Lab Members


Sheila Kitchen

Graduate Student

I am broadly interested in understanding unique cellular processes and molecular pathways involved in microorganism communication with their environment or host. In 2010, I entered the Weis lab where my Ph.D. research interests are centered on investigating the mechanisms involved in cell signaling processes in marine symbiotic cnidarians during symbiont uptake and coral bleaching. Communication through cell signaling allows the cnidarians host and its endosymbiotic algae to perceive and respond to their microenvironment initiating homeostasis, inter- and intracellular recognition, immunity, and apoptosis mechanisms yet this processes are still poorly understood in this system. Specifically, my current research will address manipulations of the sphingosine rheostat by the symbiotic algae during infection and how this is connected to important secondary messengers like calcium within the host cell. Furthermore, my project will address the changes of the sphingosine rheostat and cytosolic calcium during symbiosis breakdown.


I completed my B.S. in Marine Biology with Honors from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2007, where I studied the innervation of dorsoventral muscles in the pteropod mollusc, Clione limacina in regulating wing stiffness during swim acceleration. In 2010, I received my Master’s degree from the University of North Carolina Wilmington under the direction of Dr. Alison Taylor. My thesis project explored the role of brevetoxins as an allelopathic mechanism between the prolific harmful algae species, Karenia brevis and other non-toxic phytoplankton.

Cameron Crowder

Graduate Student

Since joining the Weis lab in 2011, my research has focused on Cnidarian reproductive biology, endocrinology, and bioinformatics. Currently, I’m aiming to describe the cellular and molecular mechanisms associated with reproductive timing in corals (Pocillopora sp.) and sea anemones (Aiptasia sp.). I am investigating whether common reproductive hormones in vertebrates, such as estrogen and testosterone, play roles in cellular signaling pathways associated with Cnidarian reproductive cycles. Additionally, I’d like to determine whether common pollutants and increased seawater temperature, associated with climate change, interfere with these natural reproductive processes.

Nathan Kirk

Postdoctoral Researcher

All about Nate.

Trevor Tivey

Graduate Student

All about Trevor...

Jack Koch

Graduate Student

I am a first year PhD student in the Weis Lab at Oregon State University. I am interested in the effects of climate change, specifically ocean acidification, on the symbiosis between the temperate sea anemone Anthopleura elegantissima, its bacterial community, and its microalgal symbionts, Symbiodinium spp. and Elliptochloris marina (collectively referred to as the holobiont). Currently, I am studying carbonic anhydrase and the role it plays in internal pH regulation and symbiosis maintenance. I am also working on several projects using stable isotope analysis and q-PCR to examine differences in symbiosis across a latitudinal and environmental gradients.


I completed my B.S. in Marine Biology with Honors from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2015, where I studied the importance of heterotrophy and photoautotrophic symbiosis for growth of the sea anemone Aiptasia pallida. I completed my honors project under the direction of Dr. Joseph Pawlik, who had an influential impact on my goals and ideas about science and my career.



Position at OSU

Current Position



Angela Poole

PhD awarded 2015

Instructor, Western Oregon University


Jeremie Vidal-Dupiol

Postdoc 2013

IFREMER / Centre du Pacifique, Départment Resources Biologiques Environement Unité Resources Marines en Polynésie Française


Camille Paxton

Postdoc Fellow 2010-2012


Christy Schnitzler

PhD awarded 2010

Assistant Professor, Whitney Labs, University of Florida


Wendy Phillips

Faculty Research Assistant 1996-2005, Graduate Student 2009-2012

Postdoc USDA Corvallis, Oregon


Emilie Neubauer

Visiting graduate student 2008-2011

Graduate student Victoria University at Wellington, New Zealand


Elisha Wood-Charlson

PhD awarded 2008

Research/Communications Program Manager at

Simons Collaboration on Ocean Processes and Ecology (SCOPE), Honolulu, HI


Olivier Detournay

Postdoc 2007-2009

Chief Scientific Officer, Coral Biome, France


Laura Hauck

PhD awarded 2007

Research Scientist, US Forest Service


Santiago Perez

PhD awarded 2007

Assistant Professor, College of San Mateo, California


Sophi Richier

Postdoc 2005-2006

Researcher, National Oceanography Centre, UK



Melissa deBoer

PhD awarded 2004


Simon Dunn

Postdoc 2002-2007


Mauricio Rodriguez-Lanetty

Postdoc 2002-2005

 Assistant Professor, Florida International University



Jodi Schwarz

PhD awarded 2002

Associate Professor, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY



Orit Barneah

Visiting graduate student from Tel Aviv University 2001-2003

Marine Biologist Consultant



Carys Mitchelmore

Postdoc 1999-2002

Associate Professor, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, U. of Maryland



Alan Verde

Postdoc 1998-2002

Professor, Marine Maritime Academy