PhD Student
Host, MIT Abstracts
email fatima at mit dot edu
Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences
E25-618
45 Carleton Street
Cambridge, MA 02142

Bio

2020-present– Ph.D. Student, MIT Presidential Fellow (2020), MIT WISDM Fellow (2021), John H. Carlson Fellow (2021), Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, MIT

Research

In my research, I want to decipher the histories preserved in naturally-occurring chemical compounds to improve our understanding of our Earth system — knowledge that may then be eventually applied to studies of other planetary systems. In order to learn how to effectively communicate scientific research, I earned M.S. in science writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I aspire to a career pursuing cutting-edge geochemical and environmental research while continuing to address science skepticism.

In the lab, I’m most interested in the study of lipid biomarkers in organic geochemistry. In the past, I’ve focused on lacustrine long-chain alkenones and branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraether lipids, which I used to reconstruct the Holocene climate history of northern Alaska. In the Summons Lab, I’ve worked on reconstructing the climate history of Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania using archeological sediments with Ainara Sistiaga, and now focus my attention on cyanobacteria pigments, their functions in microbes, and evolution. I also conduct science outreach activities around the country as well as write news articles for the Summons Lab and EAPS News.

Outside of my studies and research, I’m the managing producer at Possibly, a sustainability science radio show that airs weekly on Rhode Island’s NPR Station, and I’m host of MIT Abstracts, an international webinar series that connects K12 students around the word with MIT researchers and experts. From time to time, I’ve also appeared in and produced science videos for 60,000+ K-12 students around the world. Previously, I worked at NOVA | PBS, MIT News, and The College Hill Independent.

Select Publications (Google Scholar)

Elling, F. J., Evans, T. W., Nathan, V., Hemingway, J. D., Kharbush, J. J., Bayer, B., Spieck, E., Husain, F., Summons, R. E. And Pearson, A., 2022. Marine and terrestrial nitrifying bacteria are sources of diverse bacteriohopanepolyols. In Geobiology, 00, 1– 22.

Husain, F., Evans, T.W., Hawes, I. and Summons, R.E., 2021. Characterizing sterol biomarkers from transient Antarctic microbial oases. In AGU Fall Meeting 2021. AGU.

Drozd, J., Husain, F., Izon, G. and Summons, R.E., 2021, December. Regarding the Putative Diagenetic Origins for Neoproterozoic Sponge Steranes. In AGU Fall Meeting 2021. AGU.

Husain, F., Mojarro, A., Drozd, J. and Summons, R.E., 2021, December. Collecting and Sharing the Oral History of Organic Geochemistry with the BIOmarkers Audio Series. In AGU Fall Meeting 2021. AGU.

Summons, R., Husain, F., Cui, X., Rohret, S., Liu, X., Welander, P., Shen, G. and Bryant, D., 2021, September. Cyanobacterial Aromatic Carotenoids. In IMOG 2021 (Vol. 2021, No. 1, pp. 1-2). European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers.

Husain, F., Mojarro, A., Drozd, J.K. and Summons, R.E., 2021. BIOmarkers: The Oral History of Organic Geochemistry. Goldschmidt 2021. 

Penney, C., Phillips, A.A., Ward, B., Shafiee, R., Zheng, J., Husain, F. and Walsh, C., 2020, December. Telling Diverse Stories in 280 Characters: Lessons from the Women Doing Science Twitter. In AGU Fall Meeting 2020. AGU.

Phillips, A.A., Penney, C., Ward, B., Shafiee, R., Zheng, J., Husain, F. and Walsh, C., 2020, December. Telling Diverse Stories in 280 Characters: Lessons from the Women Doing Science Twitter. In AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts (Vol. 2020, pp. ED022-10).

Sistiaga, A., Husain, F., Uribelarrea, D., Martín-Perea, D.M., Ferland, T., Freeman, K.H., Diez-Martín, F., Baquedano, E., Mabulla, A., Domínguez-Rodrigo, M. and Summons, R.E., 2020. Microbial biomarkers reveal a hydrothermally active landscape at Olduvai Gorge at the dawn of the Acheulean, 1.7 Ma. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences117(40), pp.24720-24728.

Cui, X., Liu, X.L., Shen, G., Ma, J., Husain, F., Rocher, D., Zumberge, J.E., Bryant, D.A. and Summons, R.E., 2020. Niche expansion for phototrophic sulfur bacteria at the Proterozoic–Phanerozoic transition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences117(30), pp.17599-17606.

Phillips, A.A., Ward, B., Grayson, K., Lopez, G., Dong, G., Husain, F. and Verba, C., 2019, December. Communicating Science to the World from your Phone: Stories from the Women Doing Science Instagram. In AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts (Vol. 2019, pp. ED12B-06).

Sistiaga, A., Husain, F., Uribelarrea, D., Martín-Perea, D.M., Ferland, T., Freeman, K.H., Diez-Martín, F., Baquedano, E., Mabulla, A., Domínguez-Rodrigo, M. and Summons, R.E., 2019, September. Organic geochemical perspectives on hydrothermalism at Olduvai gorge, 1.7 Mya. In 29th International Meeting on Organic Geochemistry (Vol. 2019, No. 1, pp. 1-2). European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers.

Sistiaga, A., Husain, F., Uribelarrea, D., Martín-Perea, D., Domínguez-Rodrigo, M., Ferland, T., Freeman, K.H., Diez-Martín, F., Baquedano, E., Mabulla, A. and Summons, R.E., 2019. The role of tectonics and hydrothermalism in early human evolution at Olduvai Gorge. bioRxiv, p.632414.

Husain, F. and Marks, G.S., 2018, December. Learn Locally: Showcasing Local Scientific Research through Scientist-Science Writer Collaborations. In AGU Fall Meeting 2018. AGU.

Husain, F., Longo, W.M., Daniels, W., Russell, J.M., Giblin, A.E. and Huang, Y., 2018, December. High-resolution 10,000-year temperature reconstructions from Lake Fog2, northern Alaska. In AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts (Vol. 2018, pp. PP31E-1703).

Husain, F., Longo, W.M., Daniels, W., Russell, J.M., Giblin, A.E. and Huang, Y., 2017. A 10,000 Year Record of Arctic Temperature Variability During the Holocene Inferred From Lipid Biomarkers in Lacustrine Sediments from Northern Alaska. In Geological Society of America Abstracts (Vol. 49, pp.2017NE-291520).