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Dr. Katrina Twing


     Ph.D. at Michigan State University
     M.S. at University of Delaware
     B.A. at Clark University

   Contact Information

     Phone: 801-626-6996
     Office Location: 
     Tracy Hall Science Center (TY)
     Room 450L



Teaching Philosophy & Focus

To me, one of the most inspirational moments in a young scientist’s career is when they realize how many unknowns there are in the world and, as a scientist, it is their job to help answer some questions. One of the most important concepts I have learned in school is the difference between what I don’t know and what was truly unknown. As an aspiring scientist, it is easy to assume that if you do not know something, it is due to some deficit in your knowledge – which can be frustrating – as opposed to the fact that many things in the world around us are still truly unknown. Understanding this concept gave me the confidence to critically search the literature and then develop unique research questions and methods to address these truly unknown topics. I believe this concept is one of the most fundamental and exciting parts about science. Helping students to recognize the difference is an important job of a science educator. While I understand this is a “light-bulb moment” each person must come to in their own time, utilizing active-learning methodologies and challenging students to do independent research helps them reach this plateau in their educational journey.

Courses Taught

MICR 1113 - Intro to Microbiology
MICR 1153 - Public Health - Sex, Food, Travel, and Drugs
MICR 3154 - Microbial Ecology
MICR3753/GEO3753 - Geomicrobiology

Search Catalog For Course Details

Research Areas of Interest

My research focuses on understanding how microbes interact with each other and their environments using next-generation sequencing methods. My research to date has been of exploring microbes living in extreme environments, like deep-sea volcanoes or high pH waters and is equal parts fieldwork, molecular biology, and bioinformatics. Given the interconnectedness of microorganisms and their environments, particularly in the subsurface setting, studying all these components in tandem using statistically rigorous methodologies is imperative to understanding ecosystems. By taking an interdisciplinary approach to environmental science, we can more completely answer broad real-world questions. Any students interested in doing research, please feel free to contact me.

Specific Projects

Rock-Powered Life - Microbes can potentially eat the chemicals supplied by water-rock reactions. Serpentinization is a geochemical process that releases hydrogen, methane, and organic molecules that could fuel microbial communities. However, the process also creates a harsh environment, with extreme pH and highly reducing conditions. To understand what microbes live in these challenging conditions, we've studied sites were serpentinization occurs around the world.

High pH Hydrothermal Vents - Life on Earth likely originated in a hydrothermal vent, where steep chemical and temperature gradients are combined abiogenic organic molecules (life molecules coming from non-life). I am exploring two specific sites that have been hypothesized to be the cradle of life on Earth - the Lost City Hydrothermal Vent and Strytan Vents - to see who is currently living there and try to figure out who may have been their in the past.

Antimicrobial Genes in Local Soil - Along with students at WSU, I am looking at soil samples from around Utah to determine the presence, prevalence, and diversity of antimicrobial genes, which can have implications for the antibiotic-resistance global health crisis.

Learn more.

Recent Publications

  • Twing KI, LM Ward, ZK Kane*, A Sanders*, RE Price, HL Pendelton, D Giovanelli, WJ Brazelton, SE McGlynn. (2022). Microbial ecology of a shallow alkaline hydrothermal vent: Strýtan Hydrothermal Field, Eyjafördur, northern Iceland. Front. Microbiol. 13:960335. Full Article.

    *WSU Students

  • Brazelton WJ, JM McGonigle, S Motamedi, HL Pendelton, KI Twing, et al. (2022). Metabolic strategies shared by basement residents of the Lost City Hydrothermal Field.  Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 88:e00929-22. Full Article.

  • Pendelton HL, KI Twing, S Motamedi, WJ Brazelton. (2021). Potential microbial contamination from drilling lubricants into subseafloor rock cores. Scientific Drilling. 29: 49-57.  Full Article.

  • Motamedi S, BN Orcutt, GL Früh-Green, KI Twing, HL Pendleton, WJ Brazelton. (2020). Microbial residents of the Atlantis Massif’s shallow serpentinite subsurface. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 86:e00356-20. Full Article. 

  • Magnabosco C, JF Biddle, C Cockell, S Jungbluth, KI Twing. (2019). Biogeography, Ecology, and Evolution of Deep Life. In B Orcutt, I Daniel, R Dasgupta (Eds.), Deep Carbon: Past to Present (pp. 524-555). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Full Article. 

  • Sheik C, BK Reese, KI Twing, J Sylvan, S Grim, MO Schrenk, ML Sogin, F Colwell. (2018). Identification and removal of contaminant sequences from ribosomal gene databases: Lessons from the Census of Deep Life. Front. Microbiol. 9:840. Full Article. 

  • Twing KI, WJ Brazelton, AJ Hyer, MD Kubo, TM Hoehler, TM McCollom, D Cardace, MO Schrenk. (2017). Serpentinization-Influenced Groundwater Harbors Extremely Low Diversity Microbial Communities Adapted to High pH.  Front Microbiol. 8:308. Full Article.


Referral Websites

Twing Environmental Microbiology Lab






Let's Connect!


Advisor & Office Hrs

New Major Advisor
Dr. Matthew Domek
Dr. Michele Culumber

Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Mailing Address

Weber State University
College of Science
1415 Edvalson St., Dept. 2506
Ogden, UT 84408-2506

Building Location

Tracy Hall Science Center (TY 450)

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