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Contact Information

P: 864-656-2328

Campus Location

132 Long Hall, Clemson, SC 29634


Monday - Friday:
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.


Profile Photo

Barbara Campbell

Biological Sciences


Life Sciences Building 155B [Office]
Life Sciences Building 160E [Lab]
Life Sciences Building 169 [Research Laboratory Service]

Educational Background

Ph.D., Microbiology, Cornell University, 1993
B.S., Biology, SUNY Geneseo, 1983

Profile/About Me

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 Masters and one PhD student.

Currently, she has a postdoctoral associate, five PhD graduate students and seven undergraduate students in in her lab. She has over 50 publications. She or her students have presented their data at regional, national and international venues, including most recently at ASM in Houston, ASLO in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, ISME in Switzerland, Xiamen University, China at XMAS and in San Juan, Puerto Rico at ASLO. She has five current grants, one as lead PI. She is on the editorial board for mSphere and was the Chair of Division N (Microbial Ecology Division) of the American Society for Microbiology in 2015.

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 and how their diversity and abundance shape a wide variety of ecosystems. 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 metagenomics and metatranscriptomics of populations and communities combined with measuring environmental parameters to understand the importance of microbes in the environment. I presently have five ongoing projects and one recently finished project funded by national agencies in my laboratory: 1) measuring bacterial activity and growth rates using metagenomics/metatranscriptomics/high resolution DOM analysis to investigate temporal bacterial community and activity changes in estuarine gradients and relating activity to the environment; we are currently examining activity in relation to biotic and abiotic factors in the river-estuarine-coastal gradient; 2) using metagenomics/ metatranscriptomics/metabolomics (including high resolution DOM analysis) to investigate the importance of functional redundancy of microbes in a variety of ecosystems that range in habitat complexity by using experimental research, theoretical modelling, and novel computational methods. The goals of this project are to develop rules that govern the relationship between complexity, functional redundancy, and ecosystem health. This 5-year funded interdisciplinary project is in collaboration with four other faculty at Clemson, including Feng Luo (School of Computing, deep-learning), Sharon Bewick (Biological Sciences, ecological modeling), Anna Seekatz (Biological Sciences, gut microbiomes/metabolomics) and Vidya Suseela (Plant and Environmental Sciences, rhizosphere metabolomics); 3) Investigating the microbiome of ruderal plant rhizospheres to impart drought tolerance in crop plants. This 4-year interdisciplinary project is in collaboration with Dr. Vidya Suseela (PI) and Dr. Nishanth Tharayil (Plant and Environmental Sciences); 4) Characterizing the microbiome associated with beneficial arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in sorghum. This 4-year interdisciplinary project is in collaboration with Dr. Vidya Suseela (PI) and Dr. Nishanth Tharayil (Plant and Environmental Sciences); 5) Effect of wildfire severity and precipitation on the microbiome of forests. This 3-year project is in collaboration with Dr. Alex Chow and Dr. Don Hagan (Forestry and Environmental Conservation) and others; 6) EcoCoating - designing smooth, resilient marine biofilms for autonomous naval gliders. This 4-year project is in collaboration with Dr. David Karig (Bioengineering) and others.

Research Group (Lab)

Jojy John, postdoctoral associate,
Alvee Ahmed, 5rd year PhD student,
Nichole Giani, 3nd year PhD student,
Dinuka Dinuka Lakmali Jayasuriya Patabandige, 3nd year PhD student,
Muhammad (Shoib) Nawaz, 2nd year PhD student,
Muhammad Suleman, 2nd year PhD student,
Saria Farheen, PhD student starting Spring 2024
Justin Leonhardt, technician,

I am not taking any new graduate students at this time.

