Colleen Al-Samarrie, Faculty Research Assistant (Dr. Kent)

Phone:  541-737-1858
M.S. in Microbiology from Oregon State University and a Certificate focused in Aquarium Science from Oregon Coast Community College.

I maintain and manage the Kent Lab zebrafish facilities.  This includes coordinating daily animal care, maintaining life support/water systems, and managing lab safety and animal husbandry compliance.  I also assist with research related to fish disease, which currently includes several disease transmission studies in zebrafish.


Dr. Nicholas Baetge, Postdoctoral Scholar (Dr. Halsey)

Website (Kim Halsey’s lab:; Michael J Behrenfeld’s lab:
Phone:  Office 7020; Lab 1806
Education: PhD Marine Science, University of California Santa Barbara

The daily vertical migration of zooplankton in the global oceans represents an important pathway by which carbon is shuttled from the sunlit surface to the deep dark ocean. While these vertical migrations can be detected in satellite retrievals of optical properties, their signal can be obscured by the diel behaviors of phytoplankton. Through cultivation-based experiments, my research seeks to tease apart the diel optical signatures associated with phytoplankton from those of vertical migrating zooplankton. This work will help to constrain remote sensing observations of diel vertical migrations, thereby allowing researchers to better assess how they vary across time and space as well as evaluate their role in global carbon cycling.


Dr. Kalia Bistolas, NSF Postdoctoral Fellow (Dr. Vega-Thurber)

Phone: 541-737-8819
:  Ph.D. Microbiology, Cornell University

My research focuses on the interface between viruses, their microbial hosts, and human-driven changes in marine nutrient regimes.  I am particularly interested in the ways that viruses modify the metabolic activities of the microbes that they infect through the use of auxiliary metabolic genes, or "AMGs".  These genes engineer microbial metabolism to better suit viral replication and can alter the way that microbes utilize key macronutrients, including nitrogen.  The goal of this research is to understand how specific genetic aspects of viruses contribute to cellular metabolism to better predict how microbial communities respond to transient and sustained eutrophication.


 Dr. Leigh Combrink, Research Associate/Postdoc (Dr. Sharpton)

Phone:  541-740-7831
Education:  PhD Ecology, UKZN, South Africa

My current research interests lie in disease ecology and the associations of infections with microbiome dysbiosis. The role of microbiomes in the development, health and survival of wildlife is largely unknown. In ungulates, and bovids in particular, juvenile survival is critical to population performance. My research will determine the patterns of gut and nasal microbiome development in African buffalo calves and how these relate to their growth, development, survival, and disease susceptibility. The results from this study will improve our understanding of the links between microbiome variation and wildlife population health.


Ryan Craig, Faculty Research Assistant (Dr. Bartholomew)

Phone:  541-737-0743

Education:  B.S. Environmental Science, Oregon State U.

As a research assistant at the JL Fryer Aquatic Animal Health Lab, I am responsible for the daily animal husbandry, maintenance of the facility, and assisting researchers with experimental design. In addition, I am involved in the field work for projects monitoring the prevalence of Ceratonova shasta, its invertebrate host, and the effect of the parasite on salmonids in the Klamath River.

Publications:  Bruce A. Menge, Sally D. Hacker, Tess Freidenburg, Jane Lubchenco, Ryan Craig, Gil Rilov, Mae Noble, Erin Richmond (2011). Potential impact of climate-related changes is buffered by differential responses to recruitment and interactions. Ecological Society of America 81(3) 493-509.


Hannah Epstein, NSF Postdoctoral Scholar (Dr. Vega-Thurber)

Phone: (541) 737-8605
Education: PhD Microbial Ecology, James Cook University

My research interests are focused around coral reef microbial ecology and its role in ecosystem health and climate resilience. In the Vega Thurber Lab, I examine the effects of shifts in nutrient subsidies on the health and resilience of corals through a microbial lens. With the aim to identify land-sea connections in biogeochemical cycling, I hope to discover whether land conservation activities can bolster the health of adjacent reef habitats, providing critical information for future environmental management initiatives.


Dr. James Fox, Postdoctoral Scholar (Dr. Halsey)

Phone:  541-737-8819
Education:  PhD Marine Biology, University of Essex

My research investigates how the physiology and composition of marine plankton communities are linked to variability in carbon export efficiencies.  Through ship-based observations and experimental approaches my work will (i) shed light on how bulk photic layer plankton properties can be linked to optical properties retrievable from remote sensing and (ii) explore the potential of active sensor-based technologies.

Dr. Richard Holt, Senior Research Associate (Dr. Bartholomew)

Phone:  541-737-0743
Education:  Ph.D. Microbiology, Oregon State U.

Forty-two years of experience in the study of fish disease as Senior Fish Pathologist at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (Retired).  Previous activities include conducting research in the diagnosis and treatment of fish parasites, pathogens in hatchery fish, detection of pathogens in wild stocks of fish and determining causes of fish losses in Oregon.  Principal area of research and publications has been in studies of the yellow pigmented bacterial fish pathogens such as Flavobacterium psychrophilum agent of cold-water disease and F. columnare, agent of columnaris disease.  Currently participating on a project to study the occurrence of the myxosporean parasite, Ceratomyxa shasta, and its impact on wild salmonid stocks in the Klamath River watershed.


