Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
20 Oxford St, Cambridge, MA 02138
Ann Pearson is the Thomas D. Cabot Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Her research focuses on using analytical chemistry, isotopic geochemistry, and molecular biology to approach questions of evolutionary heritage and contemporary function. The “how, when, and why” of microbes yields insight into environmental conditions on Earth today, in the past, and potentially our future. Recent research has focused mainly on understanding the origins of important environmental and taxonomic lipid molecular fossils. The presence of lipids in modern and ancient organic matter reflects the resistance of complex hydrocarbons to both biotic and abiotic degradation, making this class of compounds excellent “biomarkers”. Pearson received her Ph.D. in Chemical Oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Oceanography, where she earned the C. G. Rossby Award for Best Dissertation in the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate. In 2004 she received a Fellowship for Science and Engineering from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation.