Debra Hausladen

ing. Jr., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Canada Research Chair in Environmental and Soil Biogeochemistry


En français


  • B.A., Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, USA 2009
  • M.Sc., Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, USA 2012
  • PhD., Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, USA, 2017

Areas of expertise

Soil and aqueous geochemistry, environmental quality, biogeochemistry of redox active metals, groundwater contamination, geogenic contaminants, carbon-mineral interactions, reductive immobilization, mining residues


As global population soars, humanity's increasing needs for natural resources (e.g., food, fuel, water) place great stress on the terrestrial biosphere. Soils offer novel solutions to meet this century’s most pressing challenges: ensuring food security, providing clean water, and stabilizing Earth's largest dynamic carbon reservoir. These complex systems act as a natural filter either degrading or immobilizing harmful pollutants and performing a critical role in our ability to ensure access to safe drinking water. Soils also keep carbon out of the atmosphere sequestering more than twice the carbon found in Earth’s vegetative and atmospheric pools combined.

My research focuses on understanding the physical, biological, and chemical processes which control the fate and transport of metals and carbon in soils and sediments. I study interactions among microorganisms, minerals, and organic matter in order to understand the biogeochemical processes governing the mobility and toxicity of metals and metalloids. In addition to preventing contamination from industrial activities and land-use change, I am interested in predicting and responding to native mineral-borne contaminants (e.g., Cr, As, U, Mn). In order to generate mechanistic knowledge of these biogeochemical processes, I combine cutting-edge chemical and microbiological techniques and use novel synchrotron-based imaging and spectroscopy analyses together with bulk laboratory techniques (e.g., XRF, ICP-MS, IC). Applied studies and field-scale observations are integrated with molecular-scale investigations and dynamic laboratory microcosms in order to develop science-based strategies to reduce environmental and human health risks.

Current projects include:

  • assessing aquifer vulnerability to geogenic contamination
  • investigating mineral control on soil carbon cycling
  • identifying the key biogeochemical and physical processes mobilizing toxic metal(loid)s within abandoned and reclaimed mining sites.
  • engineering natural processes for contaminant remediation and carbon management

Graduate Research Opportunities

I am always happy to hear from enthusiastic undergraduate, masters, and PhD students who would like to join me in this research. Applications are welcome at any time for M.Sc. and Ph.D. projects in the Environmental and Soil Biogeochemistry Laboratory. Previous laboratory or field research experience in aqueous geochemistry, mineralogy, geospatial analysis, microbiology, or biogeochemistry is advantageous. Contact me to hear more about current opportunities for fully-funded Masters and PhD positions

Select Publications

Articles in scholarly refereed journal

Hausladen D.M., S.H. Fakhreddine, S. Fendorf. (in press) Governing Constraints of Chromium(VI) Formation from Chromium(III)-Bearing Minerals in Soils and Sediments. Soil Systems.

Hausladen D.M., A. Alexander-Ozinskis, C. McClain, S. Fendorf. 2018. Hexavalent Chromium Sources and Distribution in California Groundwater. Environ. Sci. Technol. 52 (15).

Hausladen, D.M. and S. Fendorf. 2017. Hexavalent Chromium Generation within Naturally Structured Soils and Sediments. Environ. Sci. Technol. 51(4): 2058-2067.

Janot N., J.S. Lezama Pacheco, D.Q. Pham, T.M. O’Brien, D.M. Hausladen, V. Noël, K. Maher, S. Fendorf, K.H. Williams, P.E. Long, J.R. Bargar. 2016. Physico-chemical heterogeneity of organic-rich sediments in the Rifle aquier, CO: Impact on uranium biogeochemistry. Environ. Sci. Technol. 50(1):46-53.

A more complete list of publications can be found on google scholar.

Published conference proceedings and international conference presentations
Redox Biogeochemistry

Hausladen D.M., Zelano I, Keiluweit M & Peña J. 2019. Abiotic Transformation of Plant-Derived Carbon by Mn Oxides: Breakdown of Cellobiose by δ-MnO2. Goldschmidt Abstracts. Goldschmidt Conference, 1299.

