Joy Buongiorno
Postdoctoral Fellow

Postdoctoral Fellow Joy Buongiorno

Research Interests



B.S., Biology, Tennessee Technological University, 2011; M.Sc., Geoscience, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 2014; Ph.D., Microbiology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 2018

Contact & Links


Svalbard mud core
Beautiful mud core. The mud in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard is a rusty red color because of the surrounding iron-rich bedrock geology. Bands of black are where iron oxide minerals form when chemical conditions are just right. The combination of sediment accumulation and biogeochemical reactions causes this lovely tiger-striped appearance.

Joy Buongiorno is a geobiologist from the University of Tennessee Knoxville where she recently completed her Ph.D. with Dr. Karen Lloyd. Buongiorno's work combines her background in geoscience with a diverse toolkit of novel molecular methods, sequencing analysis, bioinformatics tools, and imaging techniques to delve into the interactions between the biosphere and geosphere that make life thrive in some of the harshest, uninhabitable environments. By combining results from wet-lab and in silico experiments, her work provides a holistic understanding of microbial activity in systems characterized by different geochemical regimes. While at the Geophysical Laboratory, Buongiorno will work on the NAI ENIGMA Project with Bob Hazen and Shaunna Morrison to  answer big questions related to the co-evolution of the biosphere and geosphere through deep time, specifically focusing on the origins and evolution of oxidoreductases, the first nanomachines that made complex life possible on Earth, and on the mutual interactions of life and geologic materials/processes in redox-sensitive and climate-sensitive environments.