Eric Webb is an Associate Professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He is an environmental microbiologist who applies molecular techniques to elucidate the underlying genetic systems involved environmental processes. The major scientific focus of his lab is on the physiology and ecology of marine and freshwater cyanobacteria. Underneath this large research umbrella, he particularly focuses on characterizing the mechanisms cyanobacteria use to acquire nutrients and trace metals from their dilute habitat, genomic diversity and evolution in light of climate change, and their ecological interaction with other organisms. As cyanobacteria play key roles in food web dynamics and biogeochemistry, the factors that control their growth directly impact global processes. Therefore, his work studying the molecular activity of these cyanobacteria both in the laboratory and in situ provides windows into their local environment or niche, and thereby links molecular microbiology with biogeochemistry.
Eric received his B.S. from the Ohio State University in Microbiology and his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Bacteriology. During this time period he was also a research assistant on field expeditions and developed an intense interest in microbial ecology. In the next step of his education, as a Postdoctoral Scholar (then faculty) at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, he applied this interest in microbial ecology on the genomics, ecology and nutritional status of marine cyanobacteria both in the laboratory and on a number of oceanic research cruises.