Research Mentoring

My work in the lab and research emphasis provides advanced training for undergraduate and graduate students. I have mentored eight students in the development of senior thesis, Master thesis and summer projects. See below for more details:

Recent students

  • Summer 2016-Spring 2017: Natalia Galud Erazo.  Columbia University undergraduate student.

I mentored Natalia in the development of her undergraduate Senior Thesis. Natalia’s thesis focused on understanding the microbial interactions occurring between the cyanobacteria Trichodesmium spp. and the symbiotic epibionts that live in the surface of Trichodesmium filaments. Natalia extracted DNA from Trichodesmium colonies from the field and also laboratory cultures and used high-resolution 16S rDNA amplicon sequencing to examine the diversity of Trichodesmium and associated epibionts.


  • Fall 2015-Spring 2016: Andrés Esteban Salazar. Columbia University undergraduate student.

I was Andrés’ research mentor for his undergraduate Senior Thesis project. For his project, Andrés extracted DNA from water samples collected in the South Pacific ocean in February 2015 and used quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) to specifically quantify the concentration of the two most abundant clades of the cyanobacteria Trichodesmium spp. Andrés defended his Senior Thesis and graduated successfully as an Environmental major in May 2015.

Past students

  • 2014: Ji Woon Park. Columbia University undergraduate student. I mentored Ji Woon through her Spring internship from the Earth Institute, at Columbia University. Ji Woon performed an experiment for the investigation of the effect of viruses on Trichodesmium sp. physiology. Her work was presented at the Earth Insitute Student Research Showcase 2014.

EarthINstituteREsearch Showcase


  • 2013:  Hannah Joy-Warren. Summer laboratory assistant, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. I trained Hannah in the culturing, sampling, and microscopic identification of the phytoplankton species Trichodesmium sp. Hannah’s work resulted in a research publication.
  • 2013: Michael Oats. Undergraduate student. Summer intern, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.I trained Michael in the identification of the phytoplankton species Trichodesmium sp.
  • 2010:  Oscar Branson. Master student, National Oceanographic Center of Southampton, Southampton, England. I mentored Oscar in the development of his Master’s thesis, resulting in a research publication.
  • 2009 : Raquel González. Graduate student, University Complutense of Madrid, Spain. I trained Raquel in tools for culturing and cell isolation of photosynthetic microbes .