Lots to celebrate in the Ishaq Lab this fall!

Ayodeji Olaniyi, B.S.

Master of Science student.

Ayodeji joined the lab in 2022, and has been investigating the Vibrio bacteria associated with different scallop hatchery tank systems. Ayodeji won a travel award from the University of Maine Aquaculture Research Institute Rapid Response Fund, to present his work at the upcoming meeting: Northeast Aquaculture Conference & Exposition (NACE) and the 43rd Milford Aquaculture Seminar (MAS)! He is also celebrating research job offers for when he defends his thesis in January!!

Marissa received a research award from the Bioscience Association of Maine, and contibuted to two papers this year!!

Marissa Kinney

Marissa Kinney 

Master of Science student

Marissa completed her undergraduate at the University of Maine in 2021, earning a BS in Microbiology and a BS in Cellular/Molecular Biology, and after graduating worked in the field of public health at UMaine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center. She’s been crushing it since joining the lab in early 2023, including contibuting to the two papers listed below, being awarded a One Health and the Environment NRT Fellowship 2023 – 2024 at UMaine, and now, a research award from the Bioscience Association of Maine!!

Lola was first author on a paper that was just accepted (details soon), and contributed to a second paper that was recently published!

Portrait of Lola Holcomb, wearing a block sweater on a beach at sunset

Lola Holcomb

Doctorate of Philosophy candidate.

Lola entered as a rotating first-year GSBSE student in March 2022, and declared the Ishaq Lab her dissertation lab soon after, where she has been performing 16s data analysis for other ongoing lab projects, comparing gut microbiomes of mouse models of Inflammatory Bowel Disease with broccoli as a dietary treatment.  Lola was awarded a One Health and the Environment NRT Fellowship 2022- 2024 here at UMaine.  She led the data analysis on a paper using a Crohn’s Disease mouse model for innovate diet-microbe research.

Johanna was first author on a paper that was recently published, and contributed to a second paper accepted (details soon)!

Johanna Holman, B.S., M.S.

Doctor of Philosophy student

Johanna joined the lab in fall 2020 to investigate the effects of diet on the gut microbiome, and on host-microbial interactions. For the past several years, she has been working with Drs. Tao Zhang and Yanyan Li, and her project will combine her previous work on the nutritional biochemistry of broccoli with effects on gut microbes. She obtained her master’s in nutrition in summer 2022, and returned to the Ishaq and Li labs for her PhD! She won the 2022 Norris Charles Clements Graduate Student Award and the 2020-2021 University of Maine Graduate Student Employee of the Year. She led a large mouse project which was recently published, and led much of the lab work for a second paper that was just accepted.

Alexis is returning soon as PhD student in Microbiology!

Alexis Kirkendall

Undergraduate Researcher

Alexis is from Ohio and is about to graduate a semeser early in Biology at Heidelberg University. She joined the lab through the Summer 2022 REU, continued her work remotely, and returned to Maine in summer 2023 as a research assistant for several projects related to gut microbes, diet, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. She was just accepted into the microbiology program at UMaine!!


Esther joined the lab!

Esther Alaba

Doctorate of Philosophy candidate

Esther has won several awards for combining mechanistic and functional tools to investigate dietary interventions in managing metabolic diseases. Her teaching experience includes Basic Physiology, Anatomy, and Experimental Physiology courses. She is passionate about Girls’ Education and Empowerment and currently mentors several young women towards successful career development. 

Her desire to utilize bioinformatics tools for nutritional therapy brought her to Ishaq’s lab. She currently works on human and mouse data to identify the microbiome and metabolomic pathways involved in the ameliorative effects of broccoli sprouts during IBD.

Esther is being co-advised by Dr. Yanyan Li.

Leave a Reply