People

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Current Graduate Students

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Shiva Abdollahi Aghdam – PhD Student

My research
My primary interest is the co-evolutionary relationship between host plants and endophytes. I am interested in how host-endophyte interactions lead to production of secondary metabolites with antifungal, antibacterial and anticancer activities, focusing on endophytic microorganisms (fungi and bacteria). My current project seeks to identify possible disease-protective microbiota in plants, specifically Musa spp.,  by isolating and sequencing whole microbial communities to enable detailed taxonomic and gene repertoire characterization and predict possible disease-protective function. This study is designed to uncover the core and pan ‘ome profiles (metagenome, metatranscriptome, and metabolome) through a multi-omics bioinformatics approach combined with experiments.

About me
I like cooking, shopping and watching movies. I like to help with community events.

 

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Yaireth Castro – Masters Student

My research
I am a second-year forensic science master’s student interested in how microbes can be used as forensic trace evidence. My research involves looking at skin microbial deposits left on knife handles to see if I can attribute these microbial signatures to their source and thus, determine the feasibility of this as a forensic identification method.

About me
I’m a dog lover from San Antonio, TX and when I’m not binge watching a new show on Netflix, I’m looking for the next good book to read.

 

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Simrandeep Singh –        Masters Student
My research
I am focusing on bioinformatic analysis and functional annotation of shotgun metagenomes to explore the diversity of endophytic microbiomes associated with Musa spp. (banana). This work primarily explores bacterial and fungal communities, which are capable of establishing beneficial interactions with the host. This research also includes data mining for biosynthetic gene clusters and pathways associated with anti-microbial properties. My work essentially seeks to understand ‘who’ is there and how they help.
About me
I like swimming, Netflix and Saint Bernards. I would have had one if not in Texas.
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Kaitlyn Myers -Masters Student
My research

My project in Dr. Brown’s lab is looking at endosymbionts in plant-parasitic nematodes. These nematodes are pivotal to large crop loss globally so understanding this relationship is important. Currently I am trying to isolate and identify Cardinium and Wolbachia in field samples containing Pratylenchus penetrans, the root-feeding host nematode.

About me
When I am not in the lab, I like to listen to true crime podcasts and study art history, all while taking care of my two black cats.

Graduate Alumni

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Bravada Hill – Masters in Microbiology 2019

Undergraduate Students

2020 Spring

 Daniel Conn: Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Amariany Gomez (CISER)*: HiC microbiome study
*Awarded Gary and Nancy Fish Medical Missions Award, spring 2020
McKinlee Lewis: Membracid endosymbiont multi-omics
Rachel Lahowetz (URS): Defensive microbiome isolation from Musa sp.
Georgia-Rae Atkins (CISER)*: HiC microbiome study
*Awarded Choc Hutchenson Endowment for Undergraduate Research & Leadership Scholarship, spring 2020
Brianna Mendoza (URS): Leafhopper symbiont diversity
Tyler Kucera: Leafhopper symbiont diversity
Aneesa Harper: Mosquito virome long-amplicon-seq
Alejandro Hernandez: Mosquito virome long-amplicon-seq
Liane Vásquez-Weber (CISER, computer science)*: Gut-brain axis computer modeling
*Awarded Dr. Allie Clinton-Smith Endowed Scholarship, spring 2020
Tabitha Urbanski (computer science): Omics pipeline development
Tom Bednarz (computer science)
Bonny Barragan (computer science)
Sally Comer (computer science)
Nadine Salem (computer science)
Justin Frossard (computer science)
Carlos Martinez-Salazar (computer science)
Nhi Nguyen (computer science)

2019 Fall

Elliot Hughes: Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Daniel Conn: Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Amariany Gomez (CISER): HiC microbiome study
McKinlee Lewis: Membracid endosymbiont multi-omics
Rachel Lahowetz (URS): Defensive microbiome isolation from Musa sp.
Georgia-Rae Atkins (CISER): HiC microbiome study
Tabitha Urbanski (computer science): Omics pipeline development
Caden Norman (computer science) Omics pipeline development
Brianna Mendoza (URS) Leafhopper symbiont diversity
Tyler Kucera Leafhopper symbiont diversity
Kort Alexander Leafhopper symbiont collection
Aneesa Harper Mosquito virome long-amplicon-seq
Liane Vásquez-Weber Gut-brain axis computer modeling

2019 Summer

Elliot Hughes Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Daniel Conn Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Amariany Gomez Mosquito virome long-amplicon-seq
Hannah Hester Mosquito virome long-amplicon-seq
Adam Callahan Mosquito virome long-amplicon-seq
McKinlee Lewis Membracid endosymbiont multi-omics
Kimberly Morales Defensive microbiome isolation from Musa sp.

