My research focuses on the inhibitory effects of natural antimicrobial products against germination, outgrowth and vegetative growth of spores of Clostridium perfringens in meat products. I am interested in investigating diverse mechanisms of action of these natural products against C. perfringens.

Dr. Sarker, Ph.D. candidate;


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 the sensing and signaling mechanisms that the parasite C. Shasta uses to infect its fish host.

Dr. Atkinson: Ph.D. candidate; Nash 528; 541-737-2977;



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 551; 541-514-8586;



I am interested in disease ecology, and my current research focuses on two host-parasite relationships in the Klamath River basin. Specifically, I am investigating the prevalence of infection of myxozoans Ceratonova shasta and Parvicapsula minibicornis in the annelid Manayunkia occidentalis. Both C. shasta and P. minibicornis have led to higher mortality in salmonids and a deeper understanding of this relationship will apprise management efforts.

Dr. Alexander; M.S. candidate; Nash 528; 541-737-2977;



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 am pursuing a master's degree with an interest in the BioHealth Sciences non-thesis track. I am interested in microbiology as it relates to human health.

Dr. Vega Thurber: Accelerated M.S. candidate;



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. Crump:  Ph.D. candidate; Burt 222; 541-737-3649;



My research focuses on the epidemiology of proliferative kidney disease, caused by the myxozoan parasite Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae, within Oregon's fish hatcheries as well as state-wide.

Dr. Hallett:  M.S. candidate; Nash 528; 541-737-2977;



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 will investigate the cooperation and collaboration of microbes using Pseudomonas aeruginosa as a model organism. I will be investigating factors related to quorum sensing using a chemostat setup

Dr. Schuster:  M.S. candidate; Nash 418; 541-737-4305; pettiteb@oregonstate


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;



I do research on the ecology of the gut microbiome, especially with respect to prebiotics and probiotics. I am specifically interested in optimization of the methods we use to study the microbiome, and working at the intersection of microbiology and genomics to understand the mechanisms that modulate our internal ecosystems. 

Dr. Mueller:  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;



My research centers around the interactions between perennial ryegrass, endophyte infection, and insect behaviors. Currently, my work involves the use of high throughput multiplex PCR to detect alkaloid-producing endophytes in perennial ryegrass by targeting genes within alkaloid biosynthesis loci.

Dr. Kaur:  M.S. candidate; ALS 3027; 603-515-6723;



I am interested in long-term effects of nutrient enrichment on the microbiome dynamics and resilience of corals that live in highly oligotrophic habitats. I will be assisting with the lab's collaborative project in Mo’orea, French Polynesia while focusing on the baby coral recruits we have at our experimental site.

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


My research interest is broadly in the conservation of salmonids in the Pacific Northwest. More specifically, my current project focuses on six pathogens (bacterial and parasitic) that impact salmonid health and their distribution/abundance prior to the removal of four dams in the Klamath River Basin. These fish may be exposed to novel pathogens from upstream resident salmonid populations, or vice versa, from migrating anadromous populations downstream interacting with each other. I will use a predictive model, created with pre-dam removal data (from water sampling and qPCR), to predict possible impacts on salmonids in the Klamath River Basin. 

Dr. Hallett and Dr. Alexander:    M.S. candidate; Nash 528; 541-737-2977;



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 centers around biofilms formed during middle ear infections. I am looking at the interactions that occur between S. pneumoniae, M. catarrhalis, H. influenzae, and influenza A virus in a biofilm environment. By understanding how these pathogens interact with each other and trigger inflammation, we can better anticipate the development and treatment of otitis media.

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 a dual veterinary anatomic pathology resident and PhD candidate with the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine and the USDA ORISE program. I will be focusing on pre-spawn mortality (PSM) in Chinook salmon from a pathophysiologic approach. Some of our goals will include detailed characterization of PSM including histology and immunology, with an overarching goal of developing non-lethal, antemortem diagnostics for PSM in migrating salmon. I have other research interests in avian (especially poultry) and teleost fish pathology and infectious disease.

Dr. Kent:  Ph.D. candidate; Magruder Hall 229; 541-737-5716;



My research involves characterizing sulfur-reducing bacteria and processes in an Antarctic methane seep. Specifically, I want to understand how the microbial community diversifies and develops over time. To accomplish this, I will combine field work and "omics"-based approaches.

Dr. Thurber:  Ph.D. candidate; Nash 554, 541-737-4500,



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;


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; Ph.D. candidate; 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 zebrafish 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 focuses on exploring the mechanisms of the gut-brain-axis and the immunomodulatory properties of commensal microbes.  I am currently working with primary murine cell cultures to elucidate the relationships between enteroendocrine and vagal neuronal cells.

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;



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;



My research focuses on the microbiomes of methane seeps in polar regions and the deep sea. Specifically, I will combine field work, lab work, and computational “omics” approaches to better understand the progression of microbial communities over time as they metabolize methane. 

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