Dr. Leila J. Hamdan is a molecular microbial ecologist and her studies focus on geomicrobiology and the impact of changing environmental conditions on the structure and function of marine and estuarine communities. Her current studies center on microbial biogeography on continental margins and the impacts of hydrocarbons and chemical dispersants on communities found on artificial reefs (shipwrecks) in the deep biosphere of the Gulf of Mexico. Her work also addresses the microbiology of marine methane seeps and the role of microorganisms in the development of anoxia in the Chesapeake Bay. Prior to joining the Department, Dr. Hamdan was as a Research Microbiologist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and a National Research Council Post Doctoral Research Associate.