EES welcomes new faculty member Jenine McCutcheon

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Headshot of Jenine McCutcheonThe Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences would like to welcome new faculty member Assistant Professor Jenine McCutcheon. She joined the Department in May and teaches EARTH 321 Introduction to Geomicrobiology.

Academic Background

McCutcheon, a native of Thorndale, ON, completed her H.BSc. (Geology and Biology) and M.Sc. (Geology) at Western. When her MSc supervisor (Gordon Southam) relocated to Australia, she took the opportunity to study abroad and completed her PhD in his lab at the University of Queensland. While at UQ, she studied microbial mineral carbonation reactions on reef island shorelines in the Great Barrier Reef, as well as in mine waste materials. This work has applications to geomaterials stabilization and carbon sequestration. During her PhD, she frequently conducted analyses at the Australian Synchrotron, and received the ANSTO Australian Synchrotron Stephen Wilkins Thesis Medal for this research.

McCutcheon moved to the UK for a postdoctoral position at the University of Leeds, where she studied the role of glacier algae, mineral dust, and black carbon in the darkening and melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet. While working in Leeds, she spent three summers camping and conducting research on the Greenland Ice Sheet, in addition to one austral summer at the Princess Elisabeth Station in Antarctica studying endolithic microbes.

At Waterloo

Throughout her research career, she has learned a variety of analytical techniques, particularly related to electron and X-ray microscopy and spectroscopy. Her geomicrobiology group in Waterloo's Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences will use these techniques to study microbe-mineral-fluid interactions in natural and engineered environments. She aims to understand how small-scale biogeochemical processes influence large-scale systems, with a particular focus on utilizing these reaction pathways to solve environmental challenges. They will target a variety of topics, including bioremediation of resource extraction and other contaminated sites, carbon storage and microbial nutrient acquisition in polar habitats.

Outside of work she spends her time trail running, hiking, and painting. She's looking forward to exploring new trails in the KW area.

Written in collaboration with Prof. Jenine McCutcheon