USA Associate Professor Named Gulf Research Program Fellow
Posted on November 17, 2021
Dr. Brandi Kiel Reese, an associate professor of marine sciences at the University of South Alabama and a senior research scientist at Dauphin Island Sea Lab, has been named an early-career fellow by the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
The fellowship is awarded annually to emerging scientific leaders with fewer than 10 years of experience in their fields. The program encourages them to take risks on research ideas not yet tested, pursue unique collaborations and build a network of colleagues who share their interests.
“I was very surprised because I know that this is such a prestigious honor and there are many deserving researchers working in the Gulf of Mexico,” Kiel Reese said.
The fellowship comes with a $76,000 award that isn't earmarked for specific purpose, but Kiel Reese plans to use it to support graduate students and provide paid internships for undergraduates.
“Students are integral to my research and taking care of them is a top priority,” she said.
A marine microbial ecologist, Kiel Reese studies how bacteria and archaea interact with their environment and each other.
“I want to know how these tiny microorganisms make such a big impact on the global carbon cycle by recycling important nutrients in the sediment like methane, sulfur and nitrogen,” she said.
This is the second year in row a South faculty member has been honored by the Gulf Research Project. Dr. Stephanie Smallegan, an assistant professor of coastal engineering, was named a fellow in 2020.
"The fellowship has enabled me to work with extension specialists and community leaders and citizens,” Smallegan said. “The project we are working on was enhanced through these collaborations and interdisciplinary perspectives."
Kiel Reese arrived at South in the fall of 2020 after being recruited by Dr. Sean Powers, a senior marine scientist with the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and director of South’s School of Marine and Environmental Sciences.
“We hired her because she had already established a reputation as a novel and productive scientist. We have not been disappointed,” Powers said.
In the coming year, Kiel Reese will conduct field work in Antarctica and along the Marianas Trench in the Pacific Ocean, but over the past year has really found a home in Mobile.
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