Plenary speakers

​International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation Symposium

Bozeman, MT, USA

7-10 September 2020

Plenary Address 1

Forever Chemicals? Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Expose the Limits of the Biosphere

Dr Jennifer Field, Oregon State University

Dr. Field is a Professor in the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology at Oregon State University.  Her work focuses on the development and application of quantitative analytical methods for organic micropollutants and their transformation products in natural and engineered systems. She has been a pioneer in the area of fluorochemical occurrence and behavior with a focus on groundwater contaminated by fire-fighting foams, municipal wastewater treatment systems, and in municipal landfill leachates.  It is estimated that about a third of the US population has been exposed to this emergent class of contaminants that has been associated with both human and environmental harm.  She also has developed procedures for the use of large-volume injections with liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry as a quantitative yet cost- and time-saving approach for the analysis of aqueous environmental samples.  Applications of the large-volume injection technique include measurements of illicit drugs in municipal wastewater as an alternative indicator of community drug use; components of the Corexit® oil dispersant in seawater, and newly-identified fluorochemicals in groundwater and landfill leachate. Dr. Field is an Associate Editor for Environmental Science and Technology and has held that position since 2008.  She also served as an editor for Water Research from 2004-2008. 

Plenary Address 2

Guaymas Basin Spreading Center - a Hot Spot of Marine Microbial Activity and Hydrocarbon Transformation

Dr Andreas Teske, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Dr Teske is a professor in the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  His expertise is in microbial ecology and microbial systematics. He is particularly interested in bacteria and archaea of marine environments, like the hydrocarbon-rich Guaymas Basin in the Gulf of California.  More specifically, he focuses on understanding the natural diversity of the indigenous microbial communities as well as their environmental tolerances and physiological adaptations. He has been working for many years in a part of the ocean that is involved in the rapid microbial and abiotic hydrocarbon production and consumption.  His integrated biogeochemical and microbiological research approach to science explores the pathways of, and environmental controls on, consumption and production of methane, other alkanes, dissolved inorganic carbon, low molecular weight organic acids and sedimentary organic matter that fuel the Guaymas Basin microbial ecosystem.  Dr Teske has led multiple expeditions with the research ship Atlantis and deep-sea submersible Alvin to the Guaymas Basin; his most recent project is deep subsurface drilling across this spreading center. He serves on the editorial advisory board of Geobiology and FEMS Microbiology Ecology, and is the chief speciality editor for Extreme Microbiology in Frontiers of Microbiology.

Plenary Address 3

The Biodegradation of Petroleum Hydrocarbons in Aquatic Environments

Dr Kenneth Lee, Centre for Offshore Oil and Gas Environmental Research, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Dr. Lee is the National Senior Science Advisor for Oil Spill Research, Preparedness and Response for Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), and Science Lead for the Multi-Partner Research Initiative under Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan that aims to promote collaborative research at the national and international level between academia, government and the private sector to advance oil spill response measures and science based decision making during oil spill response operations.  From 2013 to 2017, he was the Director of Oceans and Atmosphere, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency.   As the founding Executive Director of DFO’s Centre for Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research (COOGER), he was responsible for the provision of scientific knowledge and advice to support policy, regulatory and operational decisions associated with the development of Canada’s offshore oil and gas and ocean renewable energy sector.    

Dr. Lee was appointed Chair of the Royal Society of Canada’s Expert Panel on the Behaviour and Environmental Impacts of Crude Oil Released into Aqueous Environments.  International recognition of his knowledge in the field of oil spill research include three appointments on US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the Academies) Committees on the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on ecosystem services; Arctic oil spill response; and the use of chemical oil dispersants.  An author of more than 450 academic and technical publications, Dr. Lee is a two-time recipient of DFO’s “Prix d’Excellence” and the Government of Canada’s “Federal Partners in Technology Transfer – Leadership Award” for the development and application of oil spill countermeasures.