Justyna Hampel with research equipment used to study the sediment microbiome in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo provided by Justyna Hampel
Justyna Hampel with research equipment used to study the sediment microbiome in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo provided by Justyna Hampel

Justyna Hampel is a microbial ecologist and biogeochemist studying deep sea sediments. Her research focuses on exploring the sediment microbiome around historic shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico. She is looking at the effects shipwreck have on life on the seafloor and sediment geochemistry.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?


4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

Shrunken styrofoam cups from the deep sea!

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?


8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?


9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?


10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

New Zealand

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?


12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

Schitt’s Creek

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Sit by the ocean

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

coffee, coffee, coffee

15 What beverage gives you life?


16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

Lord of the Rings

17 What did you want to be when you grew up?


18 What drives you and keeps you going?

My research

19 What got you excited in science?


20 What excites you about science now?

All of science!

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Takeout food

22 What is a secret talent of yours?


23 What is your favorite game?

Magic the Gathering

24 What is the last book you read?

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

Don’t compare yourself to others

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

Rock climbing

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Doing badly in organic chemistry doesn’t prevent you from getting a PhD in science

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Watch Friends

29 What is the last thing you watched?

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

Cyanobacteria bloom samples

31 What is your favorite animal?


32 What is your favorite book?

Lord of the Rings

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Any Polish food

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

October 1st

35 What is your favorite plant?


36 What is your favorite science fact?

~50% of oxygen comes from phytoplankton in the ocean. Thank the phytoplankton for every other breath you take!

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

Sunscreen (weird, I know)

39 What is your favorite sound?


40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I’m a hard worker.

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?


42 What is your proudest moment?

Getting my PhD

43 What kind of tree would you be?


44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

The ocean

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I used to be a professional swimmer for Polish National Team

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Ryan Bartelme (@MicrobialBart)