Prof. dr. Katherine McMahon
Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor at the University of Wisconsin - Madison


Professor Katherine (Trina) McMahon is a Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, holding a split appointment in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and in the Department of Bacteriology. She earned her BS and MS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1995 and 1997, respectively), where she worked with Professor Lutgarde Raskin (now at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor) on anaerobic digester microbial ecology. She earned her PhD in Environmental Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley in 2002, working with Professors David Jenkins and Jay Keasling on the microbial ecology of biological phosphorus removal in activated sludge. Upon moving to UW-Madison in 2003, she initiated a new line of research on freshwater lake microbial ecology, but continues to work on biological wastewater treatment as well.  In both systems, Trina applies an Eco-Systems Biology approach to studying microbe-microbe interactions, community assembly, ecophysiology, and ecosystem function. She strives to link genes to ecosystems using ‘omics and post-‘omics tools including metagenomes, metatranscriptomics, metabolomics, and modeling both at the sub-cellular level and the community scale. In addition to her research on aquatic microbiomes broadly defined, Trina is passionate about pre-faculty and junior faculty professional development around teaching and learning. She is co-faculty Director of the Delta Program on the UW-Madison campus, which provide innovative and rigorous programming for graduate students and postdocs. She was awarded the ARCADIS/AEESP Frontier in Research Award by the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors in 2017 and was elected as a Fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology in 2018.  Trina is a Senior Editor for the ASM Journal mSphere. She served as MEWE Secretary (2009-2013) and continues to serve on the Management Committee (2005-current).