Research Technician/Lab Manager
Brendan Kelly received a B.S. in Biology from Villanova University in 2015. At Villanova he was a member of the Global Change Ecology lab where he focused on carbon mineralization and greenhouse gas fluxes in coastal wetlands. During his undergrad he participated in an REU at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in their biogeochemistry lab, and he would later perform his graduate field work at the Smithsonian’s Global Change Research Wetland. The focus of his upcoming thesis is oxygen sensitivity of coastal wetland carbon mineralization in response to invasive Phragmites australis. After finishing classes, he began working as a research associate at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium in the Wetland Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Ecology lab where he had the opportunity to continue research of the coastal wetlands he loves, as well as participate in extended cruises aboard the RVPelican studying dissolved organic carbon dynamics and its relation to ocean acidification in the Gulf of Mexico.
Dr. John Angell graduated cum laude with a B.S. in Biology from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst in 2006 and received his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts – Boston in 2016. Prior to his graduate work, he worked as a field/lab technician in the Sala Lab at Brown University. As a microbial ecologist, John’s research focuses on using molecular tools to understand the factors that control the community structure and function of microbes in the environment with a particular emphasis on microbes involved in the nitrogen cycle. John’s dissertation research, under the direction of Dr. Jennifer Bowen, investigated the role abiotic conditions play in structuring microbial communities in salt marsh sediments at very fine spatial scales. While at UMass Boston, he received a Sanofi-Genzyme Research Fellowship in 2014 and several graduate teaching awards. John is currently a Postdoctoral Faculty Fellow at Boston University where he teaches in the Biology department and conducts research in the Fulweiler lab. John is currently exploring the biological underpinnings of the geochemical transformations measured in salt marshes and estuaries of New England.
Alia Al-Haj received a B.S. (2010) in Biology and M.S. (2014) in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia. Alia was the lab manager and lab technician in the Fulweiler Lab for three years before deciding to stay pursue her Ph.D. After spending time working on a range of lab projects from deep benthic fluxes to oyster nutrient cyclign she has combined her new found interest in biogeochemistry to her long interest in seagrasses. Her dissertation research is focused on quantifying blue carbon capabilities of seagrass meadows. She is particularly interested in fluxes of carbon dioxide and methane from eelgrass beds and how these fluxes change under excess nutrients. Alia's research is funded in part through the National Park Service's Nickerson Fellowship. She is also the recipient of the Boston University Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellowship.
Emily Chua graduated from Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia) in 2015 where she obtained her B.Sc. Combined Honours in Physics and Oceanography. Throughout her undergraduate degree she pursued a variety of research interests, including a DAAD Research Internship in Science and Engineering (RISE) Scholarship at the University of Konstanz, Germany where she investigated charge transport in hybrid solar cells. In 2014, she was a Summer Student Fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in the Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering department. Her WHOI project involved developing a membrane inlet system to be integrated with an underwater mass spectrometer (UMS) for biogeochemical measurements in the deep sea. This summer research piqued her interest in the area of applied ocean science and underwater instrumentation. Her dissertation research is focused on developing and deploying underwater mass spectrometery to quantify biogeochemical fluxes in permeable sediments. Emily is funded through Fulbright, NSERC, and NSF.
Sarah Foster earned a B.A. in Ecosystems Ecology and Environmental Science at Hampshire College and a M.A. in Earth Sciences at Boston University. In between her undergraduate and graduate work Sarah spent four years working on a long-term water quality project in San Francisco Bay as an estuarine research assistant for the US Geological Survey. Sarah’s fundamental scientific interest is the exploration of coastal ecosystem response to anthropogenic changes (such as nutrient pollution and climate change) across a variety of geographic and temporal scales. Sarah is currently pursuing a Ph.D. and her research is focused on the impacts of low oxygen on sediment biogeochemistry and ecosystem functioning. She was awarded the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate fellowship in support of this research. During her time as a PhD student at BU Sarah has also had the opportunity to study microbial oceanography at C-MORE at the University of Hawai’i Manoa. Check out her blog of the course. When she’s not doing her own research Sarah also enjoys teaching and participating in outreach programs. One her favorites is the Women in Science summer program at the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve where she leads workshop called “Microbes and Mud” for middle school girls.
Claudia Mazur graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2016 with a B.A. in Geology and a minor in Coastal and Marine Sciences. As a Ph.D. student in the Fulweiler Lab, Claudia is studying the how anthropogenic stressors such as nutrient loading and climate change are affecting the relationship of between the sediment-water interface in the Long Island Sound, NY. She hopes to look at similar sediment-water interactions to understand the cycling of nitrogen in deep sea sediments. You can learn more about Claudia’s adventures by checking out her website: www.claudiaimazur.weebly.com and following her on twitter @cmazur_rocks.
