Katherine Barbeau is a Professor in the Geosciences Research Division at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Her research focuses on the chemistry and biology of trace element cycling in marine systems, in particular the elements iron (Fe) and copper (Cu). Both of these elements have significant biogeochemical impacts in the marine environment due to their role as necessary micronutrients (Fe and Cu) and/or toxins (Cu) for marine microbiota. The Barbeau group regularly goes to sea for sampling and experimental studies, in environments ranging from the local California Current to Antarctica. In the lab, group members employ techniques in the realm of bioinorganic and analytical chemistry, microbiology, bioinformatics, and molecular biology.
Barbeau received a B.S. degree in Chemistry (summa cum laude) from Long Island University (Southampton College) in 1991. Following her undergraduate degree she spent a year in Belgium on a Fulbright Fellowship at the Universite Libre de Buxelles. She received a Ph. D. in Chemical Oceanography from the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in 1998. She completed a postdoctoral position at UC Santa Barbara in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry from 1998-2001, including as a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow from 1999-2001. Barbeau joined the faculty at SIO as an Assistant Professor in 2001. She has received the NASA New Investigator Program Award (2002) and the SIO Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award (2012). She has served as SIO Faculty Chair (2016-2017) and currently serves as Director of the Geosciences Research Division. She is a member of the US GEOTRACES Scientific Steering Committee and an Associate Editor of Marine Chemistry.