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Dr. Martiny received her B.S. in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution at UC San Diego. She completed her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at Stanford University, studying diversity patterns and conservation biology of birds, butterflies, and flies with Drs. Paul Ehrlich and Gretchen Daily. At some point, she became intrigued by the idea that most ecological theory ignored microorganisms, which make up the vast amount of biodiversity on the planet. She joined Dr. Brendan Bohannan’s lab as a postdoctoral researcher and then moved to Brown University, where she established her own lab. In 2006, she moved to UC Irvine, where she is a Professor in the Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Irvine. She is also the Director of the UCI Microbiome Initiative. Dr. Martiny is a fellow of the Ecological Society of America and the American Academy of Microbiology. She received several awards, including a CAREER award from NSF and a Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Junior Investigator Award. Her work appears in both ecology and microbiology journals as well as in Science, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Lab Staff

Claudia Weihe, Senior Technician and Lab Manager
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Claudia has a Master’s degree in Genetics from the University of Greifswald in Germany. Previously, she worked at the Institute for Genetic Medicine at USC and the UCI School of Medicine until she joined the lab in 2007. She brings extensive experience in molecular microbiology and a sense of order to our lab. She is heavily involved in methods development in the lab as well as student training.




Graduate students


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Sarai Finks, PhD student
Sarai's research interests are horizontal gene transfer and niche differentiation in microbial communities.






Stephanie Orchanian,
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CMB PhD rotation student The current estimate of cells in/on the human body is 1.4 microbial cells to 1 human cell. Stephanie's research interest is understanding this other half of humans and the effects these microbes have on human health and disease. Stephanie has a bachelor of science degree in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics from the University of California, Los Angeles. Previously, she worked at the Center for Microbiome Innovation at the University of California San Diego.




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Cynthia Rodriguez, PhD student
Cynthia is studying the assembly of microbial communities in the human gut, with a particular focus on the genus Bifidobacterium.






Nicholas Scales, CMB PhD rotation student
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Nick is fascinated by microbes, and wants to explore the link between microbial communities and climate change. He studied chemistry for his undergraduate degree, then worked for a number of years at a biotechnology company, Oxford Nanopore, before deciding to return to school. He recently moved from the UK and likes to spend his spare time hiking around California.




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Kendra Walters, PhD student
Kendra is interested in controls on the composition and function of microbial communities. Specifically, she is curious about how abiotic and biotic conditions impact communities and how changes in the environment might transform those impacts.





Undergraduate students


Joia Capocchi
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Laboratory assistant. Joia assists with multiple lab projects, studying bacterial dispersal, death rates, and community assembly.






Pauline Uyen-Phuong Nguyen
Laboratory assistant.
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Recent departures


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Alex Chase, PhD student
Alex is broadly interested in biogeographical patterns and how microbial populations shift in abundance over time. By utilizing both cultured isolates and metagenomic information, he is tracking how an abundant leaf litter bacterium, Curtobacterium, will respond across an elevational gradient.




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Sydney Glassman, Postdoc
Sydney's research focuses on understanding patterns and processes governing microbial diversity, and their ecosystem functions such as terrestrial symbioses and decomposition.  As part of her dissertation research, she studied the effects of disturbances such as wildfires and invasive pathogens on ectomycorrhizal fungal communities. She received media attention for her research on ectomycorrhizal fungal recovery after the California Rim Fire, which was featured in the California Alumni magazine among other outlets. She received her B.A. in Biology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she also received a Masters of Environmental Studies. She completed her Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy, & Management at UC Berkeley with Prof. Tom Bruns. She recently started her own lab at UC Riverside!

Kazuo Isobe, Dept. of Applied Biological Sciences, University of Tokyo
Kazuo an Assistant Professor at University of Tokyo and visited the Allison and Martiny labs. He is interested in how microbial community dynamics alter biogeochemical cycling and influence the resilience and resistance of ecosystem functions. He completed his Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences at University of Tokyo and studied ecological roles of N-cycling microbes in forests and agricultural fields.

Chamee Moua Laboratory assistant.
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2017 Lucia
Lucia Vivanco, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Lucia is a Research Scientist at IFEVA and is visiting to work on common projects involving microbial diversity and its role in litter decomposition.







