Maria Dittrich​​

Maria Dittrich is internationally known for her research on mineral-bacteria interactions in a wide range of terrestrial and aquatic environments, including lake sediments. Her research approach combines several techniques in molecular microbiology, aqueous geochemistry and mineralogy. Priory to join the University of Toronto, she completed her Habilitation at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology (ETH) and her PhD thesis at the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology in Berlin, Germany. She is interested in the nucleation, precipitation and dissolution of biominerals under both laboratory conditions and in natural environments. She has trained 20 graduate students and is the author of 65 peer-reviewed publications and books chapters.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Diane Plouchart, PhD

My research interests focus on microbial communities involved in the phosphorus cycle in lakes and sediments. I am involved in research projects on the cycling of polyphosphates in cyanobacteria working both from field data and from controlled laboratory conditions. I am also involved in the different biogeochemistry processes involved at the sediment water interface in Lake Erie.

Stefan Markovic, PhD

Geochemist, currently investigates water quality issues in the Laurentian Great Lakes basin with focus on Areas of Concern.

Samrat Alam, PhD

My postdoctoral research is focused on understanding the biogeochemical cycling of phosphorus (P) in Lake of the Woods (LOW). My research combines field investigation, experimental data and reactive-transport diagenetic model to determine the biogeochemical controls on internal P loading, P recycling and P budget across spatial and temporal scales.

PhD Students

David Aceituno-Caicedo

My research focus is in microbial carbonate precipitation and its potential for carbon and metals sequestrations. I’m looking into it’s applications in bioconcrete.

Zach DiLoreto

Zach’s research focuses on the relationship between microbiology and minerals. His current research examines low temperature dolomite formed in the microbial mats of the Sabkhas in Qatar and how these environments can help us understand the geologic context of the mineral and its implications for global biogeochemical cycles.

Rafael França de Mattos

My research interest is on P transformation mechanisms and pathways in river systems and watersheds as well as P cycling through karstic soils. I am particularly interested in (1) the effects of variations in rainfall have on P cycling from agricultural and urban hotspots in Bay of Quinte, ON, (2) Identify sources of P from agricultural and urban hot spots by utilizing the oxygen isotope geochemistry of phosphate (δ18OPO4) and (3) Understanding P dynamics and biogeochemical process in a karstic agricultural soil.

Da Lin

Microbial community variation and microbial network under nutrient (P, N) loading (in soil/sediment, water, plants or their interfaces),Interactions between P release microbes and (rhizosphere, bulk) soil/sediment P status,Microbial P re/mineralization, sequestration mechanism by cultivation, isotope analysis.

Ammar Alibrahim

Ammar's Ph.D focuses on investigating the role of microbes in the formation of dolomite. Origin of dolomite has puzzled scientists for over 200 years. Additionally, Ammar studies microbial biosignature in dolomite from Miocene-age mud volcano outcrop in Kuwait.

Master Student

Enqi Xiang

Enqi is a M.Sc. student in earth science. Her research focuses on using δ18OPO4 to trace the sources of water-soluble phosphate in manure and soils.

Undergraduate Student

Sanchit Garg

I am a third-year undergraduate student, specializing in Human Biology. I joined Prof. Dittrich Laboratory in April 2018 as an undergraduate research assistant. I have contributed to the project dealing with the development of nanosized natural polysaccharides to control bacterial contamination. Research is my passion and I strive hard for it!

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