Adeola Adebayo is a graduate student in the Pathobiology program at Brown. At the MBL, she is advised by Joshua Hamilton. The main goal of the Hamilton lab is to understand the adverse effects of arsenic on human health. Adeola focuses on understanding the fetal basis of adult disease in relation to in-utero exposure to arsenic at low doses and examining the mechanisms that lead to these adverse effects, with a focus on metabolic pathways associated with glucose, fatty acid and lipid regulation.
Justine Allen is interested in changeable, adaptive camouflage and studies a cephalopod model, the European cuttlefish Sepia officinalis. Her research focuses on the neurophysiology of this animal’s three-dimensional papillae, elements that allow for dynamic skin texture change, and the visual cues that evoke their expression. Laboratory experiments are complemented by underwater photography and videography, and Allen is an AAUS certified scientific diver. At the MBL, she works with Roger Hanlon.
Maya Almaraz is a Ph.D. student in the Brown-MBL program. She is advised by Assistant Professor Stephen Porder (Brown-EEB) and Senior Scientist and Brown-MBL Program Director Chris Neill (MBL). Maya is interested in tropical terrestrial biogeochemical cycling, with a particular emphasis on nitrogen cycling related to global change. As a participant in the PIRE project, she will focus her dissertation studies on the environmental consequences of increased fertilizer use in Sub-Saharan Africa. Her research will focus on the way nutrient additions affect the fate of nitrogen, and the potential for deleterious losses to the atmosphere. This research is geared towards maintaining crop yield in countries strongly affected by hunger while informing management decisions that are environmentally conscious. Maya is also interested in looking at tropical forests to explore the controls on denitrification and she is currently exploring this topic in the El Yunque forest of Puerto Rico.
Angus Angermeyer is a graduate student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department at Brown. His work with Julie Huber at the MBL focuses on the exploration of microbial diversity in deep-sea hydrothermal vents. By studying the extent and composition of microbial assemblages in this system he hopes to gain insight into the process that drove early evolution on earth and, possibly, other planets.
Cassandra Bilogan is a Ph.D. student in the Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry Department at Brown and is advised by Marko Horb at the MBL’s Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering. She is interested in understanding the transcriptional regulatory network that operates during pancreatic cell fate specification as this would greatly increase the understanding of how to direct the differentiation of other cell types into pancreatic beta cells for diabetes treatments. Her research is currently focused on identifying genes involved in early pancreatic cell fate specification in Xenopus laevis.
Lindsay Brin works with Jeremy Rich, Assistant Professor in Brown’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Anne Giblin, Senior Scientist at the MBL Ecosystems Center. She studies the effect of changing environmental factors on nitrogen cycling in coastal and estuarine ecosystems. In particular, she investigates how temperature and organic matter availability affect the balance of nitrogen that is removed from or recycled within coastal ecosystems.
Sarah Corman works with Heather Leslie, Assistant Professor in Brown University’s Center for Environmental Studies and Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, and Linda Deegan, Senior Scientist at the MBL Ecosystems Center. She is interested in the impact of multiple stressors (including climate change) on coastal marine ecosystems, particularly rocky shores and salt marshes.
Will Daniels is interested in how lake ecosystems respond to changing climate and nutrient regimes and how those changes are recorded in lake sediments. He is currently examining how nutrient cycling, bacterial activity, and algal communities are affected by whole-lake fertilization experiments in the Toolik Lake region of Arctic Alaska. He just finished participating in a diatom taxonomy course in Iowa and plans to apply this tool to his ongoing work. Will is co-advised by Anne Giblin of the Ecosystem Center and Jim Russell in Brown’s Department of Geological Sciences.
Catherine Luria just completed her second year in the Brown-MBL Graduate Program, advised by Hugh Ducklow at the MBL and Jeremy Rich at Brown University. She recently returned from her first field season on the Antarctic Peninsula, where she participated in the Palmer Station Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) project. Catherine is examining not only how microbial communities in this region change across study sites, seasons, and years, but also what factors drive microbial seasonal succession on a backdrop of rapid climate change. She is particularly interested in the effects of annual sea ice advance and retreat on microbial communities. She will return to Antarctica to continue her research in September of 2012.
