Current Students

Sean Schaefer

Sean has completed a B.S. in cell/ molecular biology and  M.S. in biological sciences at DePaul University. His master's thesis focused on studying gene expression during a novel developmental pathway in the plasmodial slime mold Didymium iridis. He is currently in the second year of his PhD. where he is studying plant-microbe interactions in tundra and boreal ecosystems. His primary research interests include examining how microbial community composition changes with permafrost thaw and vegetation changes and what these mean for global carbon fluxes and nutrient dynamics.


Joy O'Brien

Joy O'Brien


Joy is a master’s student working toward a degree in microbiology. Previously, she studied at Niagara University where she obtained a B.S. in Biology/Biotechnology with a minor in Public Health. While at Niagara, Joy had the opportunity to work as a research assistant where she focused on analyzing the microbial community within the water column of Fayetteville Green Lake, a meromictic lake located in Syracuse, NY. Her research experience, which included analyzing green and purple sulfur bacteria within the lake’s chemocline and exploring how these bacteria contribute to the lake’s sulfur cycle, ultimately led her to discover a passion for environmental microbiology and fieldwork. Joy is thrilled to continue her education at UNH, where she will focus on characteristics of permafrost microbiomes and their response to climate change.



Nate Blais

Nate is a first year master's student and recent graduate of UNH.