Cattolico Laboratory

Evolution, physiology, and molecular biology of the algae




Principal Investigator:

Rose Ann Cattolico racat @ uw dot educropped-rac

Rose Ann received her doctorate at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, in 1973 and served as a postdoctoral fellow at McGill University until 1975 when she joined the faculty of the University of Washington. Her main research interests have been in the area of chloroplast genome architecture and gene function in non-chlorophyll b containing algae as well as functional genetic diversity within stramenopile populations. She currently teaches classes in cell biology and algology. Her current research projects involve algal sourcing for fuel and high-value coproducts, as well as harmful algal blooms.


Chloe Deodato chloed @ uw dot eduChloe_lab

Chloe is the senior technician in the Cattolico Lab. She is responsible for general lab management, including overseeing lab maintenance, ordering supplies, helping with algal curation, and supervising undergraduate and graduate research. She is also studying gene expression in Heterosigma subjected to different environmental conditions. When not in the lab, Chloe enjoys playing music, going to concerts, and social dancing. Her current dance of choice is Salsa.

Volunteers: Jessica Farrow-Johnson & Andrew Torok
Undergraduate Mentees: Olga Vitruk, Ben Pelle & Garrett Pickard

Graduate Student:

Megan Black mmdblack @ uw dot edumegan black

Megan Black is interested in algal population genetics. She is developing methods to differentiate between algal strains that look similar, yet have genes that give one strain a competitive advantage over another. Ms. Black is applying this to the harmful algal bloom forming raphidophyte, Heterosigma akashiwo to examine its world-wide diversity and ecological ability to rapidly form blooms. Ms. Black has over 17 years experience working with algae, protozoa, and plankton in a variety of ecosystems. Megan is a native to Washington State, who enjoys taking photos of algal blooms while flying over the Puget Sound.

Former members:

Undergraduate Researchers 2014: Tejinder Randhawa, James Miller, Ryan Sinit, Jenni Bradstreet & Phyll Eier
Volunteers 2013-2014: Warren Carter, Eddie Lopez & Zach Smith
Visiting Undergraduate Researcher 2014: Sahutchai Inwongwan

Stephanie Brunellesteph_b2

My research focuses on the study of proteins involved in lipid body biogenesis in the haptophyte Chrysochromulina. The aim of the lipid body group is to understand how, when and where lipid bodies, the organelle where lipids are contained, are produced within the cell. We are interested in how lipid bodies are formed over the diurnal cycle with an emphasis on cell cycle and under stress conditions. Techniques used to answer these questions include, genomics, proteomics, and immunolocalization.

Heather Hunsperger hheather @ uw dot eduHunsperger

Heather earned her BS in Marine Science from Eckerd College. After co-skippering a sailboat around the Atlantic Ocean, she began her PhD studies in 2009. Broadly, Heather uses molecular techniques to study how different groups of algae have adapted to their unique environments. Her thesis focuses on a metabolic innovation in the diatoms — two genes for a key regulatory step of chlorophyll synthesis where there is usually just one gene. Heather is integrating regulatory, functional, and phylogenetic studies to better understand how diatoms utilize their dual chlorophyll synthesis genes. Heather is a recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, an NIH Genome Training Grant, and a Grant-in-aid of Research from the Phycological Society of America.

Undergraduate mentee: Chris Ford

Blake Hovde hovdebt @ uw dot eduBlake

Blake is a graduate student in the department of Genome Sciences and works in the Monnat Lab. His expertise lies in homing endonuclease re-design and comes to the lab hoping to use these enzymes for targeted genetic modification in algae. He enjoys golf, table tennis, regular tennis, and badminton. In 2008, he lived in China for a year working as an English teacher.

Liz Tobin etobin @ uw dot eduliz

Liz Tobin earned her B.S. in aquatic biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2005 and her M.S. in Oceanography from the University of Washington, School of Oceanography in 2009. She earned her Ph.D. at the UW, School of Oceanography in 2014. Liz is interested in how coupled biological and physical mechanisms regulate blooms of harmful marine algae. Her research focuses on characterizing cell motility during transitions between pelagic and benthic life stages to determine how these cell-level behaviors interact with physical processes to regulate population-level distributions. She uses novel video-based motion analysis techniques to quantify the behaviors of her focal harmful algal species, Heterosigma akashiwo and Alexandrium catenella. The goal of Liz’s research is to better inform harmful algal bloom predictions.

In addition to her research, Liz is also very dedicated to science outreach and education. During her Master’s studies, she taught two years of high school marine science as an NSF, OACIS GK-12 fellow. She is currently a fellow in the IGERT Program on Ocean Change. In her free time, Liz enjoys running, skiing, rock climbing and traveling.

Johnathan Patterson

Will Yost wyost @ uw dot edupic

Will is a research tech in the Cattolico lab, and graduated from the University of Washington in 2011 with a B.S. in
Cellular, Molecular, and Developmental Biology. He first started in the lab in 2010 as an undergrad, and joined in a professional capacity in autumn 2011. Will’s focus is on algal media optimization and lipid biogenesis for the model organism Chrysochromulina tobin.

Bill Hardinbillh hardiw @ uw dot edu

Bill is a graduate student in the Cattolico Lab and has been working on his thesis research since 2010. He is interested in lipid body biogenesis with the oleaginous alga Chrysochromulina sp. His work focuses on characterizing lipid body proteins, lipids, and conducting cytological studies under a variety of cellular growth conditions. Through this work he can better answer questions concerning lipid body formation/breakdown and gain a better understanding of their role during cellular processes. Bill has previously served in the Navy on a submarine and graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Biochemistry. He enjoys playing tennis, day hikes, and making candles in his free time.