NMDC Snapshots

The National Microbiome Data Collaborative brings together researchers at the cutting edge of bioinformatics, microbiology, and ecology. Every year, we invite a group of early career researchers to join our Ambassador program and learn more about how our products can help them and their colleagues conduct their research.  After receiving training from our team, our Ambassadors host events (such as workshops) that spread awareness and knowledge regarding data stewardship, metadata standards, and bioinformatics workflows. These early career researchers work across government and academic institutions; they include postdoctoral researchers, scientists, and Ph.D. candidates with diverse experiences in the laboratory and out in the field.

What brought our Ambassadors into the hidden world of the microbiome? How did they become interested in biology? What excites them about their research? In our NMDC Snapshots series, we talk with each of our Ambassadors and learn more about their professional journeys. Please click on each profile to read more. 

2023 Ambassadors

Anders Kiledal (University of Michigan)
Postdoctoral Researcher
Kiledal is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan. He received his PhD from the University of Delaware, where he studied concrete colonizing microbial communities. Read his NMDC Snapshot here. Kiledal's current research uses 'omics techniques to study cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes and the impacts of graft-versus-host disease on digestive tract microbial communities.
Archana Yadav (LBNL)
Postdoctoral Researcher
Yadav is a current postdoctoral fellow in Earth and Environmental Sciences Area (EESA) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Read her NMDC Snapshot here. Her research area is focused on environmental microbiology, metagenomics and microbial ecology. Across her work, she implements standards in environmental metagenomics to improve data usability.
Daniel Sprockett (Cornell University)
Postdoctoral Associate
Sprockett is a postdoc in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University. Read his NMDC Snapshot here. He earned his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from Stanford University School of Medicine, and his current research focuses on applying ecological and evolutionary theory to better understand the assembly and transmission of host-associated microbiomes.
Heng-An Lin (Texas A&M University)
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Lin’s research focuses on plant-microbiome interactions in response to biotic and abiotic stresses. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Texas A&M University. Read her NMDC Snapshot here.
Hope Bias (FDA-CFSAN)
ORISE Fellow
Bias is a West Virginian with passions for microbiology, public health, and communicating data effectively to the public. She is an ORISE Fellow at FDA-CFSAN working with GenomeTrakr/CovidTrakr. Read more about Hope in her NMDC Snapshot.
Ishi Keenum (National Institute of Standards and Technology)
Postdoctoral Scholar
Keenum is a postdoctoral fellow in the NIST Complex Microbial Systems Group. Read her NMDC Snapshot here. She received her PhD in Environmental Engineering from Virginia Tech. Her work focuses on the effects of water and wastewater treatment on the resistome and microbiome.
Joel Swift (University of Kansas)
Postdoctoral Researcher
Swift is a postdoctoral researcher for the Kansas Biological Survey & Center for Ecological Research at the University of Kansas in Dr. Maggie Wagner’s lab. Read his NMDC Snapshot here. His research explores plant microbiomes under abiotic stress, seeking to assess the ability of host-associated microorganisms to alleviate drought stress in maize.
Josué Rodríguez-Ramos (Colorado State University)
Ph.D Student
Rodríguez-Ramos is a Puerto Rican microbiome scientist and bioinformatician with experience in microbiology, computational biology, viral ecology, microbial metabolism, and biogeochemistry.  Read his NMDC Snapshot here. He is a specialist in multi-omic analyses and the integration of metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, and metaproteomics data.
Jiaxian Shen (Northwestern University)
Ph.D Candidate
Shen is a recent Ph.D. graduate from Erica Hartmann’s lab at Northwestern University. Read her NMDC Snapshot here. Shen works at the intersection of indoor environmental microbiomes, public health, and data science. She optimizes metagenomics-based surveillance methods and investigates antimicrobial resistance in hospitals.
Reid Longley (LANL)
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Longley is a postdoctoral researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory studying the evolutionary consequences of interactions between soil fungi and bacteria. Read his NMDC Snapshot here. During his graduate studies at Michigan State University, Longley used various omics methods to understand how environmental stressors impact microbiomes associated with crop plants and reef-building corals.
Ryan McDonald (U.S. Food and Drug Administration)
Staff Fellow
McDonald is a staff fellow at the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. Read his NMDC Snapshot here. His research primarily focuses on characterizing the diversity of food-borne pathogens and antimicrobial resistance genes in animal foods.
Sarai Finks (Penn State University )
Postdoctoral Scholar
Finks received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine. Read her NMDC Snapshot here. Her scientific interests include understanding how microbial communities adapt to environmental (both in host-associated and free-living systems) change, and particularly in the context of biotic interactions where genetic information is shared, such as through mobile genetic elements mediating horizontal gene transfer events.
Thomas Pitot (DOE)
Ph.D Student
Pitot is a second year Ph.D. at Laval University, Quebec, Canada. He works in Alexander Culley’s Viral Discovery and Ecology Lab (ViDEL) and Sylvain Moineau's Laboratory. Read his NMDC Snapshot here. He focuses on biogeographic signal characterization, discovery, and ecology of giant viruses in the Last Ice Area in northern Canada.
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