If you are interested in joining us, take a look at openings for current opportunities.

Angela Douglas, Principal Investigator

Email: aes326 [at] cornell [dot] edu

My research interests are insect nutritional physiology and symbiosis. The three strands to my research are intracellular microbial symbioses in insects, especially aphids; beneficial gut microbes in insects; and the sugar and amino acid nutrition of insects.
I joined Cornell University in 2008 as the Daljit S. and Elaine Sarkaria Professor of Insect Physiology and Toxicology. Before that, I was a member of faculty at the University of York, UK (1996 senior lecturer, 1999 reader, 2003 professor); a Royal Society University Research Fellow (1986-1996); and I did postdoctoral research at the University of Oxford and University of East Anglia. I obtained a PhD at the University of Aberdeen, UK (1981) and BA (zoology) at the University of Oxford, UK (1978).

Sophie Bouvaine, Postdoctoral Researcher

Email: sb622 [at] cornell [dot] edu

I am a postdoc working on aphids and sterol nutrition. I am interested in defining, among the diversity of phytosterol, which ones are good and bad for the insect. Insect sterol nutrition is an exciting field as it could be used in developing novel insect control strategy. I graduated for my PhD in February 2010 from the University of York, UK. My PhD was under the supervision of Angela Douglas and my work was about the impact of endosymbionts on luteovirus transmission by aphids which I conducted half at the University of York and half here, at Cornell. I received my B. A and my Master on plant science at the University of Rennes, France. Outside the lab I enjoy hiking and discovering the surroundings of Ithaca.I am conducting a PhD on the transmission of plant viruses by aphids, including the impact of the aphid endosymbiont Buchnera on the transmission of Barley Yellow Dwarf viruses by the aphids Rhopalosiphum padi and Sitobion avenae.

Marie-Line Faure, Research Assistant

Email to: mff45 [at] cornell [dot] edu

 I am one of the lab assistant, working on the miscellaneous projects led by Sophie on aphids sterol nutrition. I graduated for a Master degree in general Agronomy in 2004 from Agrocampus Rennes (France). During the few last years, I mainly worked as an environment project manager in different French organisms. I am now happy to take advantage of my short stay at Cornell to discover new fields and in the first place the complex world of insects.



Sandy MacDonald, Postdoctoral Researcher

Email to: ajm513 [at] york [dot] ac [dot] uk

A member of Angela's annex at the University of York (UK), working in Gavin Thomas' lab, my background is in both experimental and theoretical microbiology. After completing my B.Sc. in Microbiology and Infection at the University of Edinburgh, I stayed on to pursue a Ph.D. studying iron acquisition by the bovine pathogen Pasteurella multocida using in vitro and in silico techniques. Currently, my research involves the construction of an in silico model of the pea aphid-Buchnera symbiosis to facilitate understanding of the complex metabolic interaction between both partners.


Emma Ridley, PhD Student

email: evr100 [at] york [at] ac [dot] uk
I am a PhD student from the University of York (originally from Chesterfield, England). I spent the first year of my PhD in York, my second year on my industrial placement at Oxitec Ltd and I'm currently completing my PhD at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
I have always found biology fascinating so it was only natural to study this at university. I studied my BSc degree in Biology (2007) at the University of York which included a year in industry at Syngenta Ltd in Bracknell where I studied Herbicide Biokinetics. During the final year of my degree, I conducted a project with Professor Colin Kleanthous investigating the structure of Sgt1, a protein involved in plant disease resistance. After completing my degree I immediately began my PhD with Professor Angela Douglas. I am currently investigating the effects of tetracycline on the gut bacteria of insects (Drosophila melanogaster and Aedes aegypti) and whether the removal of beneficial bacteria has any affect on the fitness of insects.
Outside of work I enjoy exercising, reading, shopping (a very expensive habit!), playing the guitar and eating out with friends.

Calum Russell, PhD Student

Email: cwr7[at] cornell [dot] edu
I am a graduate student in the Entomology department. I am broadly interested in host-microbial interactions of the endosymbiont Buchnera aphidicola and the host Acrythosiphon pisum, particularly in the genetic mechanisms involved in bacteriocyte regulation. I graduated from SUNY Geneseo in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and English. Before starting my graduate studies, I conducted research on cardiac development of mouse embryos in Michael Kotlikoff's lab.



Stephanie Westmiller, Lab Manager

: st342 [at] cornell [dot] edu

I am the lab manager which means I get to whip everyone into shape as well as help out with their projects, not to mention some of my own experiments. I work with both aphids and drosophila in the lab so I do a range of work, including dissections, nutrition assays, PCR and Immunohistochemistry. Outside of the lab I am happy reading a good book, hiking, golfing, rock climbing, running with my dog and getting together with friends and family.  together with friends and family.