2019 Spring

Rick Trevino (McNair Scholar) Dark matter functional data mining
Shrinidhi Joshi (CISER)* HiC microbiome study
*Awarded the Dr. Richard L. Blanton Endowment for Undergraduate Research Scholarship through CISER program.
*Awarded the Gary & Nancy Fish Medical Missions Scholarship through CISER program.
Victor DelPrincipe HiC microbiome study
Brianna Mendoza (URS) Leafhopper symbiont diversity
Tyler Kucera Leafhopper symbiont diversity
Reagan Ball (URS) Nematode endosymbiont transcriptomics
Nick Weyandt – Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Elliot Hughes Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Daniel Conn Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Amelia Nutt Gut-brain axis in model invertebrate
Rachel Lahowetz Gut-brain axis in model invertebrate
Jessica Chipelesa Gut-brain axis in model invertebrate
Matthew Buxton Defensive microbiome isolation from Musa sp.
Kimberly Morales Defensive microbiome isolation from Musa sp.
Georgia-Rae Atkins Defensive microbiome isolation from Musa sp.
Stephen Saltus Membracid endosymbiont multi-omics
David Montoya Mosquito virome long-amplicon-seq
Amariany Gomez Mosquito virome long-amplicon-seq
Hannah Hester Mosquito virome long-amplicon-seq
Adam Callahan Mosquito virome long-amplicon-seq
Ricardo Ruiz (computer science) Ortholog software development for big data
Saurav Dhungel (computer science) Dark matter functional data mining
Leslye Morales (computer science) Metal physiology data mining
Rahil Patel (computer science) Endosymbiont population genomics analysis
Caden Norman, (computer science) Omics pipeline development
Tabitha Urbanski (computer science) Omics pipeline development

2018 Fall

Rick Trevino (McNair Scholar) Dark matter functional data mining
Shrinidhi Joshi (CISER) HiC microbiome study
Victor DelPrincipe HiC microbiome study
Brianna Mendoza (URS) Leafhopper symbiont diversity
Abigail Bell Leafhopper symbiont diversity
Nick Weyandt – Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Reagan Ball (URS) Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Nazira Lewis Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Amelia Nutt Gut-brain axis in model invertebrate
Wyatt Prewit Mosquito virome long-amplicon-seq
David Montoya Mosquito virome long-amplicon-seq
Amariany Gomez Mosquito virome long-amplicon-seq
Matthew Buxton Defensive microbiome isolation from Musa sp.
Kimberly Morales Defensive microbiome isolation from Musa sp.
Stephen Saltus Membracid endosymbiont multi-omics
Katie Hubbard Membracid endosymbiont multi-omics
Srijana Regmi SRA data mining
Adaobi Okoye SRA data mining
Nimotallah Abdurrazaq SRA data mining
Ricardo Ruiz (computer science) eDNA pipeline
Robin Ronson (computer science) DNangler software development

2018 Summer

Nick Weyandt – Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Katie Hubbard Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Srijana Regmi Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Adaobi Okoye Leafhopper symbiont diversity
Nimotallah Abdurrazaq Leafhopper symbiont diversity
David Montoya Mosquito dissection and COI PCR
Amiary Gomez Mosquito dissection and COI PCR
Kimberly Morales Defensive microbiome isolation from Musa sp.
Ricardo Ruiz (computer science) eDNA pipeline
Robin Ronson (computer science) DNangler software development
Shambhavi Makeswaran (computer science) Ortholog software development for big data

2018 Spring

Kenia Ascencio (CISER) Mosquito dissection and COI PCR
Evan Akene Mosquito dissection and COI PCR
Delores Emeagi Mosquito dissection and COI PCR
Kenneth Chuang Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Sean Miller Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Nick Weyandt Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Katie Hubbard Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Shrinidhi Joshi (Honors) Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Abigail Bell (URS) Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Robin Ronson (computer science) DNangler software development
Shambhavi Makeswaran (computer science) Ortholog software development for big data
Lino Virgen (computer science) Elastic network models for omics