Courses Taught

Microbiology Graduate Core I
Bioinformatics for Microbiologists (graduate level)
Microbial Ecology (past)
Microbial Diversity and Ecology (past)
Microbiology Reading group
Undergraduate independent research
Creative Inquiry

Selected Publications

Last five years; *indicates graduate or undergraduate student

*Kucuk RA, Campbell BJ, Lyon N, Caterino MS. Gut bacteria of adult and larval Cotinis nitida Linnaeus (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) demonstrate community differences according to life stage and gut region. Accepted. Frontiers in Microbiology.

Chen H, Martin Rücker A, Liu Y, *Miller D, Dai J-N, Wang J-J, Suhre DO, Kuo L-J, Conner WH, Campbell BJ, Rhew RC, Chow AT. 2023. Unique biogeochemical characteristics in coastal ghost forests – The transition from freshwater forested wetland to salt marsh under the influences of sea level rise, Soil & Environmental Health, 1, 100005.

Neri U, Wolf YI, Roux S, Camargo AP, Lee B, Kazlauskas D, Chen IM, Ivanova N, Zeigler Allen L, Paez-Espino D, et al. 2022. Expansion of the global RNA virome reveals diverse clades of bacteriophages. Cell. 185(21):4023-4037.e18. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2022.08.023.

Fremin BJ, Bhatt AS, Kyrpides NC, and Global Phage Small Open Reading Frame (GP-SmORF) Consortium. 2022. Thousands of Small, Novel Genes predicted in Global Phage Genomes. Cell Reports 39, 110984.

Zhang Z, *Jatana BS, *Gill J, Suseela V, Campbell BJ, Tharayil N. 2022. Cross inoculation of rhizobiome from a congeneric ruderal plant imparts drought tolerance in maize Zea mays through changes in root morphology and proteome. The Plant Journal

*Kaur S, Campbell BJ and Suseela V. 2022. Root metabolome of plant–arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis mirrors the mutualistic or parasitic mycorrhizal phenotype. New Phytologist

*Ahmed M, *Lim SJ and Campbell BJ. 2021. Metagenomes, Metatranscriptomes and Metagenome-Assembled Genomes (MAGs) from Chesapeake and Delaware Bay (USA) Water Samples. Microbial Resource Announcements, 10(21):e0026221. doi: 10.1128/MRA.00262-21.

Kieft K, Zhou Z, Anderson RE, Buchan A, Campbell BJ, Hallam SJ, Hess M, Sullivan MB, Walsh DA, Roux S, and Anantharaman K. 2021. Ecology of inorganic sulfur auxiliary metabolism in widespread bacteriophages. Nature Communications, 2021 Jun 9;12(1):3503. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-23698-5.

*Lim SJ, *Davis B, *Gill D, Swetenburg J, Anderson LC, Engel AS, and Campbell BJ. 2021. Gill microbiome structure and function in the chemosymbiotic coastal lucinid Stewartia floridana. FEMS Microbiology Ecology Volume 97, fiab042,

Mishra A., Alnahit A., Campbell B. Impact of Land uses, Drought, Flood, Wildfire, and Cascading events on Water Quality and Microbial Communities: A Review and Analysis. 2020. Journal of Hydrology, DOI:

Nayfach S., Roux S, Seshadri R et al., 2020. A Genomic Catalogue of Earth’s Microbiomes. Nature Biotechnology, DOI:10.1038/s41587-020-0718-6

*Deaver JA, Diviestia, KI, Sonia M, Campbell BJ, Finneran, KT, Popat SC. Palmitic acid accumulation limits methane production in anaerobic co-digestion of fats, oils and grease with municipal wastewater sludge. 2020. Chemical Engineering Journal, 396, 125235. Doi: 10.1016/j.cej.2020.125235.

*Lim SJ, *Alexander L, Engel AS, Paterson AT, Anderson LC, and Campbell BJ. 2019. Extensive thioautotrophic gill endosymbiont diversity within a single Ctena orbiculata (Bivalvia:Lucinidae) population and implications for defining host-symbiont specificity and species recognition. mSystems 2019, 4 (4) e00280-19; DOI: 10.1128/mSystems.00280-19.

