Member Monday: Meet Samantha Dyckman


Sam's current interests revolve around understanding how microbial interactions lead to community stability. Microbes are essentially everywhere, but it is not always clear how they maintain their community structure and often it can be non-intuitive what will heavily impact a community's composition and stability. Sam wants to better comprehend how positive and negative (and specifically both simultaneously) can affect the community as a whole. In order to do this Sam wants to use the model organism, E. coli,  since it is easy to genetically manipulate and also simple to culture in lab. By creating a synthetic community, she can examine how these different interactions lead to stability and better apply it to natural communities in the future. 

Outside of the lab, Sam enjoys reading when she gets the chance (aka her commute on the T each morning). When she's feeling more social, board games are another hobby of hers, and if the weather ever gets above 50 degrees, she really enjoys soccer and hiking. 

As a second year graduate student she still has many years ahead of her before earning her PhD, but once she achieves it she hopes to use her experience here to work for the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Sam wants to bridge her lab skills with more public outreach to hopefully leave a positive impact on her community. 

Member Monday: Thaís de Palma

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Thaís is originally from Brazil and moved to the USA in 2016 where she works as a visiting researcher in Momeni’s lab. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Dentistry and a Master’s Degree in Oral Microbiology and Immunology from the State University of Campinas, Brazil. Thaís’ research focuses on oral microorganisms such as StreptococcusRhotiaNeisseria, and Actnomyces. Currently, employing in vitro experiments, she is investigating how these oral species interact with each other. Thaís is also taking advantage of her time in the lab to learn about Mathematical Models applied to Microbiology. She is applying to her PhD in microbiology and hopes to become a graduate student next fall. Outside the lab, Thaís enjoys traveling, cooking for her friends, and watching series.

Member Monday: Meet Lori Niehaus


As a biology and international studies major, I'm interested in trying to understand the ways chemically-mediated microbial interactions could be used to improve human health across the globe.  Currently, I'm studying the combined effect of two substances that inhibit bacterial growth - acetic acid and erythromycin.  The potential applications of this research are plentiful.  Low concentrations of acetic acid, for example, have been found to be effective in treating burns, and as resistance to penicillin increases, more and more patients are relying on erythromycin as an an antibiotic.Outside of the lab and the classroom, I enjoy playing intramural soccer and basketball and am currently training for the Boston Marathon!

Member Monday: Meet Kevin Chen

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Kevin is a senior currently studying the effect of inhibitors on E. coli growth rate in single and combination experiments. Outside of the lab, he is interested in cooking, spending a lot of his time watching how-to videos on Youtube and learning about different food-styles and food-cultures. After graduation, he hopes to pursue a career in computational biology; if you know of any prospective entry-level jobs in the field, feel free to contact him at!

Member Monday: Meet David Fu

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David is currently working with Marco to investigate mycotoxin degradation by Rhodococcus pyridinivorans in hope of a possible usage in bioremediation. David is also excited that they are collaborating with French scientists abroad in delineating the underlying genetic/enzymatic mechanism. He hopes to take his results and compile them into a senior thesis. Outside of lab he is applying to medical schools which he plans to begin attendance of in Fall 2018.