Natalie Solonenko, Laboratory Manager
Natalie joined the Sullivan lab in September 2010. She earned her Master’s Degree in Integrative Biology from the University of South Carolina in 2009 exploring olfactory development in insects. After working a year in the Virology Lab at the Texas Department of State Health Services, she decided to return to the world of research to assist Drs. Duhaime and Holmfeldt with their work.

Photo of Post doc Ben BolducBen Bolduc, PhD, Computational Scientist
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.

Marie Burris, Research Technician
Marie joined the Sullivan lab in September 2018. She graduated from Ohio State University with a BS in Microbiology. She worked in the Wilkins lab prior to her graduation primarily on the anaerobic isolation and culturing of bacterial species from hydraulic fracturing wells.

Olivier Zablocki, PhD, Program Coordinator
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 cataloging the human gut virome, as well as developing new approaches to analyze viromes with long-read (Nanopore) technology. In February 2021, he transitioned into a research and project coordinator role in the Sullivan lab, where he assists with grant writing, publication needs (writing, editing, submission), and general project management.

Courtney Sanderson, Research Assistant
Courtney Sanderson 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 primarily works on the flow cytometer and investigates phage-host dynamics.



Cristina Howard-Varona, PhD |
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 joined the lab at OSU as a postdoc in 2015 and is currently a research scientist interested in virocell ecology and metabolism in diverse organisms including Cellulophaga balticaPseudoalteromonasCyanobacteria, and others.

Ahmed Zayed, PhD |
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. He is currently a Research Scientist in the Sullivan Lab, where he focuses on RNA virus ecology and evolution in the oceans.






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