Rachel Vannette, Associate Professor 2021-present
Postdoc, Stanford University, Department of Biology
Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 2011
Bachelor’s degree, Calvin College, 2006
I am a community ecologist interested in understanding and predicting how microbial communities influence interactions between plants and insects.
Hellman Fellow 2019; NSF CAREER Awardee 2019-2024
Follow me on Twitter @rachelvannette
Amber Crowley-Gall, USDA Postdoctoral Fellow 2019-current
Amber is a chemical ecologist with an interest in understanding the role of sensory systems in insect host choice. Her PhD dissertation focused on examining how variation in the olfactory system contributes to host specialization in cactophilic Drosophila. She is currently interested in exploring the role of microbes in insect host selection. She is particularly interested in understanding how plant-microbe interactions, especially plant pathogens, can alter the chemical signatures that insects are exposed to, as well as how these interactions can influence host choice and the impacts of time and environmental conditions. As a member of the Vannette lab she hopes to examine microbe-pollinator interactions, with a focus on plant pathogens and their potential microbial antagonists.
B.S: University of North Carolina at Asheville, Ph.D. :University of Nevada Reno
Jake Francis is a behavioral and community ecologist interested in how pollinator behavior drives processes in co-flowering plant communities. For his doctoral work, he explored how floral reward nutrition shapes bees’ foraging behavior with downstream effects on patterns of pollen movement among plant species. In the Vannette lab he plans to explore the intersection of plant, pollinator, and microbial ecology with a focus on how floral traits mediate these interactions.Google Scholar, Jake’s Website
B.S. University of Michigan 2009 Ph.D. University of California, Davis 2018
Marshall is a community and insect ecologist interested in behavior, physiology, and how insects cope with variable temperatures. As a member of the Vannette lab, Marshall is studying gut microbes within the Arizona turtle ant. His Google Scholar page.
Email: dmrutkowski ‘at’ ucdavis ‘dot’ edu
Co-advised with Rick Karban
Danielle is an entomology PhD student interested in the relationships between bees and microbes. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Cornell University, where she studied how the relationship between mycorrhizal fungi and their host plants impacts insect herbivores. At UC Davis, she studies how bumble bees interact with the microbes, particularly fungi, in their environment, and how these relationships impact bee health.
Shawn Christensen, PhD Candidate in the Microbiology Graduate Group
Shawn is an evolutionary biologist turned microbiologist, broadly interested in microbial interactions/symbioses with plant-pollinator systems, weird evolutionary traits, and crosswords. They obtained a BS from University of Wisconsin-Madison in Evolutionary Biology, where they did research on reducing ecological impacts of phosphorus runoff, ethnobotany and domestication traits in Brassica rapa, botanical field excursions of all kinds, and the evolution of chemical sets in the early origins of life. In the Vannette lab, Shawn is currently studying nectar-dwelling Acinetobacter and other nectar microbes and their potential influences on pollen for nutrient procurement, as well as the metabolomics of solitary bee pollen provisions.
Dino Sbardellati, PhD Student in the Microbiology Graduate Group
Dino is a microbiologist interested in understanding how microbial ecology shapes macroscale ecology. He received a BA in biology from Sonoma State University and an MS in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin Madison. Dino has worked on projects exploring how reintroduced Tule elk modulate terrestrial arthropod populations, how antibiotic treatment impacts gut microbial communities in Passalid beetles, and how diet effects bovine rumen microbial communities. In the Vannette lab, Dino’s work deals with studying the bacteriophage (viruses which target bacteria) communities associated with the bumble bee gut and how phages shape gut microbial communities. In his spare time Dino enjoys catching, pinning, and drawing insects, cooking pizza, and making art.
-no junior specialist at this time
Undergraduates in the lab
Madeline (Maddie) Handy is an undergraduate majoring in Microbiology. She joined the Vannette Lab as part of the Research Scholars Program in Insect Biology. Maddie has a strong interest in how gut microbiota influence host health. In the future, she hopes to be able to apply her research skills and knowledge into the relationship between microorganisms and human systems. In the Vannette lab, Maddie’s research focuses on the Carpenter bee microbiome.
Other awesome undergraduates currently affiliated with the Vannette lab:
Partial lab group, summer 2018
(L to R: Allie Igwe, Ash Zemenick, Robert Schaeffer, Rachel Vannette, Honey Pathak and Imade Ojo)
Lab photo, Summer 2016
(L to R: Tim Rei, Chela Owens, Rachel Vannette, Ariana Nagainis, Megan Morris, Griffin Hall and Allie Igwe)
Youngest (honorary) lab members:
Sterling Vannette (2013-present) and Corwin Vannette (2017-present)
2021-current: Graduate student at Cornell Entomology, recipient of NSF GRFP!
2015-2020: PhD student in the Microbiology Graduate Group
2020-current: NSF Postdoctoral Fellow with Michelle Afkhami at the University of Miami
Megan Morris, JDPE student from Liz Dinsdale’s lab at San Diego State University Vannette lab 2015-2016
2018-2020: Postdoc at Stanford University
2020-current: Postdoc at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
Bachelor’s degree, UC Davis, 2015
Current: Plant Materials Manager & Assistant Breeder at Frinj coffee
Robert Schaeffer, USDA ELI Postdoctoral Fellow 2016-2018
co-advised by R. Vannette, D. Crowder, N. Williams and T. Fukami
Ivan Munkres, junior specialist 2018-2019
Bachelor’s degree UC Davis 2018
2021-current, Graduate student at College of William and Mary
Casie Lee, 2017 STAR (Students Training in Advanced Research) Program student.
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, DVM Candidate, Class of 2020, co-advised with Lisa Tell.
Previous undergraduate researchers in the Vannette lab:
Ariana Nagainis (Spring 2016-Fall 2016)
Chela Owens (Spring 2016)
Tim Rei (2016-2017)
Wendy Melendez (2016-2017)
Cody Kiniry (2017-2018)
Anthony Chan (2017-2018)
John Duque (2017-2018)
Isabelle Maalouf (2017-2019)
Honey Pathak (2017-2019)
Eliza Litsey (2018-2019)
High School Student Affiliates
Almas Khan (2018-2019)