Dr Emma Gagen

Research Fellow

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Science
+61 7 336 59778


I am an environmental microbiologist with experience in both molecular and cultivation-based investigations of complex microbial communities.

I completed my PhD in microbial ecology at The University of Queensland in 2010 investigating acetogenic bacteria in the gut of cows, sheep and native Australian marsupials. My research was part of a larger project investigating strategies to reduce methane emissions from livestock. I undertook postdoctoral research at the University of Regensburg, Germany from 2010 to 2012 and focused on cultivation of novel subsurface archaea of unknown metabolism, as well as manipulating pure cultures of archaea in large scale (up to 300L) to understand cell membranes in response to stress conditions. During this time I also developed and implemented a new English-speaking seminar subject 'Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology' for Masters and final year Bachelor students at the University of Regensburg.

My current postdoctoral position at The University of Queensland (2013-current) in geomicrobiology involves research into microbial iron cycling in tropical areas and harnessing this for the accelerated remediation of iron mines. Some of that research was highlighted on Earth Day 2016

I also work collaboratively on a number of projects relating to microorganisms and minerals, including microbial colonisation of meteorites, bacterial degradation of anhydrite, microbial methane production from coal, microbial diversity of sulfur rich environments and formation of iron-manganese crusts from the Tasmantid Seamounts. In 2015, I obtained funding through the University of Queensland ResTeach Program scheme, to undertake a 10% teaching load for the first year course ‘Earth Processes and Geological Materials for Engineering’.

My research strengths are environmental microbiology, microbial biotechnology and geomicrobiology. I am passionate about using microorganisms for industrial sustainability and improved environmental health.

Research Interests

  • environmental microbiology
  • microbial biotechnology
  • geomicrobiology


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours), The University of Queensland


View all Publications


  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision


Book Chapter

  • Gagen, Emma J., Denman, Stuart E. and McSweeney, Christopher S. (2015). Acetogenesis as an alternative to methanogenesis in the rumen. In P. K. Malik, R. Bhatta, J. Takahashi, R. A. Kohn and C. S. Prasad (Ed.), Livestock production and climate change (pp. 292-303) Wallingford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom: CABI.

  • Malik, P. K., Bhatta, Raghavendra, Gagen, Emma J., Sejian, Veerasamy, Soren, N. M. and Prasad, Cadaba S. (2015). Alternate H2 Sinks for reducing rumen methanogenesis. In Veerasamy Sejian, John Gaughan, Lance Baumgard and Cadaba Prasad (Ed.), Climate change impact on livestock: adaptation and mitigation (pp. 303-320) New Delhi, India: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-81-322-2265-1_19

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision