Past Lab Members

Megan Barron | Ph.D. Graduate | mebarron@ucsd.edu

Megan Barron is a 6th year Ph.D. student in the Tresguerres lab. Megan grew up in Spotsylvania, Virginia and attended the University of Virginia (UVA), where she received her Bachelor’s (BS) degree in Biology and a minor in French. As an undergrad, she completed two semesters of independent research, and was also a member of UVA’s synthetic biology team. Megan enjoys teaching, and helped co-teach a seminar in Synthetic Biology and peer teach Introductory Molecular Biology labs. After graduation, she briefly interned abroad before moving to San Diego in the fall to begin her doctoral study. In her spare time, Megan enjoys playing the ukulele (poorly), running (slowly), and backpacking/camping.

Research Interests:

  • mechanisms for sensing acid/base disturbances
  • regulation of intracellular pH
  • physiology of marine invertebrates (corals & oysters)
  • mechanisms behind calcification
  • potential harmful and beneficial impacts of Ocean Acidification

She is currently studying the physiology of corals. Her project investigates the genes and proteins that may be involved in acid/base sensing, intracellular pH regulation, and calcification. Through her project, she hopes to better understand and predict the capacity of these marine calcifiers to handle projected changes in ocean chemistry.  Her focus is on soluble Adenylyl Cyclase (sAC), a bicarbonate-sensing enzyme that converts ATP into cAMP and may be involved in pathways affected by Ocean Acidification.

While at SIO, Megan has tutored local high school students and has mentored a middle school student through the SPAWAR/GetMagic collaboration (a program that encourages girls who are interested in STEM fields). She also assists with the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB), training local teams in preparation for the Grunion Bowl and providing assistance during the competition itself. However, her favorite volunteer experiences involve giving aquarium tours to visiting kids- they go absolutely crazy at the tide pool “touching” tank and it’s hillarious.

Megan has been awarded the UCSD / SIO Regents Fellowship (2011 – 2012) and the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (2012 – 2015).

 

Taylor Smith | Undergrad Volunteer | t1smith@ucsd.edu

Taylor Smith was born in Switzerland and grew up in New York, but spent most of her summers in California. She first learned of Scripps during Sea Camp in middle school, and contacted Dr. Jeff Graham in high school to carry out independent research on juvenile leopard sharks. She then moved to the west coast to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology at the University of California, San Diego. She is currently a 4th year undergraduate volunteering in the Dr. Semmens’ and Dr. Tresguerres’ lab.

Taylor is currently working with PhD candidate Garfield Kwan to study the cellular processes for biomineralization in otolith sac epithelium of various fish species. She is also working on an independent study analyzing the feeding behavior of manta rays through the Faculty Mentorship Program as well as collaborated on a manta ray social behavior project under PhD candidate Joshua Stewart.

 

Jinae RoaJinae Roa | Ph.D. Graduate | jnbroa@ucsd.edu

Jinae Roa, a native of southern California, received her BS from the University of California, Santa Barbara, before going on to work on her Master’s thesis at California State University, Long Beach. While at Long Beach she studied muscle physiology of marine fishes, specifically how size, gender, population size, fishing pressure, and water temperature affected the muscle composition of California sheephead, Semicossyphus pulcher. She is currently a PhD student in the Tresguerres Lab at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Research Interest:

  • Mechanisms for acid/base sensing and regulation in elasmobranch fishes
  • Physiology of marine fishes

At SIO her research utilizes molecular, cellular, and whole-animal biology to investigate physiological responses associated with changes in intracellular and blood pH. She is currently investigating cellular mechanisms responsible for acid/base sensing and regulation in leopard sharks. Jinae utilizes molecular, cellular, and whole-animal biology to investigate physiological responses associated with changes in intracellular and blood pH.

She is currently funded by the NIH Training Grant in Marine Biotechnology (2013-2015) and has been awarded the San Diego Fellowship (2011-2013) and the California State University Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholar (2010-2011).

Selected Publications:

Tresguerres, M., Barott, K.L., Barron, M.E., Roa, J.N. 2014. Established and potential physiological roles of bicarbonate-sensing soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC) in aquatic animals. J. Exp. Biol. 217, 663–672.

Roa, J.N., Barron, M.E., Tresguerres, M. 2012. Bicarbonate- sensing soluble adenylyl cyclase in elasmobranch and teleost fishes. FASEB Journal 26.

