Zara Summers

Section Head of the Biosciences group in Corporate Strategic Research, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering

Zara Summers is currently the Section Head of the Biosciences group in Corporate Strategic Research within ExxonMobil Research and Engineering located in New Jersey. Her group works on a wide range of projects including biofuels, bioconversions, bioremediation, microbial induced corrosion, and ecology of hydrocarbon environments. While at ExxonMobil she led many multidisciplinary projects before helping to form the Biosciences group that she now leads.

She holds a PhD in Microbiology from University of Massachusetts Amherst with a focus on ecology and subsurface microbiology. Zara also has interest in microorganisms from extreme environments, and their distinctive capabilities. Before joining ExxonMobil in 2012, Zara taught undergraduates at Saint Thomas University and worked at the University of Minnesota capturing and characterizing elusive microbes in the bottom of an iron mine over a half mile underground. Zara volunteers in her community and she actively encourages young women to explore STEM studies and careers.