User:Kristine de Leon

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Contact Info

Kristine de Leon
In Svalbard, Norway
Soil protein extractions
  • Kristine C. de Leon
  • Ohio State University
  • Riffe Building Rm R936, 496 W 12th Ave
  • Columbus, OH 43210
  • deleon.71{at}

I work with Dr. Virginia Rich in the Department of Microbiology at the Ohio State University. Before transferring to Ohio State, I was in the Microbial Ecology Lab in the department of Soil, Water, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Arizona.


  • PhD Student, Microbiology (2015 - present) The Ohio State University (transferred Summer 2015)
  • PhD Student, Soil, Water, & Environmental Sciences (2014 - 2015) University of Arizona
  • BA, Philosophy (2009) University of California, Berkeley

Research Interests

  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Soil Community Proteomics
  • Biochemistry: Enzymes & Crystal Structures
  • Permafrost Thaw
  • The role of microbial ecology in ecosystem scale responses to global change
  • Microbial genomics and biogeochemical cycling

Current Projects

Broadly, I am using metagenomics and metaproteomics to understand the microbial dynamics and co-evolving geochemistry along a chronosequence of permafrost thaw and carbon transformation. More specifically, I am interested in investigating how microbial community composition and function scale to ecosystem biogeochemistry of CH4 and CO2, and how such scaling is affected by climate change. To accomplish this, I am coupling molecular microbial ecology to biogeochemistry and modeling, in order to link microbes, genes, transcripts and proteins with biogeochemical processes and ecosystem fluxes.

My project addresses several key outstanding questions about the pathways for carbon loss under permafrost thaw:

  • What are the relative contributions of old previously-frozen carbon and new plant-derived carbon in fueling thaw-related carbon gas emissions (which drive positive feedback to climate change, and are rigorously quantified in magnitude and isotopic character by the parallel field project)? Identifying the organic matter composition of the sources and transition states will help clarify this, and thaw answer will help constrain the potential magnitude of modeled emissions moving forward.
  • How are microbial community systems interacting with these carbon substrates to control the ration of methane (CH4) to carbon dioxide (CO2) released, a key parameter in model simulations of CH4 biogeochemistry used to estimate global emissions?
  • Who are the key microbial lineages performing carbon transformations in these systems, and by what mechanisms are they acting? The selective sequencing proposed in my project builds upon rich metagenomic data already generated for this site, and is thereby anticipated to add hundreds of high quality new population genomes to our understanding of these climate responsive habitats.

I am currently wrapping up the optimization of protein extraction for our peat samples collected in Abisko, Sweden.

I am also looking into whether syntrophic acetate-oxidizing microbes contribute to patterns of methanogenesis observed with thawing permafrost in Stordalen Mire, Sweden.

Intrepid explorers of the Rich Lab studying permafrost in Abisko, Sweden. (Left to right: Moira Hough, Gary Trubl, Kristine de Leon. RJ)

Computer & Software Skills

  • Programming: Java, Python, R
  • Proteome Discoverer


In conjunction with Arizona MESA (a university-based outreach program), the Saturday Science Academy puts together all-day geology-based education programs for underrepresented middle school students. This year, I co-lead a workshop on the geologic time scale.

The School of Earth & Environmental Sciences hosts Earth week at UA every year. As a SWES Grad Rep I am responsible for the organization of the event and the student recruitment of students in the SWES department for presentations.

Worked in conjunction with the Women in Science and Engineering program (WISE) to get high school and middle school students to get excited about STEM fields and careers, particularly women and under-represented minorities. Co-lead a soil science and soil microbiology workshop with fellow grad students, Dawson Fairbanks and Maggie Murphy. I also happily participated in various volunteer events hosted by WISE.

Professional Affiliations

  • American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
  • Geological Society of America (GSA)
  • American Society of Mass Spectrometry (ASMS)
  • United States Permafrost Association (USPA)
  • Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)


  • I love the outdoors! I enjoy backpacking, hiking, and rock climbing. And if I ever find myself in lots of snow, I like to cross-country ski.
  • When I'm not outdoors or working, I enjoy playing classical and jazz piano. Sometimes I write poetry or read works by Gottlob Frege, Immanuel Kant, and David Hume.
  • I also enjoy fixing and riding bicycles.
  • In the summer of 2011, I rode my bike across the United States (Huntington Beach, CA --> Jacksonville, FL) and organized volunteer & outreach work along the way (because I believe in kindness and making the world a better place) :)
  • In the summer of 2012, I thru-hiked the entire Appalachian Trail (Springer Mtn, Georgia --> Mt. Katahdin, Maine). My trail name was "Swivel".
  • I also like to crack jokes and make people laugh and smile :) I especially enjoy writing limericks about science and environmental issues.
Saving a puppy while biking across Texas. His name was "Clarkelton"

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