Not so recent departures


Former postdocs and graduate students


Michaeline (Nelson) Albright PhD student. Postdoc at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Anthony Amend
Postdoctoral researcher. Faculty at University of Hawaii.
Devon Bradley PhD student. Faculty at Irvine Valley College.
Jessica Clasen
Postdoctoral researcher. Faculty at Douglas College, British Columbia.
Lisa Crummett
Postdoctoral researcher. Faculty at Soka University.
Kristin (Matulich) Dolan
PhD student. Research Development Officer, UCSF.
China Hanson PhD student. Faculty at Queen Mary University of London, UK.
Irina Irvine
PhD student. Restoration Ecologist, National Park Service.
Jay Lennon
Postdoctoral researcher. Faculty at Indiana University, Bloomington.
Melissa Lage PhD student. Faculty at Guilford Technical and Community College.
Richard Puxty Postdoctoral research. Postdoc at University of Warwick.
Heather Reed
Postdoctoral researcher. Lecturer at University of Mass, Amherst.
Lucia Vivanco Postdoctoral researcher. Research Scientist at IFEVA, CONICET - University of Buenos Aires

Former undergraduate students and research assistants


Jonathan Abebe UCI undergraduate student. PhD student at Columbia University.
Neiki Amiri-Razavian
UCI undergraduate student.
Nada Awad UCI undergraduate student.
Peris Bentley UCI undergraduate student, PhD student at Harvard.
Michael Boyce
Brown undergraduate student.
Jane Casey Brown undergraduate student.
Ian Carroll Brown undergraduate student. PhD at UC Santa Barbara.
Carolus Chen UCI undergraduate student.
Stephanie Chen UCI undergraduate and research assistant.
Katherine Chin
Crystal Cove outreach intern
Susan Cho
UCI undergraduate, graduated 2010. Attending pharmacy school at Loma Linda University.
Caitlin Cooper Lab Assistant
Marie Hennelly Brown undergraduate student.
Andrew Ho UCI undergrad, attending the clinical scientist program at UCI Medical Center.
Barbara Huang
UCI undergraduate student. Currently in Cal State LA’s Clinical Laboratory Scientist program.
Aayah Fatayerji UCI undergraduate student. Master’s in Public Health at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
Miriam Goldstein Lab assistant. PhD student at UC San Diego.
Yazeed Ibrahim UCI undergraduate student.
Araceli Jimenez Crystal Cove outreach intern
Sameed Khatana Brown undergraduate student.
Andrew Kim Lab assistant.
Juna Konomi Brown undergraduate student.
Hailey Laskey Crystal Cove outreach intern.
Amanda Lee Lab assistant 2007-2010.
Faye Lemieux Lab manager. Currently Manager of the Multidisciplinary Lab, Brown University.
Alberto Lopez UCI undergraduate student. PhD student at Northwestern University.
Michelle Loo
UCI undergraduate student.
Rebecca Lutzy Research assistant. PhD student at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
Greg Maler UCI undergraduate student.
Kathryn Maurer Brown undergraduate student.
Alison Michener Brown undergraduate student. Sorely missed.
Crystal Nguyen UCI undergraduate student. Also really missed.
Steven Nguyen UCI undergraduate student.
Sanae Ogura UCI undergraduate student.
Manasa Panda
Research assistant.
Sneha Pathak UCI undergraduate student.
Jeniffer Pena UCI undergraduate student.
Nicole Shapiro Brown undergraduate student.
Allison Shaw Brown undergraduate student. At ANU in Australia on an NSF postdoc fellowship.
Ye Thao Lab Assistant
Eric Tong Brown undergraduate student.
Jui-Ting (Tim) Tsai UCI undergraduate student.
Mani Vahidi UCI undergraduate student.
Alexis Weintraub Brown undergraduate student. Director of Brown Environmental Leadership Lab. Yale Environmental Management Program.
Ashley Whelpley UCI undergraduate. Biology technician, Chapman University.
Julie Wilson UCI science-education undergrad.
Phil Wan UCI undergraduate student.
Dallas Wilson UCI Bridge to Baccalaureate student. Graduate of UC Davis.
Mary Xiong UCI laboratory assistant.
Dominique Bao Yang Laboratory assistant.