Nick Ray is a fourth year Ph.D. candidate in the Fulweiler Lab. His research is focused on how oysters and different oyster habitats can change the biogeochemistry and ecology of New England estuaries. Specific projects include investigations of the impact of oysters on sediment nitrogen cycling, oyster regulation of phytoplankton community structure, and quantification of oyster diet in different areas. Nick joined the lab in summer 2015 after working in academic programs for the Department of Environmental Science and Technology at the University of Maryland, where he previously earned both his BS (2011) and MS (2014) degrees. After his undergraduate work and during his MS, Nick worked for Maryland Sea Grant on water quality and bioremediation related research in both rural and urban areas of the Chesapeake Bay. His MS thesis work focused on the nutrient remediation potential of integrating algal culture with an already existing oyster aquaculture facility.
Undergraduate Interns (currently being updated)
Iman Albader is a junior at Boston University studying Nutrition/Dietetics. She spent her childhood growing up in a combination of both Kuwait and Massachusetts, two starkly different environments. She developed a curiosity in biological sciences in high school, and has continued to explore those interests in college as well. She became fascinated with the role microorganisms play in the human body and the environment while taking a microbiology course during her sophomore year at Boston University. During her time in the Fulweiler Lab, Iman will be working with John Angell to use molecular techniques to investigate the various microbes influencing coastal geochemical fluxes.
Tyler Chidsey is a first year student at Boston University pursuing a B.A. in Marine Science and a minor in Environmental Analysis and Policy. He is from a small coastal town in Massachusetts, and has always had a respect and admiration for the ocean. He is interested in the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology, and has a particular interest in corals, macrofauna, and apex predators such as sharks. He hopes to pursue a doctorate in the field of marine biology and to go into the field of conservation.
Ellen Laaker is a senior at Boston University studying chemistry with a minor in biology. She is from Orlando, Florida and is excited to combine her chemistry training with her love for the environment. For her first three years at BU, she worked with Professor Linda Doerrer in the Chemistry Department, on the inorganic syntheses of highly fluorinated transition metal complexes. She is now combining her love of metal chemistry with her passion for improving the environment. She is conducting her senior thesis on shellfish metal uptake using prehistoric and current samples from Narragansett Bay.
Gretchen McCarthy is a Junior in the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in Marine Science and minoring in Biology. She grew up near the ocean in Massachusetts and was an oyster farmer in high school. At Boston University she currently studies how oysters can effect biogeochemical cycles in the Fulweiler Lab. In the future she would like to study additional bivalve species (aside from oysters) and expand into microbial work, particularly in bivalve biofilms and microbiomes. When she isn't in the lab she can be found in the Pep band at Athletic Events or cleaning the tanks in the Boston University Marine Program (BUMP) Lab.
Kwetzpallin Mexika graduated from AIMS, a charter high school in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2018. She is currently a freshman at Boston University College of Arts and Science majoring in Marine Science. She is interested in using her college degree in science to help enforce Native water rights in her community back in New Mexico, and inspire young New Mexicans to get involved in STEM.
Stephen Murray is a junior at Boston University studying mechanical engineering. He has lived at least a mile from the ocean his entire life and has a passion for deep sea exploration and robotic systems. Working at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution introduced him to many research and exploration technologies which prompted him to join the Fulweiler Laboratory in an engineering capacity. He hopes to bridge the disciplines of engineering and science by developing new systems for marine research.
Tony Pham is a junior at Boston University majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, interested in microbes driving nutrient cycling as well as sustainable aquaculture as a means to meet the UN's 2050 food production goal. Originally from Maryland, he has spent a great deal of time on the Eastern Shore and has witnessed the impacts that sea level rise and changes in coastal processes has had on livelihoods. Before coming to the Fulweiler Lab some of the projects he has worked on include: Arabidopsis genetics, saltwater intrusion on coastal farmlands, and urban rooftop farming. He is currently working on the long-term Narragansett Bay benthic flux project.
Shraddha Pingali is a freshman at Boston University studying Environmental Analysis and Policy and Marine Science. She grew up in both Seattle, Washington, and Columbus, Ohio, and is excited to learn more about marine science in Boston. Her previous work includes doing field studies for oceanography in Hawaii, the Bahamas, and Belize. She hopes to be able to apply what she learns in the lab to her studies in environmental policy. Currently she is working with Nick on the impact of oysters on coastal ecosystems.
John Rezza is an Earth and Environmental Science major at Boston University. He is a transfer student from the Massachusetts Maritime academy. John is a lab assistant to Nick Ray and is helping him with his research in how oysters interact with sediment nitrogen cycling. John hope to eventually do his own research with oysters to utilize then to prevent dead zones. John is from South Boston.