Lauren V. Alteio
B.S., SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 2014
I am fascinated by the immense diversity of microorganisms in the natural and built environments. As a researcher I investigate the hidden diversity of uncultivated microorganisms in soil and how their activity changes in response to climate change. Terrestrial environments harbor nearly two-thirds of global carbon stores, and have the potential to release this carbon to the atmosphere. Soil organisms are important players in global carbon cycling, activity of which might result in feedbacks to further climatic shift. I primarily study forest soils at the warming experiments located at the Harvard Forest LTER to investigate the impacts of long-term warming on soil communities.
The goal of my research is to expand the existing reference set of microbial genomes from forest soil, and use these genomes to investigate markers of selection in microorganisms in response to warming. There are numerous challenges that persist in the study of microbes in soils including biological diversity and the physiochemical properties of soil. To circumvent some of these challenges I primarily use cell sorting approaches to reduce overall complexity in highly heterogeneous soil communities. Through sequencing pools of sorted cells, we can obtain nearly complete genome resolution for a diverse array of bacteria, archaea, and giant viruses from soil. The use of cell-targeted techniques promotes scaling from the single cell to biogeochemical cycles that drive global health.
My previous research was conducted in Dr. Tom Horton's lab at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. This research focused on the impacts of invasive earthworms on microbial decomposition and mychorrizal fungus diversity in forest soil. I gained experience identifying mycorrhizal root tips, conducting DNA extractions and PCR, and performing colorimetric enzyme assays.
Alteio, L.V., Schulz, F., Ryan, E., Goudeau, D., Malmstrom, R.R, Blanchard, J., and Woyke, T. Hidden Diversity of Giant Viruses in Forest Soil. Nature Communications. In Review.