Marc Mayes studies processes driving land cover/land use change and their impacts for terrestrial carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) biogeochemistry, as well as availability of other natural resources (wood, water) at landscape spatial scales. He is passionate about pursuing research on policy-oriented science questions with relevance for communities at local scales as well as global issues. His research combines development and testing of satellite remote sensing and GIS tools for studying landscape change with field and lab work to study vegetation and soil chemistry. Ultimately he plans to incorporate study of feedbacks between land cover/use and climate change into his PhD research. Marc has been involved in paleoclimate and terrestrial biogeochemistry research in East Africa since 2007, and via his M.S. research, study of the effects of land use and soil parent materials on soil carbon and nitrogen stocks in the Konya Basin, central Turkey (ongoing). In the Brown-MBL program, Marc is involved in the NSF-PIRE project (PI: Chris Neill), which is studying the impacts of Millennium Village Project agricultural development interventions on C and N cycling. At Brown, Marc is advised by Jack Mustard, and at MBL by Dr. Jerry Melillo.
Chelsea Nagy, advised by Chris Neill at the MBL and Stephen Porder at Brown, studies how land-use changes impact forest health in the Amazon soybean-growing region of Brazil. Chelsea recently received a three year EPA Star (Science to Achieve Results) Research Award.
Apollonya Porcelli is a graduate student in the department of Sociology. She works both with Leah Vanwey of the Sociology Department and Chris Neill of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and MBL. She is affiliated with the Environmental Change Initiative (ECI), the Population Studies Training Center (PSTC) and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS). She is interested in studying coupled human and natural systems. Her primary study site is in Brazil, focusing on the effects of the Belo Monte dam on fishing communities and fish populations. By narrowing in on a specific culture group, she will be able to study specifically the implications that culture has on social networks, migration and access to natural capital.
Victor Schmidt, a Ph.D. student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at Brown, is advised by Linda Amaral Zettler at the MBL and Katherine Smith at Brown. He is primarily interested in the influence microbial community shifts can have on disease development, pathogen transmission, human and ecosystem health. His current research follows the microbiomes associated with ornamental fish across a trade route, the influence of a sewage outfall in a saltmarsh, and a meta-analyses of human pathogens from previously sequenced datasets of host-associated and environmental samples publicly available on the VAMPS website.
Akash Srivastava, a Ph.D. student in the Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry Department at Brown, is advised by Marko Horb at the MBL’s Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering. The project in which he is involved focuses on cell-based therapies in diabetes research. Cell-based therapies in diabetes research are primarily focused on using stem cells to produce pancreatic beta cells in vitro for transplantation. An alternative strategy is to generate pancreatic tissue from other tissues already present in the body, which would provide for an abundance of tissue and eliminate the risk of transplant rejection. Previous studies have shown transdifferentiation of liver cells to pancreatic cells by overexpressing pancreas-specific transcription factors Pdx1-VP16 and Ptf1a-VP16 into the liver of Xenopus larvae, but the molecular mechanism of this process is currently unknown. Furthermore, in order to use this strategy for the treatment of diabetes it is important to understand the genetic network, which is responsible for producing pancreatic “beta cells” in the transdifferentiated liver. Akash is interested in understanding the molecular mechanism of this process which will help convert liver cells into pancreatic cells in a more controlled manner
Mai Tran is a graduate student in the Physics Department at Brown. At the MBL, she works with Rudolf Oldenbourg in the Cellular Dynamics Program. She is interested in the use of light field imaging using polarized light to characterize the 3 dimensional distribution of birefringence in biological tissues such as collagen matrices. Important aspects of the 3D architecture of the tissue can be monitored using polarized light field microscopy. Her general research interests include optics and photonics, biophysics and nanoscience and nanotechnology.
Xi Yang works with Jianwu (Jim) Tang at the MBL and Jack Mustard at Brown. He is interested in the interdisciplinary research of remote sensing, terrestrial ecosystem ecology and climate change. His research focuses on the observation of shifting vegetation phenology using remote sensing and ground-based cameras, the internal and external drivers of vegetation phenology, and the changes in the carbon cycle due to shifting vegetation phenology.