Tom is a PhD Candidate in the Weisener Lab, who completed his Honors B.Sc in Geophysics at the University of Western Ontario in 2011. His research seeks to determine baseline biogeochemical signatures in hydrocarbon-rich, freshwater environments. In a broader context, his work seeks to understand the functional plasticity of microbes in environments exposed to contaminant influences, and how these environments relate to so-called natural reference sites. Of particular interest for Tom, is discovering the novel and complex metabolic pathways governing the syntrophic cooperation between microbial groups (i.e. phototrophs and chemotrophs), often within unique environmental conditions. His current research stems from his MSc research in which he characterized the physico-chemical evolution and biostabilization mechanisms in oil sands tailings ponds in Alberta, Canada. Utilizing the latest genomics techniques, Tom has published papers outlining the importance of microbes in the stability of tailings sediments through the formation of biofilms, and has recently revealed the gene expression patterns evident in these unique aquatic sediment systems. Additionally, Tom has contributed to several studies relating to wastewater treatment plumes, nitrogen cycling in sediments, and detoxification mechanisms for mining wastes to name a few. The culmination of his research will help to piece together more efficient mechanisms by which bioremediation technologies can be used to treat chronic and acute contaminant pollution within our valuable freshwater lakes and rivers.