Mark Sistrom (Principal Investigator)
I completed a Bachelor of Environmental Science at Macquarie University (Australia) in 2003, followed my a Master of Conservation Biology in 2004 at Victoria University (New Zealand) before a short stint in industry. I then completed a Master of Philosophy degree in 2007 working Prof. Luciano Beheregaray at Macquarie University (Australia) on the phylogeography of the one lined Amazonian pencilfish. I then did PhD a at the University of Adelaide (2008-2012) with Prof. Steve Donnellan and Dr Mark Hutchinson on the patterns and processes of speciation and species diversity in Gehyra geckos. I did a postdoc with Dr Gisella Caccone at Yale University (2012- 2013) working on comparative genomics in Trypanosoma brucei followed by a postdoc with Prof. Paul Turner (2013 – 2015) on genomics and metagenomics in a number of viral and bacterial systems.
Dr. Lauren Brooks
For nearly a decade, I’ve used molecular methods to identify non
-point sources of microbial pollution. While my past work has centered on source tracking and improving surface water quality, I have developed an interest in how human actions i
mpact microbial communities from an evolutionary perspective.
As a postdoctoral researcher in the Sistrom Lab, I’m building upon my background in environmental science and microbiology to explore new research areas including microbiome response to environmental stressors and landscape genetics of antibiotic resistance.
Do microbes contribute to the venom bioactivity of their hosts, and if so how? I am investigating that question as a Quantitative and Systems Biology PhD Candidate co-advised by Dr. Mark Sistrom at UC Merced and Dr. Tanja Woyke at the Joint Genome Institute. With many thanks to undergraduate Michael Malloy and collaborators at CICESE, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the University of Utah, and regional museums, we are able to address the question through interdisciplinary work ranging from marine macroecology to molecular biology. This interest in symbiotic relationships extends to an array of STEM education outreach projects.
I did my undergrad thesis on syphillis and HIV co-infection and my masters thesis on a NASA-funded project involving archaea, geothermal microbiomes, and metagenomic analysis. I’m interested in microbial symbioses, viral-bactieral interactions, and microbial evolution. My background at Apple and tech startups lead to me to an interest in computational approaches to my research at UCSF and UC Berkeley. I’m interested in asking the big questions about our smallest organisms.