Meet Our Team

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Vanja Klepac-Ceraj

I study microbial ecology, looking at the dynamics that govern microbe-microbe interactions, mechanisms that drive nutrient cycling, and how microbe-microbe interactions drive human and environmental health. We address these questions using a combination of culturing and enrichment techniques, quantitative molecular approaches, metagenomics, and modeling.

 

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Kevin Bonham

I am a microbiologist and immunologist using computational methods to explore the relationships between the human gut microbiome and childhood cognitive development, and to understand complex microbial communities. I also teach about the immune system and infectious disease, as well as introductory programming for biology students, and am interested in investigating and addressing barriers to women entering computational biology.

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Shelley McCan

I am a microbial ecologist with experience in marine microbiology and trace metal biogeochemistry. I earned a M.S. in Oceanography from the University of Connecticut where I studied methyl bromide metabolism by marine microbes and microbial sulfur cycling in stromatolites. From there I moved west to the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, CA where my work focused on the microbial ecology and biogeochemistry of Mono Lake, CA. After enjoying many sunny years in CA, I’m happy to back on the east coast and working in the VKC lab at Wellesley. I’m excited for the opportunity to explore microbial ecology in New England biomes, to expand my experience to the human microbiome, and to share my knowledge and love of growing anaerobes.

Google Scholar

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Catherine Dhennezel ('21)

I am studying Biology and Psychology and I am particularly interested in the interaction between physical and mental health. I am currently working with probiotics, their relationship with the gut microbiome, and if the claims they make are true. I am a pre-med student and I hope to keep working on health-related topics after I graduate. Outside of lab I really enjoy cinema and going to concerts!

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Alexa Gross ('22)

I'm a Neuroscience and Studio Art major passionate about systems neuroscience, mental health, and the intersection of art and science. I enjoy working with microbes in a combined science and art context.

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Stephanie Consuegra ('22)

I am a junior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Biochemistry. While participating in the First-Year Apprenticeship Program with the VKC Lab I quickly fell in love with all things "microbes". I took on a novel project studying the differing soil microbial communities across the wet and dry biomes through the lens of a well-known resilient plant, Rhoeo spathacea, in the newly built greenhouse on Wellesley's campus: The Global Flora Conservatory in the Margaret C. Ferguson Greenhouses. I am currently working on this project and look forward to continue exploring the intricacies of soil to soil and soil to plant microbial relationships. My tentative plans are to attend medical school after taking a gap year once I graduate, although I am certainly open to those plans changing.

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Aditi Kannan ('22)

I am majoring in Biochemistry and interested in minoring in music. In lab, I will be investigating the microbial community in bokashi fertilizer with Nisreen. I hope to go into research in the future, though I am still exploring different scientific paths! Outside of lab, I am on Ministrare Council, I am a DJ for the college radio (WZLY), and I play the violin in Chamber Music Society.

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Hannah Dong ('22)

I am majoring in Media Arts and Sciences with an emphasis in Media Arts. In the lab, I combine my love for science and art through design. I have worked on the lab website and created project pages to highlight our lab research. I am currently designing a mobile application for the Global Flora. Outside of lab, I dance with the Wellesley Asian Dance Organization, organize events with the Chinese Students Association, and take lots of photos.

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Annelle Abatoni Kayisire ('23)

I grew up in Kigali with my parents and four siblings. My earliest memories include being a sister for the first time, where I witnessed, through my mother, the mundane but indispensable strength of women. My biggest ambitions include improving sexual and reproductive health of women, and designing creative technology and media projects for social impact. I am passionate about thoughtful action towards social justice. I plan to major in Media Arts and Sciences, fulfilling my desire to explore both scientific and design thinking. When I'm not frantically trying to finish homework, I will be reading Brain-Pickings newsletters or listening to obscure soul music.

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Anika Luo ('23)

I am a prospective Biochemistry major and Music minor. I am currently learning about essential computational biology skills under Kevin’s guidance. I am interested in going into healthcare and medicine in the future, particularly with regard to molecular and cellular biochemistry related to the human body. Outside of science, I am passionate about performing arts and also love to read.

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Cassie Potter ('23)

I plan on majoring in biochemistry and minoring in Chinese, but as a rising sophomore, nothing is set in stone yet. I do not yet know what project I will be working on in the lab, so I am excited to see what the future holds in terms of the direction of my research. I love being able to better understand the world around me through scientific research (especially about microbes!), and I hope to use my passion for scientific discovery to help others, in whatever form that ends up taking. When I'm not in the lab or submerged in a p-set, you can find me playing on the lacrosse team or being an RA in the best dorm on campus (Bates).

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Ropafafadzo Shava ('23)

As a person who is fascinated by how technology determines the future, I intend to major in Computer Science/ Data Science. I am especially interested in medical coding and the use of computation and data to solve complex medical problems for individuals and in public health.

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Caroline MacVicar ('23)

I plan on majoring in biological sciences on the pre-med track. I am interested in pursuing a career in medicine after college, though I am also considering a career as a scientific researcher. I am very passionate about the climate, and I have an increasing interest in the relationship between microbes and our environment and health. Outside of lab, I am a member of the Wellesley golf team, and I enjoy reading and writing!