Linnea Herbertson Receives NSF Fellowship

Linnea Herbertson, University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) graduate trainee has received a 2013 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Fellowship. As an NSF Fellow, she will receive three years of funding support, including stipend, travel, and tuition, and have access to a variety of professional development activities.

 “My concern for the environment began when I was a child,” says Herbertson. As a college student and research technician, she excelled in microbiology and molecular biology. Entering graduate school, she joined the environmental microbiology laboratory of Dr. Raina Maier, Director of the UA SRP, to combine her scientific interests with her passion for the environment. Now she studies phytostabilization of mine tailings at the Iron King Mine and Humboldt Smelter Superfund Site in Dewey Humboldt, AZ. Her research asks whether the bacterial community on the roots of plants grown in mine tailings can aid in the sequestration of toxic metals, as well as act as an indicator of plant health and phytostabilization vitality. After collecting plants grown in the mine tailings, she images the roots using fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) to characterize the microbial communities and x-ray fluorescence (XRF) to analyze metals. “I hope my research will help to further our understanding of the mechanisms of bacteria, root, and metal interactions to help improve phytostabilization efforts,” says Herbertson.

The NSF GRFP supports outstanding graduate students who have demonstrated their potential for significant achievements in science and engineering research. Ms. Herbertson’s selection as a fellow was based on her outstanding abilities and accomplishments, and her potential contributions to strengthening the vitality of the U.S. science and engineering enterprise.

Congratulations, Linnea!