CURRENT GRADUATE STUDENTS

ALMUBARAK, HAWRA HABIB

My research will focus on understanding the metabolic processes leading to volatile organic compounds production in algae. I am interested in investigating how taxonomic variation influences the volatilome of different algae.

Dr. Halsey:  M.S. candidate; Nash 356; 541-452-2928; almubaha@oregonstate.edu

 

 BENJAMIN AMERICUS

I am interested in the conservation of wild salmon stocks and the proliferation of sustainable aquaculture.  While sometimes conflicting, these two goals can be pursued simultaneously through the careful anticipation of increased competition, genetic introgression, and disease transmission.  My research investigates two parasites, Myxobolus cerebralis and Ceratomyxa shasta which are transmissible between cultured and wild stocks of salmonids and responsible for extensive mortality among both populations.  I am analyzing gene expression of these parasites during infection in order to develop treatments which will allow aquaculturists to better manage disease.

Dr. Bartholomew:  Ph.D. candidate; Nash 528; 541-737-9664; americub@oregonstate.edu

 

LIBBY BRENNAN

My project looks into the unknown mechanisms and rates of Vitamin B1 cycling in microbial communities in the oceans. We are performing experiments not only to discover more about the rates and mode at which B1 is released into the open ocean, but also how it is taken up by other organisms to be used for later metabolism, completing the circle of nutrient exchange between microorganisms.

Dr. Giovannoni:  Accelerated M.S. candidate; Nash 250; 541-737-3502; brennael@oregonstate.edu

 

JESSICA BUSER-YOUNG

My research focuses on defining the microbial diversity of the subsurface within glacial outwash ponds, and the role the microbes play in global element cycling.  My aim is to strengthen our understanding of the link between iron redox processes and anaerobic oxidation of methane.

Dr. Colwell:  Ph.D. candidate; Weniger 537; 541-514-8586; buserj@oregonstate.edu

 

LINDSAY COLLART

My project will be centered on volatile organic compounds in cyanobacterial blooms, specifically for freshwater lakes in the Northwest.

Dr. Halsey:  Ph.D. candidate; Nash 356; 541-737-5079; collartl@oregonstate.edu

 

SUSAN CUMMINGS

My research interests center on microbial ecology, especially in the ocean, and I would like to explore the specific interactions microbes have with other microbes and the environment.  I will be rotating in my first year through the Thurber, Sharpton, and Giovannoni Labs.

Dr. Thurber:  Ph.D. candidate; Burt 222; 541-737-3649; cumminsu@oregonstate.edu

 

GRACE DEITZLER

I am interested in the interactions between microbial communities in the gut and behavioral outcomes.  These interactions are studied in a mouse model of Autism Spectrum Disorder, focusing on the effects elicited by the addition of Clostridium celatum, a species found to be enriched in the stool of children with ASD.  I am interested in identifying key microbial metabolites that may be associated with behavioral changes.  I also collaborate with researchers in the Honey Bee Lab to study the gut microbiome of honey bees in response to probiotic treatment as well as infection by the pathogen Nosema.

 Dr. David: Ph.D. candidate; Nash 554; 541-737-8630; deitzleg@oregonstate.edu

CONNOR DRANEY

My research will focus on direct interaction and co-infection of pathogenic viruses and bacteria. Specifically I will investigate viral and bacterial interactions within the host and how these interactions affect transmission and severity of infection. 

Dr. Rowe:  Ph.D. candidate; Nash 446;  541-737- 8605; draneyc@oregonstate.edu

 

MARY K. ENGLISH

I am working to develop probiotics that improve the survival of oyster larvae.  My research will use 16S community analysis to examine how the oyster microbiome changes with the addition of probiotics.

Dr. Mueller:  M.S. candidate; Nash 446; 541-737-8605; englimar@oregonstate.edu

EDDIE FUQUES

My research focuses on characterizing marine microbial and viral communities. By using metagenomic and meta-transcriptomic approaches I will be studying both viral and bacterial diversity in coral reef ecosystems in order to understand the role that microorganisms play in these threatened habitats and contribute to marine species conservation.

Dr. Rebecca Vega-Thurber:  M.S. candidate; Nash 446; 541-737-8605; fuquesve@oregonstate.edu

AUSTIN HAMMER

This year I am rotating through three labs that perform microbiome and microbial ecology research.  I am broadly interested in using integrated "omic" and bioinformatic techniques to examine microbial diversity and link microbial community function to ecological processes or host-associated traits.

Dr. Sharpton:  Ph.D. candidate; Nash 554; 541-737-8630; hammera@oregonstate.edu

 

JAYANTHI JOSEPH

I am investigating the pathogenesis of Mycobacterium avium and related species. I am interested in intracellular survival mechanisms and host response.

