Current members

Callie Chappell

PhD student
E-mail: calliech at stanford dot edu
Web site

Callie is interested in using molecular biology and analytical chemistry to explore species traits that contribute to priority effects. To investigate mechanisms that may underlie priority effects, she is planning to focus on Mimulus aurantiacus nectar microbes. Callie completed a concurrent undergraduate/Master's degree from the University of Michigan in 2017. As an undergraduate student, Callie worked with Mark Hunter to study how elevated atmospheric CO2 alters tri-trophic interactions in an Asclepias (milkweed) system via its influence on plant chemical defenses and the population dynamics of a specialist aphid. As a Master's student in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Callie was advised by David Sherman, and studied the biosynthesis of cyanobacterial secondary metabolites using heterologous expression, in vitro enzymatic assays, and analytical chemistry. Callie joined the lab in fall 2017 as a Stanford Graduate Fellow and an NSF Graduate Research Fellow.

Leslie Decker

Postdoctoral fellow
E-mail: leslieedecker at gmail dot com
Web site

Leslie is interested in the influence of plant chemistry on multitrophic interactions under future environmental conditions. Leslie joined the lab in summer 2018 and hopes to study the effects of environmental change on nectar microbial communities and consequent pollinator visitation. Leslie finished her PhD at the University of Michigan with Mark Hunter, where she studied the chemical ecology of the monarch butterfly in the context of environmental change. Her work investigating the influence of elevated CO2 on monarch tolerance and parasite virulence was published in Ecology Letters, summarized in this 3-min video and press release.

Tadashi Fukami

E-mail: fukamit at stanford dot edu

Tad's primary interest is to understand historical contingency in community assembly, but he is broadly interested in how species interact with one another in ecosystems, and enjoys working with other lab members on the variety of projects that they bring to the lab. He earned his PhD at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with Jim Drake and Dan Simberloff. He was then a postdoctoral fellow at Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research in New Zealand and Assistant Professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa before joining the Stanford faculty in 2008.

Jesse Miller

Email: jedmill at stanford dot edu
Web site

Jesse is broadly interested in drivers of lichen and plant community composition, particularly in the context of global change. Recently, a focus of his research has been the effects of shifting wildfire regimes on lichen and plant communities. Jesse uses functional traits and remotely sensed data in combination with field studies to gain insight into mechanisms underpinning ecological processes. He worked as a postdoc at UC Davis after earning his PhD in 2016 with Ellen Damschen at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He came to Stanford in fall 2018 as a Lecturer. He enjoys involving students in research, and is excited about exploring lichen functional traits and microbes in his teaching and research.

Priscilla San Juan

PhD student
E-mail: psanjuan at stanford dot edu
Web site

Priscilla is broadly interested in understanding how animals are impacted by anthropogenic changes in the environment. She is particularly fascinated by the connection between animal microbiome and conservation. She completed her BA in Environmental Science at the University of California, Irvine. As an undergraduate, she researched antibiotic resistance in environmental bacteria, perchlorate toxicology in C. elegans, and the ecological roles of two invasive fish species in Mexico. She worked with Donovan German using digestive enzyme profiles to investigate how the fishes' roles change through a gradient of environments, ranging from pristine to urban conditions. Priscilla joined the lab in summer 2016, and is examining the effects of human land use on avian microbial communities and diversity. She is a Ford Foundation Fellow and a Stanford DARE Fellow.

Magdalena Warren

PhD student
E-mail: mlwarren at stanford dot edu

Maggie is interested in microbial community ecology, and the effects that these communities have on their hosts, such as through production of secondary metabolites. She is fascinated by the impacts these organisms have on their chemical environments, and the influences of gradients, such as temperature and pH, on microbial communities. Maggie completed her BS in Cellular and Molecular Biology at California State University, Dominguez Hills, where she worked with Kathryn Theiss and Karin Kram, studying the nectar microbiome of Asclepias curassavica, a non-native tropical milkweed, across the urban heat island gradient of Los Angeles, to explore the connections between temperature, location, and the intricate microbe-plant-pollinator relationships, published in PLoS ONE. She also studied the induction of secondary metabolites by Salinispora tropica, a marine obligate actinomycete, through competition with environmental bacteria under Paul Jensen at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Maggie joined the lab in summer 2018 as an ADVANCE fellow and an NSF Graduate Research Fellow.

Chih-Fu Yeh

PhD student
E-mail: yehcf at stanford dot edu

Chih-Fu is interested in combining empirical work and theoretical modeling to understand processes shaping biodiversity, and how the structure and dynamics of ecological communities affect ecosystem functioning. As an undergraduate exchange student at the University of Helsinki, Chih-Fu worked with Janne Soinininen and Jianjun Wang to study the taxonomic scale dependence of elevational patterns in microbial diversity, published in Molecular Ecology. During his Master's studies at National Taiwan University, Chih-Fu worked with Chih-hao Hsieh on the effects of organic matter stoichiometry on marine microbial diversity and functioning. Chih-Fu joined the lab in fall 2019, and wants to study processes shaping microbial community assembly.

