Oksana Coban earned a B.S. and a M.S. with honors in biochemistry from Dnipropetrovsk National University in Ukraine in 2009. Further she worked as a teacher of human anatomy in Dniprotetrovsk Medical Academy for two years. From there she moved to Germany and received her PhD in Environmental Sciences from Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ in Leipzig, Germany in May 2015. She joined NASA Ames Research Center as an NPP fellow in August 2015.
My research interests include biogeochemistry of elements in various natural ecosystems and microbial processes determining those transformations. Currently I am working on nitrogen cycling in microbial mats. Nitrogen is usually limiting growth in marine environment. Microbial mats are modern analogues of the most ancient ecosystems known, and therefore they are targets of great astrobiological interest in our search for life elsewhere. Still, the nitrogen cycle in microbial mats has received very little study and a complete nitrogen budget for a microbial mat has not been yet determined. I am exploring this exciting topic by combination of microsensors and physicochemical measurements, isotope labeling experiments, microbial ecological studies, and bioinformatics.