Earth Scientist, Biological Sciences Division
Earth Scientist, Biological Sciences Division


Dr. Kirsten Hofmockel is the Microbiome Science Team Lead in the Biological Sciences Division. Her research focuses on the influence of plant-microbe ecology on soil biogeochemistry to identify molecular reactions that inform the prediction of ecosystem responses to environmental change and probable feedbacks to ecosystem functions.

Hofmockel is Co-PI for the DOE-funded Soil Microbiome Science Focus Area project, leading a National Science Foundation-funded project to study carbon-nitrogen coupling in grasslands. She is also a DOE Early Career Award recipient for research focused on elucidating the molecular interactions of plants, soils, and microbes in growing bioenergy crops. In addition, Hofmockel is the president of the Soil Ecology Society, a member of the U.S. National Committee for Soil Sciences, and holds a joint appointment with the Iowa State University Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology.

Disciplines and Skills

  • Plant-microbe-soil interactions
  • Soil biogeochemistry
  • Land-atmosphere exchange of carbon.


  • Ph.D., Ecology, Duke University, Nicholas School of the Environment
  • Masters of Environmental Management, Duke University, Nicholas School of the Environment
  • B.S. with honors, Environmental Resource Management, Pennsylvania State University

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • President of Soil Ecology Society
  • Member of U.S. National Committee for Soil Sciences
  • Member of AAAS, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Member of the Ecological Society of America
  • Member of the American Geophysical Union

Awards and Recognitions

  • 2018 PNNL Pathways to Excellence Award
  • 2017 PNNL Pathways to Excellence Award
  • 2017 Environmental and Biological Science Directorate Best in Science Award
  • 2016 U.S. Department of Energy Early Career Research Award
  • 2014 Iowa State University Award for Early Achievement in Research



  • Bhattacharjee A., D. Velickovic, T.W. Wietsma, S.L. Bell, J.K. Jansson, K.S. Hofmockel, and C.R. Anderton. 2020. "Visualizing Microbial Community Dynamics Via a Controllable Soil Environment." mSystems 5, no. 1:Article No. e00645-19. PNNL-SA-147223. doi:10.1128/mSystems.00645-19
  • Boiteau R.M., R.K. Kukkadapu, J.B. Cliff, C.R. Smallwood, L. Kovarik, M.G. Wirth, and M.H. Engelhard, et al. 2020. "Calcareous organic matter coatings sequester siderophores in alkaline soils." Science of the Total Environment 724. PNNL-SA-147851. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138250
  • Bramer L.M., A.M. White, K.G. Stratton, A.M. Thompson, D.M. Claborne, K.S. Hofmockel, and L. McCue. 2020. "ftmsRanalysis: An R package for exploratory data analysis and interactive visualization of FT-MS data." PLoS Computational Biology 16, no. 3:Article No. e1007654. PNNL-SA-152118. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1007654
  • Jansson J.K., and K.S. Hofmockel. 2020. "Soil microbiomes and climate change." Nature Reviews Microbiology 18, no. 1:35-46. PNNL-SA-141219. doi:10.1038/s41579-019-0265-7
  • Lee J., N.C. Sadler, R.G. Egbert, C.R. Anderton, K.S. Hofmockel, J.K. Jansson, and H. Song. 2020. "Deep Learning Predicts Microbial Interactions from Self-organized Spatiotemporal Patterns." Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal 18. PNNL-SA-150281. doi:10.1016/j.csbj.2020.05.023


