Julie Huber is an oceanographer by training and is broadly interested in how basic earth processes- rocks forming, fluids moving, sediments accumulating- interact to create and maintain life in the oceans. Her research addresses some of the most central questions about the nature and extent of life on Earth in one of its least explored corners, the subseafloor habitat beneath the ocean floor. Her focus is on microorganisms, who for more than three billion years have served as engines of Earth’s biosphere, driving essential biogeochemical cycles that shape planetary habitability. Huber investigates subseafloor microbial communities to resolve the extent, function, evolutionary dynamics, and biogeochemical implications of this relatively unexplored ecosystem. The questions her work addresses are universal for understanding the impact of microbial life on both human and planetary health and the selective forces that continue to allow life to establish, thrive, and diversify on Earth.
Huber received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 2004 and came to the Marine Biological Laboratory in 2005 as a National Research Council NASA Astrobiology Institute Postdoctoral Fellow. In 2007, she received the L’Oréal USA Fellowship for Women in Science and joined the faculty at MBL in the Josephine Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution, where she currently serves as Associate Director. She is also the Associate Director of the NSF Science and Technology Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI), whose mission is to explore life beneath the seafloor and make transformative discoveries that advance science, benefit society, and inform and inspire the general public about discoveries in ocean sciences and related disciplines.