Dr. Alexandra Phillips

Post-Doctoral (NSF) Fellow

Alex is a postdoc in the NOISE lab working on sulfur cycling of organic matter in lakes and oceans in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Large Lakes Observatory. She hopes this fundamental research on her favorite under-appreciated element will advance our understanding of modern and ancient nutrient cycling. She has a PhD in geochemistry from Caltech and a BA in Biology from the College of Creative Studies. When she isn't running a mass spec or collecting samples on a boat, you can find her enjoying the Santa Barbara sunshine - climbing, swimming, running, or biking.

Lena Capece

PhD Student


Lena (she/hers) joined the NOISE lab in September 2019. She is interested in learning about sulfur cycling, carbon storage and microbial-mediated preservation of organic matter in low-oxygen environments such as coastal vegetative habitats and oxygen minimum zones (OMZs). Lena holds a M.S. in Geology from UC Davis where she worked with Dr. Tessa Hill to investigate the sources of organic matter to seagrass sediments in estuaries in California using bulk sediment geochemistry. She received her B.A. in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Wesleyan University (CT) in 2016. Lena can usually be found outside climbing, running or hiking. 

Katie O'Malley

M.S. Student

Katie (she/her) joined the NOISE lab in November 2020. She is currently working on developing a novel isotopic analytical method using stable isotope sulfur-33 to better understand microbial sulfur reduction mechanisms and sulfur isotope deposition in oxygen-deficient marine environments. Katie grew up in Chicago (IL) and graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry from Purdue University (IN) in May 2020. You can catch Katie outside of lab making ultra-specific playlists, painting, or innovating contemporary movement in the studio as a dancer and choreographer.

Sophia Wei

Undergraduate Researcher

Sophia joined the NOISE Lab in June 2019. She is currently a UCSB undergraduate pursuing a major in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and a minor in Earth Sciences. Her project involves studying the different pyrite morphologies found in the Monterey Formation, which provide clues to understanding fossil pyritization in sulfur-cycling, anoxic environments. During her free time, Sophia can usually be found walking her dog around IV.


Max Morrison

Undergraduate Researcher

Max’s current project in the NOISE Lab seeks to understand how we can use geospatial data to address how vegetation type and the physical characteristics of sediments affect anoxia and carbon storage at Carpinteria Salt Marsh. His work integrates geospatial mapping and sedimentological data to improve estimates of organic carbon storage in coastal vegetated habitats on regional and global scales. When not in the lab, you can find Max drinking coffee, starting TV shows and never finishing them, and making way too much pizza.


Megan Sun

Undergraduate Researcher

Megan joined the NOISE lab January 2021. She is currently studying  pyrite morphologies and sulfur isotope records in the Monterey Formation, which will help us understand how these unusual, organic-carbon-rich rocks formed. Specifically, Megan's research applies her background in biology to investigate the pyritization and fossilization of sponge spicules, connecting these processes with the sedimentary sulfur cycle using microscopy and maps of sulfur isotopes by SIMS (Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry). In her free time, Megan can be found jamming to a random assortment of music while cooking food for unplanned movie binges.


Imanol Ulloa Gutierrez

Undergraduate Researcher

Imanol is a UC LEADS scholar pursuing a degree in Aquatic Biology and a minor in Earth Science at UCSB. His research investigates the chemistry of organic sulfur in extractable bitumens from Ocean Anoxic Event 2 (~94 million years ago). During his free time, he likes to draw, paint ,and go for walks along the Coal Oil Point Reserve.


Dr. Molly D. O'Beirne (currently U. of Pittsburgh)