M. Andrea Azcarate-Peril, Ph. D. is Associate Professor of Medicine in the School of Medicine at UNC Chapel Hill. Dr. Azcarate-Peril currently conducts research in modulation of the host-associated microbiota by prebiotics and probiotics. She has extensive experience in physiology and functional genomics of probiotic strains. Dr. Azcarate-Peril uses molecular biology, genomics, and next-generation sequencing tools to address questions relevant to the role of the intestinal microbiota in human health and disease.
Dr. Anthony Fodor, Associate Director for Bioinformatics
Dr. Fodor is Associate Professor of Bioinformatics and Genomics at UNC Charlotte. His lab focuses on using High-throughput sequencing technologies to characterize microbial diversity and function in human-associated microbial communities. Dr. Fodor is a member of the data analysis working group of the Human Microbiome Project. His lab has long-standing interest in bioinformatics algorithms and development of new tools for the visualization and interpretation of genomic data.
Dr. Jeff Roach, Senior Scientific Research Associate at Research Computing
Dr. Roach received his Ph. D in Mathematics from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. In 1999, he started a postdoctoral stage in the Department of Biochemistry at UNC Chapel Hill. Prior to working at UNC, he worked in federal government contracting executing on DARPA contracts. With and extensive background in bioinformatics, he was responsible for the deployment of a software pipeline for bioinformatic analysis of next generation sequencing data that was used in UNC efforts on The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project. He currently investigates improvements in microbiome bioinformatic analysis, computational evolutionary biology, and epidemiology.
Dr. Jason Arnold received his Ph. D. in molecular microbiology/microbial ecology from SUNY at Buffalo in often snow-covered western NY. Thesis work focused on the evolution of microbial pathogens driven by predator-prey interactions between eukaryotic bacterivores and their bacterial prey. Upon receiving the Ph. D. in May 2015, Jason migrated south to UNC Chapel Hill and joined the Microbiome Core Facility as a post-doctoral researcher.
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 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. 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.