David Coil is a Project Scientist at the University of California Davis. His work focuses on microbial ecology, microbial culturing, bacterial genomics, and undergraduate education. David has a particular passion for teaching and public outreach. Previous projects include sending bacteria to the International Space Station and designing Gut Check: The Microbiome Game. In addition to the Isthmus Microbiome Project, David is currently working on bacteria from feline anal sacs, hummingbirds, seagrasses, chickens, frogs, and koala feces.
Laetitia Wilkins is a postdoctoral research scholar from Switzerland. She is fascinated by host-microbe interactions and their co-evolution. Her study hosts include porcelain crabs and fish. For her Master’s degree, she investigated female mating preferences and the MHC in humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). For her doctoral thesis, she studied the interaction of host embryos (Brown trout – Salmo trutta, European grayling – Thymallus thymallus, and Whitefish – Coregonus spp.) and their bacterial symbionts, and how this relationship is affected by genetic and environmental effects. She also mentored several students working on life-history strategies and maternal effects in Brown trout and European grayling, as well as sex differentiation and its implications for conservation in grayling. Laetitia gets to visit wild places for studying and collecting organisms but sometimes she also has to spend weeks in a fridge to run experiments. She cares about diversity and critical thinking and is helping researchers with families to thrive in academia. Laetitia is a cofounder of the Berkeley Spouses, Partners & Parents Association (bsppa.berkeley.edu). She is always eager to learn new bioinformatics and statistical approaches.
Jonathan A. Eisen is a Professor at the University of California, Davis with appointments in the Genome Center, the Dept. of Evolution and Ecology and the Dept. of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. His current research focuses on the evolution, ecology and function of communities of microbes and how the microbes interact with each other and with hosts. Most of his work involves the use of high-throughput DNA sequencing methods to characterize microbes and then the use and development of computational methods to analyze this type of data. Prior to moving to UC Davis he was on the faculty of The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) and held an Adjunct appointment at the Johns Hopkins University. He earned his PhD in Biological Sciences from Stanford University, and his AB in Biology from Harvard College. Dr. Eisen was elected to the American Academy of Microbiology in 2012. In addition to his research Dr. Eisen is heavily involved in science communication and open science activities and is an active & award winning blogger (e.g. http://phylogenomics.blogspot.com and http://microbe.net) and microblogger (e.g., Twitter @phylogenomics).
Jarrod J. Scott is inspired by the tales of old-time naturalists who journeyed the world, identifying patterns in biological diversity and laying the foundation for ecology and evolutionary biology. He sees a similar opportunity for discovery today in the microbial world—to explore genomic space and uncover underlying patterns that explain the diversity and function of microorganisms and how the structure of microbial communities affect host biology, biogeochemical cycles, and ecosystem-level processes. Microorganisms are a major thread that weave through all systems, and microbial ecology serves as an intellectual bridge that connects numerous, often, disparate disciplines. Following this thread has taken Jarrod’s research from the forest floor to the ocean floor. His long-term interests are to understand how collections of comparatively simple elements—from nucleotides to genes, proteins, and individual cells—coalesce into remarkably complex and dynamic communities, and what mechanisms drive the establishment, organization, and development of these communities. Jarrod’s approach leverages a combination of fieldwork, advanced sequencing technologies, and bioinformatics, to reveal microbial assemblages that are functionally unified and adapted to specific habitats. Jarrod is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama. He has a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a BSc in Biology from University of Texas at Austin.