Lab affiliates

Elle Barnes

Postdoctoral fellow
E-mail: ellebarnes at lbl dot gov
Web site

Elle is interested in combining molecular techniques and ecological theory to explore how beneficial host microbiomes are created and maintained. She completed her PhD at Fordham University in New York City in 2020, where she examined how amphibian microbiome assembly is impacted by both land-use change and the spread of the pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. She is particularly interested in using microbial transplant experiments to explore how historically contingent assembly processes can result in a long-term change in microbiome composition and function. These results can have implications not only for which microbes we use in probiotics, but also how they are delivered to hosts. Currently, Elle is a postdoctoral fellow at the Joint Genome Institute with Susannah Tringe, where Elle uses omics techniques to explore bioenergy crop microbiomes under a changing climate. Elle is also a Stanford CEHG Postdoctoral Fellow, collaborating with us.

Megan Morris

Postdoctoral fellow
E-mail: m dot morris2187 at gmail dot com
Google Scholar

Megan is interested in the capability of microbes, including bacteria and yeasts, to modify environments, and aims to link the genomic potential of microbes with empirical observations to predict the influence of microbial activity on other trophic levels within an ecosystem. Megan was a postdoc in the lab in 2018-2020 and is curretly a postdoc at Lawrence Livermore National Lab, but spends some of her time to continue to work with us on the project she conducted on the nectar microbes of Pedicularis densiflora at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. Megan received her PhD in Ecology through a Joint Doctoral Program with San Diego State University and the University of California, Davis. At SDSU, Megan studied with Elizabeth Dinsdale on the microbial ecology of temperate kelp forests, using metagenomics to describe microbial community composition, function, and fluctuations. At UC Davis, Megan worked with Rachel Vannette to study the influence of floral visitation types on microbial community structure and function. Megan is an ARCS Scholar alum.

In addition, we often have undergraduate students in our lab, working on their thesis projects or assisting others to gain research experience. Many are funded by Stanford VPUE and NSF REU.

Our lab also hosts visiting students and scholars from other institutions. See below for former members.

August 2017 - Current and former lab members who attended ESA. Back row from left to right: Jes Coyle, Po-Ju Ke, Rachel Vannette, Devin Leopold and family, Holly Moeller, Ian Dickie (collaborator), Kai Zhu, Marion Donald, Noam Rosenthal, Andrew Letten. Front row from left to right: Tess Grainger, Tad Fukami, Priscilla San Juan, Nick Hendershot.

Former members

PhD students

Matthew Knope, 2006-2012, Assistant Professor, University of Hawai‘i, Hilo
Melinda Belisle, 2008-2013, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Holly Moeller, 2010-2015, Assistant Professor, UC Santa Barbara
Devin Leopold, 2012-2017, Bioinformatics Scientist, Jonah Ventures
Po-Ju Ke, 2014-2019, Postdoc fellow, Princeton University
Nick Hendershot, 2015-2020, Postdoc fellow, Stanford University

Visiting PhD students

Caroline Tucker, 2012, Assistant Professor, UNC-Chapel Hill
Tess Grainger, 2017, Postdoc fellow, Princeton University
Marion Donald, 2017 & 2018, PhD student, Rice University

Postdoctoral fellows

Kabir Peay, 2010-2011, Associate Professor, Stanford University
Ben Callahan, 2010-2014, Assistant Professor, North Carolina State University
Rachel Vannette, 2011-2015, Assistant Professor, UC Davis
Peter Zee, 2013-2015, Assistant Professor, University of Mississippi
Meike Wittmann, 2014-2015, Junior professor, Bielefeld University
Kai Zhu, 2014-2015, Assistant Professor, UC Santa Cruz
Manpreet Dhami, 2014-2017, Researcher, Landcare Research, New Zealand
Andrew Letten, 2015-2017, Lecturer, University of Queensland
Niv DeMalach, 2018-2019, Senior Lecturer, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Megan Morris, 2018-2020, Postdoc fellow, Lawrence Livermore National Lab

Master's student

Noam Rosenthal, 2017-2018, PhD student, UCLA

Visiting scholars

Hirokazu Toju, 2015-2016, Associate Professor, Kyoto University
Kaoru Tsuji, 2015 & 2017, Postdoc fellow, Kyoto University


Marie-Pierre Gauthier, 2011-2014, Biological Scientist, University of Florida


Jessica Coyle, 2016-2018, Assistant Professor, St. Mary's College of California

Research affiliate

Mifuyu Nakajima

Undergraduate students

Safiyyah Abdul-Khabir, Breanna Allen, Nancy Chang, Simone Barley-Greenfield, Nancy Chang, Sophia Christel, Cory Duckworth, Katie Eritano, Jasmine Gilliam, Mitch Ginsburg, Ashley Good, Jasmine Gilliam, Grace Goldberg, Jonathan Hernandez, Whitney Hoehn, Diana Huynh, Clara Kieschnick, Nathan Kim, Ben LeRoy, Hannah Lynch, Katrina Luna, Sharia Mayfield, Colin Olito, Kelsie Pombo, Rachel Powell, Veronica Hsu, Kim Thai, Julia Tsai, Anna Wietelmann, Aaron Wacholder, Jeremy Watson, Isaac Westlund

Field Studies Program undergraduate students

Daniel Halford, Tess Morgridge, Liz Parissenti, Jenny Rempel, Jake Riley, Nessarose Schear, David Zimmerman, Amy Zuckerwise

High-school student interns

Julia Borden, Christine Kyauk, Arjun Pillai, Roman Rosado, Jose Rosales