Pearson Group

Ann Pearson

Department Chair; Murray and Martha Ross Professor of Environmental Sciences; Harvard College Professor

Ann Pearson is the Murray and Martha Ross Professor of Environmental Sciences. Her research focuses on applications of analytical chemistry, isotope geochemistry, and molecular biology to biochemical oceanography and Earth history. 

Through study of the “how, when, and why” of microbial processes, her work yields insight about environmental conditions on Earth today, in the past, and about potential human impacts on our future.  Recent projects have focused on the carbon and nitrogen cycles and on pathways of lipid biosynthesis.

Pearson received a Fellowship for Science and Engineering from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation in 2004, a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship in 2009, and was named a Marine Microbiology Initiative Investigator of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in 2012. She holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Oceanography from the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography, where she was awarded the C. G. Rossby Award for Best Dissertation in the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate; and a B.A. in Chemistry from Oberlin College.

Research Group Coordinator: Milena Perez

20 Oxford St.
Cambridge, MA 02138

Office location: Geo Museum, Room 362
p: 617-384-8392, f: 617-495-8839

Felix Elling

Post-Doctoral Fellow
Pearson Group

Felix is a microbial biogeochemist studying the lipid "fingerprints" of archaea and bacteria ‒ microorganisms that control the cycling of elements such as carbon and nitrogen on our planet. His research focuses on reconciling microbiological lab experiments with geochemical observations from the modern ocean to improve the application of microbial lipids for the reconstruction of past environments.He received a B. Sc. (2009), M. Sc. (2012), and PhD (2015) from the University of Bremen, Germany. Felix joined Prof. Ann Pearson’s lab in January 2016, where he investigates the use of stable isotopes of archaeal lipids as tracers for changes in the oceanic carbon cycle in the past and modern ocean.

More details can be found on his website:

Jenan Kharbush

Pearson Group

Jenan is a microbial biogeochemist and oceanographer interested in the important connections between microbial ecology and marine biogeochemical cycling.

Originally from Wisconsin, Jenan obtained a B.A. in biology and chemistry from Ripon College in Ripon, WI. Subsequently she earned her PhD from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, CA, studying chemical oceanography in the lab of Dr. Lihini Aluwihare. Her thesis research focused on the use of molecular signatures to investigate microbial metabolic diversity and function in marine environments, and specifically targeted two important classes of microbial lipid biomarkers: bacterial hopanoids and intact polar diacylglycerols.