Jillian Banfield

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Jill Banfield

Jillian Banfield Royal Society.jpg
Jillian Banfield at the Royal Society admissions day in July 2018
Jillian Fiona Banfield

(1959-08-18) 18 August 1959 (age 63)
Alma materAustralian National University (BSc)
Johns Hopkins University (PhD)
AwardsV. M. Goldschmidt Award (2017)
Dana Medal (2010)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Melbourne
University of Wisconsin–Madison
University of Tokyo
University of California, Berkeley
ThesisHRTEM studies of subsolidus alteration, weathering, and subsequent diagenetic and low-grade metamorphic reactions (1990)
Doctoral advisorDavid R. Veblen[2]

Jillian Fiona Banfield FRS FAA (born Armidale, Australia) is professor at the University of California, Berkeley with appointments in the Earth Science, Ecosystem Science and Materials Science and Engineering departments.[3] She leads the Microbial Research initiative within the Innovative Genomics Institute, is affiliated with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and has a position at the University of Melbourne, Australia.[3] Some of her most noted work includes publications on the structure and functioning of microbial communities and the nature, properties and reactivity (especially crystal growth) of nanomaterials.[1][4][5]

Early life and education[edit]

Banfield at the Franklin Award Ceremony with her husband Peregrine (Perry) Smith in April 2011

Banfield was educated at the Australian National University where she completed her bachelor's[6] and master's degrees[7] (1978–1985) both examining granite weathering. She attributes her initial interest in geomicrobiology to Dr Tony Eggleton who drew her attention to processes at the earth's surface, mineral weathering and the regolith.[8]

Banfield graduated with a PhD in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Johns Hopkins University for high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) studies of metamorphic reactions supervised by David R. Veblen.[2][9]

Career and research[edit]

Banfield is an earth scientist who studies the structure, functioning and diversity of microbial communities in natural environments and the human microbiome.[3] Her laboratory and collaborators pioneered the reconstruction of genomes from natural ecosystems and community metaproteomic analyses.[3] Through genomics, her group has provided insights into previously unknown and little known bacterial and archaeal lineages, leading to a new rendition of the Tree of Life.[3] She has conducted extensive research on natural and synthetic nanomaterials, exploring the impacts of particle size on their structure, properties and reactivity.[3] Her lab described the oriented attachment-based mechanism for growth of nanoparticles and its implications for development of defect microstructures.[3] She has also studied microorganism-mineral interactions, including those that lead to production of nanomaterials.[3]

Banfield was a Fulbright Student in Medicine from the Australian National University to Johns Hopkins University in 1988,[10] and a Mac Arthur Fellow in 1999.[11] She has been a professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1990 to 2001 and the University of Tokyo (1996–1998).[9] Since 2001, she has been a researcher and professor at the University of California Berkeley[12] where she heads the geomicrobiology program and works as a researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Her research as of 2021 spans field sites in Northern California to Australia and covers subjects at the intersection of microbiology and geosciences, including genome-resolved metagenomics, genome editing tool development, astrobiology and microbial carbon capture.[13][14]

The Banfield lab studies microbial communities in terrestrial ecosystems, including soils, sediments and groundwater, as well as the human environment (human microbiome and the built environment).[15] Topics of current[when?] interest include the process of microbial colonization, organism interdependencies, diversity and microbial evolution.[citation needed] This research includes consideration of microbial impacts on mineral dissolution and precipitation and the structure and reactivity of finely particulate nanomaterials and clays that are abundant and important in earth's near-surface environments.[citation needed]

Research exploring microbial diversity and metabolic capacities draws heavily on genome-resolved metagenomic methods coupled to tools that provide insight into function in situ (proteomics, transcriptomics, and metabolomics).[citation needed] In fact, the Banfield lab led the first research that achieved reconstruction of draft genomes from shotgun sequence information (metagenomics, also described as community genomics) as well as the first community (meta)proteomic studies of microbial communities (2004 and 2005, respectively).[citation needed] The combined approaches have been used to investigate many aspects of ecosystem function, including microbial impacts on the carbon, sulfur, nitrogen, iron and hydrogen cycles.[citation needed] Emphasis is placed on analysis of reconstructed genomes because these provide detailed information about genetic potential, with strain resolution, without reliance on laboratory isolation of the organisms or the need for sequences from related (but potentially metabolically distinct) species.[citation needed]

