Oonagh Bodin - Interview with PhD Gene Drendel

Posted by on 31 August 2016 | Comments

Gene Drendel completed his honours just last year and is currently in the first six months of his PhD in the Applied and Environmental Microbiology lab at La Trobe University

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

What are you currently researching in your PhD?

I am investigating interactions occurring between bacteria that make electricity, and plants. By studying these interactions, I hope to be able to contribute to areas of knowledge including the production of sustainable energy, the promotion of plant growth, and the bioremediation of pollutants. I am investigating these interactions by conducting plant growth trials and analysing aspects of the microbial community such as species abundance and diversity, while also measuring aspects of plant growth, and energy production. I am also culturing specific microbes of interest, and conducting assays to investigate activities carried out by microbes that may influence the growth of plants.

What drew you to this area of research?

I’ve always had an interest in finding ways to increase the sustainability of society and improve environmental values, in both natural and urban environments. This project appealed to me because it has the potential to tap into multiple applications in various contexts that could help us lead more productive and reduce our impacts on the environment.

What interests you most?

I am particularly interested in the potential applications of this project, which could benefit a range of different areas including agriculture, industrial waste treatment, and the cleaning of polluted environments.

Why microbiology? Why science?

There is still so much for us to learn about the world around us and science represents a way of answering questions, no matter how big or small. In a similar way, microbiology helps us learn about the world of microbes that is all but invisible to us in everyday life. I am interested by the idea that organisms so small can have so many impacts on our health and environment!

To find out more about Genes PhD research visit his page on the Applied and Environmental microbiology laboratory webpage HERE.