Dr. Kristin Kasschau, Research Associate (Dr. Sharpton)

Phone:  541-737-8630
Education: Ph.D. Biology, Texas A&M University

I am interested in the interactions between symbiotic or pathogenic microbes and their hosts.  I currently have a joint appointment in the Sharpton and Bartholomew Labs.  I am leading the development of a gut microbiome core facility in the Sharpton Lab.  This facility serves research programs across the nation by applying cutting-edge DNA sequencing and data analytic approaches to discern the biodiversity and composition of gut microbe samples produced as part of an experiment.  In the Bartholomew Lab, I utilize molecular biology techniques to study the myxozoan parasites that affect the health of salmonid populations.


Dr. Veronika Kivenson, Postdoctoral Fellow (Dr. Giovannoni)

Phone:  541-737-1793; Nash Room 258
Education: Ph.D. Marine Science, UC Santa Barbara

My research is focused on how genetic code expansion enables augmented metabolism and gene evolution in marine microbial ecosystems.  Currently, I am examining the taxonomic range and niche preference of marine microbes capable of genetic code expansion, as well as under-explored pathways for carbon and nitrogen metabolism affected by this mechanism.


Dr. Chih-Ping Lee, Postdoctoral Scholar (Dr. Giovannoni)

Phone:  541-737-3189; Nash Room 254
Education: Ph.D., National Taiwan University, Institute of Oceanography

My research is sponsored by Simons Foundation International and is part of the BIOS-SCOPE initiative to understand carbon cycling in the Western Sargasso Sea near Bermuda. My work focuses on the oxidation of dissolved organic matter (DOM) by major groups of planktonic bacteria, including streamlined cells such as SAR11. I employ a combination of approaches, including genomics, experiments with cultured cells, chemical and biochemical measurements, and field studies to identify carbon oxidation pathways. One of the key problems I am trying to understand is the relationship between the reactivity of organic carbon compounds, which determines their half-life in the oceans, and specialized metabolic pathways that have evolved in bacteria for DOM oxidation. My research includes work with co-cultures of phytoplankton and bacteria to understand this early and fundamental step in the global ocean carbon cycle.


Rowan McLachlan, Postdoctoral Scholar (Dr. VegaThurber)

Education: PhD Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University

As a coral ecophysiologist, I am interested in understanding the influence of the seawater environment on the phenotype of coral holobionts. Specifically, I investigate the impact of global and local stressors such as ocean warming, ocean acidification, nutrient pollution, and over-fishing on coral physiology, morphology, and recently, the microbiome (Vega Thurber Lab). Through my academic journey, I have studied corals on the Great Barrier Reef (undergrad), in Hawaii (grad), and in French Polynesia (postdoc). If you would like to learn more about my research or collaborate on a future project, please don't hesitate to contact me.


Ruth Milston-Clements, Senior Faculty Research Assistant  (Dr. Bartholomew)

Web Site:
Phone: 541-737-0743      
Education: B.S. Environmental Science, Lancaster University; M.S. Fisheries Science, Oregon State University Department of Fish and Wildlife

Worked for the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO) at the OSU Department of Integrative Biology and the Crop and Food Research Institute in Nelson, New Zealand; before starting my current position in the J.L. Fryer Aquatic Animal Health Laboratory at OSU.  As Lab Manager, I am responsible for maintaing the research facility and physical plant; coordinating resarchers, and ensuring proper care and health of the aquatic animals.  My research interests are focused on the effect of environmental stressors such as temperature or pollutants on the immune systems of aquatic animals.


Dr. Denise Silva, Research Assistant, Lab Manager (Dr. Vega-Thurber)

Phone: 971-338-1916; Nash Room 514
Education: Ph.D. Biotechnology/Bioprocess Federal U. of Rio de Janiero (UFRJ) Brazil

My research interests are focused on molecular microbial ecology, anthropogenic impacts, bioremediation, and bioinformatics. Currently, I am exploring the core microbiome profile of several coral species in distinct coral reefs around the world and relating environmental factors with the coral core microbiome. This study is part of the Global Core Microbiome Project (GCMP), which involves more than 110 coral species from several reefs worldwide. As manager of the Vega Thurber Lab, I develop operational standards to maintain the proper functioning of the laboratory and ensure compliance with practices in accordance with current standards. In addition, I provide support to students and help in orienting their research, especially related to laboratory protocols, to ensure the well-being and safety of students during laboratory activities.


Dr. Keaton Stagaman, Research Associate/Postdoc (Dr. Sharpton)

Phone: 541-737-9664; Nash Room 514
Education: Ph.D. University of Oregon, Ecology and Evolution

The gut microbiome is a complex and dynamic community with an incredible metabolic potential. The makeup of the microbiome (i.e., its constituent species and their genes) is influenced by multiple processes including selection by the host, interactions between the microbes, and (my focus) exposure to environmental compounds such as toxins and drugs. The metabolic capabilities of the microbiome influence how such environmental compounds are processed within the host: potentially mitigating or exacerbating toxic effects. My goal, using observational studies in humans and experiments in model organisms, is to ascertain how the environment influences the metabolic potential of the microbiome, and in turn, how the microbiome alters the effects of environmental compounds on the development and health of the host.


 Dr. Chris Suffridge, Research Associate/Postdoc (Dr. Giovannoni)

Phone: 541-737-3502; Nash 250
Education: Ph.D. Biology, University of Southern California

My research is focused on understanding how trace organic cofactors, such as B-vitamins, influence the structure and function of marine microbial communities.  Currently, I am exploring the connections between the cellular biochemistry and environmental availability of vitamin B1 and its biochemical congeners, and the ways that this coenzyme is able to control planktonic community dynamics.