Barron, M.E., Roa, J.N, Tresguerres, M. 2012. Pacific oyster mantle, gill and hemocytes express the bicarbonate-sensing enzyme soluble adenylyl cyclase. FASEB Journal 26.

Bagulayan, A., J.N. Bartlett-Roa, A.L. Carter, B.G. Inman, E.M. Keen, E.C. Orenstein, N.V. Patin, K.N.S. Sato, E.C. Sibert, A.E. Simonis, A.M. Van Cise, and P.J.S. Franks. 2012. Journey to the center of the gyre: The fate of the Tohoku Tsunami debris field. Oceanography 25(2): 200–207.

 

Katie Barott  | Post-doctoral Researcher | kbarott@ucsd.edukatie

Dr. Katie Barott is a postdoctoral scholar in the Tresguerres lab studying coral physiology and symbiosis. Katie completed her BS in Zoology and her BS in biochemistry and molecular biology at Michigan State University. After graduating she moved to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where she worked as a Research Assistant studying microbial oceanography. She then moved to San Diego to complete her PhD as part of the joint program in biology between UCSD and SDSU. Katie’s PhD work focused on the role of bacteria in competition between corals and benthic algae. 

Research Interests:

  • Coral physiology and pH regulation
  • Interactions between corals, benthic algae, and microbes
  • Response of reef organisms to human impacts, particularly ocean acidification
  • Metagenomics

Katie is interested in understanding how corals interact with other organisms on the reef, from fellow macro-organisms competing for space on the benthos down to their endosymbiotic algae and bacteria. Her current research investigates some of the molecular mechanisms that influence coral symbiosis with their algal endosymbionts, with a particular focus on the role of pH regulation. She is also interested in how environmental factors such as human activity affect coral interactions and survival on the reef.

Katie has been awarded the NSF Ocean Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (2012 – 2014), the NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship (2012, declined), the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Fellowship (2011), and the NSF GRFP (2007 – 2010).

Selected Publications:

Barott, K.L., Venn, A.A., Perez, S.O., Tambutte, S.T., Tresguerres, M. 2015. Coral host cells acidify symbiotic algal microenvironment to promote photosynthesis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 112:607-612. 10.1073/pnas.1413483112

Barott K, Y Helman, K Hess, M Barron, L Haramaty, J Buck, L Levin, and M Tresguerres. (2013) High adenylyl cyclase activity and in vivo cAMP fluctuations in corals suggest central physiological role. Sci. Reports 3: 1379.

Barott K and F Rohwer. (2012) Unseen players shape benthic competition on coral reefs. Trends in Microbiology 20(12): 621-628. Cover photo.

Barott K, G Williams, M Vermeij, J Harris, J Smith, F Rohwer and S Sandin. (2012) Natural history of coral-algae competition across a gradient of human activity in the Line Islands. Marine Ecology Progress Series 460: 1-12. Feature Article.

Barott K, B Rodriquez-Brito, M Youle, K Marhaver, M Vermeij, J Smith, and F Rohwer. (2012) Microbial to reef scale interactions between the reef-building coral Montastraea annularis and benthic algae. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 279(1733): 1655-1664.

Kelly L, K Barott, E Dinsdale, A Friedlander, B Nosrat, D Obura, E Sala, S Sandin, J Smith, M Vermeij, G Williams, D Willner, and F Rohwer. (2012) Black reefs: iron-induced phase shifts on coral reefs. ISME Journal 6: 638-649.

 

Jörn Thomsen | Post-doctoral Researcher | joernthomsen@geomar.dejorn

Jörn Thomsen was a postdoctoral scholar in the Tresguerres lab. Jörn received a diploma in Biology from Kiel University, Germany in 2009. In his PhD studies at GEOMAR, Germany, he investigated the ecophysiology of marine bivalves in an acidified ocean by combining laboratory and field studies. This field of research was extended in a first postdoctoral phase which focused on adaptation potential. His stay at SIO was funded by a scholarship by the German academic exchange service (DAAD). The research investigated the localization and mechanisms of ammonia excretion in mussels.

