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Our people are at the core of what makes our lab such a unique and fulfilling place to work. We’re proud of the diversity of our staff, with each member contributing their unique skills to the projects we’re working on.

Dr. Dorota L. Porazinska

My educational background includes BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Biology and Earth Sciences, Ecology, and Nematology, which have prepared me exceptionally well for collaborative and interdisciplinary research. 

My research interests center around the ecological theory of biodiversity and community assembly with nematode communities as my favorite model system. By employing DNA-based methodologies and statistical modeling, I strive to predict the impact of global change scenarios on soil biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. My work spans three critical research areas: 1. Investigating soil biodiversity and community assembly drivers, 2. Unraveling the role of nematode microbiomes in nematode evolution and function, and 3. Pioneering novel methodologies for comprehensive nematode diversity analyses. I have produced a notable research output, with over 80 peer-reviewed articles and a strong funding track record.  

Beyond my research pursuits, I contribute significantly to teaching graduate-level courses in Nematode Morphology and Anatomy, Taxonomy and Molecular Phylogeny, and Scientific Writing and Publishing. Moreover, my mentorship shapes the professional growth of students, lab staff, and early-career scientists. 

Dr. Eli Gendron

Eli M.S. Gendron graduated with a B.S. in Biology from the University of New Mexico, USA in 2012, and subsequently with a PhD in Cellular, Molecular, and Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado – Boulder, USA in 2019. Eli’s doctoral research focused on identifying factors controlling the diversity of lotic microbial communities in alpine lakes along the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies using high-throughput sequencing techniques. He has worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Nematology and Entomology at the University of Florida, USA focusing on utilizing mitochondrial metagenomics to improve the identification of nematode species from environmental samples in an effort to better understand nematode biodiversity and its role in sustainable ecosystem management.

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Ricky Critchfield, PhD Student

I have a background in microbiology and plant sciences, both of which laid the foundations for my current studies. Currently, I am pursuing a PhD in nematology. My research project focuses on examining the microbiome and genomics of Tobrilid nematodes, which represent the basal family tode family on the nematode phylogenetic tree. While numerous microbiome studies have been conducted for a wide range of animals, our understanding of nematode microbiomes remains limited, especially regarding their impact on nematode fitness, evolution, and function. Additionally, most of the modern phylogenetic information of nematodes is derived from transcriptomes due to the scarcity of complete genomes. Leveraging new tools in long-read sequencing, I aim to  assemble de novo genomes of Tobrilid nematodes and their associated microbes.



Undergraduate Students

Ariella Jacobson, 2022-2023

Lauren Uy, 2021-2022

Innocent Byiringi, 2021

Carrie Suen, 2018-2019

Graduate Students

James Parr McQueen, PhD, 2019-2023

Kaitlin Gattoni, PhD, 2019-2023

Rachel Shepherd, MS, 2020-2022


Post Docs

Weimin Hu, 2019-2020



We are always looking for passionate and outstanding members to add to our team. Email us for potential opportunities.

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