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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


Graduate Program Coordinator, Microbiology

Life Sciences Building 155B [Office]
Life Sciences Building 160E [Lab]

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, two graduate students and four undergraduate students in in her lab. She has over 40 publications, and eight more submitted or in revision. She or her students have presented their data at regional, national and international venues, including most recently at Xiamen University, China at XMAS and in San Juan, Puerto Rico at ASLO. She has two current grants as lead PI. She is an editor for mSphere, serves on the editorial board or is a review editor for five journals and was the Chair of Division N (Microbial Ecology Division) of the American Society for Microbiology in 2015. She is the chair of the graduate advisory committee for the department and Program coordinator for the Microbiology graduate program.

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 two ongoing projects 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).

I am looking for PhD students that are interested in the grand challenges in microbial ecology.

Research Group (Lab)

Elio (Max) Ortiz, postdoctoral associate,
Alvee Ahmed, 3rd year PhD student,
Nichole Giani, 2nd year MS student,
Erin Walker, senior Microbiology major
Sam Stuckert, junior Microbiology major
Olivia Roach, junior Microbiology minor
Kasey Kiser, freshman Microbiology minor

Courses Taught

Microbial Ecology, Fall semesters
Microbial Diversity and Ecology (past)
Bioinformatics for Microbiologists
Microbiology Reading group
Graduate Microbiology Core I
Undergraduate independent research
Creative Inquiry
Senior Seminar

Selected Publications

Last five years; *indicates graduate or undergraduate student

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

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, Chemical Engineering Journal 2020, 396, 125235. Doi: 10.1016/j.cej.2020.125235.

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

*Lim SJ, *Davis BG, *Gill DE, *Walton J, *Nachman E, Engel AS, Anderson LC, and Campbell BJ. 2018. Taxonomic and functional heterogeneity of the gill microbiome in a symbiotic coastal mangrove lucinid species. ISME J, 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. (includes cover photo July 2018).

Waite, DW, Wanwonterghen I, Rinke C, Parks DH, Zhang Y, Takai K, Wievert SM, Simon J, Campbell BJ, Hanson TE, Woyke T, Klotz MG, Hugenholtz P. 2017. Comparative genomic analysis of the class Epsilonproteobacteria and proposed reclassification to Epsilonbactereraeota (phyl. nov.). Front. Microbiol. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.00682.

Paez-Espino, D, Chen, I-M, Palaniappan, K, Ratner, A, Chu, K, Szeto, E, Pillay, M, Huang, J, Markowitz, V, Nielsen, T, Huntemann, M, Reddy, T.B.K.; Pavlopoulos, G, Sullivan, M, Campbell, B, McMahon, K, Hallam, S, Denef, V, Cavicchioli, R, Caffrey, S, Streit, W, Webster, J, Handley, K, Salekdeh, G, Tsesmetzis, N, Satubal, J, Pope, P, Liu, W, Rivers, A, Ivanova, N, and Kyrpides, N. 2017. IMG/VR: A comprehensive database of cultured and uncultured DNA Viruses and Retroviruses. Nucleic Acids Research. 45 (D1): D457-D465. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkw1030.

Rossmassler K*, Hanson TE and Campbell BJ. 2016. Diverse sulfur metabolisms from two subterranean sulfidic spring systems. FEMS Microbiology Letters, Aug; 363(16).

Selected Talks

Last five years

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.

Campbell BJ. November 2016. Microbes in a “Sea” of Change. Department of Microbiology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN.


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)


Panelist and ah hoc reviewer for several national agencies and directorates
Editor: 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.