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.