Makayla is a biogeochemist fascinated by how ecosystems evolve with Earth's environments, from life's origins through complex networks. In John's group, she is working to better our understanding of the geochemical conditions that promote preservation of cell morphology or diagnostic organic molecules in Earth's history, as well as the extent to which those biosignatures survive early diagenesis. Dynamic interactions between organic matter and Mg/Fe-bearing aluminosilicate clay surfaces are increasingly appreciated as a significant driver in organic preservation and microbial fossilization. However, in hypersaline, hyperalkaline environments like "soda lakes" that may have been prevalent in Earth's history, we do not know the extent to which these interactions impact biological degradation or are sensitive to pressure and temperature. Makayla is testing how such geochemical conditions influence organo-mineral interactions with targeted microbial incubations and hydrous pyrolysis experiments. The goal of these microbial taphonomy studies is to better understand the constraints on where we could find biosignatures in Earth's rock record and potentially in those on other planets.