Coastal Disease Ecology
Principal Investigator

PostDocs & Graduate Students

Whether you are a MS or PhD student who is just starting, nearing the end, or have already completed your degree, there are a number of graduate student and postdoctoral fellowship opportunities at the Smithsonian Institution that offer both stipends and research funds to pursue questions related to parasite and disease ecology. 

We are interested in candidates who ask research questions on a wide range of topics within parasite and disease ecology in coastal environments. We are a highly collaborative group, so research questions that span disciplines and have additional advisors are welcome. To discuss potential proposal ideas, please contact Katrina Lohan (

Smithsonian Institution Postdoctoral Fellowships relevant to our research include:

Current Graduate Students and Postdocs

Calli Wise
M.S. Student, Frostburg State University (2019 – 2021)
B.S. Wildlife Conservation, Juniata College, 2017
Current Research: I study river otters in the Chesapeake Bay sub-estuary around SERC. I monitor river otter latrines, collect scats, and analyze the scats with metabarcoding and microscopy to learn about river otter diet and parasites. I conduct fieldwork at SERC through the Coastal Disease Ecology Lab while pursuing an Applied Ecology and Conservation Biology M.S. at Frostburg State University.
Co-advisors: Drs. Thomas Serfass (FSU), Katrina Lohan (SERC)


Leone Yisrael 
Ph.D. Student, Johns Hopkins University (2020 – 2025)
B.S. Marine Biology, Louisiana State University, 2018
M.S. Ocean Sciences, University of California Santa Cruz, 2019
Current Research: I study how microbial symbionts alleviate the impacts of environmental stressors on estuarine organisms, thus permitting them to survive in otherwise uninhabitable spaces. I am using the Atlantic brief squid and its microbiome as a model system to explore these interactions. I conduct genetic and fieldwork at SERC through the Coastal Disease Ecology Lab while pursuing a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography at the Johns Hopkins University.
Co-advisors: Drs. Anand Gnanadesikan (Johns Hopkins University), Katrina Lohan (SERC)
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Postdoctoral Fellow 2019 - present
(co-advised by Dr. Ruiz in Marine Invasions Research Lab)
Smithsonian Burch Postdoctoral Fellow 2019- 2020
Ph.D. Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, Northeastern University
B.A. Biology, French, Wesleyan University
Current Research: I examine 1) the ability of populations and communities of micro- and macroorganisms to recover from disturbance by novel stressors, 2) the potential for biodiversity at all levels to buffer stressors, and 3) the importance of including pathogens in biodiversity monitoring and assessment to improve conservation.


Former Graduate Students and Postdocs

Dr. Alexandria Murphy (MPH, University of Florida, 2018-2019)