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Barbara Campbell

Associate Professor
Biological Sciences Department

Office: 155B LSF
Phone: 864-656-0559
Personal Website:


 Educational Background

Ph.D. Microbiology
Cornell University 1993

B.S. Biology
SUNY Geneseo 1983

 Courses Taught

Microbial Diversity and Ecology, Fall semesters
Bioinformatics for Microbiologists, alternate Spring semesters
Microbiology Reading group
Biology in the News
Undergraduate independent research
Senior Seminar


Barbara Campbell graduated with a BS in Biology from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Geneseo and went on and earned a PhD in Microbiology from Cornell University. She then worked with Vanessa Hirsch at the National Institutes of Health on animal models for AIDS. After a move to southern Delaware, she worked with Craig Cary on the bacterial symbionts of Alvinella pompejana, a deep sea hydrothermal vent polychaete worm which started her passion for microbial ecology. Before coming to Clemson University, she was a Research Assistant professor at the University of Delaware for 5 years and graduated 2 Master’s and one PhD student.

Currently, she has 3 graduate students, 5 undergraduate students, and a technician in her lab. She has 31 publications, and four more submitted or in revision. She or her students have presented their data at regional, national and international venues, including most recently in Copenhagen, Denmark, Boston, MA and New Orleans. She has three current grants, two of those as principal investigator funded by NSF and one from the DOE for sequencing services. She serves on the editorial board or is a review editor for five journals and is the Chair of Division N (Microbial Ecology Division) of the American Society for Microbiology.

 Research Interests

We know that microbes are the most abundant organisms on the planet and are found in every conceivable habitat. However, we know very little about what microbes are actually doing. My goals are to understand the roles of bacteria in biogeochemical cycling of important compounds in numerous habitats, from the deep sea and coastal ocean to the Arctic tundra. The emphasis in my lab is to use genomics and transcriptomics of populations combined with measuring environmental parameters in order to understand the importance of microbes in the environment. I presently have five ongoing projects funded by national agencies (NSF and DOE) in my laboratory: 1) measuring bacterial activity and growth rates using molecular approaches and relating activity to the environment (see Campbell et al., PNAS, 2011); we are currently examining activity in relation to biotic and abiotic factors in the river-estuarine-coastal gradient; 2) using metagenomics/metatranscriptomics to investigate temporal bacterial community and activity changes in the same estuarine gradient; 3) using metagenomics/ metatranscriptomics to investigate the roles of Lucinid (clams) endosymbionts in pristine and impacted coastal environments; 4) developing high-throughput sequencing approaches to investigate the presence, persistence and activity of fecal indicator bacteria and potential pathogens in aquatic environments (see Twing et al., Water Research, 2011); and 5) characterizing a novel nitrogen assimilation pathway in a thermophilic deep-sea Epsilonproteobacteria isolated from hydrothermal vents as well as in human-associated campylobacters (see Campbell et al., PLoS Genetics, 2009).

I am looking for PhD students that are interested in laboratory work as well as bioinformatics for the estuarine and symbiosis projects.


Campbell BJ. 2014. The Acidobacteriaceae. In: The Prokaryotes. Ed. Ed Delong, Eugene Rosenberg, Erko Stackebrand, Fabiano Thompson, Stephen Lory; publisher: Springer.

Campbell BJ, Polson SW, Allen, LZ, Williamson, SJ, Lee CK, Wommack KE, and Cary SC. 2013. Differential diversity and composition of microbial communities between basalt- and sediment-based hydrothermal vent spreading centers. Frontiers in Extreme Microbiology. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2013.00182.

Hanson TE, Campbell BJ, *Kalis, KT, *Campbell M, and Klotz MG. 2013. Nitrate ammonification by Nautilia profundicola AmH: experimental evidence consistent with a free hydroxylamine intermediate. Frontiers in Evolutionary and Genomic Microbiology. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2013.00180.

Campbell BJ and Kirchman DL. 2013. Bacterial diversity, community structure and potential growth rates along an estuarine salinity gradient. ISME Journal 4: 210-220.

*Rossmassler K, Engel A, *Twing KI, Hanson TE, and Campbell BJ. 2011. Drivers of Epsilonproteobacteria community composition in sulfidic caves and springs. FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 79:421-432.

Campbell BJ, Yu L, Heidelberg J, and Kirchman DL. 2011. Activity of abundant and rare bacteria in a coastal ocean. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 108: 12776-12781.

*Twing K, Kirchman DL and Campbell BJ. 2011. Temporal study of Helicobacter pylori presence in coastal freshwater, estuary and marine waters. Water Research, 45:1897-1905.

Campbell BJ, Paulson SW, Hanson TE, Mack MC, and Schuur EAG. 2010. The effect of nutrient deposition on bacterial communities in Arctic tundra soil. Environmental Microbiology, 12:1842-1854.

Campbell BJ, Yu, L, *Straza, TRA, Kirchman, DL. 2009. Temporal changes in bacterial rRNA and rRNA genes in Delaware (USA) coastal waters. Aquatic Microbial Ecology, 57:123-135.

Lami R, Cottrell MT, Campbell BJ, and DL Kirchman. 2009. Light-dependent growth and proteorhodopsin expression by Flavobacteria and SAR11 in experiments with Delaware coastal waters. Environmental Microbiology, 11:3201-3209.

Campbell BJ, *Smith JL, Hanson TE, Klotz MG, Stein LY, *Lee CK, Wu D, Robinson JM, Khouri HM, Eisen JA, and Cary SC. 2009. Adaptations to submarine hydrothermal environments exemplified by the genome of Nautilia profundicola. PLoS Genetics, 5:e1000362.

Grzymski JJ, Murray AE, Campbell BJ, *Kaplarevic M, Gao GR, Lee C, Daniel R, Ghadiri A, Feldman RA, and Cary SC. 2008. Metagenome analysis of an extreme microbial symbiosis reveals eurythermal adaptation and metabolic flexibility. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 105:17516-17521.

*Smith JL, Campbell BJ, Hanson TE, Zhang CL and Cary SC. 2008. Nautilia profundicola sp. nov., a thermophilic sulfur-reducing episolonproteobacterium from deep-sea hydrothermal vents. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, 58:1598-1602.

Campbell BJ, *Waidner LA, Cottrell MT, and Kirchman DL. 2008. Abundant proteorhodopsin genes in the North Atlantic Ocean. Environmental Microbiology, 10:99-109.


A universe in a drop of water