Projects

An investigation into rumen fungal and protozoal diversity in three rumen fractions, during high-fiber or grain-induced sub-acute ruminal acidosis conditions, with or without active dry yeast supplementation. 

Ruminal acidosis is a condition in which the pH of the rumen is considerably lower than normal, and if severe enough can cause damage to the stomach and localized symptoms, or systemic illness in cows.  Often, these symptoms result from the low pH reducing the ability of microorganisms to ferment fiber, or by killing them outright. […]

Biogeographical Differences in the Influence of Maternal Microbial Sources on the Early Successional Development of the Bovine Neonatal Gastrointestinal tract.

Most studies that examine the microbial diversity of the gastrointestinal tract only look at one or two sample sites, usually the mouth, the rumen in ruminant animals, or the feces.  It can be difficult, expensive, invasive, or fatal to get samples from deep inside the intestinal tract; however many studies have pointed out that anatomical […]

Ground Juniperus pinchotii and urea in supplements fed to Rambouillet ewe lambs. Part 2: Ewe lamb rumen microbial communities.

In 2015, while working in the Yeoman Lab, I was invited to perform the sequence analysis on some samples from a previously-run diet study.  The study was part of ongoing research by Dr. Travis Whitney at Texas A & M on the use of juniper as a feed additive for sheep.  Coupled with the animal health and physiology […]

A living soil inoculum increases soil microbial diversity, crop and weed growth using soil from organic and conventional farms in northeastern Montana.

What began as a simple data analysis project for me in the Yeoman lab turned into a publication, a conference presentation, a post-doc position, and a long-term, multi-project collaboration with the Menalled lab at Montana State University investigating soil microbial communities in agricultural settings and plant-soil feedbacks. This study was part of a larger investigation on […]

High-throughput DNA sequencing of the moose rumen from different geographical location reveals a core ruminal methanogenic archaeal diversity and a differential ciliate protozoal diversity.

This project expanded upon my work with moose bacteria from three geographic locations, to explore whether there were differences in methanogenic archaea or ciliated protozoa based on location. Archaea are microorganisms in their own Domain, as they are neither Bacteria nor Eukaryota, although they often have similarities to organisms found in the other two domains.  […]

Fibrolytic bacteria isolated from the rumen of North American moose (Alces alces) and their potential as a probiotic for ruminants.

In order to investigate the moose rumen bacteria face-to-face, I spent two weeks at the University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway, in the lab of Dr. Monica A. Sundset.  There, I learned how to anaerobically isolate and culture bacteria from the digestive tract of reindeer using an anaerobic chamber.  The chamber allows you to create an enclosed […]

Dissertation: A Comparative Analysis Of The Moose Rumen Microbiota And The Pursuit Of Improving Fibrolytic Systems

As a Ph.D. student, I worked in the laboratory of Dr. André-Denis Wright in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Vermont. My thesis work investigated the microorganisms (bacteria, archaea, and protozoa) in the digestive tract of the moose from several geographical locations. In addition to identifying bacteria and ciliate protozoa using high-throughput sequencing, […]

Design and validation of four new primers for next-generation sequencing to target the 18S rRNA gene of gastrointestinal ciliate protozoa.

If the research tools you require don’t exist- then you must create them yourself.  Such is often the case in working with microbial genomics.  In order to adapt sequencing technology to identify rumen ciliate protozoa, we needed to first design primers which to be used for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) in order to amplify enough […]

High-throughput DNA sequencing of the ruminal bacteria from moose (Alces alces) in Vermont, Alaska, and Norway.

For the second project of my Ph.D., I expanded upon my findings in Vermont moose.  Following the collection of samples from moose in Vermont, I was able to obtain samples from moose in Alaska and Norway, as well.  The Alaskan moose were part of the Moose Research Station herd in Soldotna, Alaska, where they were […]

Insight into the bacterial gut microbiome of the North American moose (Alces alces).

My first research project as a Ph.D. student was investigating the differences in the rumen and colon bacterial communities in moose from Vermont.  To obtain samples, I needed to secure permission from VT Department of Fish and Wildlife, as moose hunting and moose sample collection are tightly regulated; hunting is only permitted for approximately one […]