Graduate Students



Alfonso Carrillo, PhD student
Alfonso joined the Sullivan lab in the Spring of 2021 after graduating from the University of Florida with a B.S. and a M.S. in Microbiology from the University of Florida. Previously, he studied gut microbiota interactions with human norovirus alongside Dr. Melissa K. Jones at the University of Florida. Currently, he is working on how to implement phage therapy into Pseudomonas aeruginosa infected burn wounds along with aiding in the creation of a high-throughput screening method to detect phage-host relationships. 

Carlos Owusu-Ansah, PhD student
Carlos joined the Sullivan Lab in the spring of 2022 after graduating from the College of Wooster with a B.A. in Math and Physics. He is interested in characterizing the sequence space of phage genomes and how it modulates phage-host interactions. At present, he pursues this by identifying cyanophages in metagenomic datasets and assessing their roles in marine ecosystems.


Dylan Cronin

Dylan Cronin, PhD student
Dylan Cronin attended Bowling Green State University with a dual major in Computer Science and Biology with a specialization in Marine and Aquatic Sciences, where Dylan first found his interest in aquatic microbial ecology. Currently, he is interested in applying ‘omics data to examine global ocean phage ecology as well as studying viruses and their impact on the Pacific coral reefs.

Marissa R. Gittrich, PhD student
Marissa joined the Sullivan lab in the Spring of 2019 after receiving a B.S. in Microbiology from Bowling Green State University.  Previously she studied factors that contribute to Cyanobacteria blooms in Lake Erie. Currently she is studying the ecology of phage resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and is characterizing Pseudomonas phages.

Emily Hageman, Masters student
Emily joined the Sullivan in Summer 2021 after graduating from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and a minor in environmental science.  Emily’s interests include environmental microbiology and developing new techniques to studying microorganisms.


Mohamed M. Mohamed, PhD student
Mohamed is a biophysics student who joined the Sullivan Lab in Spring 2019. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Science and Technology at Zewail City, Egypt in 2018, where he studied biomedical sciences, with a focus on computational biology and a minor in physics. He is currently interested in applying ensemble assembly approaches to study microbial and viral communities in different environmental samples.

Kimberley S. Ndlovu, PhD student
Kim joined the Sullivan Lab in the Spring of 2021. She graduated from Missouri Valley College with a B.S in Biological Sciences and minors in Chemistry and Forensic Science. She is currently interested in studying the maternal (vaginal) & fetal (fecal) virome & microbiome and how specific taxa could increase low-birthweight and subsequent mortality of HIV-exposed uninfected infants. She is also interested in developing strategies for phage therapy in burn wounds and/or spinal cord injury-induced gut dysbiosis.

James Riddell, PhD student
James joined the Sullivan Lab in the Spring of 2023 after graduating from the University of California, San Diego with a B.S. in Marine Biology and a minor in Data Science. James combines his love for viral ecology, bioinformatics, and climate change by studying how viruses could be used as a biocontrol agent to reduce methane emissions in thawing permafrost microbial communities.


Rokaiya N. Shatadru, Masters student
Rokaiya joined the Sullivan lab in Fall 2021. She graduated from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, with a Bachelor of Science and subsequently obtained a Masters in Microbiology, for which she studied the genomics of pathogenic Pseudomonas aeruginosa. She is now particularly interested in phage genomics within the human microbiota, and to broadly understand how microbes impact human health.

Funing Tian,  PhD student
Funing joined the Sullivan Lab in Spring 2019 after she received her B.S. degree at Northwest A&F University in China. She used to focus on viral assembly and vaccine development. Currently, she is interested in marine viral manipulation on microbial community and hence the biogeochemical cycling with the application of omics data.


Courtney Sanderson, Masters student
Courtney joined the Sullivan lab in 2018 as an undergraduate and continued with the lab full-time after graduating with a BS in Microbiology in 2020. She then became a research assistant in the Sullivan Lab, where she focused on flow cytometry, phage-host dynamics, and long-read sequencing analysis. In September ’23, she started her Masters program in the Sullivan Lab.


Dawson Phan, PhD student
Dawson (co-supervised by Dr. Virginia Rich) joined the Sullivan lab in Autumn 2023. He received a B.Sc. from McGill University (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) in Spring 2022 where he focused his coursework on Ecology & Evolution, Statistics, and Environmental Science. During his undergraduate studies, he obtained research experience through conducting statistical analyses across a wide range of disciplines including isotope geochemistry, limnology, and geography. Shortly after graduation, in Spring 2023, he worked with Dr. Virginia Rich and Dr. Ahmed Zayed as a Research Consultant, where he analyzed links between the microbial metatranscriptome and metaproteome of Stordalen Mire. Broadly, Dawson is interested in integrating a “systems thinking” approach towards using and developing quantitative methods to describe, understand, and predict reciprocal environmental and biological change. With a focus on biological oceanography, Dawson is interested in applying a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives to understand the eco-evolutionary interactions driving complex microbial and viral-mediated metabolic transformations. He hopes to combine traditional ecogenomic storytelling with innovative approaches borrowed from Applied Mathematics and Modern Statistics such as the development of genome-scale metabolic community models and Bayesian-inspired statistical metrics.

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