Anna Rasmussen is a 4th year PhD Candidate in the department of environmental Earth system science at Stanford researching the ecology of nitrogen-cycling bacteria and archaea in San Francisco Bay. Under the direction of Chris Francis, Anna uses DNA-based and biogeochemical approaches to understand the abundance, distribution, and activity of pelagic nitrifying organisms in estuarine environments. Her research is predominantly focused on ammonia-oxidizing archaea in South San Francisco Bay. By examining DNA, RNA, nitrification rates, and historical water quality data, Anna hopes to connect the ecology of microorganisms to biogeochemical cycling in the Bay and give insight into how the system may change in the future.
Anna received her BA and graduated Magna cum laude with honors from Amherst College, where she also participated in her first research experiences. She participated in a Howard Hughes Medical Institute funded summer research experience with Professor Jill Miller studying plant evolution and completed a senior honors thesis with Professor Alix Purdy, studying virulence of environmental strains of Vibrio cholera in the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster). After graduating from Amherst, she interned at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) Marine Lab studying local filter feeding mollusks. Next, she worked for Professor Ryoko Oono at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) working with endophytic fungi in pines. She then worked in Professor Penny Chisholm's lab at MIT studying the world's most abundant cyanobacteria, Prochlorococcus. All of these experiences fueled her passion for microbes, ecology, and oceanography. She is the recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Amherst College Memorial Fellowship, and McGee-Levorsen Research Grant.