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.


Fran 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.



Alyssa Bost

Postdoctoral Researcher

Email: ab43 [at]

I am studying the diversity of the gut microbiota in drosophilid flies and the influence of these bacteria on their fitness. I am combining the wealth of information available through modern metagenomic and transcriptome analysis with the power of Drosophila genetic experimentation to further our understanding of the mechanisms of interconnectedness of host and symbiont.

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.

SH ChungSeung Ho Chung

Postdoctoral Researcher

Email: sc776 [at]

I am interested in metabolic interaction between aphids and their symbionts.   Aphids feed on nutritionally poor diets and require symbionts that provide essential amino acids.  However, some aphid genotypes perform poorly on unbalanced diets, even though they have the symbionts.  Currently, I am investigating mechanistic basis of the nutritional phenotypes of aphids.  Prior to joining Douglas lab, I completed my PhD in the Department of Entomology at The Pennsylvania State University.  My previous research focused on interactions between plants, microbes, and herbivores.  I investigated how the gut bacteria of Colorado potato beetles manipulate induced defenses of tomatoes.

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.

tadeoTadeo Kaweesi

Graduate Student

Email: tk472 [at]

I am generally interested in how biological processes are controlled at a genetic level and how these insights can be translated into useful products to solve agricultural problems. My current research in Douglas Lab focuses on discovering new gene targets controlling osmoregulation and symbiotic nutritient provisioning in cassava whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci) using transcriptomic analysis tools and metabolic modelling. Applying RNA interference to silence these gene targets to control whitefly population in cassava producing areas is my long term goal.


 Junbo Luan

junbo (002)Research Associate

Email: jl2957 [at]

My long-term research interests are to understand Insect Biology and Ecology, in particular Insect-Microbe-Plant Interactions, and to use such knowledge for better management of pest insects. Using the whitefly Bemisia tabaci as the model system, I have studied whitefly interactions with the endosymbiont, virus and plant at various levels. My research in the Douglas lab focuses on whitefly symbiosis and reverse genetics.  My CV is available here: junbo-luan_cv_20161214

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.


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.

tian-honggangHonggang Tian

Visiting Scholar

Email: ht367 [at]

I am interested in the mechanism of RNAi in plant sap-feeding insects, especially in aphids. RNAi is a useful technology to study the function of insect genes and also be considered as a potential method to control insect pests in the future. However, it seems that the expression of some insects’ genes is relatively difficult to suppress through RNAi according to our present research and some other groups’ reports. My current research in Douglas Lab focuses on investigating the factors that may affect RNAi efficiency in aphids, with the goal to improve RNAi efficiency in aphids and related insects.