About Us

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

SFA Lead Scientist

Rhona Stuart Rhona Stuart, SFA Technical Co-Manager
  • Marine microbiology, phycology, & ecology
  • Proteomics integration with stable isotope tracing
  • Fluorescence in-Situ Hybridization (FISH)

Scientific Leads

Jennifer Pett-Ridge Jennifer Pett-Ridge, Plant-Microbial Interactions
  • Environmental microbial ecology
  • Isotope tracing/NanoSIMS & plant-microbe interactions
  • DOE Early Career Fellow
Peter Weber Peter Weber, New Methods Development, NanoSIMS lead scientist
  • Geochemistry, microanalysis, & isotopic analyses
  • High resolution imaging
Xavier Mayali Xavier Mayali, Algal-Bacterial Interactions
  • Aquatic microbial ecology & biogeochemistry
  • Algae-bacteria culturing & characterization
  • Chip-SIP technology development
Ali Navid Ali Navid, Computational Modeling
  • Advanced scientific computing
  • In silico models of cellular processes at genome-scale
  • Predictive multi-objective models of metabolism in communities
Erin Nuccio Erin Nuccio,Plant-Microbial Interactions, Bioinformatics
  • Root-rhizosphere transcriptomics
  • Network analysis
  • Stable Isotope Probing


Patrik Dhaeseleer Patrik D’haeseleer
  • Bioinformatics
  • Computational biologist
  • Meta-‘omics analysis & systems biology of communities
Jeff Kimbrel Jeff Kimbrel
  • Plant-microbial interactions
  • Bioinformatics & computational biology
Ty Samo Ty Samo
  • Algae-bacteria culturing
  • Growth analyses using bulk and single-cell approaches
Steve Blazewicz Steve Blazewicz
  • Plant-microbial interactions
  • Quantitative Stable Isotope Probing (qSIP)
  • Isotope tracing with 13C, 15N and 18O

Postdoctoral Scientists

Vanessa Brisson Vanessa Brisson
  • Metabolomics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Plant-microbe interactions
Rachel Hestrin Rachel Hestrin
  • Plant-microbe interactions
  • Mycorrhizal fungi
  • Terrestrial biogeochemistry
  • Plant resilience to stress
Megan Morris Megan Morris
  • Algal-bacterial interactions
  • Microbial ecology
  • Metagenomics
Helena Van Tol

Helena Van Tol

  • Algal-bacterial interactions
  • Metabolic modeling
  • Computational biology

Lawrence Graduate Scholars

Rachel Neurath
Rachel Neurath
  • LLNL Livermore Scholar
  • Graduate Student, UC Berkeley
  • Plant-microbe carbon economy
Colleen Hui
Colleen Hui
  • LLNL Livermore Scholar
  • Graduate Student, UC Los Angeles/UC Berkeley Merchant Lab
  • Algal trace metal metabolism and imaging
Katie Harding
Katie Harding
  • LLNL Livermore Scholar
  • Graduate Student, UC Santa Cruz, Zehr Lab
  • Nitrogen fixation

Staff Scientists

Jessica Wollard Jessica Wollard
  • Laboratory manager
  • Molecular & microbial techniques
Christina Ramon
Christina Ramon
  • Electron Microscopy
  • Sample preparation, embedding, & sectioning
Kristina Rolison
Kristina Rolison
  • Algal culturing
  • Microbial culturing
  • Outdoor algal management
Megan Kan
Megan Kan
  • Soil microbial ecology
  • Mycorrhizal fungi
  • Molecular techniques
Courtney Swink

Courtney Swink

  • Algal-bacterial interactions
  • Algal microbiome
  • Algal culturing
  • Molecular techniques

Sandia National Laboratories (Livermore)

Todd Lane
Todd Lane, Distinguished Member, Sandia Technical Staff
  • Applied phycology & molecular genetics of microalgae
  • Automated analysis of next-gen sequencing for communities
  • Macronutrient recycling to promote sustainable algal biomass production
Kunal Poorey
Kunal Poorey, Staff Scientist
  • Mathematical models & computational methods development
  • Software pipelines for complex biological systems
  • Informatics and machine learning applied to algal community systems

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Eoin Brodie
Eoin Brodie, Deputy Director, LBL Climate & Ecosystem Sciences Division
  • Environmental microbial ecology & community dynamics
  • Technologies for multi-scale analysis of microbial diversity and function
  • Development of trait-based models to represent microbial interactions

DOE Joint Genome Institute

Trent Northen
Trent Northen, JGI Metabolomics Lead
  • Metabolomics & microbial metabolism
  • Development of extensive library of metabolite compounds
  • Novel exometabolites involved in microbial interactions
Ben Bowen
Ben Bowen
  • Bioinformatic and cheminformatic approaches for metabolomics
  • Analysis and annotation of untargeted metabolomics
  • Computational analysis to rapidly predict metabolite identifications

University of California, Berkeley

Sabeeha Merchant
Sabeeha Merchant, Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry
  • Chlamydomonas biology, bioenergetics, & molecular genetics
  • Physiology of trace metals and elements in Chlamydomonas
  • Bacterial impact on expression of the algal genome

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cullen Buie
Cullen Buie, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
  • Microscale flow physics for materials science and microbiology
  • Fluid mechanics, phenotyping in microfluidics
Hyungseok Kim
Hyungseok Kim, Graduate Student
  • Microfluidics & electrochemical applications to microbial interactions
  • Dielectrophoretic technology development for energy applications

North Carolina State University

Christine Hawkes
Christine Hawkes, Associate Professor of Integrative Biology
  • Ecology and evolution of plant-microbe interactions
  • Effects of symbiotic fungi on grass physiology
  • Community and ecosystem drivers and impacts of microbiomes
Christine Hawkes
Marissa Lee
  • Drivers of plant-associated microbial communities
  • Linking plant-associated community structure to plant function
  • Hierarchical modeling

Noble Research Institute

Kelly Craven, Associate Professor
  • Endophytic biology and systematics
  • Ecosystem function of the switchgrass symbiont, Serendipita bescii
  • Effects of Sebacinales fungi on biofuel crops

Oregon State University

Rene Boiteau

Rene Boiteau, Assistant Professor

  • Organic Biogeochemistry
  • Trace metal cycling
Nicole Coffey

Nicole Coffey, Graduate Student

  • Trace metal cycling

Alumni—Former Postdocs and Students

Yongqin Jiao
Daniel Nilson
Haifeng Geng
Javier Ceja-Navarro
Dagmar Woebken
Luke Burow
Catherine Lacayo
Jeremy Bougoure
Jackson Lee
Craig Everroad
Daniel Nilson
Marc Griesemer
Haifeng Geng
Adam Chorazyczewski
Miriam Windler
Christopher Ward
Yiwei Cheng
Carolyn Fisher


Brad Bebout
Lee Prufert-Bebout
Craig Everroad
Angela Detweiler
Carol Zhou
Meredith Blackwell
Oana Marcu
Anne Dekas
Alfred Spormann
Michael Thelen
Mary Lipton
Paul Zimba