Alyse Kiesser, PhD

Assistant Professor

Civil, Engineering, School of Engineering
Office: EME3273
Phone: 250.807.8215

Graduate student supervisor

Research Summary

Systems Ecology; Big Data Science; Microbial Metabolic Interactions; Natural and Engineered Microbial Ecosystem; Multi-omics (DNA, RNA and protein sequencing).

Courses & Teaching

ENGR 548 - Engineering Microbiology

ENGR 446 – Biological Treatment Processes


Dr. Kiesser (formally Dr. Hawley) is an Assistant Professor of environmental genomics in the School of Engineering at University of British Columbia Okanagan. Her research occurs at the interface of natural and engineered environments, focusing on microbial metabolic interactions. Using microbial systems ecology approaches, paired with big-data analyses of multi-omic datasets (microbial community DNA, RNA and proteins) and bioinformatics,  her work addresses challenges in waste management, bioremediation and anthropogenic impacts on natural systems. Her extensive research experience in natural environments coupled with engineered ecosystems enables Dr. Kiesser’s research to inspire effective and appropriate bioprocess and environmental engineering applications.

Dr. Kiesser earned her PhD at the University of British Columbia, for her work on how microbial processes alter nitrogen and carbon flow in oxygen-deficient marine systems, extending them to global-level processes.

Prior to arriving at UBC Okanagan, Dr. Kiesser held an NSERC Postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Calgary with the Engineering Bioenergy and Geomicrobiology group.  Her work there explored the impact of viruses that infect microbes on the stability of engineered microbial communities responsible for carbon capture and bio-product production. Using advanced protein sequencing she developed analytical approaches to chart microbial interactions within both natural and engineered microbial communities.



Post-Doctoral Fellowship – University of Calgary

PhD – (Microbial Ecology) University of British Columbia

BSc – (Biochemistry) University Victoria (with distinction)

Research Interests & Projects

  • Role of viruses in the stability of bio-process and natural system microbial systems
  • Bioinformatic approaches to microbial networks in natural and engineered environments

Selected Publications & Presentations

Selected Publications:

(Full list:
(Note Dr. Kiesser is formally referred to as Dr. Hawley)

Khot, V., Dong, X., Strous, M., Hawley, A. K. Computational approaches in viral ecology. Computational and Structural Biotechnology IN PRESS

Hawley, A.K.*, Nobu, M.K.*, Wright, J.J., Durno, W.E., Morgan-Lang, C., Sage, B., Schwientek, P., Swan, B.K., Rinke, C., Liu, W-T., Stepanauskas, R., Woyke, T., Torres Beltrán, M., Mewis, K., Hallam, S.J. (2017). Diverse Marinimicrobia bacteria may mediate coupled biogeochemical cycles along eco-thermodynamic gradients. Nature Communications 8(1507)

(* authors contributed equally)

Hawley, AK*, Torres-Beltrán, M*, Zaikova, E., Walsh, D.A., Mueller, A., Scofield, M., Kheirandish, S., Payne, C., Pakhomova, L., Bhatia, M., Shevchuk, O., Gies, E.A., Fairley, D., Malfatti, S.A., Norbeck, A.D., Brewer, H.M., Paša-Tolic, L., Glavina del Rio, T., Suttle, C.A., Tringe, S., Hallam, S.J. (2017). A compendium of multi-omic sequence information from the Saanich Inlet water column. Nature Scientific Data 4(170160) (* authors contributed equally)

Torres-Beltrán, M.*, Hawely, A.K.*, Capelle, C., Zaikova, E., Walsh, D.A., Mueller, A., Scofield, M.,Payne, C., Pakhomova, L., Kheirandish, S., Finke, F., Bhatia, M., Shevchuk, O., Gies, E.A., Fairley, D., Michiels, C., Suttle, C., Whitney, F., Crowe, S.A., Tortell, P.D., Hallam, S.J. (2017). A compendium of geochemical information from the Saanich Inlet water column. Nature Scientific Data 4(170159) (* authors contributed equally)

Capelle, D., Hawley, A.K., Hallam, S.J., and Tortell, P.D. (2017). A multi-year time-series of N2O dynamics in Saanich Inlet, British Columbia, a seasonally anoxic coastal fjord. Limnology and Oceanography. DOI:10.1002/lno.10645

Torres Beltrán M., Hawley, A.K., Capelle, D., Bathia, M.P., Durno, W.E., Tortelle, P.D., Hallam, S.J. (2016). Methanotrophic community dynamics in a seasonally anoxic fjord: Saanich Inlet, British Columbia. Frontiers in Marine Science. 3(268)

Louca, S., Hawley, A.K., Katsev, S., Beltran, M.T., Bhatia, M.P., Michiels, C., Sihota, N., Capelle, D., Doebeli, M., Crowe, S.A., Hallam, SJ. (2016). Integrating biogeochemistry with multi-omic sequence information in a model oxygen minimum zone. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 113(40):E5925-5933.
Roux, S., Hawley, A.K., Torres Beltrán, M., Scofield, M., Schwientek, P., Stepanauskas, R., Woyke, T., Hallam, S.J., Sullivan, M.B. (2014). Ecology and evolution of viruses infection uncultivated SUP05 bacteria as revealed by single-cell and meta-genomics. eLife. 3:e03125.

Hawley, A.K., Brewer, H.M., Norbeck, A.D., Paša-Tolic L., Hallam, S.J. (2014). Metaproteomics reveals differential modes of metabolic coupling among ubiquitous oxygen minimum zone microbes. 2014. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111(31):11395-11400.

Hawley, A.K., Kheirandish, S., Mueller, A., Leung, H.T.C., Norbeck, A.D., Brewer, H.M., Paša-Tolic L., Hallam, S.J. (2013) Molecular Tools for Investigating Microbial Community Structure and Function in Oxygen-Deficient Marine Waters. Methods in Enzymology, Microbial Metagenomics, Metatranscriptomics, and Metaproteomics. 531:305-329.

Hanson, N.W., Konwar, K.M., Hawley, A.K., Tomer, A., Karp, P.D., Hallam, S.J. (2014). Metabolic pathways for the whole community. BMC Genomics. 15:619.

Selected Grants & Awards

NSERC Discovery Grant

NSERC Post-doctoral fellowship (2019-2021)

John Richard Turner Fellowship in Microbiology (2014)


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