Dr. Jill Mikucki

Jill Mikucki

University of Tennessee, Knoxville


Jill Mikucki studies microorganisms that live beneath glaciers. She is interested in what microbes live 
in icy ecosystems and their physiology. In particular she is interested in how microbes are able to survive 
and grow in permanently cold and dark environments and what unique adaptations might enable this 
Jill has participated in numerous Antarctic field projects including the sampling of Subglacial Lake Whillans 
and the grounding zone of the Whillans Ice Stream. Most of her fieldwork and study has focused on a 
unique feature known as Blood Falls, which is at the terminus of the Taylor Glacier in the McMurdo Dry 
Valleys of Antarctica. Her work on Blood Falls has shown that subsurface ecosystems in the dry valleys are 
quite extensive and appear to host chemosynthetic microbial communities. She is particularly motivated 
by multidisciplinary collaborations for the clean access exploration of subglacial environments.
Jill is an Assistant Professor of Microbiology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, currently on leave 
to Middlebury College in Vermont. She is a member of the Science Advisory Board to the US Ice Drilling 
Program Office and co-chair of its Subglacial Access Working Group. She received her PhD. in Antarctic 
Microbial Ecology from Montana State University in 2005 and has remained interested in the structure and function of microbial ecosystems below ice ever since.