Dr. M. Andrea Azcarate-Peril, Director
Dr. Anthony Fodor, Associate Director for Bioinformatics
Dr. Jeff Roach, Senior Scientific Research Associate at Research Computing
Dr. Jason Arnold, Postdoctoral Research Associate
Jason’s primary research interest is on better understanding the mechanisms by which the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus enhance health and metabolism of their hosts. By using a genetics/genome editing approach, genes responsible for bacterial metabolism will be investigated. The interactions between host and microbiome will be studied via mouse model, focusing on diet and its role in maintaining a healthy microbial community.
Some of Jason’s non-scientific hobbies include keeping and breeding genetic variants of a number of reptile species, competitive gaming, and musical performance.
Dr. Alan Marsh, Postdoctoral Research Associate
Dr. Alan Marsh is a molecular microbiologist who completed his Ph. D. in 2013 with APC Microbiome Institute and University College Cork in Ireland. His thesis involved screening for novel antimicrobial compounds from bacteria, using both in silico and wet lab approaches. His research also focused on the microbial characterization of fermented foods, like kefir and kombucha. Following a career-break to backpack across the globe, Alan took a postdoctoral position working with Teagasc Food Research Centre and WIT to develop a Bacillus-based probiotic to reduce ETEC infection in weaned piglets. Alan is currently investigating the impact of prebiotics on the gut microbiome, specifically in relation to lactose intolerance and bacterial β-galactosidases.
Dr. Olga D. Gonzalez-Lopez, Research Associate
Dr. Gonzalez is a native from Puerto Rico where she completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Puerto Rico with a Biology major. Passionate about science, she pursued her Ph.D in Biomedical Sciences at Rutgers University-New Jersey focusing in defining critical interactions for viral/host gene expression. In 2015, she started her postdoctoral training at the University of North Carolina working in understanding the molecular mechanism of Hepatitis A virus (HAV) pathogenesis. She currently manages the AMC Culture Collection.
Dr. Al-Mounawara Abiodoun Yaya, Research Assistant
Dr. Yaya received her Medical degree from Caribbean Medical University School of Medicine and her Master of Public Health from UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Her thesis focused on the adaptation of Integrative Management of Childhood Illness to various healthcare models in an effort to reduce childhood mortality. Dr. Yaya’s research interest is on understanding microorganisms involved in nosocomial infections and chronic infectious diseases. She also has a great interest in healthcare equity, especially for underserved populations.
Mashael Riyadh Alljumaah, M. Sc., PhD. Student
Ms. Mashael Aljumaah received her master’s degree from King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 2019. Her thesis involved testing natural alternatives including probiotics, prebiotics and organic acids to substitute antibiotics in broiler chicken feed using two bacterial challenge models: Salmonella sp. and Clostridium perfringens. Her study included three stages: in vitro and in vivo experiments, and an in-depth cecal microbiota analysis. Mashael’s Ph.D. research project aims to determine the mechanistic interactions, mediated by prebiotics, between probiotic and commensal intestinal bacteria and the host using colonic organoids model and metagenomics and metatranscriptomics approaches to determine changes in microbial composition and function, as well as host gene expression.