Research Interests:

  • Ecophysiology of marine invertebrates
  • Mechanisms of ammonia excretion and acid-base regulation in marine bivalves
  • Impact of global change (ocean acidification, desalination, and warming) on marine biota
  • Acclimation and adaptation to environmental stress

 

Yuzo Yanagitsuru | Undergrad Volunteer | yyanagit@ucsd.eduyuzo

Yuzo Yanagitsuru is a 4th year undergraduate volunteer in the Tresguerres lab. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor’s in biology: ecology, behavior, and evolution as well as a Bachelor’s in earth science. Yuzo wants to know everything about fish and is especially interested in fish biomechanics. In the past, Yuzo worked in Jeff Graham’s lab on mudskipper respiration physiology and its implication for the evolution of tetrapods. He also worked at the acclimation of mudsuckers to aerial exposure. He is also working at Scripps’ Marine Vertebrate Collection as a curator assistant. Yuzo is currently working with flatfish and the difference between the gills exposed to the water and the gills exposed to the sediments.

Yuzo also wants to research the biomechanics of fish behavior and functional morphology, particularly in fish locomotion because of its application in biomimetics for autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) which could be used for deep sea research. I am also interested in providing research opportunities for undergraduates and high schoolers in the future. He will be applying for graduate school in fish biomechanics labs for Fall 2015. However, above all else he hopes to teach a fish biology class at the university level.

Yuzo is currently funded by the David Marc Belkin Memorial Research Scholarship.

 

Jenny Tu | M.S. Graduate | jetu@ucsd.edu

Jenny Tu is a 2nd year M.S. student co-chaired by Dr. Deheyn and Dr. Tresguerres. Originally from Fremont, California, she moved to San Diego to complete her Bachelor’s degree in human biology at University of California, San Diego. As an undergraduate, Jenny developed her research in the Deheyn lab at SIO. Her project was primarily focused on characterizing the mechanism behind the bioluminescence capability of the mucus secreted by a marine worm, Chaetopterus sp. She tested the effecJennyt of physico-chemical conditions (pH, temperature, and salinity) and dose responses of various chemicals (metals, oxidizers, and reducers) in order to identify the key components that affect bioluminescence. Towards the end of her undergraduate project, Jenny showed evidence that the control of light production results from the balance between inhibitor and activator processes. 

Research Interests:

• Light Production, such as fluorescence and bioluminescence

• Climate Change, particularly ocean acidification

• Comparative Physiology

• Acid/Base Regulation

• Carbon-concentrating Mechanisms

• Cnidarians & Coral reefs

Jenny’s research studies the effect of ocean acidification—both acute and chronic—on the abundance of vacuolar proton pumps, reactive oxygen species, and green fluorescent proteins in the cnidarians Acropora yongei and Anemonia majano.

 

Sidney Perez | M.S. Graduate | soperez@ucsd.edu

IMG_2697Sidney is a 1st year Master’s student in the lab. She grew up in the small town of Menifee, California before attending college at UCSD.  She began participating in undergraduate research as a freshman with her involvement in the program: Initiative to Maximize Student Diversity (IMSD) in Science.  Through this program Sidney participated on projects involving drug discovery efforts toward the treatment of hookworm, as well as exploring the neuronal effects of alcohol on fetuses exposed to alcohol in utero.  In 2011 she took a chance toward change and travelled to Australia for   a Marine Biology program in which she conducted field experiments on a coral reef flat. It was this period in which she realized her fascination with corals.  She returned to the U.S. in search for a lab that focused on coral physiology and was thrilled to discover the Tresguerres lab. In 2013 Sidney graduated from UCSD with a BS in Biochemistry & Cell Biology and she is now pursuing her MS in Biology through UCSD.

Sidney is also a graduate intern at UCSD’s Environmental Affairs department in which she organizes efforts to reduce the University’s water usage and monitors the campus’ storm drains for ocean pollutants.  She hopes to integrate her degrees and experience with environmental affairs to pursue a career in environmental compliance.

In her spare time, Sidney enjoys staying active and enjoying the San Diego sun.

Research interests:

  • Regulation of intracellular and extracellular pH, particularly in the process of calcification in corals
  • The effects of anthropogenic stresses (especially, ocean acidification) on corals

Sidney’s current project involves the characterization of proteins in the early life stages of coral development.  She is exploring proteins potentially involved in the initial calcification process when a coral larvae first settles, metamorphoses into a polyp and begins to rapidly calcify in order to establish itself as a new colony.  Elucidating this process may have implications for understanding how corals will respond to ocean acidification.

