Former lab members

These are some former lab members or affiliates of the Ishaq Lab. Note, only members who actively contributed a profile are included here. Many of the former Ishaq Lab members are still collaborating with the Ishaq Lab on manuscripts or other outputs resulting from their work.

Myra Arshad

Myra Arshad, Ecosystems and Human Impact, Stony Brook University, and UMaine REU student 2021-2022. Due to the ongoing pandemic, she conducted her REU remote research for the Ishaq lab by doing data analysis on camel metagenomic data, and will be an author on that forthcoming manuscript.

Joe Balkan, performing culturing of bacteria at the anaerobic chamber. Joe is wearing a face mask, and is holding up a culture plate. There are stacks of petri dishes inside the chamber.

Joe Balkan, Biology, Tufts University, Mar 2020 – 2022. Joe Balkan is from South Burlington, Vermont and is majoring in biology at Tufts University.  He enjoys research related to human health, and is especially interested in the microbiome.  Joe was researching protocols for the lab’s investigation of broccoli bioactive metabolism in the gut, and will be author on that forthcoming manuscript.

A person holding a mouse in a research facility. The person is wearing a hairnet, nitrile gloves, a surgical mask, and a surgical gown. The mouse with dark brown fur is sitting on the top of the person's hand. In the background, there are metal shelves with bins and containers of research supplies.

Dorien Baudewyns, B.S., Research Assistant, Husson University. Advisor: Yanyan Li and Tao Zhang. 2020 – 2021. Dorien was a research assistant at Husson University, who is working with the Ishaq lab and with Drs. Tao Zhang and Yanyan Li at Husson University. She assisted with projects related to bioactive compounds in broccoli, gut microbes, and health. She graduated with her bachelor’s in Nutrition from Husson.

Woman standing on the ocean shoreline.

Jade Chin, Undergraduate Researcher, Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Biology, Jan 2020 – May 2021. She joined the lab in spring 2020 to study leaf silage microbes for her Honors thesis, for which she was awarded High Honors. She finished her senior year abroad at the University of Glasgow, where she will attend veterinary school after her undergraduate degree.

Chin, J. 2021. “The Potential Use Of Tree Leaf Silage For Livestock Nutrition, Including Willow, Drumstick, Mulberry, And Acacia Species.”, University of Maine Honor College. 719.

Picture of woman in front of desert mountains

Alexandria Fahey, Master’s of Professional Studies, Molecular and Biomedical Sciences, 2020. Alexandria was studying to earn a Masters of Professional Studies in Microbiology. She is interested in learning new techniques to better understand the microbiome and its intersection with human health, and assisted with a variety of projects in the Ishaq lab.

Rebecca French

Rebecca French, Undergraduate Researcher, Animal and Veterinary Sciences, 2021-2022. She joined the Ishaq lab team in 2021 as a part of her capstone project, which is focused on flying squirrels and mice that are carrying zoonotic pathogens into Maine. After she finished her undergraduate degree, she headed to Long Island Veterinary Medicine.

Wild blueberries on a bush.

Nick Hershbine, Undergraduate Researcher, Ecology and Environmental Sciences, 2020-2021. Nick was exploring the microbial communities associated with wild Maine blueberry soils in a joint project between Drs. Lily Calderwood and Ishaq. 2020-2021 University of Maine Undergraduate Student Employee of the Year

Sarah Hosler posing at a microscope, wearing a lab coat, standing in a research lab

Sarah Hosler, B.S., Master’s of Science, Animal Science, Sept 2020 – Aug 2022. Sarah joined the lab in fall 2020 to create new methods for studying host-microbial interactions. 2022 Finalist for UMaine NSFA graduate awards

Hosler, S. Weaving An Interdisciplinary Microbiome Career Using Threads From Different Ecosystems. 2022. University of Maine Master’s of Science. Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3626.

Picture of a woman smiling and leaning against a wall. The picture is from a three quarters view of her face and there are small plants on the wall next to and above her.

Marjorie Killerby, B.S., Master’s of Science, Animal Science, Adviser: Dr. Juan Romero, Sept 2019 – Aug 2021. She defended her master’s in August 2021, and had been researching the effects of novel preservatives on nutritional quality and microbial communities in silage and hay for the dairy industry. I mentored Marjorie as a graduate committee member in microbial ecology, DNA sequencing, and bioinformatic analysis.

Woman sitting outside.

Grace Lee, B.S., Research Assistant, Neuroscience, Bowdoin College, June 2020 – July 2021.
Grace was accepted to the University of Maine REU program for summer 2020, which was postponed due to pandemic concerns. She joined the Ishaq lab remotely to learn data analysis for a project on microbes and animal health. She graduated with her bachelor’s in Neuroscience from Bowdoin, and is conducting research there.

