Colwell Lab

Frederick (Rick) Colwell, Ph.D, Professor, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

I was a research scientist at the Idaho National Laboratory for 20 years conducting basic research for the Department of Energy.  In 2006, I joined CEOAS.  I received my B.S. in Biology from Whitman College in 1977, my M.S. in Microbiology from Northern Arizona University in 1982 and my Ph.D. in Microbiology from Virginia Tech in 1986. Our research focus is on geomicrobiology, the microbiology of earth systems on the continents and in the oceans. In some cases we have studied microscopic life in shallow soils and watersheds but we’ve also investigated microbial communities that survive hundreds of meters underground. Our team examines the activities, diversity, and functions of microorganisms in these environments and I’ve led or participated in multiple scientific drilling expeditions on the continents and at sea. The classes I teach include Exploring the Deep (basic oceanography class), Astrobiology, and Cascadia Field Trip.

Current PostDocs

Jessica Buser-Young, Ph.D. College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

My postdoc research focuses on defining the microbial diversity methane-hydrate associated communities within the deep marine subsurface. My aim is to strengthen our understanding of the link between methane hydrate presence and microbial influences. In my free time I love to garden, read, and watch Star Trek.

Current Graduate Students

Kelly Shannon, MS, Doctoral Student (began summer 2020)

I am a Masters student in microbiology and my area of interest is in microbial ecology. Specifically, I am intrigued by the connection between microbial biogeochemistry, ecosystem ecology, and climate. As a microbiology major my area of expertise is in bacterial dynamics, but I believe that the best way to study an environmental system is through a holistic and interdisciplinary approach. 

Recent and Current Undergraduate Student Affiliations, alphabetical order

Matthew Borchers (OSU, Biochemistry, 2014-16)

Jennifer Brooks (Univ. Portland, REU, 2007)

Daisy Castillo (UC Santa Cruz, REU, 2013 & 2014,

Tiffany Chan (OSU, Chemical Engineering, 2015-17)

Chloe Cornejo (Cabrillo College, REU, 2021)

Grace D’Angelo (OSU, Microbiology, 2014-17)

Nick Davies (Whitman College, REU, 2013,

Samantha Dawson (OSU, Microbiology, 2019)

Erica Ewton (OSU, Microbiology, Honors College, 2017-19;

Owen Markley (OSU, Computer Science, 2020)

Sydney Fox-Middleton (Santa Clara Univ., REU, 2019,

Rowan Nelson (OSU, SURE, 2021)

Michael Graw (Cornell Univ., REU, 2011)

Teague Green (OSU, Microbiology, 2012)

Mika Hashima (OSU, Biochemistry and Biophysics, 2023-present)

Aleha Havlinek (OSU, Microbiology, 2012)

Jayson Hieter (OSU, Microbiology, 2009)

Katie Hostetler (OSU, Microbiology, 2017-19)

Kimberley Melendez-Rivera (OSU, Bioresources Res., 2012-13;

Ryan Moore (OSU, Engineering, 2010)

Chris Neighbor (OSU, Engineering, Honors College, 2011-12;

Kyle Neumann (OSU, Bioresources Research, 2013-15;

Sarah Olsen Michel (OSU, Microbiology, 2020)

Katie Powers (OSU, Microbiology, 2008-09)

Julian Preciado (OSU, Bioengineering, 2013;

Stella Ross (Univ. of Washington, REU, 2017)

Amanda Schwartz (OSU, Microbiology, 2008-09)

Sonia Trevino-Dopatka (University of Wisconsin, REU, 2010)

Madeline Tyler (OSU, Microbiology, 2019)

Johannes Vielig (OSU, Microbiology, 2014)

Hiu Yip (OSU, Microbiology, 2009-10)

     Italics = undergraduate thesis advisor 

Graduate Student Thesis Advisor, alphabetical order

Brandon Briggs (PhD, COAS, 2007-2011;

Jessica Buser-Young (PhD, Microbiology, 2018-2023;

Michael Graw (PhD, CEOAS, 2013-2017;

Megan Kaufman (MS, Microbiology, 2009-2011;

Scott Klasek (PhD, Microbiology, 2013-2019;

Heather Lavalleur (MS, Microbiology, 2009-2011;

Juliette Ohan (MS, Microbiology, 2015-2018;

Andrew Schwartz ([co-advisor], MS, Microbiology, 2008-2011;

Kelly Shannon (MS, Microbiology, 2020-present;

Kelly Shannon (PhD, Microbiology, 2020-present;

Amy Smith ([co-advisor], PhD, CEOAS, 2011-2017;

     Italics = degree completed

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