I joined Dr. James Herrick's research lab in 2013 while working towards my undergraduate degree and I'm now pursuing my Master's degree in Biology largely due in part to my awesome experience doing research. I'm interested in studying and understanding the incidence of mobile and transferrable elements of DNA - plasmids - found in bacterial populations in streams throughout the Shenandoah Valley. We specifically look at plasmids that contain genes that confer resistance to antibiotics and also have the potential to be exchanged horizontally (between mature bacteria as opposed to traditional vertical transfer from parent to progeny). Horizontal gene transfer also allows for these resistance plasmids to be traded among differing species of bacteria - which can drive the spread of antibiotic resistance to potentially pathogenic bacteria and is a growing health concern in today's society. We use a variety of microbiological and genomic techniques to study these plasmids including a new, revolutionary DNA sequencer, the Oxford Nanopore Technologies' MinION.

Recent Poster Presentations:

  • Libuit K, Kapsak C, Gehr E, Turner S, Herrick J. Dec. 2015. MinION Sequencing of a Captured Antibiotic Resistance Plasmid. Oxford Nanopore Technologies MinION Community Meeting. New York Genome Center, New York City, NY. https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1618669.v1
  • Kapsak C, Libuit K, Turner S, Herrick J. Nov. 2015. Testing the MinION, a New Nanopore-Based DNA sequencer, for Comparative Plasmid Genomics and Salamander Skin Metagenomics. American Society for Microbiology VA Branch Annual Meeting. Sergeant Reynolds Community College, Richmond, VA


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