Current Lab Members

Adair_KarenKaren Adair

Postdoctoral Researcher

Email: kla89 [at]

I am broadly interested in how biotic and abiotic factors shape communities, and how communities resist and respond to changes in the environment. In the Douglas lab, I am assessing drivers of the diversity and composition of Drosophila gut microbiota. My previous research utilized molecular and functional trait approaches to understand how soil microbial and plant communities respond to environmental change.

Nana_picNana Ankrah

Postdoctoral Researcher

Email: na423 [at]

I am a generally interested in how microbes inhabiting different niches interact with their hosts and elucidating how these interactions affect host fitness. My current research in the Douglas lab focuses on understanding how metabolic networks between insect hosts and their bacterial symbionts are structured and characterizing how metabolite exchange within these networks are regulated by the host.

Arinder AroraArinder Arora

Postdoctoral Researcher

Email: aka76 [at]

I am interested in using novel strategies to control vector borne diseases. In the Douglas lab I am working on grape mealybug, a vector of grape leafroll-associated viruses (GLRaV). I am using RNAi to silence various genes in the mealybug gut resulting in their killing, hence breaking the disease cycle. My long term goal is to take RNAi and other transgenesis based strategies to the field to control various vector borne diseases.

Blow_FranFran Blow

Postdoctoral Researcher

Email: fb285 [at]

I am interested in how metabolic interactions between hosts and microbes, and between microbes within a host, can alter their evolutionary trajectories. I am currently investigating how metabolic exchange between the pea aphid and its primary nutritional symbiont Buchnera aphidicola can be harnessed for the generation of novel pest control strategies. Before joining the Douglas lab I completed my PhD at the University of Liverpool (UK), where I studied the bacterial communities associated with the agricultural pest Bactrocera oleae.

Bueno_EduardoEduardo Bueno

Laboratory Technician

Email: eb537 [at]

I primarily assist Alyssa Bost and Karen Adair in their research on how the Drosophila gut symbiosis responds to different sets of microbiota. Currently I am in charge of performing DNA extractions, PCR, and Drosophila dissections. In addition, I work alongside Marita and help with maintaining and expanding our fruit fly populations. In my free time, I continue to educate myself on the evolution of Chicano and East Asian cultures in the US.

 miheeMihee Choi

Laboratory Technician

Email: mc848 [at]

I do most of the ordering and I maintain the laboratory inventories of chemicals and other materials, and I am increasingly working in the laboratory too.  Since I sent off my younger daughter to college, I am glad to find work after a long hibernation.

noah-clarkNoah Clark

Laboratory Technician

Email: nc444 [at]

At the Douglas lab, I assist in research determining the usage and efficacy of RNAi as a method of targeted pest control for grape mealybugs.  Although I am interested in many different disciplines, I especially value the fields of molecular biology, biochemistry, ecology and evolution.  In my spare time, I strive to read, hike and continue my education.

Caroline Fromont

Postdoctoral Researcher

Email: cf463 [at]

I am interested in species interactions and particularly the relationships between insect host and their bacterial symbionts. My current research in the Douglas lab focuses on understanding the impact of the gut microbiota on the ecology of Drosophila species. Before starting this position, I was working on the geographic aspect of fig psyllid interactions with their host trees, parasitoids and bacterial symbionts.


Dave Kang

Postdoctoral Researcher

Email: dsk249 [at]

My research focuses on the influence of microbiota on the genetic expression and phenotype of their host insects. Currently, I utilize molecular approaches to investigate the impact of microbiome composition on nutritional traits in wild populations of Drosophila melanogaster. My previous research utilized transcriptomics to characterize i) the diapause syndrome in Culex pipiens mosquitoes, and ii) the impact of environmental stress on Aedes aegypti immune response to dengue virus.


John McMullen_091015John McMullen

Graduate Student

Email: jgm263 [at]

I am broadly interested in host-microbe co-evolution and investigating microbial metabolites that impact host behavior and overall physiology. I am currently working with both bacterial and fungal gut symbionts of Drosophila to better understand their symbiotic interactions and how they impact Drosophila evolution. Prior to joining the Douglas Lab, I obtained my MS at the University of Arizona studying phenotypic trait evolution in the mutualistic symbionts of insect pathogenic nematodes.