Eric van Fleet, PhD Student

Email: eev9 [at] cornell [dot] edu

I am a graduate student, having completed my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at Ithaca College in 2009. I have done most of my previous work with the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum, including annotation of the pea aphid genome and design of a microarray to detect differential expression of genes between groups of host-specialized aphid. My current interest is in the interactions between bacterial endosymbionts and aphids in the aphid immune response. Some of my hobbies include fossil and mineral collecting, Japanese style swordsmanship, and cooking.

Rodrigo Vega, PhD Student

Email: rrv9 [at] cornell [dot] edu

I am a Mexican biologist with a degree from the Faculty of Sciences, National University of Mexico (UNAM) and a Master degree from the Institute of Ecology, UNAM. My first degree project was done on the population genetics and epidemiology of the parasite Taenia solium. Making a wide turn into ecology and conservation genetics, my Master project was done on the population genetics and phylogeography of the endemic rodent Oryzomys couesi cozumelae from Cozumel Island. Currently, I am doing my PhD project with another small mammal, the Eurasian pygmy shrew, Sorex minutus, focusing on several aspects of its phylogeography: postglacial colonization patterns, genetic differentiation and diversity among Mediterranean (Southern) refugial areas, and the determination of refugial areas further North. Also, my project involves the study of the morphological diversity within and among Mediterranean regions and Central Europe, and the population genetic structure and morphological differentiation of this species from Orkney Islands.
My main interests in science include the understanding of the distribution of genetic lineages of vertebrates (and other groups, why not?) in space and time, the genetic and morphological differentiation of populations within species and its causes, as well as the genetic structure of populations, and aiming the results towards the conservation of biological diversity.
Life's stochastic effects have made me migrate from the University of York, UK to Cornell University, USA where I have found a comfortable place to continue my work in Angela's lab. Here I (secretly) hope to influence other people into the field of phylogeography and I am letting myself be influenced by aphids and their symbionts.

Adam Wong, PhD Student

Email to: cw442 [at] cornell [dot] edu

I am a PhD student originally from Hong Kong. My undergraduate study was undertaken The University of York, UK (BSc Molecular Cell Biology) and subsequently I went back to my homeland and finished my MPhil degree in Pathology at The University of Hong Kong. I am strongly interested in studying host-microbe interactions in particular genetic and molecular factors that influence the outcome of a host-microbe relationship. Previously I have researched on the pathogenesis of influenza viruses in relation to human responses. In Angela's lab I strive to reveal how beneficial bacteria in gut microbiota are maintained in insects like Drosophila and mosquitoes and their roles to the hosts. I also anticipate finding ways to manipulate insects through their symbionts as a new approach to control pests and disease vectors.

Margot Kopache, Undergraduate Assistant

Email to: mgk52 [at]

I'm an undergraduate biology major interested in microbiology. In the lab, I work as a lab assistant and am currently working on a project with Sophie that explores the effects of various sterols on aphid development and reproduction. As a lab assistant I perform different tasks around the lab including diet and buffer preparation and plant maintenance.
Outside the lab I enjoy playing soccer, backpacking, running, reading and hanging out with friends. This Fall I'm looking forward to studying abroad at the University of Adelaide in Southern Australia.


Maddy (Madhundra) Sivakumar, Undergraduate Assistant

Email to: ms869 [at] cornell [dot] edu

I am an undergraduate Biology and Society major interested in neurobiology and microbiology. As a summer intern, I will be studying how aphids respond to invading bacteria, learning many new microbiological techniques as well as gain some practical research experience.
During my leisure time, I enjoy running, reading, occasionally baking and spending time with my friends. In the near future, I am looking forward to medical school as well as any adventures in between, during or perhaps after.

Jean (Hyun Jin Yoon), Undergraduate Assistant

Email to: hjy8 [at] cornell [dot] edu

I am an undergraduate Biology major interested in microbiology and neurobiology. As an undergraduate research assistant in the lab, I perform miscellaneous tasks around the lab and get to learn new skills that are helpful for my understanding of general lab work. I'm also working on a project on the relationship between the effectiveness of the Bt toxin and the presence of gut bacteria in Trichoplusia ni.
I am still deciding between being a pre-vet and pre-med, although I'm leaning towards pre-vet nowadays. When I'm not working in the lab, I'm usually busy being a student.



Douglas Lab Alumni

John Ramsay, post-doctoral researcher left for a permanent position with a local biotech company, in February 2010. Congratulations to John!

Tomás Lazo, our Lab Manager Sept 2008- July 2009 has a place at Stony Brook University School of Medicine.  We wish him every success!

Former Undergraduate

Jin Lin (2008-9): graduated in May 2010 - and is off to Harvard Dentistry School. Congratulations!