Dr. Bermudez:  Ph.D candidate; Dryden 106; 541-737-6532; josephja@oregonstate.edu

 

GRACE KLINGES

Disruption of symbiosis by pathogens or abiotic stressors is correlated with disease events, which are a major cause of coral mortality in tropical reefs worldwide. I study an obligate intracellular parasite within Rickettsiales that is correlated with decreased coral health and stimulated by excess nitrogen in the form of nutrient pollution. By probing the newly-assembled genome of this organism, I hope to discover a genetic basis for these effects on coral health. Additionally, I will use transcriptomics to assess the effects of this parasite on the coral immune system during nutrient-enriched tank experiments.

Dr. Vega-Thurber: Ph.D. candidate; Nash 446; 541-737-8605; klingesj@oregonstate.edu

 

SAVANAH LEIDHOLT

I am studying Puffy Snout Syndrome (PSS), which is a lethal disease prevalent in various species of fish in aquaculture and aquarium settings.  I am interested in discovering the etiological agent or agents that cause disease as well as disease mitigation techniques to reduce the spread of PSS.

Dr. Vega-Thurber:  Ph.D. candidate; Nash 446; 541-737-8605; leidhols@oregonstate.edu

 

STEPHANIE NERVINO

My research focuses on determining the patho-physiological changes associated with senescence and pathogen burdens between the parasite Ceratonova shasta and a novel enteric microsporidium in pre-spawning mortality in Chinook salmon.

Dr. Kent:  M.S. candidate; Nash 514; 541-737-1858; nervinos@oregonstate.edu

 

VAISHNAVI PADAKI

My research will investigate microalgal production of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs). Little is known about the range of BVOCs produced by different algae and how their production is altered depending on the growth environment and the presence of bacteria. A broad goal of this project is to understand how algal-bacterial interactions control sea-air emissions of BVOCs.

Dr. Halsey; Ph.D. candidate; Nash 352; padakiv@oregonstate.edu

 

SUNNI PATTON

I am interested in marine microbiology and understanding how natural phenomena, anthropogenic contaminants, and other stressors influence microbial communities and, in turn, contribute to ecological success of larger host organisms. In the Vega Thurber Lab, I will be studying coral, seagrass, and zebrafish microbiomes to better understand microbiome resilience and sensitivity in response to environmental stressors.

Dr. Rebecca Vega-Thurber:  Ph.D. candidate; Nash 446; 541-737-8605; pattonsu@oregonstate.edu

 

BRYCE PENTA

I am interested in the role of phytoplankton physiology on marine biogeochemical cycles. Currently I am studying phytoplankton physiological responses during acclimation to deep mixing events in the ocean. I plan to extend my research to investigate the contributions of various phytoplankton groups, such as mixotrophs (phytoplankton that can both photosynthesize and consume organic carbon), on ecosystem production. 

Dr. Halsey: Ph.D. candidate; Nash 356; 541-737-5079; pentaw@oregonstate.edu

ALEXANDRA PHILLIPS

I am interested in studying the connection between the microbiome-gut-brain axis, specifically in Autism Spectrum Disorder. My research aims to learn in vivo, in vitro, and bioinformatic approaches to understand the impact of the gut microbiota on behavior, unravel specific biomarkers, and identify microbial and host pathways involved in the modulation of peripheric and central neurological circuits.

Dr. David:  M.S. candidate; Nash 554; 541-737-8630; phillia2@oregonstate.edu

 

EMILY SCHMELTZER

My research interests lie in marine microbial ecology on tropical coral reefs, specifically how coral-associated microbial communities from different coral host species respond to nutrient enrichment, coral bleaching events, predation pressures, and varying anthropogenic impacts.  I spend my time doing a combination of fieldwork, labwork, and programming and bioinformatics to analyze both high-throughput metagenomics and amplicon data.

Dr. Vega-Thurber:  Ph.D. candidate; Nash 446, 541-737-8605; schmelte@oregonstate.edu

 

CORBIN SCHUSTER

I am interested in utilizing zebrafish as a biomedical model to further investigate immunological mechanisms that occur when fish are exposed to parasites, such as Pseudoloma neurophilia, and other pathogenic organisms.

Dr. Kent:  Ph.D. candidate; Nash 526; 509-853-7864; schustco@oregonstate.edu

KELLY SHANNON

The habitat of beavers in the Arctic is highly dependent on climate. As global temperatures warm, especially in the far North, beavers have expanded their range. My research will be centered around the biogeochemical effect that beaver ponds have on Arctic permafrost. When standing water exists over permafrost soil, as when beavers dam a river, it can lead to an increase in the depth of the soil active layer. This means previously frozen microorganisms can begin to metabolize ancient stores of thawed organic and inorganic carbon. As a result, carbon in the forms of CO2 and methane is liberated from this once permanently-frozen source. I aim to characterize the microbes found in this unique environmental niche.

