Bethany Kolody, PhD Student

Bethany is a 2nd year Ph.D. student being co-advised by Eric Allen and Andy Allen. She is originally from Flagstaff, Arizona, but quickly came to love traveling after spending a year of high school in Madrid. She was a member of the first graduating class of New York University Abu Dhabi, NYU’s “world honors college,” in the Middle East, where she had the opportunity to study in Sri Lanka, Ghana, and China. She was introduced to Biology during her time “abroad” in New York City. There, she worked in Fabio Piano’s lab studying mRNA localization in C. elegans. It soon became apparent, however, that she was more interested in the nematodes themselves than their mRNA, and for her capstone thesis she orchestrated the first molecular phylogenetic survey of marine nematodes across the Arabian Gulf. After spending a semester studying Vibrio bacterial distribution from the deck of a tall ship, Bethany decided to shift her focus to smaller, even more obscure organisms—marine microbes.

Research Interests:

  • The impact of thermohaline circulation on marine bacterial evolution
  • Microbial community-scale responses to environmental cues
  • Bacterial communication via quorum sensing and chemical signaling
  • The impact of horizontal gene transfer on microbial adaptation and evolution
  • Time series and big data analytics

Bethany is interested in the inner workings of the ocean’s microbial world. She wants to understand how microbes came to assemble in their current environments (no pun intended), and how stable or ephemeral these ecosystems are. She is interested in the scales at which microbes react transcriptionally versus genetically to environmental changes.

Bethany is a contributor to the comic website Squidtoons.com, which seeks to illustrate scientific research for the public. You can check out some of her artwork here.

Bethany has been awarded the Dickinson-McCrink Fellowship (2014-2015) and the NSF GRFP (2014-2019).