Selected Publication:

Barott, K.L., Venn, A.A., Perez, S.O., Tambutte, S.T., Tresguerres, M. 2015. Coral host cells acidify symbiotic algal microenvironment to promote photosynthesis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 112:607-612. 10.1073/pnas.1413483112

 

Undergraduate Volunteer | ljansen@ucsd.eduLara

Lara Jansen is a 4th year undergraduate volunteer in the Dr. Shurin’s and Dr. Tresguerres’ lab. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s in Environmental Systems (Evolution, Behavior, Ecology). Originally from Livermore, California, she hopes to finish her Bachelor’s degree and pursue research in aquatic ecology, ecosystem ecology, and conservation biology.

She is currently working on a collaborative project with Professor Martin Tresguerres,and Professor John Shurin to study a special lake up in the Sierras. This lake gets regular injections of huge amounts of CO2 due to a CO2 seep underneath it. From this lake they collected a common family of zooplankton, Daphnia. As a control they also collected Daphnia from a lake of similar size and elevation, lacking CO2 inputs with one species in common with the CO2 lake. Lara is currently running acute CO2 exposure experiments where both populations are raised in ambient and high CO2 (a level derived from the uppermost range of the CO2 injected daily at the lake). Survivorship and fecundity in both the P1 and F1 generation are measured. Lara and her lab are testing to see if there is significant difference in the tolerance between the lake populations, the species and most importantly the lakes and CO2 levels. She is also looking for potential differences in metabolic rate between these two populations under the two CO2 levels using a microrespiration system to measure Oxygen consumption over time. 

Lara is currently funded by the Ledell Family Endowed Research Scholarship.

 

Jason Ho | M.S. Graduate | ho.hanjie.jason@gmail.com

jason

Jason Ho was raised in Cupertino, California in the heart of the Silicon Valley, but moved south to complete his Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). In the Tresguerres lab, his research project focused on screening derivatives of pure, marine natural products in order to identify and characterize a novel activator of the soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC) enzyme and aid research on signal transduction pathways. With the support of the Tresguerres lab, Jason graduated from UCSD in December 2013 with a Master of Science degree in Biology.

Jason currently remains in San Diego as a Research Associate for a small biotech firm called InhibRx, LLC. He now dedicates his research efforts toward developing therapeutic antibodies to combat various types of cancer tumor cells. In his spare time, Jason enjoys catching up with his friends from the Tresguerres lab, taking advantage of San Diego’s flourishing craft beer community, and indulging in a number of hobbies ranging from swimming and hiking to painting and sewing.

 

Corey Jew M.S. Graduate | cjjew@uci.educorey

Corey Jew received a Masters of Science in Marine Biology from SIO in 2013 under the mentorship of Jeffrey Graham and Martin Tresguerres. Corey was born and raised in San Francisco, CA and attended UC San Diego, where he received a B.S in General Biology with a minor in Economics. During his undergraduate career, Corey worked at SIO under Dr. Graham studying respiratory physiology in air-breathing fishes. This worked carried on as a research assistant and graduate student. Corey’s work has included modeling Paleozoic atmospheric conditions on early vertebrate performance by running mudskippers on a treadmill (video), tracking the response to environmental hypoxia in fish by acclimating long-jawed mudsuckers to aerial exposure, and documenting spiracular air-breathing in Polypterus (video).

Corey is now a Ph.D student at UC Irvine in the laboratory of Dr. James Hicks (http://compphys.bio.uci.edu/hicks/Comparative_Physiology/Welcome.html) comparing respiratory patterns in amphibious and non-amphibious polypterids during aerial exposure.

Publications

Graham J., Wegner N., Miller L., Jew C., Lai N., Berquist R., Lawrence F., Long J. (2014) Spiracular air breathing in polypterid fishes and its implications for aerial respiration in stem tetrapods. Nature Communications 5: 3022.

Jew, C. J., Wegner, N. C., Yanagitsuru, Y., Tresguerres, M. & Graham, J. B. (2013) Atmospheric oxygen levels affect mudskipper terrestrial performance: Implications for early tetrapods. Integrative and Comparative Biology 53: 248–257.

Graham J., Jew C., Wegner N. Modeling variable phanerozoic oxygen effects on physiology and evolution. Hypoxia and Cancer (In press).