GPSAW 2023: Maggie Spangler

Maggie Spangler is an East Tennessee native and has been curious about science her whole life. That curiosity led her to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she majored in microbiology. Now Spangler is currently pursuing a doctorate in the Genome Science and Technology program in the UT – Oak Ridge Innovation Institute Bredesen Center.


Spangler works at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the Dr. Carrie Eckert lab where she focuses on developing high-throughput genetic tools for non-model bacteria to better engineer them to consume plant matter and convert it to chemicals of interest such as plastic precursors to create a more renewable and green economy.


“For me, the big draw to my lab and current research was the opportunity to work with a variety of microbes that possess unique pathways that can be harnessed for bioenergy purposes.”


Spangler is excited to pursue her options beyond renewable energy. After completion of her PhD, Spangler plans to travel to a biotech centered city and continue her scientific career.


“I have several interests beyond renewable energy, and I am excited at the different opportunities I will be able to pursue with my interdisciplinary background I have gained at ORNL.”


In her free time outside of the lab, Spangler can be found at local nurseries buying more plants to add to her extensive collection or attending to her aquariums. Spangler and her partner enjoy walking their dogs on the many Knoxville trails and trying new restaurants they find in the city.

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