Postdoctoral Researchers

Jiarong Guo, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate
Jiarong is interested in microbial ecology and bioinformatics, using meta-omics to understand the unknown majority of microbes and viruses and their functions. For his PhD and first post-doctoral position at Michigan State, he mainly studied the microbiome around biofuel crop roots (rhizosphere) to identify bacterial species and functions enriched around the rhizosphere for potential engineering of a beneficial microbiome. Jiarong also learned to program and develop bioinformatics pipelines that enable efficient and scalable metagenomic analyses with large shotgun sequencing dataset. In the Sullivan Lab he works with the iVirus team to help develop the next generation of tools for viral ecology, including viral sequence identification and classification.

Marion Urvoy, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate
Marion joined the Sullivan lab in September 2022 after obtaining her Ph.D. in marine biology from the University of Western Brittany (France). Her thesis investigated the processes structuring the composition and function of marine and estuarine bacterial communities and their impact on global marine biogeochemical cycles. In particular, she focused on quorum sensing, a communication mechanism used by bacteria. In the Sullivan lab, she currently studies virocell metabolism and its impact on the extracellular environment.


Akbar Adjie Pratama, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate Adjie’s websiteAdjie on Twitter
Adjie obtained his Ph.D. in November 2018 from Department of Microbial Ecology, Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences, University of Groningen, The Netherlands. His Ph.D. research focused on the role of bacteriophage in the ecology and evolution of fungal-interactive (soil) bacteria, Paraburkholderia species. In September 2019, he joined the Sullivan lab, where the main goal is to unveil the diversity and the ecological significance, e.g. in nutrient cycling and alter soil microbiome communities, of soil viral populations from IsoGenie’s near-decade sampling along a permafrost thaw gradient.

Christine Sun, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate
Christine graduated with a BA in Biology with a concentration in Microbiology in 2006 from Cornell University. Her first research project was as an undergraduate in the laboratory of Stephen Zinder, where she investigated temporal patterns of methanogenesis and methanogen composition in different peatlands. Christine obtained her PhD in Microbiology in 2013 from the University of California, Berkeley, where she worked in the laboratory of Jillian Banfield. Her PhD research was primarily computational and she learned how to use different bioinformatic tools to understand and evaluate microbial communities. Christine’s research was focused on metagenomic analyses of CRISPR-mediated host-virus interactions. She continued research into ecological analyses in microbial communities in her first post-doctoral position at Stanford University, where she worked in the laboratory of David Relman. Her work focused on the metagenomic analysis of microbial communities during pregnancy in humans. In July 2018, Christine joined the Sullivan lab, where she currently studies the viral diversity and ecology of microbial communities from different soils and permafrost.

Dean Vik, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate
Dean joined the Sullivan Lab in Fall 2014 from his undergraduate degree at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is very interested in virus-host interactions as they influence microbial evolution and large scale ecosystem functions such as oceanic nutrient cycling. His thesis focus was on archaeovirus biogeography in oxygen minimum zones. Currently, he is developing microbiome workflows, and is part-time data analyst at the Center of Microbiome Science/AMSL laboratory.

Zhiping Zhong photo

James Wainaina, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate
James obtained his PhD in Biochemistry specialization genomics and computational biology in 2019 from the University of Western Australia (Perth, Australia). His research focus was on phylogenomics and evolution of viruses and insect vectors within smallholder agro-ecosystems in the western highlands of Kenya. His primary interests are in understanding the evolution of viruses and the potential drivers of this evolution, using Bayesian phylogenetic methods and next-generation sequencing. He joined the Sullivan lab in June 2019, to investigate global AMGs and RNA viruses as part of the Tara Oceans research project.


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