Dr. Worden earned a B.A. in History from Wellesley College, with a concentration in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at M.I.T. She remained at M.I.T. for two years after graduating as a research technician. She then moved to the University of Georgia, where she received a NASA Earth Systems Science Fellowship (1996-1999) and completed her Ph.D. in Ecology in 2000.
Dr. Worden then went on to conduct research on microbial interactions at Scripps Institution of Oceanography as an NSF Microbial Biology Postdoctoral Fellow, before accepting an Assistant Professorship at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami. In 2007 she joined the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), where she leads a microbial ecology research and technology development group. Dr. Worden’s graduate students attend the University of California Santa Cruz, where she is Adjunct Professor in the Ocean Sciences Department.
Dr. Worden’s research focuses on regulation of photoautotrophic microbes with an emphasis on carbon cycling in marine systems. This includes studies on the basic biology of eukaryotic microbes and how such studies can inform us about the evolution of eukaryotes, including land plants. Her group develops and implements methods and technologies for sea-going oceanography, including innovations in genomic, metagenomic and transcriptomic approaches. Dr. Worden is a Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation Marine Investigator and a Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.