Hailing from New Jersey, Andrew Babbin is a chemical oceanographer, biogeochemist and microbial ecologist. He is an assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. He and his group study how microorganisms interact with their chemical environment and with one another through the lens of marine nitrogen cycling. He espouses the intrigue and beauty of nitrogen chemistry daily to the dismay of his close carbon-focused colleagues who must endure being barraged by the inorganic nitrogen metabolic network. His reductionist mindset leads his lab to explore the fundamental characteristics of biogeochemical function, whereby systems can be simplified to their basal elements and complex behaviors described by their manageable mechanistic underpinnings. Babbin earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from Columbia University before returning to New Jersey to attend Princeton University for graduate school. At Princeton, he was first introduced to nitrogen biogeochemistry, and he never looked back. After graduating with a Ph.D. in 2014, Babbin moved to MIT to begin a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He began his faculty position in January 2017 and is currently a Doherty Assistant Professor in Ocean Utilization. When he’s not at sea, you can find him traveling the world, churning out pounds of fresh pasta, or playing semicompetitive softball.