PhD Student
Host, MIT Abstracts
phone (617) 902-0993
email fatima <at> mit.edu
Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
E25, 45 Carleton Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
USA

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
2020-present — Host, MIT Abstracts, MIT Museum
2019-2020– MIT Curiosity Correspondent, MIT Museum
2018-2020– Technician, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, MIT
2017-2018–
M.S., Graduate Program in Science Writing, OGE Diversity Fellow, MIT; Taylor-Blakeslee Fellow from the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing
2013-2017–
Sc.B. with Honors, Geology-Chemistry (Organic), Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

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)

Summons, R., Fatima Husain, Xingqian Cui, Shari Rohret, Xiaolei Liu, P. Welander, Gaozhong Shen, and D. Bryant. “Cyanobacterial Aromatic Carotenoids.” International Meeting on Organic Geochemistry 2021, vol. 2021, no. 1, pp. 1-2. European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers, 2021.

Husain, Fatima, Angel Mojarro, Juliana K. Drozd, and Roger E. Summons. “BIOmarkers: The Oral History of Organic Geochemistry.” Goldschmidt2021• Virtual• 4-9 July (2021).

Penney, Camilla, Alexandra Atlee Phillips, Brittany Ward, Roxana Shafiee, Jessica Zheng, Fatima Husain, and Catherine Walsh. “Telling Diverse Stories in 280 Characters: Lessons from the Women Doing Science Twitter.” AGU Fall Meeting 2020. AGU, 2020.

Cui, Xingqian, Xiao-Lei Liu, Gaozhong Shen, Jian Ma, Fatima Husain, Donald Rocher, John E. Zumberge, Donald A. Bryant, and Roger E. Summons. “Niche expansion for phototrophic sulfur bacteria at the Proterozoic–Phanerozoic transition.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117, no. 30 (2020): 17599-17606.

SISTIAGA, Ainara, HUSAIN, Fatima, URIBELARREA, David, MARTÍN-PEREA, David, FERLAND, Troy, FREEMAN, Katherine H., DIEZ-MARTÍN, Fernando, BAQUEDANO, Enrique, MABULLA, Audax, DOMÍNGUEZ-RODRIGO, Manuel, SUMMONS, Roger E. Microbial biomarkers reveal a hydrothermally active landscape at Olduvai Gorge at the dawn of the Acheulean, 1.7 Ma. 

CUI, XINGQIAN, XIAO-LEI LIU, GAOZHONG SHEN, JIAN MA, FATIMA HUSAIN, DONALD ROCHER, JOHN E. ZUMBERGE, DONALD A. BRYANT, and ROGER E. SUMMONS. “Niche expansion for phototrophic sulfur bacteria at the Proterozoic–Phanerozoic transition.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2020).

SISTIAGA, Ainara, HUSAIN, Fatima, URIBELARREA, David, MARTÍN-PEREA, David, FERLAND, Troy, FREEMAN, Katherine H., DIEZ-MARTÍN, Fernando, BAQUEDANO, Enrique, MABULLA, Audax, DOMÍNGUEZ-RODRIGO, Manuel, SUMMONS, Roger E. “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, 2019.

HUSAIN, Fatima. “The deepest paradox: seafloor mining and its future.” Master’s diss., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2018.

HUSAIN, Fatima, LONGO, William M., DANIELS, William, RUSSELL, James M., GIBLIN, Anne E. and HUANG, Yongsong.  High-resolution 10,000-year temperature reconstructions from Lake Fog2, northern Alaska: Final Paper Number PP31E-1539 presented at the 2018 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, Washington, D.C., 10-14 December 2018.

HUSAIN, Fatima, LONGO, William M., DANIELS, William, RUSSELL, James M., GIBLIN, Anne E. and HUANG, Yongsong. A 10,000 Year Record of Arctic Temperature Variability During the Holocene Inferred from Lipid Biomarkers in Lacustrine Sediments from Northern Alaska: Abstract 69-19 presented at the Joint 52nd Northeastern Annual Section / 51st North Central Annual Section Meeting, GSA, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 19-21 March 2017.