. The Society helps members stay informed about technical trends in the geosciences and to take advantage of professional and social networking opportunities. Society activities include monthly meetings, technical presentations, and other activities. The Society has been maintained largely by geologists and hydrogeologists working in the Oak Ridge environmental arena, and also includes petroleum consultants, quarry geologists, gemologists, drilling contractors, professors, students, and geologists currently working in other fields.


Environmental microbial diagnostics is a rapidly evolving field that enables understanding of causal relationships between the microbial community and the environment that would be too challenging to otherwise investigate. Although in its infancy, this practice area has a wide range of applications, including the development of predictive models, cleanup and monitoring strategies, and bioremediation and biogeochemistry. Examples of areas where this technical approach is specifically beneficial to managing and monitoring environmental processes with greater fidelity than currently practiced include the investigation of potable groundwater for bioindicators of surface water intrusion; bioreactors for changes in microbial community composition; and identification of indicators of a contaminant event. Microbial diagnostic approaches also function as both leading and lagging indicators of environmental changes that may affect water quality, remediation performance, or process outputs. This presentation discusses practical examples of where the use of high-throughput DNA sequencing of environmental samples provided diagnostic information to understand factors that influenced the DNA signature of specific environments.

More Information

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