YaJou Chen

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science, Duke Kunshan University

As an environmental microbiologist, Chen is dedicated to bridging the gap between microbiology and geochemistry, uncovering the unknown in this interdisciplinary field. Her work involves conducting fieldwork to understand diverse habitats and ecosystems using knowledge from microbial ecology.
In the academic year 2023-2024, she will teach ENVIR101, BIOL311, and ENVIR315. Her aim is to create an engaging and collaborative learning environment, where active participation and teamwork are encouraged. By connecting course material to important environmental issues, she hopes to enhance students’ understanding of environmental science and inspire them to continue exploring the subject.
She believes in the significance of linking laboratory research to real-world environments. During her Ph.D. at Monash University in Australia (2016-2020), she explored marine sandy sediments, uncovering unconventional biogeochemical cycles. Her interdisciplinary skills and extensive knowledge provided valuable insights. After completing her Ph.D., she joined the polar microbiology group at McGill University in Canada (2020-2022), where she had the opportunity to travel to the Arctic. Her postdoctoral research focused on identifying optimal bioremediation approaches for potential oil spills on Arctic beaches. This practical research further fueled her passion for utilizing microbes to address environmental challenges.