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Lab Group


Dr. Margrethe (Gretta) Serres

Research Associate III

My main research interests are in microbial physiology, including the metabolic diversity and plasticity of prokaryotes and how these traits are shaped by environmental factors, community interactions, and evolutionary history. I have worked with pathway genome databases to curate and predict functions and metabolic pathways, analyses that span individual model organisms, groups of related bacteria, and complex natural microbial communities. Beyond my technical duties in the Huber Lab, I also serve as a faculty member at Cape Cod Community College and the Coordinator for the Community College Comprehensive Research Experience at WHOI (CC-CREW) program. In this role, I oversee daily activities for the community college students at WHOI, including in the Huber laboratory, providing research and mentorship support to the students.

Personal Website

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Dr. Olivia Ahern

Postdoctoral Investigator (WHOI/MBL)

Olivia is a microbial ecologist interested in organism interactions and how they impact biogeochemical cycling, adaptation, and evolution. She joined the lab after receiving her PhD from the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School in Oceanography. During her PhD, she studied interactions between diatoms and bacteria using molecular techniques (i.e. metabarcoding, metagenomics, and genotyping) to look at host genetics and the microbiome in both field based and laboratory experiments. At WHOI, she is working with Julie and Joe Vallino at MBL investigating tropic cascades using stable isotope probing, genomics, and ecosystem modeling.


Dr. Bayleigh Benner

NSF Postdoctoral Fellow

Bayleigh is a molecular virologist and microbiologist who is interested in uncovering the viral diversity present in marine and freshwater ecosystems. Her current research focuses on utilizing genomics-based approaches to identify viral populations and virus-host interactions present within deep sea ecosystems. She aims to characterize the poorly understood roles that viruses play in global biogeochemical cycling, microbial adaptation, modulation of host metabolism, and the evolution of life on Earth. Bayleigh is currently a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral "Rules of Life" Fellow.


Sabrina Elkassas

MIT-WHOI JP Graduate Student in Chemical Oceanography

Sabrina Elkassas joined the lab after majoring in Earth and Environmental Science with a concentration in Geology at the University of Pennsylvania. Her undergraduate thesis used already isolated strains of chemosynthetic bacteria from deep-sea hydrothermal vents to investigate how these microbes can be used for bioremediation of the physical and chemical health hazards of asbestos. At WHOI, she is working on a NASA-funded project using deep-sea Earth microbes to understand the potential for life on Ocean Worlds of our solar system.


Dr. Sarah Hu

Postdoctoral Investigator

Single-celled microbial eukaryotes encompass a wide range of genetic, morphological, and functional diversity, positioning them at the epicenter of complex aquatic food webs. By understanding microbial eukaryotic nutritional roles (i.e., phototrophy, heterotrophy, and mixotrophy) and the impact these activities have on the surrounding microbial community and environment (i.e., rates of bacterial mortality, carbon transfer, regeneration of basic nutrients, etc.), we will have a more complete knowledge of their contributions to global biogeochemical cycles and how energy and carbon flows through to other trophic levels. I am a microbial ecologist and oceanographer working to characterize the in situ community and metabolic diversity of microbial eukaryotes. Currently, I am working on ways to combine molecular techniques and grazing experiments to understandmicrobial community structure and identify transcriptional patterns associated with key metabolic strategies.

Personal website.


Dr. Elaine Luo

WHOI Postdoctoral Scholar

Elaine studies how viruses impact marine ecology and biogeochemistry. She joined the lab after her PhD in Marine Biology at the University of Hawai'i, where she used metagenomic approaches to identify viral diversity, functional potential, and reproductive strategy the open oceans. In her postdoctoral work, she combines metagenomics with stable isotope probing to link viral diversity to biogeochemical cycling. Her approach probes the diversity of key viruses that direct carbon flow and rate of these processes in productive deep-sea environments such as hydrothermal vents (underwater volcanoes). In the longer-term, her research builds towards an integrated model of carbon flow in the ocean that incorporates microbial deep-sea processes. More broadly, studying deep-sea systems can inform the search for life beyond Earth, particularly in outer planet moons in our solar system that contain oceans and volcanic activity."


Emilie Skoog

Guest Student, MIT Earth and Planetary Sciences

Emilie is a PhD student in the EAPS department at MIT. She is interested in understanding the origin and evolution of life on early Earth by looking at microorganisms preserved in the rock record and analyzing modern analogs found in microbial mats and hydrothermal vents today. Her current research at MIT focuses on performing metagenomic and physiological analyses of these extant cyanobacteria from ancient stromatolites across the globe. At WHOI with Julie, she is working on isolating viruses from hydrothermal vent organisms and understanding the host-virus relationship.

Former Lab Members

Postdocs (Current Position)

Graduate Students (Current Position)

Undergraduate Summer Students (Enrollment During Time in Our Lab)

  • Molly Gibson (Bristol Community College, Summer 2021)
  • Lan Thuy Nguyen (Bunker Hill Community College, Summer 2021)
  • Morgan Michael (Cape Cod Community College, Summer 2021)
  • Josianne Joseph (Cape Cod Community College, Summer 2021)
  • Claire Andrade (Oregon State University, Summer 2021)
  • Derrick Richardson (Hampton University, Summer 2021)
  • Erica Herrara (University of Texas, El Paso, Summer 2019)
  • Fernanda Munari (Mt Wachusett Community College, Summer 2019)
  • Tony Mase (Cape Cod Community College, Summer 2019)
  • Sarah Travers (Cape Cod Community College, Summer 2019)
  • Marc Fontanez Ortiz (University of Puerto Rico, Summer 2019)
  • Meagan Perry (Cape Cod Community College, Summer 2018)
  • Patrick Carter (Cape Cod Community College, Summer 2018/19
  • Ben McKenzie (Cape Cod Community College, Summer 2018)
  • Scott Buresh (Massasoit Community College, Summer 2018)
  • Tom Rizzitano (Cape Cod Community College, Summer 2017)
  • Renan Vianna (Cape Cod Community College, Summer 2017
  • Emily Clark (Cape Cod Community College, Summer 2017)
  • Kyle Bryson (Cape Cod Community College, Summer 2016)
  • Joy Gomes (Cape Cod Community College, Summer 2016)
  • Thomas Scudder (Cape Cod Community College, Summer 2016)
  • Paula Pelayo (UCLA, Summer 2016)
  • Petra Byl (University of Chicago, Summer 2016)
  • Cierra Armstrong (Cape Cod Community College, Summer 2015/16)
  • Nick O’Sadcia (Cape Cod Community College, Summer 2015)
  • Sarah Nalven (Colby College, Summer 2016)
  • Charles Carpenter (Northwest Florida State College)
  • Teresa Meza (Northwest Florida State College)
  • Samantha Gourlie (Northwest Florida State College)
  • Destinee Harder (Northwest Florida State College)