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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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Kristin Barbour, PhD student
Kristin is interested in feedbacks between plant and microbial traits.







Alberto Barron, PhD student
Alberto's research focus is the relationship between microbial diversity and soil functioning.



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






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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.






Postdoctoral researcher


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Zhao Wang, Postdoctoral researcher
Joanna is generally interested in microbial responses to climate change factors. She studying the evolution of Curtobacterium in the field and lab to study the biogeochemical consequences of microbial adaptation to elevated temperature.





Undergraduate student



Khanh Huynh
Undergraduate research assistant.
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High School Student



Pranav Moudgalya High school researcher.
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Visiting researcher

Banafshe Khalili Research Associate
Dr. Khalili is a soil microbial ecologist visiting the lab. She has been collaborating on developing improved assays for soil bacterial quantification and on studies of soil and leaf litter decomposition.



Recent departures

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







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Harsha Rao, MS student in Biotechnology Management
Harsha is an intern in the lab, helping to characterize the plasmid diversity of leaf litter bacteria.









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.
Alex Chase, PhD student. Postdoc at Scripps Institute of Oceanography.
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.
Sydney Glassman, Postdoctoral researcher, Faculty at University of California, Riverside.
China Hanson PhD student. University College London, UK.
Irina Irvine
PhD student. Restoration Ecologist, National Park Service.
Kazuo Isobe
Visiting postdoctoral researcher, Faculty at University of Tokyo.
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.
Chamee Moua Laboratory assistant.
Crystal Nguyen UCI undergraduate student. Also really missed.
Pauline Uyen-Phuong Nguyen Laboratory assistant.
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.