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Office of Graduate Education Stanford Biosciences Office of Graduate Education

Paula V. Welander, PhD

Assistant Professor of Environmental Earth System Science and (by Courtesy) Biology

Paula V. Welander, PhDPaula is a microbiologist who joined the Stanford faculty in 2013. She received her BA in Kinesiology from Occidental College and was a laboratory technician at Caltech and City of Hope Medical Center before attending graduate school. Paula obtained her PhD in Microbiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and then pursued postdoctoral training at MIT where she leapt into the fascinating field of geobiology. Outside the lab, she enjoys spending time with her husband Paul (yes, Paul and Paula!) and two kids, Katherine and Daniel. Other passions include running, reading, and hanging out with the family dog and cat.

As a research mentor, Paula strives to provide an environment for scientist to gain basic technical expertise in the lab and to develop the communication skills necessary to succeed in science. She strongly encourages her students to pursue creative research projects and to venture into interdisciplinary fields where diverse scientific expertise and knowledge is often necessary to solve challenging problems. In addition, Paula strives to integrate her research with her teaching and provides opportunities for her students to gain teaching experience.

Paula is the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants and is a first-generation college graduate. Therefore, as a SoLID faculty mentor, Paula would love to share her own life experiences with mentees and hopefully provide a positive example of a first-generation Latina succeeding in academia. She hopes to explore the intersection of science, inclusion, equity and justice with students as she continues to grow and learn about these very important social issues. Paula is also prepared to provide students with support and the opportunity to discuss career goals, work-life balance, teaching, and research in microbiology and geobiology.

Students can email Paula directly at