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School of Biological Sciences Stephanie Porter Lab

People

STEPHANIE PORTER, PhD

 

Stephanie is an Assistant Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at WSUV. As a research scientist at the University of California, Riverside, and postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, she studied plant-microbe co-invasion biology, patterns of natural selection on cooperation between legumes and rhizobium bacteria, and positive plant-soil feedbacks. Stephanie completed her PhD dissertation on environmental adaptation in the legume-rhizobium symbiosis at the University of California, Davis.

 

 

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EMILY HELLIWELL, PhD (Spring 2017 – present)

Emily Helliwell is a postdoctoral research assistant in the Porter lab.  She has a B.A. in Integrative Biology from Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota, an M.Sc. in Botany and Plant Pathology from Purdue University, and a PhD in Plant Pathology from Pennsylvania State University.  She recently came to WSUV after working in the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing at Oregon State University.  Her interests are in host-microbe interactions, focusing on the various mechanisms that result in pathogenic and mutualistic outcomes.

 

 

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ZOIE LOPEZ, BS (Fall 2014 – present)

Zoie is a second year Plant Biology PhD student studying the evolutionary and ecological shifts in the legume-rhizobium symbiosis during biological invasions. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biological Science from the University of California, Davis. As an undergraduate she participated in research looking at climate driven genetic variation between populations of an alpine wildflower, investigated the genetic basis of stress tolerance in Arabidopsis, and completed a summer REU project at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory looking at root trait variation between populations of a native wildflower along an elevation/climate gradient. After graduating she became involved in the legume-rhizobium study system as Dr. Porter’s research technician at UC Riverside before moving up to Washington to continue work at WSU Vancouver. Zoie is broadly interested in how biotic and abiotic soil factors may influence plant trait expression and how plant-microbe mutualisms could confer susceptibility or resistance to stressors among plant ecotypes.

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NIALL MILLAR, BS (Fall 2017 – present) 

Niall is a first year Plant Biology PhD graduate student working on the evolutionary ecology of plants, microbes, and insects. In particular he is interested in how domestication, biological invasions, and environmental stress impact the outcomes of symbiosis. Niall graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Dundee and conducted research in Alison Bennett’s lab at the James Hutton Institute. Click here to read about his research on symbionts and stress, and plant-insect-symbiont interactions.

 

 

 

 

 

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ANGELIQUA MONTOYA (Fall 2016 – present)

Angeliqua is a current undergraduate student at WSUV, studying for her Bachelors in Science degree in Biology. She works as a research technician assistant in the Porter Lab and has a research project assessing variation in the presence or absence of symbiosis genes in wild populations of rhizobium bacteria. Her interests range from genetics, laboratory/field research, mutualisms, extremophiles, and astrobiology.  She plans to attend graduate school after graduation, but is also interested in scientific research opportunities until she finds her “niche”. Angeliqua has been awarded an Auvil Scholars Fellowship for 2017-2018, a WSU CAS Summer Mini Grant, and took home the “Novice Award” as a first time presenter at the WSU Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA) in 2017. She also presented her research as a poster at the 2017 Evolution Meeting in Portland (with a SSE/BEACON Undergraduate Diversity at Evolution (UDE) Travel Award), the 2017 Ecological Society of America Conference, also in Portland, and at the 2017 WSUV Research Showcase. Go Angeliqua!

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ALEXANDER SHI (Summer 2017 – present)

Alex is a senior at WSU Vancouver in Biology. He is easy going and open-minded–so don’t hesitate if you have something to say. Alex is currently working as a lab technician in the greenhouse and laboratory. In his free time, he loves to exercise and compose music.

 

 

 

 

 

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MILES ROBERTS (Fall 2017 – present)

Miles is a junior at WSUV studying Biology and Chemistry. His internship with the Porter lab is his first research experience. He enjoys working with fellow volunteers to complete projects in the lab. Miles is interested in plant genetics, plant breeding, microbial genetics, mathematics, and experimental design. In his free time, he enjoys reading, writing, cooking, and caring for animals.

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Kyle Nguyen (Fall 2017 – present)

Kyle is a junior with a major in biology, and minor in molecular biology. His interests include genetic manipulation, microbiology, biochemistry, biotechnology, metabolic pathways, and data analysis. Kyle’s career goal is to conduct  research at a university or contribute to R&D for a biotech company.