2017 Fall

Lauren West (URS) Mosquito dissection and COI PCR
Sarah Barela Mosquito dissection and COI PCR
Eric Murphy (Bridges Program) Mosquito dissection and COI PCR.
Delores Emeagi Mosquito dissection and COI PCR
Nick Weyandt Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Abigail Bell (URS)* Nematode endosymbiont genomics
*Awarded Texas Tech Center for Active Learning and Undergraduate Engagement (CALUE) Funding.
Marian Herring Leafhopper symbiont diversity
Mallory Hyatt HiC microbiome study
Kelechi Obi Mosquito dissection and COI PCR
Robin Ronson (computer science) DNangler software development
Nils Griswold (computer science) Dark matter functional data mining
Shambhavi Makeswaran (computer science) Ortholog software development for big data
Lino Virgen (computer science) Elastic network models for omics

2017 Summer

Eric Murphy (Bridges Program) Mosquito dissection and COI PCR
Adithi Govindan (Emory U.) Mosquito dissection and COI PCR
Nickolas Weyandt Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Daniel Rhoades Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Harsh Wadhwani (computer science) Metagenomic clustering
Robin Ronson (computer science) DNangler software development
Katrina Bueno (computer science) Ortholog software development for big data

2016–2017

Gabrielle White  – Leafhopper symbiont diversity/Musa sp. project
Joshua Truong –  Leafhopper symbiont diversity
Mallory Hyatt – Leafhopper symbiont diversity
Colton Eaton – Defensive microbiome isolation from Musa sp.
Lauren West – Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Josef Fowler – Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Abigail Bell – Nematode endosymbiont genomics
Tate Hilken – Nematode endosymbiont genomics

 

Dr. Brown is currently recruiting!

We are looking for new undergraduate researchers, graduate students, and postdocs. If you are interested in what we do, want to gain wonderful training, and have skills and a commitment to learning, we would love you to join us! Please see the opportunities below and contact me.

Undergraduate Students

  • undergraduates interested in trying research for the first time
  • undergraduates looking for advanced training that will help in finding future work in fields such as medicine, medical research, agriculture, bioinformatics, microbiology
  • undergraduates wanting training to lead to graduate school application

To apply, contact me and please prepare to discuss  your interests and experiences as they pertain to our lab. Also consider seeking funding opportunities, e.g. through NSF (National Science Foundation). If you qualify, we can discuss how I can help you apply for such a fellowship.

Graduate Students

  • prospective Master’s or PhD students: completed or soon to complete an undergraduate program or Master’s program in the US or elsewhere.

To apply, send me (1) your resume or CV, (2) a statement of interests describing your skills, knowledge, and research/career direction (maximum 1-page), (3) contact information for 2-3 people who I might contact as references who can speak to your academic skill, (4) your GPA and/or GRE scores, as appropriate.

While RA funding is available for summer research and teaching assistantship (TA) funding is often available for the rest of the year, all applicants are also strongly encouraged to seek their own funding though other sources. See a few examples below. Please also search carefully for other opportunities that apply to your unique background:
e.g.
NSF Graduate Fellowships
National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (DOD)
EPA STAR Fellowship
American Association of University Women
Hertz Foundation
National Academies Fellowship Office (for minorities)
Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education
Others from other nations, for international students

I will assist with your funding application process, whenever I can.

Postdocs

To apply, send (1) a cover letter, (2) your up-to-date CV including contact information for 3 academic references who I may contact for a letter of reference, (3) a short statement of research interests describing your research goals, expertise, and highlighting the impact of your academic achievements (maximum 2 pages).

While I  funding for this postdoc for 2 years, applicants are always strongly encouraged to also apply to other sources! Having fellowship awards will improve your future competitiveness. Furthermore, the application process itself will provide precious skills in scientific writing, thinking, and goal-setting that will be invaluable later on.

Consider postdoctoral funding from:
NSF – Postdoctoral Fellowships
USDA Grants & Fellowships
Marie Curie Fellowships
Life Sciences Research Foundation
NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship Program
Fulbright Scholar Program
Human Frontier Science Program
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
BARD – The U.S./Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund
…and many others specific to your background or country of origin…

I will assist with postdoctoral fellowship applications as appropriate.

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