Dr. Colwell; Weniger 537; (503) 706-4846. shannonk@oregonstate.edu

MICHAEL SIELER

My research involves developing novel molecular and computational methods to further elucidate the underlying mechanisms to better understand how host-gut microbiome interactions impact health and how this knowledge can be used to treat disease.  Specifically, I am interested in using zebrafush as a model vertebrate organism to study these interactions.

Dr. Sharpton:  Ph.D. candidate; Nash 554; 541-737-8630; sielerjm@oregonstate.edu

 

SEBASTIAN SINGLETON

My research interest is exploring the concept of microbial degradation of plastic compounds, specifically how microbial consortia coordinate to co-metabolize highly complex com-pounds. This will be studied by identifying which organisms play functional roles in each metabolic step of decomposition as well as what metabolites are produced.

Dr. Stephen Giovannoni and Dr. Thomas Sharpton: Ph.D. candidate; Nash 250; 541-737-3502; singlese@oregonstate.edu

 

PARKER SMITH

To overcome the unique challenges of surviving as single celled organisms, microbes perform a variety of cooperative, multicellular behaviors, including biofilm formation, quorum sensing, nutrient acquisition, and dispersal.  I study the dynamics of these social interactions in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a gram negative bacterium that exhibits a wide range of social behaviors.  I am specifically interested in cooperation, competition, and cheating in iron acquisition, and plan to study these interactions using competition experiments, single celled analysis, and mathematic modeling.

Dr. Schuster:  Ph.D. candidate; Nash 418; 541-737-4305; smitpark@oregonstate.edu

EBONY STRETCH

Bioinformatics efforts in developing user-friendly next-generation sequencing analytical pipelines. I was an NIGMS research trainee in collaboration with the Cyberinfrastructure for Phylogenetic Research.

Dr. Sharpton:  Ph.D. candidate; Nash 554; 541-737-8630; stretche@oregonstate.edu

 

CHRISTINE TATARU

I am studying gut bacteria and their relationship to human health, focusing on the gut-brain axis.  There is evidence to suggest that gut flora may be intimately involved in phenomena like obesity and depression, as well as neurological disorders such as Parkinson's or Autism Spectrum Disorder.  By understanding the communities that take up residence in our bodies and our relationship with them, we can develop more sensitive and specific diagnostics, effective treatments and lifestyles conducive to healthy body and mind function.  I am currently focusing on developing biocomputing methods to study these interactions.

Dr. David:  Ph.D. candidate; Nash 554; 541-737-8630; tataruc@oregonstate.edu

 

ALEX VOMPE

My research uses in situ sampling and bioinformatics to examine the association between environmental stressors and phase shifts in corals and their microbiomes.  My graduate work will inform coral conservation strategies and consider the importance of microbial communities in coral resilience.

Dr. Vega-Thurber:  Ph.D. candidate; Nash 446; 541-737-8605; vompea@oregonstate.edu

QUINN WASHBURN

I use next generation high throughput culturing to study bacterial community dynamics.  Specifically, I am interested in investigating microbial interactions with co-cultures that form from community subsamples.  I am studying marine bacterial communities in the deep ocean as well as the zebrafish gut microbiome using this approach.  The goal is to provide insights into the interactions of microorganisms in their natural environments.

Dr. Giovannoni and Dr. Sharpton:  Ph.D. candidate; Nash 250; 541-737-3502; washburq@oregonstate.edu

 

SARAH WOLF

My research focuses on the microbiology and biochemistry of shallow marine ecosystems entering hypoxic states.  In conjunction with Dr. Francis Chan (Integrative Biology), we are performing experiments to test mechanistic models that will help us understand the rate of oxygen loss in systems experiencing oxygen stress.

Dr. Giovannoni:  Ph.D. candidate; Nash 250; 541-737-3502; wolfs2@oregonstate.edu

 

 

 

 

MICROBIOLOGY FACULTY GRAD STUDENTS IN OTHER MAJORS

 

ADRIANA MESSYASZ

I am interested in the role of viruses in coral reef health and disease. I will be using bioinformatics to identify changes in viral diversity and abundance in both healthy, bleached, and nutrient-enriched corals. I will also be identifying viruses present in algae and tropical fish (S. nigricans) and studying which viruses are shared between coral, fish, and algae. Overall I want to know what kinds of viruses are transmitted around the coral ecosystem and the types of viruses that play important roles in coral health. 

Dr. Vega-Thurber:  Ph.D. candidate; Environmental Sciences; Nash 446; 541-737-7793; messyasa@oregonstate.edu