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Kathleen Ibarreta (Fall 2017 – present)

Kathleen is studying Biology with a minor in Fine Arts and Anthropology. Her science interests include microbiology and organismal evolution. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering at the local primate sanctuary. She likes to read, draw, play the piano and the ukulele. She is an active member of the Asian Pacific Islander Club, being the Vice-President this year. She plans to get her master’s degree and work in research someday.

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 Mark Swenson (Fall 2017 – present)

Mark is a South Dakota native and a Junior at WSUV majoring in Biology. His fields of interest include plant biology, ecology, mutualistic relationships, and evolution. In his free time, Mark is an avid hiker, backpacker, gardener, chef, baker, and painter. His internship with the Porter lab is his first exposure to a research la and he’s excited to help grad students in the greenhouse with their research projects.  

 

 

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 Jordan Schienke (Fall 2017 – present)

Jordan is an undergraduate biology student and intern in the Porter Lab at Washington State University Vancouver. His interests revolve around plant genetics and ecology in the realm of agriculture and ecological invasions. He hopes to pursue future research in the field of plant biology, with a focus on alleviating environmental human impact from modern agricultural practices.

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 Cameron Green (Fall 2017 – present)

Cameron is pursuing a BS in Biology with a minor in Microbiology and Psychology here at WSUV. He is fascinated by microbiology and the study of infectious diseases. His career goals are to work for the state department or CDC as an infectious disease specialist.
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 Samantha Obermiller (Spring 2017 – present)
Samantha is an undergraduate majoring in Biology at Lewis and Clark University. In the Porter lab, she is working on how domestication affects cooperation between plants and their beneficial microbiota. Thanks for making the trek Samantha!
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Former Lab Members

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JOSHUA FABER-HAMMOND, MS (Fall 2015 – present)

Josh is a bioinformatician and focuses on the comparative genetics of invasive plants and their symbiotic soil bacteria. Josh received his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from The University of Vermont in 2006, and completed his Masters’s in Environmental Science at Washington State University, Vancouver with a focus on evolutionary genetics in 2012.  He has worked in multiple labs between Portland State University and WSU, Vancouver studying genetics of Zebrafish, Salmon, Midshipman fish, humans, and bacterial species. He currently does bioinformatics for the Renn Lab at Reed College.

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CYNTHIA SACKOS, BS (Spring 2016 – spring 2017)

Cynthia graduated from WSUV where she earned her BS in Biology and an Environmental Science minor. She worked as a research technical assistant in the Porter Lab. During the summer of 2016, she completed an undergraduate research project as part of the NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program and presented her findings at the REU Symposium.  Cynthia intends to go on to pursue a graduate degree in Plant Biology. Cynthia currently works as a technician at the University of New Mexico, Los Alamos.

 

 

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AMANDA KHOSRAVIFAR, MS (Spring 2017)

Amanda was a research technologist in the Porter Lab. Her work in the Porter Lab explored the plasticity of host plant responses to soil nitrogen. She has a background in plant breeding and plant pathology and has worked in the vegetable seed industry for several years. Amanda now works for Bayer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DANAKA ROSS, BS (Spring 2016 – spring 2017)

Danaka was a research technician in the Porter lab. She graduated from WSUV Spring 2016, successfully earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She plans on returning to school for a masters in education before starting a teaching career.

 

 

 

 

 

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KELSEY FENN (Summer 2016)

Kelsey joined the Porter Lab as a summer REU student from Brown University. She focused on the diversity among rhizobia associated with Lupin plants growing in volcanic soils. She participated in field work collecting plant samples at Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Adams. She also worked in the lab extracting and amplifying rhizobia DNA from root nodules for sequencing.

 

 

 

 


TOBIAS (TOBY) PIZOT (Summer 2016)

Toby was an intern in the Porter Lab the summer before his senior year at Camas High School in 2016. He worked on calculating specific leaf area (SLA) for native and invaded Burr Clover from a common garden greenhouse experiment. He is in the MST program at Camas High School and he is interested in environmental science. 

 

 

 

 

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