This proposal requests support for several professional activities including learning new state-of-the-art methodological approaches, moving my research activities into new areas of study (i.e. soil microbiology and bioremediation) and establishing international collaborative relationships with colleagues in Australia. The proposed activities will involve the use of combinations of state-of-the-art and next generation (Illumina platforms) high-throughput molecular and genomic approaches to characterize bacterial community composition in pristine as well as polluted soil environments. In order to effectively learn these new molecular techniques and complete a series of designed experiments, I will need to spend approximately 10 weeks at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, University of Western Sydney, in Australia. The Soil Microbiology/Bioremediation research exposure and various molecular approaches are quite novel and potentially will drastically transform and enhance my current teaching and research activities here at Albion College. Additionally, the experience will provide more research questions and opportunities for many of our students who are interested in Environmental Science, Molecular Biology and Bioremediation. Most importantly, the experience will lead to a long-term collaboration with mutual benefits between the two institutions as well as provide series of publishable data that will further inform general understanding regarding the influences of anthropogenic disturbances on microbial assemblages in various environments.