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Kathleen Duncan

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Kathleen Duncan, Ph.D.

Research Associate Professor of Microbiology

228 George Lynn Cross Hall
SEC 1470 100 E. Boyd.
770 Van Vleet Oval
Norman, OK 73019
405-325-6927 (office)
405-325-4892 (lab)

B.A., Biological Sciences, University of Rochester, 1975
M.S., Biology, University of Rochester, 1978
Ph.D., Biology, University of Rochester, 1982

Research areas:
Anaerobic Microbiology, Biocorrosion, Biofuels, Bioremediation & Biodegradation, Environmental Microbiology, Microbial Ecology, Microbial Systematics, Microbially-Enhanced Oil Recovery, Petroleum Microbiology

Research interests:
My research is centered on gaining a greater understanding of how microbial diversity is structured at several different levels; that is, how genetic and ecological factors affect communities, species, and populations, and how they respond as environments change. I have studied the effects of changing environments in the context of the microbiology of energy issues. My areas of energy-related research include 1) Microbially influenced corrosion (MIC, biocorrosion) and biodeterioration of petroleum products and biofuels, 2) Molecular characterization of microbial isolates and enrichments capable of anaerobic biodegradation of hydrocarbons, 3) Bioremediation of soil ecosystems contaminated by oil and oil-field brine, and 4) Microbially enhanced oil recovery (MEOR).

Another branch of my research focuses on the genus Bacillus, including studies of gene transfer within and between species, determining levels of genetic variation within populations, and systematics. The genus Bacillus, with many culturable members, offers an outstanding opportunity for research in microbial systematics and evolution, as well as offering strains for use in MEOR.
My research draws on many different areas of microbiology as I use the tools of molecular biology to characterize microbial communities and species. I enjoy the challenge of multidisciplinary collaborations with scientists and engineers striving to solve complex real-world problems.

Relevant publications:

De Paula, R., St Peter, C.; Richardson, A.; Bracey, J.; Heaver, E.; Duncan, K.; Eid, M. and Tanner, R. DNA Sequencing of oilfield samples: impact of protocol choices on the microbiological conclusions. Corrosion 2018, Paper # 11662, NACE Corrosion 2018 Conference, Phoenix AZ, USA.

Eid, Mary, Kathleen Duncan and Ralph Tanner. 2018. A semi-continuous system for monitoring microbially influenced corrosion. J. Microbiological Methods. 150: 55-60.

Duncan, Kathleen E.,  Irene A. Davidova, Heather S. Nunn, Blake W. Stamps, Bradley S. Stevenson, Pierre J. Souquet, and Joseph M. Suflita. 2017. Design features of offshore oil production platforms influence their susceptibility to biocorrosion. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 101(16):6517-6529. DOI: 10.1007/s00253-017-8356-8

Bonifay V, Wawrik B, Sunner J, Snodgrass EC, Aydin E, Duncan KE, Callaghan AV, Oldham A, Liegen T, and Beech I. (2017).  Metabolomic and metagenomic analysis of two crude oil production pipelines experiencing differential rates of corrosion. Front. Microbiol. 31 January 2017 |

Wawrik, Boris, Christopher R. Marks, Irene A. Davidova, Michael J. McInerney, Shane Pruitt, Kathleen Duncan, Joseph M. Suflita, Amy V. Callaghan. (2016) Methanogenic paraffin degradation proceeds via alkane addition to fumarate by “Smithella” spp. mediated by a syntrophic coupling with hydrogenotrophic methanogens. Environ. Microbiol. 18(8):2604-19. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.13374