The Team

Possibly you?

I am hiring a PhD student for Fall 2022 or January 2022 (!).
Both will contribute to a NSF-funded project studying the phylogenetic and genomic determinants of host range in Synechococcus and cyanophage in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island in collaboration with Dr. Marcie Marston.
If you are interested in the PhD position, please contact me. You can find information on our PhD program and how to apply can be found here.

Undergraduate students
If you are interesting in joining the lab or learning more about our research, please contact me via email.

Master’s students
If they qualify, undergraduate students working in my lab, may be able to continue your research an earn a master’s degree through the Biology Department’s accelerated degree program (ADP). Note that we do not currently accept master’s students from other institutions.

Principle Investigator

Dr. Nathan Ahlgren

Dr. Ahlgren leads the lab in studying the interactions of microbes with environment, with each other, and with larger organism. See the Projects page for more info on the lab’s current research. Full details of Dr. Ahlgren’s background and training are available in his C.V.

  • 2008  PhD in Biological Oceanography, University of Washington; Advisor: Dr. Gabrielle Rocap
  • 2006   M.S. in Biological Oceanography, University of Washington; Advisor: Dr. Gabrielle Rocap
  • 2004   B.S. in Biology Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 2017 ā€“ present  Assistant Professor, Biology Department, Clark University
  • 2013 ā€“ 2016        Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dept. of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, Advisor: Dr. Jed Fuhrman
  • 2008 – 2013        Postdoctoral Fellow, Dept. of Microbiology, University of Washington, Advisor: Dr. Pete Greenberg
  • 2001 – 2008        Graduate Research Assistant, School of Oceanography, University of Washington, Advisor: Dr. Gabrielle Rocap
  • 1999 – 2001         Research Technician, Biology and Civil Engineering Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Supervisor: Dr. Penny Chisholm

PhD students

Emily Dart is interested in understanding how interactions between marine cyanobacteria and phage that infect them (cyanophage) shape the diversity and community composition of both. Her work in particular focuses on time-series studies, including those at the San Pedro Oceaon Time-Series (SPOT), to study how phage-host interactions manifest in the context of seasonal forcing of host communities. She is a recipient of NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowships Program (GRFP)

Shafer Belisle is investigating how adaptation to varying concentrations of iron in the oceans shapes the community structure, genomic variation, and physiological responses of various marine Synechococcus ecotypes.

Master’s students

Sam Brody is studying the molecular biology of the putative phosphorothioation restriction modification system we discovered in Thaumarchaeota.

Linnea Menin (Steinbrecher Fellow, Lyerla Graduate Fellow) is characterizing the differences in chemical properties and microbial communities among kettle ponds found in Massachusetts including Walden Pond and ponds in the Cape Cod National Seashore.
See an article about Linnea’s research at Clark Now.

Katie Crowley is investigating how microbial communities vary between local species of enchinoderms, with a focus on comparing gut and coelomic fluid microbiomes. (She is starting her master’s degree this spring.)

Undergraduate students

Daniel Gaines is studying alternative methods to controlling tick populations that carry Lyme disease

Cammi MacKenzie has been working to further characterize the thermal adaptation of marine Thaumarchaeota. She is also contributing to our NSF-funded project to study Synechococcus-cyanophage interactions in Narragansett Bay by obtaining new Synechococcus isolates.

Emily Cai is working on characterizing phosphorothioation DNA-modification genes in marine Thaumarchaeota

Beshair Nurhussien is working on characterizing Synechococcus community diversity in Narragansett Bay.

Lab alum

Kayleigh Watson (previous Steinbrecher Fellow, ’21) Now Medical Technologist at LabCorp Microbiology Lab in Saint Vincent’s Hospital

Kat Pela (’20)

Alaina Tabani (’19) Now Medical Operations and EMR Systems Analyst, Khair. Read this article about Alaina’s experience at Clark

Peter Korfuzi (’19 Claremont Academy High School; Bruce Wells Upward Bound Program alum) Now WPI student in aerospace engineering

Maddy Chuma (’19)

Ogechi Ezemma (’19) Now Medical Student at Brown University)

Mary Yohannes (’19) Now Associate Computational Biologist, Broad Institute

Aishwarya Ayyappan (’18) Now Medical Student at University of New England

Steven Castiglione (’18)

Holly Whytock (’18, now Quality Control Technologist, American Red Cross)