Evaluating the effects of the changing permafrost ecosystem through the lens of genomics

Devin Drown

Devin Drown, University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA


Temperatures in high-latitude regions are inducing widespread changes to the environment. In permafrost-associated soils, climate change augments near surface thaw which alters physical and chemical properties of the overlying active layer. The changing permafrost can have direct effects on the associated soil microbial communities by altering community composition and activity. Here, we used a combination of metagenomics and greenhouse studies to link changes in plant growth with changes in soil microbial communities. Soils have also long been implicated as a reservoir of antibiotic resistance. We also characterized the widespread abundance of antibiotic resistance genes across a permafrost thaw disturbance gradient.


Devin Drown is an Assistant Professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. His research incorporates fieldwork and genomics, as well as mathematical modeling to study species interactions. His group has been using nanopore sequencing since 2015 to explore the microbial diversity of soil microbial communities of the Subarctic. His research team has a commitment to broadening participation in biomedical related research. He uses MinION hackathons to enable undergraduates to use genomics tools to generate and analyze next-generation sequencing data.