Thea Whitman, assistant professor of soil science, has been appointed to the O.N. Allen Professorship in Soil Microbiology. The professorship, founded in honor of the late UW-Madison bacteriologist Oscar N. Allen, is designated to help support a faculty member in the Department of Soil Science doing work in the field of symbiotic nitrogen fixation or soil microbiology. The five-year appointment comes with an annual stipend to support scholarship and research work.
Whitman joined CALS in January of this year. Her research is situated at the nexus of soil biogeochemistry, microbial ecology, and global environmental change. She focuses on organic matter cycling and the molecular and microbial mechanisms that drive it, seeking to understand the processes that control soil organic matter dynamics and interactions with microbes and minerals. The work combines soil biogeochemistry and microbiology with bioinformatics, molecular work and fieldwork, in order to conduct fundamental and applied research with relevance for land-use management, agroecology and climate change policy.
A recent post on Whitman’s blog has some great information about Oscar N. Allen and his wife and scientific partner Ethel K. Allen.