Grace Peters-Schulze


Email: gmp77 [at]

I work with Eduardo to maintain the lab’s fruit fly populations. I also assist with experiments involving  Drosophila diapause and the Drosophila microbiome. Before taking up this position, I conducted a BS in Biological Science at the Florida Institute of Technology, completed in May 2017.


Mitzy Porras

Postdoctoral Researcher

Email: mfp58 [at]

Microbe-host interactions are complex biological systems that depend upon a delicate balance of symbiosis. I am interested in the mechanisms underlying the outcome of interspecific ecological interactions among microbes and their animal hosts under stress. Currently, I am examining a mechanism (RNAi) to disrupts the symbiosis between the bacteriocyte, Porteira, and the whitefly, Bemisia tabaci. Before joining Douglas lab I completed my Ph.D at the Pennsylvania State University, my research was focused on the mechanisms and the ecological implications of phenotypic changes induced by viruses in co-occurring congeneric aphid vectors.


Bindiya Sachdev

Postdoctoral Researcher

Email: bs784 [at]

In the Douglas lab, I am working on ‘RNAi’ project in phloem-feeding insects, funded by the Gates foundation. My research is focused on the identification and validation of novel targets for control of whiteflies, a global agricultural pest. Prior to my current assignment, I was a Fulbright post-doctoral scholar at Kansas State University, supervised by Professor Michael Kanost. I was mainly involved in understanding the regulation and function of novel immune pathways in Manduca sexta, a model insect for lepidopteran species. I completed my Ph.D from University of Delhi and conducted research at International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi, under the mentorship of Dr. Raj Bhatnagar. My long term goals include discovery of environmental-friendly methods for insect pest suppression.

Joan SongJoan Song

Undergraduate Researcher

Email: ys449 [at]

I am working with Nana Ankrah to develop computational models of the metabolic networks between Drosophila and its bacterial inhabitants. Through the development these models, I hope to learn more about the mechanisms underlying the exchange of metabolites between bacteria and their hosts and how this relates to the overall health of the host.

I am an undergraduate student ‘19 majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Bram van den Bergh

Research Fellow

Email: bv95 [at]

The evolution of the smallest creatures on earth continue to amaze me. At the Douglas lab, I will study how bacteria can adapt to the gut environment of the Drosophila fly, especially under frequent application of antibiotics. During my PhD at the University of Leuven (Belgium), I already discovered that, in vitro, persistence, a form of antibiotic tolerance without the capacity for growth during treatment, is a popular alternative to resistance for bacteria. During this project funded by BAEF, EMBO and FWO, I will extrapolate these experiments into a Drosophila-base in vivo model.


Cindy Wu

Undergraduate Researcher

Email: cw648 [at]

I am an undergraduate studying Chemical Engineering (Class of ’20) in the College of Engineering. I work with Nana Ankrah to develop and analyze computational models of the metabolic networks between microbes. With these models, my goal is to understand how metabolite exchange changes based on different multiple species environments and how it affects the host.


Sunny Yoon

Postdoctoral Researcher

Email: jy389 [at]

My research at Cornell focuses on how SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) influence pea aphid susceptibility to RNAi. During my Ph.D at University of Kentucky (Palli Lab), I was working on the mechanism of RNAi in insects to identify the factors that make coleopteran insects relatively efficient in RNAi and looking for barriers for successful RNAi in those insects reluctant to RNAi.

Freya Zhang

Undergraduate Researcher

Email: yz345 [at]

I am currently working with Nana Ankrah to investigate the essential nutrient production from bacterial symbionts in insects feeding on xylem sap. I assist in insect collection from the field and preparation for amino acid and protein analyses. I hope to learn more about the roles microbes perform in their animal hosts and to gain research skills that are applicable to the broad field of life sciences.