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Kathleen “Katie” S. Fitzgerald

Environmental and Climate Sciences


Supervising Faculty: Dr. Terry C. Hazen 

Born and raised in Murfreesboro, Tenn., Katie traveled east to receive her Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT). As an undergraduate, she participated in research with an emphasis on bioremediation, enhanced oil recovery and microbial ecology within the marine environment. She loved working in this field and realized pursuing a doctorate was the best way to continue her passion for research in bioremediation. Before beginning her graduate degree, she worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for one year as an intern. During this time, she developed a greater understanding of the research opportunities in the energy industry and the knowledge gap in the role microbial communities within this research. The Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education, which unites UT and ORNL for advanced research, offers a unique approach to this topic with a focus on the energy industry. She accepted a graduate position in Dr. Hazen’s lab, her undergraduate mentor. Her current research is focused on applied microbial ecology with an emphasis on understanding the function and role of microbial communities in the natural attenuation and bioremediation of metals and radionuclides in contaminated groundwater and sediment. Many of her questions revolve on developing a greater understanding of how fluctuations in geochemistry and microbial communities are interconnected within these contaminated environments.


Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Minor in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee (2015) – Magna Cum Laude

Awards and Recognitions

Best Poster. ORISE 2015 Summer Student Poster August 6, 2015

Honorable Mention Poster in the College of Arts and Sciences. Exhibition of Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement (EUReCA). University of Tennessee, Knoxville. April 14, 2015


Google Scholar Profile: Katie Fitzgerald

Contact Information