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;



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 514; 541-737-9664;


My research examines the structure and function of river microbial communities.  Our work aims to understand how microbial communities are influenced by the landscape, transport and transform carbon, and shift in time, space, and function from headwaters to the ocean.  We work in watersheds across North America and in the tropics to identify a common set of watershed "rules of life", and employ a combination of molecular, ecological, and geochemical approaches to answer our research questions.

Dr. Crump:  Ph.D. candidate; Weniger 529;



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;



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;



With a previous background in the pharmaceutical industry, I am pursuing a masters along the biohealth sciences non-thesis track.  I am interested in combining my professional experience with modern microbiological principles and techniques to better ensure unmet medical needs are fulfilled in the healthcare industry.

Non-thesis major



I work with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in freshwater systems located in the Pacific Northwest.  I profile those VOCs from cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms, which are then used to predict toxin production and community composition within these blooms.  We are also using some of these isolated cyanobacteria in the lab to identify VOCs and genes of interest that could be involved in toxin production within these cyanobacteria strains.

Dr. Halsey:  Ph.D. candidate; Nash 356; 541-737-5079;



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;



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;


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;



My research involves the oyster microbiome.  I am using 16S sequencing to investigate the role of the microbial community in juvenile oyster health.  Additionally, I am using transcriptomics to understand the relationship between probiotic bacteria that improve oyster health, as well as pathogenic bacteria that can kill oysters.  Overall, my work will help advance aquaculture practices.

Dr. Mueller:  M.S. candidate; Nash 446; 541-737-8605;


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. Vega-Thurber:  Ph.D. candidate; Nash 446; 541-737-8605;


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;



My research will examine the impact of specific microbial taxa on mice behavioral phenotypes and the mechanism by which gut microbiota send signals to the brain through enteroendocrine cell and vagal neuron interactions.

Dr. David:  Ph.D. candidate; Nash 554; 541-737-8630;



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;



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;



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;



I am interested in studying the mechanisms of pathogens. I am currently rotating in the Rowe lab which focuses on viral/bacterial coinfection and the resulting severity of disease.

Dr. Rowe; Ph.D. candidate; Nash 446; 541-737-8605;



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; 541-737-1806;



I am interested in studying how natural phenomena, anthropogenic contaminants, and other environmental stressors influence marine microbial communities.  My work focuses on understanding microbiome resilience and sensitivity in response to environmental stressors in the endangered Caribbean coral, Acropora cervicornis.

Dr. Vega-Thurber:  Ph.D. candidate; Nash 446; 541-737-8605;



I am interested in host-microbe interactions and how they contribute to metabolic disease.  My research focuses on identifying the mechanisms by which probiotic bacteria can positively (or negatively) influence a host's metabolic phenotypes.  I use a combination of wet lab and computational methods to investigate this interaction.

Dr. Shulzhenko; M.S. candidate; Dryden 106A; 541-737-1051;



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;


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;



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;



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;


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.


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;



As an advocate for improved plastic waste management and a member of the Pacific Northwest Consortium on Plastic, my research interest is related to the identification and characterization of marine microbial taxa that are capable of plastic degradation with a focus on polyolefin polymers.

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



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;


I will start my journey at OSU by investigating how pollutants impact gut microbiomes of vertebrates and the effects these pollutants have on gut microbiome health and behavior.  Currently I am interested in learning about  infectious diseases.  Specifically, I am cultivating my bioinformatics and statistical skills in order to gain further insight on the behavior of bacteria, viruses, and parasites.  I hope to apply this knowledge to the gut microbiome so that we make progressive advancements towards human and animal welfare.

Dr. Sharpton:  Ph.D. candidate; Nash 554; 541-737-8630;



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;



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;


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;



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;