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 joined the Sullivan Lab in February 2016  from the University of the Western Cape (Cape Town, South Africa) where he looked at virus diversity in a terrestrial hot spring for mining viral thermophilic enzymes with potential biotechnological applications. As a postdoc in the Sullivan Lab, his main research was soil virus ecology, specifically to identify the diversity, roles and impacts of virus communities in shaping soil ecosystem dynamics such as carbon turnover, host mortality and evolution via a genome-resolved SIP approach. He also worked on a gut virome database and developed expertise and protocols in long-read viromics. In February 2021, he transitioned into a grant writer 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.



Ami Fonfana, Research Assistant
Ami joined the Sullivan lab in March 2022. She obtained her master’s degree in environmental science from Ohio State University. Her MS work in Dr. Virginia Rich’s lab focused on microbial substrate utilization in peatlands of Northern Sweden. Ami has now redirected her focus from microbes in soils to microbes in oceans. Her current work entails Synechococcus culturing, flow cytometry and viral tagging of marine cyanophages.

Cristina Howard-Varona, PhD, Research Scientist
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, 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. He is currently a Research Scientist in the Sullivan Lab, where he focuses on RNA virus ecology and evolution in the oceans.

Ann Gregory, PhD, Consultant
Ann Gregory is a viral ecologist and population geneticist interested in understanding the role of viruses in human gut microbiome dynamics. Ann received her PhD in Matt Sullivan’s lab at Ohio State University where she studied viruses in the global oceans and human gut. Ann received the EMBO fellowship for a postdoc position in Belgium at KU Leuven under the mentorship of Jeroen Raes, where she shifted gears to focus on bacterial metabolisms in the human gut. After completing her fellowship, Ann moved back to the US to be closer to family and recently re-joined the Sullivan lab for another postdoc to re-focus on viruses. She is currently a consultant for the Sullivan Lab.

Ricardo Rocha Pavan Silva, PhD, Consultant
Ricardo R P Silva worked with several areas related to environmental issues such as aquatic ecosystems, microalgae toxicity, genetics and climate change. He earned his MSc in Animal Biology in 2009 at the University of Brasilia (UnB), Brazil. During his PhD at the University of Tasmania, he looked at the effects of environmental changes in the microbial community composition and function in a hypoxic and stratified marine system using molecular techniques. He is currently a consultant in the Sullivan, where he develops novel methods to analyze virome data.

Guillermo Dominguez Huerta, PhD | Consultant
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. Guillermo is currently a freelance Science Consultant.

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.