Dr. Rachel Foster’s Network
Dr. Rachel Foster
My research interests and foci are on the ecology and evolution of N2 fixing (diazotroph) cyanobacteria that live freely or in symbiosis with single celled eukaryotes. Using a suite of single celled molecular genetic, microscopy, and stable isotope probing approaches we try to understand better the activity, diversity and interactions of diazotrophs with each other (e.g. in symbioses) and their environment.
Key words: symbiosis, N2 fixer, nanoSIMS, evolution, microscopy
Andrea Gamba (Masters Student)
I am a master’s student working on a project on how the coral holobiont responds to climate induced stressors (increased temperature and nutrients) using proteomic based methods.
Key words: bleaching, corals, microbiology, chloroplasts, symbiosis, tandem mass spectotrometry
Philip Ley (Masters Student)
I am a master’s student working on a project that uses targeted quantitative PCR assays to investigate how varying nutrient concentrations influence gene expression of symbiotic cyanobacteria that associate with diatoms. My main interests are on studying how environmental variables affect marine microorganisms, which are key players in the biogeochemical cycles of our oceans.
Keywords: nitrogen fixation, nutrient limitation, gene expression, DDAs
Mercedes Nieves (Postdoctoral Researcher)
My current research interest is focused on marine planktonic symbiosis. I am interested in the identification of transport proteins and the exchange of metabolic substrates (N and C substrates) using genetic complementation methods. I am developing methods to visualize and measure the intercellular molecular exchange of fixed N and C in planktonic symbiosis by stable isotope assays coupled to nanometer scale secondary ion mass spectrometry (nanoSIMS) approach.
Keywords: Molecular Biology, Cyanobacteria, Marine Biology, Symbiosis, Diatoms.
Marcus Stenegren (PhD candidate)
My work focuses on nitrogen fixing cyanobacteria, living in symbiosis with diatoms, which play vital roles in marine biogeochemical cycles. I'm mainly interested in how marine environments govern these inhabitants, and I use molecular methods, like quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) and microarrays, to understand why they show certain patterns of distribution and activity in relation to environmental factors. Lastly, I use novel ecological models, like the piecewise Structural Equation Model, to try to disentangle relevant ecological questions and formulate new testable hypotheses.
Key words: Marine microbiology, molecular biology, marine ecology, nitrogen fixation, symbiosis, statistics
Andrea Caputo (PhD candidate)
My work focuses on genomic and morphological diversity of marine planktonic diatom-diazotroph associations. My passion for the microorganisms´ world started early in my academic career, and further developed through various microscopy techniques (SEM, TEM, LCSM, LMD, CARD-FISH), molecular analysis (PCR, RT-PCR, qPCR, WGA, cloning/sequencing), and evolutionary phylogenetic reconstructions (concatenated analyses, molecular clocks, ancestral state reconstruction). I´m also interested in the ecological distribution of the microbial community and the abiotic/biotic drivers of such diversity.
Key words: symbiosis, evolution, genetics, microscopy, microbial ecology