Studies conducted in an underground research facility in Japan are relevant for predicting the implications of microbial activity for the safety of geological disposal of high-level radionuclide wastes.[citation needed] Research conducted at Crystal Geyser (Green River, Utah) probes the potential for subsurface microbial communities to take up CO2 that could leak from CO2 sequestration sites, should such storage be pursued to limit CO2 contamination of the atmosphere from burning of fossil fuels.[citation needed] Research on the sediments and aquifer fluids at a site adjacent to the Colorado River near Rifle, Colorado, targets knowledge gaps related to how subsurface microbial communities are structured, respond to changes in environmental conditions, and influence the chemical form and reactivity of contaminants such as vanadium, selenium, arsenic and uranium.[citation needed] Important outcomes of this work include the first descriptions of hundreds of little known or previously unknown organisms, including those from massive groups of uncultivated bacteria (now referred to as the Candidate Phyla Radiation) and archaea.[16]

Honors and awards[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Jillian Banfield publications indexed by Google Scholar Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ a b Banfield, Jillian Fiona (1990). HRTEM studies of subsolidus alteration, weathering, and subsequent diagenetic and low-grade metamorphic reactions (PhD thesis). Johns Hopkins University. OCLC 224273093. ProQuest 303872775.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Anon (2018). "Professor Jillian Banfield FRS". royalsociety.org. London: Royal Society. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the royalsociety.org website where:

    All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License." --Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies at the Wayback Machine (archived 2016-11-11)

  4. ^ "Jill F. Banfield". Earth and Planetary Science.
  5. ^ "Jillian BANFIELD". Our Environment at Berkeley.
  6. ^ Rickard, Michael John (2010). Geology at ANU (1959–2009): Fifty Years of History and Reminiscences. Canberra: ANU E Press. p. 117. ISBN 9781921666667.
  7. ^ Banfield, Jillian F. (1985). The mineralogy and chemistry of granite weathering (MSc thesis). Australian National University.
  8. ^ "News Interview: Professor Jillian Banfield, Armidale-born international award recipient". ABC Sydney. 10 November 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Jill F. Banfield | Curriculum Vitae". eps.berkeley.edu. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  10. ^ "MacArthur Fellowship Recipients | Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs". eca.state.gov. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  11. ^ "Class of 1999 – MacArthur Foundation". macfound.org. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  12. ^ "Jill F. Banfield". Earth and Planetary Science. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  13. ^ "Jillian Banfield -Departments of Earth and Planetary Science and Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley". Earth and Environmental Sciences Area. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  14. ^ "IGI Launches New Research in Net-Zero Farming & Carbon Capture". Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI). Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  15. ^ "Research". nanogeoscience.berkeley.edu. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  16. ^ Hug, Laura A.; Baker, Brett J.; Anantharaman, Karthik; Brown, Christopher T.; Probst, Alexander J.; Castelle, Cindy J.; Butterfield, Cristina N.; Hernsdorf, Alex W.; Amano, Yuki; Ise, Kotaro; Suzuki, Yohey (11 April 2016). "A new view of the tree of life". Nature Microbiology. 1 (5): 16048. doi:10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.48. ISSN 2058-5276. PMID 27572647.
  17. ^ "Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Bestows Honorary Doctorates on Ground-Breaking Scientists and Supporters". in.bgu.ac.il. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  18. ^ "Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth and Environmental Science". Franklin Institute. 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  19. ^ "Mineralogical Society of America – Dana Medal". minsocam.org. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  20. ^ "Geochemical Fellows :: Geochemical Society". geochemsoc.org. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  21. ^ "ASM Members Elected to National Academy of Sciences" (PDF). ASM News. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 January 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2016. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  22. ^ "Pioneer in Clay Science Lecturer". The Clay Minerals Society. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  23. ^ "Gast Lecture Series :: Geochemical Society". geochemsoc.org. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  24. ^ "John Simon Guggenheim Foundation | Jill Banfield". gf.org. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  25. ^ "CMS People in the News" (PDF). Elements Magazine. December 2006. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  26. ^ "Jillian Banfield – MacArthur Foundation". macfound.org. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  27. ^ "Professional Honors" (PDF). Department of Geology and Geophysics. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  28. ^ "Romnes Awards honor 10 rising faculty stars". news.wisc.edu. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  29. ^ Veblin, David R. (1998). "Presentation of the Mineralogical Society of America Award for 1997 to Jillian Fiona Banfield" (PDF). American Mineralogist. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  30. ^ "The Johns Hopkins Gazette: July 6, 1999". pages.jh.edu. Retrieved 8 October 2018.

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