*Lim SJ, *Davis BG, *Gill DE, *Walton J, *Nachman E, Engel AS, Anderson LC, and Campbell BJ. 2019. Taxonomic and functional heterogeneity of the gill microbiome in a symbiotic coastal mangrove lucinid species. ISME J, 13, 902–920. doi: 10.1038/s41396-018-0318-3.

Powers L, Luek J, Schmitt-Kopplin P, Campbell BJ, Cooper L, Magen C, and Gonsior M. 2018. Seasonal changes in dissolved organic matter composition in Delaware Bay in March and August 2014. Organic Geochemistry. 122:87-97.

Maresca JA, Miller KJ, Keffer JL, Sabanayagam CR, and Campbell BJ. 2018. Distribution and diversity of rhodopsin-producing microbes in the Chesapeake Bay. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 84:e00137-18 (includes cover photo July 2018).

Waite, DW, Wanwonterghen I, Rinke C, Parks DH, Zhang Y, Takai K, Sievert SM, Simon J, Campbell BJ, Hanson TE, Woyke T, Klotz MG, Hugenholtz P. 2018. Addendum: Comparative Genomic Analysis of the Class Epsilonproteobacteria and Proposed Reclassification to Epsilonbacteraeota (phyl. nov.). Front. Microbiol. 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00772.

Selected Talks

Last five years

Campbell, BJ. May 26, 2022. Marine Microbes in a ‘sea’ of change. Lecture series. Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kerala, India (virtual).

Campbell, BJ. March 2022. Microbes in a “Sea” of Change: It’s not all about Salinity in Estuaries. Seminar Series. Max Plank Institute for Marine Microbiology. Bremen, Germany (virtual).

Campbell, BJ. February 2022. Marine Microbes in a “Sea” of change. Seminar Series. University of Florida Genetics Institute. Gainesville, FL.

Campbell, BJ. May 2021. What's in the Water? Research in the College of Science. Clemson University Annual Research Symposium (virtual).

Campbell, BJ, June 2020. Microbes: What good are they? Clemson University Annual Research Symposium (virtual).

Campbell, BJ. January 2019. Environmental effects on the diversity and functional activities of microbes along estuarine gradients. Fourth Xiamen Symposium on Marine Environmental Sciences, Xiamen University, Xiamen, China.

Campbell BJ. January 2019. Microbial diversity and functional activities along estuarine gradients. Seminar series. Ningbo University, Ningbo, China.

Campbell BJ and *Lim SJ. January 2019. Taxonomic, genetic and functional diversity of symbionts in coastal Lucinidae bivalves. Seminar series. Ningbo University, Ningbo, China.

Campbell BJ. May 2018. Wildfires and drought/flood cycles: Impacts on aquatic microbes. 2nd Clemson University Research Symposium, Clemson, SC.

Campbell BJ, April 2018. Microbial population responses to environmental change in the Delaware Bay. University of Maryland, IMET, Baltimore, MD.

Campbell BJ, February 2018. Microbes in a ‘Sea’ of Change: A tale of microbes in two ecosystems. Truett McConnell University, Cleveland, GA.


American Society of Microbiology (Division N Chair, 2015-2016)
International Society for Microbial Ecology
ASLO (Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography)

Honors and Awards

Sigma Xi Outstanding Young Investigator (2014-2015)
Clemson University College of Science Excellence in Discovery (2023)
College of Science Dean's Distinguished Professorship (2023-2025)


Panelist and ah hoc reviewer for several national agencies and directorates
Editorial board: mSphere
Workshop organizer, Center for Environmental Genomics Metagenomics Workshop, University of Delaware
Judge for Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in 2019 and 2020


Microbiome website
Rules of Life grant announcement
A universe in a drop of water
Microbial diversity and healthy ecosystems

Contact Information

P: 864-656-2328

Campus Location

132 Long Hall, Clemson, SC 29634


Monday - Friday:
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.