I was raised in the middle of a desert, in Las Vegas, and departed to pursue my career as an oceanographer at Hawaii Pacific University. I quickly became fascinated with marine viruses and their effects on other microbes that dominate the oceans and joined David Karl’s lab at the University of Hawaii as an undergraduate researcher. Participating in my first Hawaii Ocean Time-series research cruise got me hooked on field research and set my course for studying viruses in aquatic environments around the globe. After graduating from Hawaii Pacific University with a BS in Marine Science, I earned my MS in Oceanography in David Karl’s lab at the University of Hawaii, studying viruses and dissolved DNA at Station ALOHA in the Pacific Ocean. I then moved all the way down the hall of our building to earn my PhD in Oceanography in Grieg Steward’s lab at UH, studying aquatic viral ecology and developing new ways to investigate marine viruses. After 12 years of studying, research, windsurfing, and rock climbing in Hawaii, I then moved back to the desert to be a postdoc in Matthew Sullivan’s lab at the University of Arizona, and again moved with his lab to Ohio State University. My postdoc research focused on applying new, transformative methods to study viral ecology and the effects of viruses throughout the world’s oceans, including research at Palmer Station in Antarctica and global-scale studies through the massive, impressive undertaking that is Tara Oceans. My current research focus at Louisiana State University is on investigating any aspect of marine viral ecology that helps us to understand how marine viruses affect our world (see our Research page for more)… and to have tons of fun doing it, of course.
My academic journey started at Texas A&M, where my eyes were opened to the microbial world through a spectacular first year biology course taught by Dr. Michael Manson. His lectures got me hooked on the fascinating world of life at low Reynold’s numbers and the semester-long laboratory that consisted of generating and then characterizing mutants of E. coli gave me my first glimpse into detailed experimentation. In addition, my undergraduate research was on bacterial-mediated cotton boll rot with Dr. Alois Bell at the USDA-ARS in College Station, TX. I kept with the farm theme and studied anammox and denitrification (both fungal and bacterial) in agricultural soils during my masters at UNCW with Dr. Bongkeun Song. After spending a year as a high throughput sequencing technician, I got the academic itch back. I then proceeded to study algal viruses and cyanophages in freshwater environments during my PhD at the University of Toronto with Dr. Steven Short. More recently, I’ve ventured into marine microbial ecology, looking at the ‘omic signatures of bacterial growth and the production of viruses with Dr. Jed Fuhrman at USC. I am continuing my work in marine systems here in our lab at LSU, studying the effects of viruses on oxygen minimum zones and hydrothermal vent ecologies. Broadly speaking, I am interested in deciphering how the interactions of microbes across multiple trophic levels modulate global processes.
I was born in the Midwest, but moved to Northern Virginia when I was 10. I completed my BS in Biology (conc. Microbiology) and BA in Modern Foreign Languages (conc. Spanish) at James Madison University in Virginia in 2018. My undergraduate thesis work was with Dr. James B. Herrick studying environmental Salmonella in the Shenandoah Valley, and developing a course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) model laboratory course which has since been incorporated into the Microbiology concentration curriculum. I am passionate about environmental microbiology and microbial ecology, especially in terms of the large-scale impacts of microbes on the biosphere. Off duty I enjoy yoga, reggaetón, and hiking.
I lived in New Jersey for all my life until moving to Louisiana to join the Geaux Viral Lab. I graduated from Stockton University in 2020, receiving a B.S. in Marine Science (conc. Oceanography) and Biology, in addition to a B.A. in Literature (conc. Creative Writing) with minors in Mathematics and Holocaust & Genocide Studies. I previously worked with Drs. Joaquín Martínez Martínez & Ananda Bhattacharjee where I applied single virus genomics to dsDNA vent populations and dsRNA imaging techniques. I then shifted from micro to macro as I modeled nitrogen filtration capabilities of Eastern oysters in Barnegat Bay as they relate to local water quality. Throughout my career, environmental and marine viruses have remained the academic loves of my life . When I am not in the lab, I love reading poetry, environmental/marine literature papers, genocide studies research, and scientific papers about viruses at the extremes of life.
Elise is a senior at LSU majoring in Biological Sciences with a minor in Psychology.
Cate is a junior at LSU majoring in Biological Sciences.
Parker is a senior at LSU majoring in Biochemistry, with a minor in Chemistry. He has earned an LSU Discover Grant for two semesters for his work on viruses in marine oxygen minimum zones and fish gut microbiomes
Tori recently graduated from LSU with a BS in Biochemistry and has started her PhD work in Chemistry at LSU. Congratulations Tori!