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Arizona/NASA Space Grant Success Stories
Orianna Bretschger, 1999 Space Grant Intern, 1999 NAU Grad
Dr. Orianna Bretschger is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbial and Environmental Genomics at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), San Diego. She earned her B.S. in physics and astronomy from Northern Arizona University (1999), and Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Southern California (2008). Orianna began her professional career at Raytheon Missile Systems and transitioned to a research career in 2004. Since then, Dr. Bretschger has been studying bacterial electron transfer mechanisms and how bacteria can be applied to engineered systems for optimized energy recovery from organic matter. As a part of her research, Dr. Bretschger has developed experimental strategies and specialized equipment for the analysis of biological catalysts and is currently the principal investigator for multiple projects involving the selection and characterization of electrochemically active microbial communities from several different environments. Her work includes collaborations with NASA Ames and Marshall Space Flight Center for the development of sustainable life support systems.