Postdoctoral Researchers


Photo of Post doc Ben BolducBen Bolduc, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Ben joined the Sullivan lab in 2015 from Montana State University, where his biochemistry PhD focused on bioinformatic and wet lab approaches to study RNA viruses in Yellowstone National Park. In the Sullivan Lab, he has continued his bioinformatic training by assisting in the development of iVirus, a project to make commonly used viral metagenomic informatics tools available to the community. He also works on creating tools specifically for analyzing viral metagenomic datasets in terms of taxonomic and functional annotations where no references exist, as well as aiding in the study of novel viruses out of permafrost in Abisko, Sweden. Finally, his work extends to development of large-scale, collaborative databases to serve as a data repository and analysis tool for a wide array of complex datasets. Together, these projects seek to uncover the nature of viruses in natural ecosystems and ultimately their intimate relation with their hosts.


Sheri_FlogeSheri Floge, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Sheri is interested in how marine microbes interact with one another and their environment, the chemical reactions that mediate such interactions and the resulting impact on global elemental cycles. Her Ph.D. research focused on the impact of virus infections on intact, infected eukaryotic marine microbes and included bioinformatic and flow-cytometric screening for persistent (cryptic) infections and combined molecular, chemical and ecological methods to quantify virus-induced biochemical alterations of phytoplankton cells and the resultant impact on copepod grazing. Sheri joined the Sullivan Lab in August 2014 where her projects include using transcriptomics and metabolomics to explore interactions between model systems of viruses, bacteria, phytoplankton and grazers and developing experimental methodology to quantify the role of marine viruses in trophic transfer of carbon. Sheri’s full profile


Photo of ConsueloConsuelo Gazitua, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Consuelo obtained her PhD in molecular genetics and microbiology at the Catholic University of Chile, where she studied the contribution of rhizospheric microorganisms in the establishment of pioneer plants over mine tailings. In her first postdoctoral position she moved to the marine environment, specifically to the East Tropical South Pacific oxygen minimum zone, where she studied the composition and activity of pico- and nanoplanktonic communities with especial focus on the eukaryotic fraction. In October 2015 she joined the Sullivan lab, where she studies the viral communities from the ETSP oxygen minimum zones, analyzing its composition and potential role in biogeochemical cycling.


Howard2Cristina Howard-Varona, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Cristina obtained her MSc in Biotechnology from the Polytechnique University of Valencia (Spain) and her PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Arizona (USA). She is interested in understanding the regulation of viral infections in nature, in characterizing the regulation of understudied infections such as the extrachromosomal temperate or inefficient lytic phages, and in developing new environmental model systems to expand the limited diversity of known phage-host systems.  She uses a wide range of techniques, from the more traditional molecular biology and microbiology approaches to single-cell, bioinformatics and ‘omics (transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics). Her current projects involve understanding regulation of viral infection efficiency in the Bacteroidetes bacterium Cellulophaga baltica, assessing nutrient dynamics impacts on phage-host interactions in a Pseudoalteromonas bacterium, and how we can understand the regulation of phage-host interactions to improve the development of phage therapy.


Ho Bin Jang, D.V.M., PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Ho Bin has been focusing on network construction of viral genomes and translation of the patterns of network topology and connectivity into biological and evolutionary interpretation. His first postdoc position was in Rob Lavigne’s lab at the KU Leuven in Belgium, where he developed an expertise in applying network tools to study large scale virus populations for various bacterial hosts. On February 1st, 2016, he joined the Sullivan Lab where he studies phage-host interactions, particularly for cyanobacteria (i.e., Prochlrococcus or Synechococcus), by employing network tools combined with phageFISH and/or viral tagging.


Zhiping Zhong photo

Zhiping Zhong, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Zhiping got his PhD in Microbiology in the Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, where he focused on microbial ecology and bacterial taxonomy. He is interested in isolating and identifying bacterial strains, exploring the uncultured microorganisms, and investigating the microbial community structure, function and dynamics in the environment. He joined the Sullivan lab on August 1st 2016 to study microbial and viral ecology in the ice cores from selected depths deposited ~1,000 to ~1,000,000 years ago, which might help provide a window into how microbial life has changed over tens to hundreds of thousands of years.