Heather Wiatrowski received her Bachelors Degree in Biochemistry from Michigan State University, and a PhD from Columbia University, where she was a graduate student in Marian Carlson’s lab. She did her graduate work on yeast genetics. Subsequently, Heather worked as a postdoc in Tamar Barkay’s lab at Rutgers University, where she studied mercury reduction by Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 and Geobacter sulfurreducens PCA.
In addition to running the Wiatrowski Lab, Heather teaches Microbiology, Genomics Seminar, and a first year seminar in Genome Annotation. In Genome Annotation and Microbiology, students team up with the Joint Genome Institute to interpret the genome of a newly sequenced microbe.
Heather’s hobbies include running, running, and then running some more. See? Oh, and when it’s too snowy, cross country skiing.
Colin Rutner graduated from Clark University in May 2013 with a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Colin is one of Clark University’s Carlson scholars. He is currently working towards his Masters degree with Clark’s 5th year program. Colin joined the lab in 2012, and he is working on the mer operons in the Alphaproteobacteria Xanthobacter autotrophicus PY2. The mer operons in this organism have several unique characteristics – an organomercurial lyase domain on the N-terminus of the mercuric reductase, and the operons seem to contain a gene for a potentially mercury-dependent glutathione reductase.
Colin has been very involved with the music community of Clark University, participating in the Jazz Workshop and several jazz combos. He is also part of the concert band, and has worked with the Pub Entertainment Committee to bring live music acts to Clark. Colin is also a member of Clark’s Emergency Medical Service, and is in the process of applying to medical school. Colin is from Austin, TX.
Erin Thayer is in her senior year at Clark University and is majoring in Biology with a minor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Erin is a Bickman Scholar and a LEEP Pioneer. Erin is working with Colin Rutner to investigate the mer operons in Xanthrobacter autotrophicus PY2, a member of the subphylum Alphaprotebacteria. Her extracurricular activities include being President of Clark’s Student Alumni Relations Committee and a member of the Clark Fund and Student Activities Board. Her work study job is at the Alumni Affairs office on Clark’s campus and works off campus at Shaw’s Supermarkets. She is from East Washington, New Hampshire and is the fifth generation to live in her family’s farm house.
Amanda’s current research is using cross-species complementation in order to confirm that Denitrovibrio acetiphilus genes identified by Kyle Denton are is responsible for arsenate reduction. In order to support this hypothesis, the operon containing that gene will be cloned into E. coli and a mating experiment will be done with a Shewanella sp. ANA-3 mutant which has lost its ability to respire arsenate. Restoration of this would support the gene’s role in arsenate reduction in D. acetiphilus.
Amanda is a senior biochemistry and molecular biology major originally from Medford, Massachusetts. She received a Bickman Fellowship to continue her research for the summer of 2013.
Alex is currently working on a project analyzing the microbial communities of septic leach fields. Specifically, he is looking for the potential of these communities to mobilize mercury from mineral sources to ground water. To investigate this, a clone library of bacterial 16s ribosomal RNA genes was made from samples taken from leach field sediments of the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center. The sequences for these genes are collected and classified in an ongoing process.
Alex is a biochemistry and molecular biology major from Medford, MA. In the spring of 2012, Alex was awarded the M. Margaret Comer Memorial Award for Undergraduate Research in the Biological Sciences.