SSB Group Members

Dan Park, Staff Scientist & Group Leader
Biochemistry, Genomics, Synthetic Biology, & Environmental Microbiology: Development of biology-based approaches for critical metal recovery. Characterizing the molecular mechanisms and gene expression programs that support resistance of bacteria to environmental stresses or facilitate unique metabolic capabilities. Development of biocontainment mechanisms for environmental deployment of genetically modified microorganisms.
Mimi Yung, Staff Scientist & Deputy Group Leader
Biochemistry, Synthetic Biology, & Environmental Microbiology: Development of biotechnological applications for engineered bacterial microcompartment and nanocompartment systems. Examination of biomineralization by microbes for environmental applications. Development of biocontainment strategies for genetically engineered microorganisms.
Jon Bethke, Postdoctoral Scientist
Microbiology, Evolution, Systems and Synthetic Biology: Development of biocontainment strategies for genetically engineered microorganisms.
Vanessa Brisson, Staff Scientist
Metabolomics, Microbial Ecology, & Environmental Microbiology: Examining the role of metabolite exudation in microbiome recruitment by algal and plant hosts. Metabolite exchange in algal-bacterial and plant-fungal-bacterial interactions.

Jenni Chlebek, Postdoctoral Scientist
Microbiology, Genetics, Synthetic biology, & Biochemistry: Development of biocontainment strategies for environmental release of genetically engineered microbes. Enhancing the genetic tractability of environmental microbes.

Patrik d'Haeseleer, Staff Scientist
Computational Systems Biology: Interdisciplinary systems biology research into bacterial pathogens and microbial communities using metagenomics and other meta-omics data.

Patrick Diep, Postdoctoral Scientist
Metallobiochemistry, Synthetic Biology & Rapid Fabrication: Focused on the engineering/mutagenesis and screening of metalloproteins towards high-performance biomaterials for critical metal recovery in mining application. Interested in augmenting experimental benchwork through automation technologies and rapid fabrication.

Ziye (Jesse) Dong, Staff Scientist
Chemical Engineering, Surface and Interface Science: Current research includes exploration of cost-effective and environment-friendly biomaterials for recovery of rare earth elements (REEs).

Naomi Gilbert, Postdoctoral Scientist

Tiffany Halvorsen, Postdoctoral Scientist
Synthetic Biology & Microbial Genetics: Development and implementation of biocontainment strategies for genetically engineered microorganisms.

Yongqin Jiao, Staff Scientist & Deputy Division Leader
Environmental Microbiology: Interdisciplinary research into systems biology-enabled design of microbes and microbial communities for clean energy and environment. In particular, investigating how microbes sense and metabolize essential metals and how they tolerate and defend against toxic ones. Current research focus on biomining of rare earth metals, bioremediation of uranium, biogeochemistry of plutonium, and microbial cement curing.

Christina Kang-Yun, Postdoctoral Scientist
Environmental Microbiology & Bioinformatics: Development of biological systems to recover rare earth metals from otherwise waste materials for industrial applications. Development of strategies to contain genetically engineered microorganisms at the site of deployment.

Jeffrey Kimbrel, Staff Scientist
Molecular & Cellular Biology, Bioinformatics. Genomics, metagenomics and microbial community analysis of fungal, algal, bacterial, archaeal and viral datasets.
Tek Hyung Lee, Staff Scientist
Chemical Engineering, Synthetic & Systems Biology: Current research includes designing and engineering gene circuits in microbes for production of therapeutic molecules.
Sean Leonard, Postdoctoral Scientist
Microbiology, Evolution, Symbiosis, Bioinformatics, and Synthetic Biology: Development of biocontainment strategies for genetically engineered microorganisms.
Cody Madsen, Postdoctoral Scientist
Synthetic biology, Genomics, Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, Applied Biotechnology, Environmental Microbiology, Bacteriotherapy, Immunology: Multidisciplinary applied biotechnology research ranging from enhanced nitrogen fixation in microbial communities during environmental stressors to bacterial therapy applications in advanced stage cancer and wound healing.
Nancy Merino, Staff Scientist
Environmental Microbiology, Bioinformatics: Investigating how microorganisms affect plutonium fate and transport, in particular the relationship between microbe-metal-Pu interactions. This work includes pure culture studies, microcosms, microbial community analyses, and metagenomics.
Marcus Moreno, Postdoctoral Scientist

Dante Ricci, Staff Scientist
Microbial genetics & biotechnology: Microbial engineering for biocontainment and biosecurity applications, computational design of biotherapeutics targeting emerging pathogens, high-resolution imaging of host-pathogen interactions, biosensor evolution and design, next-generation biocatalysis.

Kristina Rolison, Laboratory Manager
Marine Biology: Cultivating microalgae and bacteria for studies in symbiosis. Investigating bacterial protection of algae from rotifer predation.
Jeremy Seidel, Postdoctoral Scientist
Fangchao Song, Staff Scientist
Systems biology and chemical engineering: Using microfluidics, functional genomics, mathematical modeling, and molecular biology approaches to understand and engineer microbial systems.
Rhona Stuart, Staff Scientist
Marine Biology, Microbial Ecology, & Ecophysiology: Systems-level studies of microbial communities and roles of nutrient trace metals in microbial interactions. Current research involves both algal-bacterial interactions in open algal biofuel ponds and trace metal nutrition in nitrogen fixing consortia.

Courtney Swink, Post-College Appointee
Marine Science & Microbial Ecology: Investigating algal-bacterial interactions using cultivation and molecular techniques. Large-scale cultivation of microalgae for biofuels and other natural products.

Xun Wang, Postdoctoral Scientist
Affiliated members
Ali Navid, Staff Scientist (Affiliated Group Member)
Computational Systems Biology: Research into microbial communities, multi-cellular organisms, and host-pathogen interactions. Use of dynamic and steady state models to examine pathogenesis of Trypanosoma brucei and Yersinia pestis.
Wes Overton, Staff Scientist (Affiliated Group Member)
Biochemical Engineering: Developing and using genetic engineering tools and systems biology to understand how environmental stimuli affect cellular processes.
Michael Guzman, Former Postdoctoral Scientist, currently at Andes
Microbial physiology, geomicrobiology: Interdisciplinary approaches towards understanding microbe-mineral interactions, specifically for the development of bio-cement.
Michael Thelen, Former Staff Scientist
Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics: Investigating molecular mechanisms of microbial adaptation in niche environments, including toxin resistance, biofilm and extracellular matrix formation, and microbiome symbioses.

Chris Ward, Former Postdoctoral Scientist
Marine Microbial Ecology: Investigating ecological interactions between cultivated microalgae and their microbiome, particularly bacterial communities and fungal pathogens. Identifying and testing probiotic bacteria that improve algal growth and/or resistance to pests.

Xiao Bin (Max) Li, Former Post-College Appointee
Molecular Biology & Biotechnology: Performing molecular experiments in consultation with research scientists and postdocs. Interests include microenvironment interactions within biological systems.