Dr. Leigh Combrink, Research Associate/Postdoc (Dr. Sharpton) NOW ASST PROFESSOR U. OF ARIZONA

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.


Dr. Veronika Kivenson, Postdoctoral Fellow (Dr. Giovannoni)  RECEIVED A TORY BURCH FELLOWSHIP IN CALIFORNIA

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.


Keaton Stagaman, Research Associate/Postdoc (Dr. Sharpton)  NOW A SCIENTIST AT 23ANDME

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.


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

Phone:  541-737-1858
Education: 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. Julie Alexander, Senior Research Associate NOW ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, SENIOR RESEARCH

Phone:    541-737-1849; Nash Room 522
Education:  Ph.D. Biology, Montana State University

 My research interests lie in the field of disease ecology.  I am fascinated by parasites that exploit multiple hosts (myxozoans in particular) during their life cycles as a means of ensuring their reproductive success.  I am interested in factors that drive and determine the outcomes of host-parasite interactions, how interactions may change under different environmental contexts, and how ecological and life history variables influence host-parasite dynamics and evolution.

 Dr. Anne Taylor, Assistant Professor, Senior Research

Phone:  541-737-4136
Education: M.S. BioResource Research, Soil Science, Oregon State; Ph.D. Environ. Engr., Oregon State

Our lab studies the nitrogen cycle in soil, and specifically the oxidation of ammonia to nitrite. This process is known as nitrification and is carried out by ammonia oxidizing archaea and bacteria (AOA and AOB). Over the past few years my work has focused primarily on developing tools to distinguish the contributions to nitrification by AOA and AOB. Using these tools I am now investigating how different environmental conditions, such as temperature and soil water content, influence the ecology, physiology, and function of the two groups of nitrifiers in soil. This work has particular significance as global climate change becomes more pronounced. Changes in soil temperature and rainfall patterns will affect the contributions of the AOA and AOB to nitrification, and may have profound effects on nitrogen balance in agricultural and forest soils and the production of greenhouse gasses.

 Dr. Christopher Gaulke, Research Associate/Postdoc NOW ASSISTANT PROFESSOR UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

Phone:  541-737-8630; Nash Room 546
Education:  Postdoc, Department of Microbiology, Oregon State U.; Ph.D. University of California, Davis

 A growing body of evidence has identified the gut microbiome as an important factor involved in the maintenance of gastrointestinal homeostasis.  However, relatively little is known about how routine environmental exposures might influence the structure and function of these microbial communities and how these shifts might alter host physiology.  My research employs high-throughput molecular and computational techniques to evaluate the impact of environmental exposures on microbial abundance, function, and host physiology.  These investigations aim to (1) identify potential microbial biomarkers of environmental exposure, (2) Define microbial functions that are associated with host health, and (3) Generate testable hypotheses about how microbial communities interact with their hosts.


 Dr. Sascha Hallett, NOW ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, Senior Research

Phone:  541-737-4721
Education: Ph.D. The University of Queensland, Australia

I find parasites fascinating organisms and have always been drawn to the aquatic environment. Thus, I am interested in parasites of marine and freshwater fish. Most of my research has focused on one phylum - the Myxozoa and I've never dissected a fish without encountering at least one of these microscopic, spore-forming, endoparasitic metazoans. Over 2000 are found in fish world-wide and most do not harm their host, but there are several that cause serious diseases (Ceratomyxa shasta, Parvicapsula minibicornis, Myxobolus cerebralis) in the Pacific Northwest of North America. My current research focuses on answering questions about these parasites so that we can make informed management decisions and reduce their impact on native fishes.

 Dr. Luis Bolanos, Postdoctoral Scholar NOW UNIVERSITY OF EXETER,  UNITED KINGDOM

Phone:  541-737-3502; Nash Room 254
Education:  Ph.D. Biomedical Sciences, National Autonomous University of Mexico

My research interests lie in the understanding of the factors that shape the dynamics and interactions of microbial ecosystems.  I am currently investigating the diversity of marine plankton in the North Atlantic bloom and how it changes at different depths and cycle time points.



Dr. Stephen Atkinson, NOW ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, Senior Research

Phone:  541-737-1856
Education: Ph.D. Parasitology, University of Queensland, Australia

I research myxozoans - a widespread group of parasitic Cnidaria.  Though they are related to corals and jellyfish, myxozoans are obligate parasites of fish and invertebrates.  My work includes describing new species, exploring the evolutionary relationships between hosts and parasites, and developing methods for detecting myxozoans in environmental samples.



Dr. Karen Dierksen, Research Associate  RETIRED!

Education:  Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Ph.D., Microbiology, Oregon State University

My research in the Trempy Lab is focused on developing new strains of lactic acid bacteria of potential interest to the food, dairy and/or pharmaceutical industries.  Our original patent strain, Lactococcus lactis Ropy 352, which produces a unique exopolysaccharide, has been licensed commercially.