Hausladen D.M., S. Fendorf. 2019. (Invited talk) From rock to tap: Expanding our understanding of hexavalent chromium sources in drinking water. Soils Across Latitudes International Conference, San Diego, California, USA.

Hausladen D.M., M. Nachtegaal, J. Peña. 2018. Stability and reactivity of biogenic Mn oxides in the presence of natural organic matter. 10th International Conference “Interfaces Against Pollution”. La Grande Motte, France.

Hausladen D.M., J. Peña. 2017. Influence of organic compounds on the fate of Mn oxide nanoparticles. The International Conference on the Biogeochemistry of Trace Elements. Zurich, Switzerland.

Pena J, Sentchilo V, Hausladen D.M& Ayala H. 2018. Relationship between carbon availability and biogenic manganese oxide formation. Goldschmidt Abstracts, 2018.

Hausladen D.M., S. Fendorf. 2015. (Invited talk) Spatial coupling of chromium and manganese cycling: Generation of hexavalent chromium within soils and sediments. The 12th International Symposium on Persistent Toxic Substances. Riverside, CA., USA.

Hausladen D.M., S. Fendorf. 2015. Surface Reactions Limiting Chromium(VI) Generation from Naturally Derived Chromium(III) Minerals. American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting. San Francisco, CA., USA

Hausladen D.M., M.G. Arredondo, S. Fendorf. 2015. Chromium au Naturel: Chromium(VI) Generation within Structured Soils and Sediments. Goldschmidt Conference. Prague, Czech Republic. 

Environmental Microbiology

Hausladen, D.M and J. Peña. 2017. Coupled Dynamics of Carbon and Manganese: Influence of Organic Compounds on Reactivity of Biogenic Mn Oxides. Goldschmidt Conference. Paris, France. 

Hausladen D.M., M.G. Arredondo, S. Fendorf. 2014. Bacterial Dynamics Controlling Chromium Cycling within Soil Aggregates. ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meetings Student Award Presentation. Long Beach, California, USA

Hausladen D.M., S.C. Ying, S. Fendorf. 2014. Dynamic interplay of microbially mediated oxidation-reduction reactions controlling chromium cycling in soils and sediments. International Symposium on Subsurface Microbiology. Asilomar, CA., USA 

Hausladen D.M., S. Mitsunobu, S. Fendorf. 2014. Spatial coupling of chromium and manganese cycling: Visualizing microbial communities within complex chemical environments. Goldschmidt Conference. Sacramento, CA, USA. 

X-ray Spectroscopy

Hausladen D.M., S. Fendorf. 2015. X-ray microprobe imaging of Cr and Mn in structured soils. Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource Users Meeting. Menlo Park, CA., USA

Hausladen D.M., M.G. Arredondo, S. Fendorf. 2014. Visualizing spatial distribution of biogenic Mn-oxides within Cr-/Fe-oxide soil aggregates using u-XRF-imaging. Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource Users Meeting. Menlo Park, CA, USA.

Hausladen D.M., S.C. Ying, S. Fendorf. 2013. Oxidation of mixed Cr-Fe hydroxides by birnessite. ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meetings. Tampa, Florida, USA

Environmental Remediation

Hausladen D.M., J. Peña. 2018. Control of organic compounds on Mn-oxide reactivity: Implications for contaminant transport and cycling. Journées Biennales des Géosciences et de l’Environnement. Lausanne, Switzerland

Hausladen, D.M and J. Peña. 2017. Coupled Dynamics of Carbon and Manganese: Influence of Organic Compounds on Reactivity of Biogenic Mn Oxides. Goldschmidt Conference. Paris, France.

Janot N., Lezama-Pacheco J.S., Pham D.Q., O'Brien T.M., Hausladen D.M., Williams K.H., Long P.E., Fendorf S. and J.R. Bargar. 2015. Characterization and impact of organic-rich sediments on uranium behavior in the Rifle aquifer, CO. Goldschmidt Abstracts, 1419.