Postdoctoral Researchers


Guillermo Dominguez Huerta, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Guillermo obtained his MSc in Advanced Biotechnology from the International University of Andalusia (Spain) and his PhD in Biology from the University of Malaga (Spain), where he studied the evolution of TYLCD-like begomoviruses following the theory of viral quasispecies. In October 2017 he joined the Sullivan lab, where he studies RNA viral communities from sea water, analyzing their diversity and their ecological implications in the ocean ecosystem.


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.


Howard2Cristina Howard-Varona, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate
Cristina on linkedin
Cristina on Twitter

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). She joined the lab as a post-doc in 2015, and 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. Cristina is interested in studying virocells across organisms and environments.


Ho Bin Jang, D.V.M., PhD, Research Scientist

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 viral tagging.



Akbar Adjie Pratama, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Associate
Adjie’s website
Adjie 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.


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.


Olivier ZablockiPostdoctoral Research Associate

Olivier obtained his PhD in Microbiology in 2016 from the University of Pretoria (South Africa), where he studied the taxonomic and functional diversity of virus communities in hyperarid desert soils through metagenomics. In his first postdoc, he moved to the University of the Western Cape (South Africa) where he looked at virus diversity in a terrestrial hot spring for mining viral thermophilic enzymes with potential biotechnological applications. He also led the development and optimization of a viral tagging/cytometry assay for the isolation of virus-host pairs from environmental samples. In February 2018, Olivier joined the Sullivan lab, where his main research entails terrestrial viromics, which seeks to identify the diversity, roles and impacts of virus communities in shaping soil ecosystem dynamics such as carbon turnover, host mortality and evolution. He’s also involved in cataloguing the human gut virome, as well as developing new approaches to analyze viromes with long-read (Nanopore) technology.


Ahmed Zayed, PhD, Research Scientist

Ahmed Zayed joined the Sullivan Lab in Spring 2017 as a PhD student. Before coming to the lab, he finished his master’s degree in Microbiology and Immunology and his undergraduate degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences, both from Cairo University, Egypt. Co-advised by Dr. Virginia Rich at OSU, he completed his PhD in 2019 where he studied microbe-environment interactions in the arctic and sub-arctic terrestrial and aquatic systems. Ahmed is interested in studying complex microbial and viral communities as well as their complex interactions across diverse ecosystems, including the global ocean, soils, and animal-associated ecosystems. By understanding the global and local determinants of community structure and function, he aims at finding solutions to global environmental and health problems.


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.



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