Later this year, Ian Rambo, a graduate student in Brett Baker’s lab at the University of Texas at Austin, will defend his dissertation. Some of his research was conducted at the JGI through the DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program, which awards graduate students the opportunity to pursue part of their thesis research at one of the DOE national laboratories or national user facilities.
Baker had worked with the JGI through a Community Science Program (CSP) proposal, and Rambo’s research builds on that. “The purpose of this CSP is to better understand methane cycling in mangrove wetlands in south Texas,” he explained. “In terms of my project, I wanted to incorporate that CSP, but also look at how viruses might be influencing the methane cycling within these mangrove wetlands.”
A chapter of Rambo’s research focuses on how viruses influence carbon cycling in coastal mangroves. His work centers on samples collected on Mud Island – “it’s essentially a mud island, more or less, right?” – off the coast of south Texas. At the JGI, Rambo’s work was overseen by Susannah Tringe, head of the Microbial Systems group. He also worked with Simon Roux and David Paez-Espino.
Rambo found the SCGSR research experience was “an ideal opportunity for me to get real-world experience.” As he finalizes his dissertation, he noted his time with the JGI has shaped his post-graduate school plans. “The SCGSR gave me some great insight into my career path,” he said. “I much preferred the National Lab to academia, and saw great potential in the academic and industry collaborations taking place. I am planning to enter the Boston biotech startup scene as a computational biologist. My primary future goal is to form a startup.”