Dr. Cleo Davie-Martin, Postdoc   Accepted position in Copenhagen

Phone:  541-737-1839; Nash 334      
Education: Postdoc Department of Microbiology, Oregon State U.; Ph.D. Environmental and Analytical Chemistry; University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

My research investigates the microbial cycling of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the oceans under both controlled laboratory and field conditions using proton-transfer-reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometry (PTR-TOF/MS).  PTR-TOF/MS allows for real time detection of VOCs at trace levels, through which we can determine the production and consumption rates pf VOCs by marine plankton and explore how these change under various conditions and at different stages of the bloom cycle.



Phone:  541-737-9664; Nash Room 514        
Education: Ph.D., Biochemistry and Biophysics, Oregon State University

C. shasta is a freswater parasite that is responsible for "gut rot" in salmonids.  Outbreaks caused by C. shasta have devastating effects in both wild and aquaculture settings.  I am using immunoprecipitation coupled with mass spec to characterize the extracellular proteome of this parasite.  My goal is to have a better understanding of how C. shasta senses its host and interacts with its environment and to ultimately develop therapies to prevent or control C. shasta outbreaks.

Dr. Tyrell DeWeber, Postdoc ACCEPTED POSITION IN GERMANY        

Phone:  541-737-1859; Nash Room 546         
Education: Postdoc Department of Microbiology, Oregon State U.
Ph.D. Wildlife and Fisheries Service, Penn State U.
M.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Service, Virginia Tech; B.S. Biology, Liberty U. 

I am interested in understanding the effects of human activities on river systems and fish populations to help guide management and conservation.  River system alteration and pollution can result in stressful conditions and increased disease, eventually leading to widespread mortality of wild adult and juvenile fish.  I am working with Dr. Michael Kent in the Microbiology Program at Oregon State University investigating causes of prespawn mortality in Spring Run Chinook salmon in the Willamette River Basin.   


Dr. Brett Mellbye, Postdoc  Returned to Biochemistry
Phone: 541-737-; ALS 3125
Education:  Ph.D. Molecular and Cellular Biology, OSU

I am interested in multi-species interactions and prokaryotic physiology in environmental systems.  My research focuses on bacterial cell-cell signaling (quorum sensing), nitrification, and microbial communities in soils.  My previous postdoctoral work focused on the role of acyl-homoserine lactone quorum sensing in nitrifying bacteria and constraint-based modeling of nitrogen oxide fluxes during nitrification.  My current research with Ryan Mueller and David Myrold is focused on protein turnover in forest soils as a bottleneck in the nitrogen cycle.



Phone: 541-737-3189; Nash Room 254
Education: B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Microbiology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Marie-Curie Incoming International Postdoctoral Fellow (Uppsala University, Sweden)

My research project focuses on understanding the interaction of SAR11 bacterial clade with dissolved organic matter (DOM) in the ocean. I am particularly interested in analyzing the evolutionary ‘hotspots’ within the genomes of divergent SAR11 strains in the ocean to understand how these genomic regions may play a role in shaping their metabolic capabilities and ultimately on how they break down DOM. I am also interested in evolutionary forces shaping these regions. We plan to carry out deep sequencing of single-cell genomic and metagenomic libraries that will be generated from an upcoming cruise to Bermuda as part of the BIOS-SCOPE research collaboration.



Fabian Martinez, Faculty Research Assistant--Now a Graduate Student in Pharmacy

Phone:  541-737-1846
Education:  B.S. Cell and Molecular Biology, U. of Northridge

The work I am doing in the Geller lab involves testing PPMOs (peptide-conjugated phophorodiamidate morpholino oligomer) against multi-drug resistant strains of pathogenic bacteria. Molecular and biotechnology techniques coupled with in-vitro/ in-vivo is being utilized to test these PPMOs. Using antisense tech as a means to neutralize essential genes to kill the bacteria. 

MARC Scholar; Dexamethazone protects neonatal hypoxic eschemic brain injury via L-PGDS-dependent PGD2-DP1-PERK signaling pathway. PLOS One. Loma Linda.


Dr. Lixin Li, Faculty Research Assistant  went to Pharmacy

Phone:  541-737-1846 
Education: M.S. University of Southern China, School of Medicine
M.D. University of Southern China, School of Medicine

I am working on antisense effects on multi-drug resistance bacteria.  Basically, synthetic nucleotide analogs are utilized to target specific antibiotic resistant genes, and the effects are tested, using molecular and cellular biotechnology and rodent models.

 Virginia Watral, Faculty Research Assistant  RETIRED!

Phone: 541-737-1858

I have been involved with the study of the diseases of salmonids and zebrafish for the past 30 years.

Currently the focus of my research has been on the impacts of the diseases of zebrafish on experimental outcomes due to non-protocol induced variation and the development of specific pathogen free fish lines to aide in alleviating this problem.  I am also investigating various drug treatments and disinfectants for their potential to control zebrafish diseases. Most recently I have been working on transmitting and identifying the etiological agent causing intestinal tumors in zebrafish. In the past I have also conducted numerous field studies including studying the lifecycles and possible effects of parasites on endangered Klamath Lake suckers and determining a parasitic causation of skeletal deformities in Willamette River fishes. Most of these studies necessitate the need for a zebrafish disease facility which I maintain and manage.