Current Lab Members

Principal Investigator

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Jo Handelsman
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor
Vilas Research Professor
Director, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery

Postdoctoral Researchers

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Marc Chevrette
Postdoc
My interests include the genomics and genetics of secondary metabolism, microbial chemical diversity, interspecies interactions, evolution, and computational biology, particularly towards the discovery of new antimicrobials and other therapeutics.My interests include the genomics and genetics of secondary metabolism, microbial chemical diversity, interspecies interactions, evolution, and computational biology, particularly towards the discovery of new antimicrobials and other therapeutics.
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Julia Nepper
Postdoc
I use techniques like transcriptomics to investigate the role of secondary metabolites in THOR biofilm formation and other community behaviors. I also work with the Tiny Earth Chemistry Hub to discover and characterize new antibiotic molecules from soil bacteria.
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Chris Thomas
Postdoc
Mass spectrometry-based metabolomics workflows for antibiotic discovery.

Graduate Students

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Shruthi Magesh
Graduate Student
I aim to identify the genetic determinants important for F. johnsoniae to survive in the rhizosphere. Two important behaviors of a bacterium to succeed in the rhizosphere are 1) colonizing on a surface, such as soil particles or the root, and 2) interacting with nearby bacteria. To study these traits, I employ a high-throughput genetic screen using a mariner transposon mutant library of F. johnsoniae to identify the fitness of genes using INSeq technology.
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Austin Hall
Graduate Student
My research involves finding microorganisms that can invade established biofilms. After finding invaders, I look at how the polymicrobial community responds to invasion, and at the genetics related to invasion. Understanding these mechanisms can shed light on what makes a microbiome resistant to change.
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Natalia Rosario-Meléndez
Graduate Student

Research Staff

Yin-Chun (Stacy) Lin
Project Assistant
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Mara Beebe
Research Specialist
My research centers around the Gut-Brain axis and the idea that the bacteria in your gut, your gut microbiome, communicate with and affect your brain. The gut microbiome has been implicated in many disorders and diseases, both mental and physical. I look at how various interventions, such as being put on a selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor or taking a mindfulness-based stress reduction course, affect the type and amount of bacteria in a person's gut. I analyze the gut microbiome pre- and post-intervention and aim to find biomarkers of change that can be used for diagnosis or treatment in the future.
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Martel DenHartog
Tiny Earth Research Specialist
My research primarily focuses on advancing isolates in the Tiny Earth Chemistry Hub. To do this, I prepare genomic and metabolomic isolations from bacterial strains shown to produce inhibition against ESKAPE relatives. My role with the Chemistry Hub extends beyond WID to the Tiny Earth network, where I communicate with TE Partner Instructors about the research happening in our lab. I also work with every lab member to make sure their supply and equipment needs are met and help maintain organization in the lab. Outside of lab and administrative work, I enjoy writing feature science stories for the WID and Tiny Earth websites.
Trang Tran
Research Intern

Undergraduate Students

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Josephine Putnam
Undergraduate
Stratford Vandlik
Undergraduate
Kiley Harju
Undergraduate
Austin Duellman
Undergraduate
Kyle Lee
Undergraduate
Grace Pausma
Grace Pausma
Undergraduate

Administrative Staff

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Laura Langley
Executive Assistant