Current Lab Members

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.

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.


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.

Danielle Preston


Email: dep85 [at]

I am interested in the gut microbiota and various biological mechanisms that influence insect behavior, as well as integrated pest management plans for invasive species. While obtaining my BS in environmental science at SUNY ESF, I worked in partnership with the Charles Darwin Foundation to investigate the biology of a parasitic fly Phylornis downsi that is invasive to the Galapagos Islands. My area of research targeted the identification and optimization of microbial attractants for IPM practices.


Michael Stephens

Postdoctoral Researcher

Email: mes483[at]

I am generally interested in intimate symbioses such as endo- and ectosymbioses and the mechanisms underlying their initiation, maintenance, and evolution. In the Douglas lab, I’m currently studying the maternal (vertical) inheritance and evolution of an immortalized bacteriocyte harboring endosymbionts in the silverleaf whitefly Bemisia tabaci. Some foci of this work include (i) investigating the role of horizontal gene transfer in mediating the nutritional symbiosis between this globally important agricultural pest and its endosymbionts and (ii) exploiting this information for the development of novel pest control strategies.


Trevor Tivey

Postdoctoral Researcher

Email: trt43[at]

I am broadly interested in how organisms communicate and regulate each other, especially with regards to microbial symbioses. In the Douglas Lab, I am studying the gut microbiome in Drosophila to determine how microbial communities and their fermentation products interact together with their host environments to impact host physiology. During my Ph.D. at Oregon State University (Weis Lab), I studied host-symbiont cellular recognition and proliferation in the symbiotic sea anemone Aiptasia, a model for coral-algal symbiosis.


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.