  • Cleland E., E. Lind, N. Decrappeo, E. DeLorenze, R. Wilkins, P. Adler, and J.D. Bakker, et al. 2019. "Belowground Biomass Response to Nutrient Enrichment Depends on Light Limitation Across Globally Distributed Grasslands." Ecosystems 22, no. 7:1466-1477. PNNL-SA-142332. doi:10.1007/s10021-019-00350-4
  • Crowther T.W., C. Riggs, E. Lind, E. Borer, E. Seabloom, S. Hobbie, and J. Wubs, et al. 2019. "Sensitivity of global soil carbon stocks to combined nutrient enrichment." Ecology Letters 22, no. 6:936-945. PNNL-SA-147127. doi:10.1111/ele.13258
  • Graham E.B., F. Yang, S.L. Bell, and K.S. Hofmockel. 2019. "High Genetic Potential for Proteolytic Decomposition in Northern Peatland Ecosystems." Applied Environmental Microbiology 85, no. 10:Article No. e02851-18. PNNL-SA-136389. doi:10.1128/AEM.02851-18
  • Hovenden M.J., S. Leuzinger, P.D. Newton, A. Fletcher, S. Fatichi, A. Luscher, and P.B. Reich, et al. 2019. "Globally consistent influences of seasonal precipitation limit grassland biomass response to elevated CO2." Nature Plants 5, no. 2:167-173. PNNL-SA-141746. doi:10.1038/s41477-018-0356-x
  • Keiser A.D., M.L. Smith, S.L. Bell, and K.S. Hofmockel. 2019. "Peatland microbial community response to altered climate tempered by nutrient availability." Soil Biology and Biochemistry 137. PNNL-SA-147067. doi:10.1016/j.soilbio.2019.107561
  • Morrissey E., R.L. Mau, M. Hayer, X. Liu, E. Schwartz, P. Dijkstra, and B.J. Koch, et al. 2019. "Evolutionary history constrains microbial traits across environmental variation." Nature Ecology & Evolution 3, no. 7:1064-1069. PNNL-SA-147133. doi:10.1038/s41559-019-0918-y
  • Starke R., N. Jehmlich, T.D. Alfaro, A. Dohnalkova, P. Capek, S.L. Bell, and K.S. Hofmockel. 2019. "Incomplete cell disruption of resistant microbes." Scientific Reports 9. PNNL-SA-141081. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-42188-9
  • Wattenburger C., L. Halverson, and K.S. Hofmockel. 2019. "Agricultural Management Affects Root-Associated Microbiome Recruitment over Maize Development." Phytobiomes 3, no. 4:260-272. PNNL-SA-147039. doi:10.1094/PBIOMES-03-19-0016-R
  • Zengler K., K.S. Hofmockel, N.S. Baliga, S.W. Behie, H. Bernstein, J.B. Brown, and J.R. Dinneny, et al. 2019. "EcoFAB: Advancing microbiome science through standardized fabricated ecosystems." Nature Methods 16, no. 7:567-571. PNNL-SA-138240. doi:10.1038/s41592-019-0465-0


  • Bach E., G. Narvaez-Rivera, K.E. Murray, J.T. Bauer, and K.S. Hofmockel. 2018. "The dynamic life of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal symbionts." Ecology 99, no. 4:978-980. PNNL-SA-129609. doi:10.1002/ecy.2096
  • Bach E., R. Williams, S.K. Hargreaves, F. Yang, and K.S. Hofmockel. 2018. "Greatest soil microbial diversity found in micro-habitats." Soil Biology and Biochemistry 118. PNNL-SA-123740. doi:10.1016/j.soilbio.2017.12.018
  • Davis M.P., T.A. Groh, T.B. Parkin, R. Williams, T.M. Isenhart, and K.S. Hofmockel. 2018. "Portable Automation of Static Chamber Sample Collection for Quantifying Soil Gas Flux." Journal of Environmental Quality 47, no. 2:270-275. PNNL-SA-132338. doi:10.2134/jeq2017.10.0387
  • Jansson J.K., and K.S. Hofmockel. 2018. "The Soil Microbiome - From Metagenomics to Metaphenomics." Current Opinion in Microbiology 43. PNNL-SA-132057. doi:10.1016/j.mib.2018.01.013
  • Sielaff A.C., R. Upton, K.S. Hofmockel, X. Xu, W. Polley, and B.J. Wilsey. 2018. "Microbial community structure and functions differ between native and novel (exotic-dominated) grassland ecosystems in an 8 year experiment." Plant and Soil 432, no. 1-2:359-372. PNNL-SA-133470. doi:10.1007/s11104-018-3796-1


  • Choi J., F. Yang, R. Stepanauskas, E. Cardenas, A. Garoutte, R. Williams, and J. Flater, et al. 2017. "Strategies to improve reference databases for soil microbiomes." The ISME Journal 11, no. 4:829-834. PNNL-SA-122172. doi:10.1038/ismej.2016.168
  • Hobbie E.A., J. Chen, P.J. Hanson, C. Iversen, K. McFarlane, N.R. Thorp, and K.S. Hofmockel. 2017. "Long-term carbon and nitrogen dynamics at SPRUCE revealed through stable isotopes in peat profiles." Biogeosciences 14. PNNL-SA-126833. doi:10.5194/bg-14-2481-2017
  • Kaleita A.L., L.R. Schott, S.K. Hargreaves, and K.S. Hofmockel. 2017. "Differences in soil biological activity by terrain types at the sub-field scale in central Iowa US." PLoS One 12, no. 7:Article No. e0180596. PNNL-SA-127024. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0180596
  • King A.E., and K.S. Hofmockel. 2017. "Diversified cropping systems support greater microbial cycling and retention of carbon and nitrogen." Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 240. PNNL-SA-123816. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2017.01.040