Ayla graduated from NAU in 2017 with two B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Microbiology with a certificate in Biotechnology. As a Master’s student, she is studying how chemistry governs life belowground. To do this, she uses isotopically labeled carbon substrates in soil incubations to relate microbial catabolic rates to carbon cycling. She has also tested this method across a suite of soil types and moisture regimes to determine the source of variation in anaerobic metabolism. These studies will help inform us if metabolic mechanisms in whole soil communities are similar to the pure culture environment in which most biochemical theories have been developed.