Photo of woman in front of mountains

Tindall Ouverson, B.S., Master’s of Science, Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, Montana State University. Adviser: Drs. Fabian Menalled and Tim Seipel. Dec 2018 – Aug 2021. Her research focused on the response of soil microbial communities to cropping systems and climate change in semiarid agriculture. I mentored Tindall as a graduate committee member in microbial ecology, DNA sequencing, and bioinformatic analysis.

Temporal soil bacterial community responses to cropping systems and crop identity in dryland agroecosystems of the Northern Great Plains. 

Ouverson, Laura Tindall, “Response Of Soil Bacterial Communities To Cropping Systems, Temporal Changes, And Environmental Conditions In The Northern Great Plains.” 2021. Montana State University. Pp 126.

First prize in the graduate students poster competition at the 2021 Montana State University LRES research colloquium

Jahnavi Pathak, Professional Science master’s in bioinformatics, Research Student, UMaine (Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering). Spring/Summer 2023.

Jahnavi is a research student who is currently working remotely at The Ishaq Lab on a project that involves analyzing 16S human gut data related to the microbiome and inflammatory bowel disease. Her work involves developing and implementing computational methods, testing hypotheses, and analyzing data to gain insights into complex biological systems. She is particularly interested in etiological studies of chronic diseases to determine their underlying causes and patterns. Apart from her research work, Jahnavi enjoys spending time outdoors and discovering the beauty of nature.

Alessia Pellegrini, Research Assistant, Westlake High School, Spring 2021

Alessia is an inducted member of her school’s Science National Honor Society, for which her work consisted of researching and creating a resource list about scientists from underrepresented groups in the microbiology and technology fields. She added alternative text to many of the posts on the Ishaq Lab’s website in order to make it more accessible to visually impaired visitors. She is studying Biology at Connecticut College.

Marielle Pelletier, Undergraduate Researcher, Animal and Veterinary Sciences, 2022- 2023. She has worked in the veterinary field since high school
and has personally seen the effects of veterinary shortages in various areas of the world.  Her experiences in veterinary medicine in both rural and urban Maine as well as in underdeveloped Costa Rican neighborhoods have piqued her interest in the veterinary shortage crisis Maine is currently facing.  As a Top Scholar at the University of Maine, Ellie hopes to expand her knowledge in the animal and environmental health areas and connect with local policymakers to create an effective management plan to absorb Maine’s shortage while
advancing her laboratory and research skills.

Portrait of Emily Pierce

Emily Pierce, Undergraduate researcher, Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Jan 2020 – May 2021. She joined the lab in spring 2020 to study work on culturing rumen cells and the immune factor production after coculturing with microbes. After she finished her undergraduate degree, she headed to Kansas State College of Veterinary Medicine. 2021 CUGR Fellowship

Morgan Rocks, Undergraduate Researcher, Animal and Veterinary Sciences, 2021-2022. Morgan joined the lab in 2021 to work on the small animal microbiome project for her senior capstone. Her current work is focusing on the DNA sequencing of pathogens found within the squirrel and small rodent populations in Maine.

Emily Sala holding up a newborn lamb.

Emily Sala, Undergraduate researcher, Animal and Veterinary Sciences, 2022-2023. Emily Sala is an undergraduate student majoring in Animal and Veterinary Sciences with a Pre-Veterinary Sciences concentration. Emily has extensive experience working with small ruminants, through her own sheep farm she started in 2015, and her fiance’s dairy goat farm. Emily has seen first hand the struggle small ruminant farmers around New England have had with intestinal parasites. Resistance to deworming medications is a growing problem in both sheep and goat farms across the nation. Through her research at the University of Maine, Emily hopes to gain a better understanding of how intestinal parasites in sheep and goats respond to alternative deworming practices. With the increase in resistance to veterinary deworming medications, this research will give insight as to whether or not pumpkins can be used as a viable alternative to traditional deworming practices.

Natalie Sullivan walking a black calf down a dirt road on a farm, using a halter and lead.

Natalie Sullivan, Undergraduate Researcher, Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Sept 2021 – May 2022. Natalie was an animal and veterinary science student with a minor in education. She joined the lab in 2021 as a part of her capstone project, focuses tracking the trends in the spread of Cryptosporidium parvum at the Witter farm.

Omar Tavio, Research Assistant, Husson University, 2021

Evan Warburton, Undergraduate, Microbiology, Fall 2020. Evan Warburton joined the lab for fall 2020 to work on gut microbiology and learn some basic techniques, but discovered a passion for mycology and decided to pursue that interest in a lab more focused on that work.

Ryan Wijayanayake, Master of Professional Studies, Animal Sciences. Hello! My name is Ryan Wijayanayake. I am a grad student working in the Ishaq lab. I attended undergrad at St. Francis Xavier in Nova Scotia, then worked for a biotech company in Boston as a research assistant for a year and a half before attending Umaine for graduate school.