Department of Applied Environmental Science
Andrea Valdez, a senior Biology major, is on a microbe mission. Valdez, in conjunction with Gretchen Hofmann’s lab at UC Santa Barbara, is studying a wasting disease contributing to the recent demise of sea stars, a keystone species in the near shore environment. Valdez is using molecular techniques to determine the diversity of bacterial organisms found on sea stars with wasting disease, and comparing them to bacterial populations on healthy sea stars. The work, which comprises much of the NSF-GRFP application that Valdez is writing this Fall, will contribute to a greater understanding of this complex disease. Valdez began the study in Hofmann’s lab last summer, and continues it this Fall in Aparna Sreenivasan’s lab. She is funded in part by LSAMP and UROC and hopes to present this project at various regional and national conferences this year.
Story: Aparna Sreenivasan