Current Lab Members

Principal Investigator

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Obed Hernández-Gómez PhD

Assistant Professor

I am an Assistant Professor at Dominican University of California as of January 2020. I recently completed two postdoctoral fellowships (NSF PRFB and National Academies of Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering Ford Foundation Fellowships) at UC Berkeley. Prior to that, I obtained my PhD from Purdue University and a bachelors from Texas Tech University. I had the privilege of working as a licensed vocational nurse during my undergrad and graduate education. I have more than 10 years of experience in the healthcare field, and I am excited to help students who are interested in this industry! My research interests are microbial ecology and immunogenetics in relation to amphibians. Currently, I am working on projects dealing with host-genetic influences on microbiomes, co-evolutionary associations between parasites and hosts, and metagenomics of host-associated microbiomes.

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Shannon Buttimer
PhD Student, University of Alabama

Shannon and I collaborated on a woodland salamander skin microbiome project while she was an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley. Shannon collected skin microbiome samples, extracted DNA, and characterized microbial communities using 16S rRNA sequencing from the skin of terrestrial salamanders. In addition, we cultured bacteria from the salamander skin and tested its anti-fungal potential. This work was part of her senior thesis project.

Today, Shannon is a PhD student in Dr. Gui Becker's lab at the University of Alabama where she works on Brazilian amphibian skin microbiomes. We are lucky to be hosting Shannon in our lab before she moves to Alabama. Shannon is performing some of her PhD lab work in our lab. 

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Xitlaly Santos

Microbiology Research Technician

Xitlaly is helping collect turtle microbiome samples in the field and is evaluating the antifungal performance of salamander microbiomes. She is helping isolate bacterial species from the skin of salamanders and performing challenge experiments on Bd with metabolites extracted from these bacteria. 

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Hailey Cambria

Microbiology Research Technician

Hailey is helping collect microbial samples from salamanders in the field, isolate bacterial species and performing challenge experiments on Bd with metabolites extracted from these bacteria. Hailey is applying to dental school and she also works as a dental assistant at a clinic in her hometown.

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Elijah Costley-Trigueros
Junior, Dominican University of California

Elijah joined the lab through the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Research Methodology Program. He is interested in researching skin microbiomes of woodland salamanders in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Tatiana Rodriguez
Junior, Dominican University of California

Tatiana also joined the lab through the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Research Methodology Program. She is interested in performing artificial evolution experiments on fungal pathogens.

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Alison White

Sophomore, Dominican University of California

Alison also joined the lab through the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Research Methodology Program. She is participating in infectious disease PCR assay testing and characterization of the skin microbiome of woodland salamanders. Alison is interested in becoming a genetic engineer. 

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Amber Del Rosario

Post-bacc, Dominican University of California

Amber is an independent study student performing research on the distribution of E. testavorans and microbiome characteristics in California's only native pond turtle, the western pond turtle. Amber is using DNA assays to identify the presence of the pathogen and bacteria that are part of their shell and gut microbiomes.

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Natalie De La Cruz

Senior, Dominican University of California

Natalie joined the lab through the NSM Research Methodology series as a transfer student. Natalie is helping characterize the skin microbiome of terrestrial salamanders. She is evaluating characteristics of the microbiome across populations that experienced intense wildfires during the fall of 2020.

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Madison Gianetto
Junior, Dominican University of California

Madison also joined the lab through the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Research Methodology Program. She is interested in testing the use of new infectious disease PCR assays for California herps.

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Reuben Oumnov

Senior, Dominican University of California

Reuben is an independent research student in bioinformatics. Reuben is helping evaluate the effect of MHC class IIB genes on the gut and skin microbiomes of frogs. Reuben is using tools such as QIIME2 and R to process the DNA sequencing data and perform biostatistics.

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Lubna Mulla

Senior, Dominican University of California

Lubna is an independent research student in genetics. Lubna is helping extract DNA from turtle samples, running PCR/qPCR infectious disease assays, and helping with microbiome sequencing library preparation. 

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Interested in joining the team?

I am currently looking for undergraduate researchers to partake in the independent research projects. Please contact me if you are interested in participating!

Former Lab Members

Staff

Visiting Scholar

Students

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Shannon Buttimer

PhD student at the University of Alabama

Shannon and I collaborated on a woodland salamander skin microbiome project while she was an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley. Shannon collected skin microbiome samples, extracted DNA, and characterized microbial communities using 16S rRNA sequencing from the skin of terrestrial salamanders. In addition, we cultured bacteria from the salamander skin and tested its anti-fungal potential. This work was part of her senior thesis project.

Today, Shannon is a PhD student in Dr. Gui Becker's lab at the University of Alabama where she works on Brazilian amphibian skin microbiomes. 

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Ricardo Moctezuma

University of California, Berkeley

Ricardo volunteered his time to help with immunogenetics work in the laboratory as an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley. He was involved in a project that is evaluating the effect of MHC genotype on the skin microbiome of wood frogs. He helped tremendously with DNA extractions and amplicon sequencing library preparation.

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Ardith Wang

UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

Ardith leaded a hellbender eDNA project when she was an undergraduate researcher at Purdue University. We sampled hellbender streams throughout the eastern US to evaluate for the presence of hellbenders. She also used 18S rRNA amplicon sequencing to characterize eukaryote diversity within streams. Ardith is a co-author on a peer reviewed paper.

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Carissa Tinoco

University of California, Berkeley

Carissa volunteered her time to help in the field and laboratory as an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley. She gained valuable experience in DNA extractions, PCR set up, and electrophoresis. Carissa is also a great artist. She has been awarded a creative internship with NASA! Check out her personal website at: carissatinoco.com

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Montana Campbell

Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine

Montana's project used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequencing to investigate population genetics diversity among a population of eastern box turtles in Indiana. She compared mtDNA diversity to that of previously documented biparentally inherited markers of the same population. Montana was co-advised by Obed and Dr. Steve J.A. Kimble at Purdue University.

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Fernanda Galo

Dominican University of California

Fernanda joined the lab as a volunteer. She helped gather data for a bioinformatics project.  Fernanda wants to go to medical school after college.