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Ariel leaves in body but not in cyber space

Lab members: Natalie, Ariel, Ryan, Jill, Katie, & Ryan - thanks purple door ice cream!

Ariel Franitza has been our in-lab genomicista this summer. She is currently starting her senior year at Carthage College as a Biology and Computer Science student. As a lab that generates lots of water-related genomic data, we were very excited to have her dive in.

Ariel’s priority was to assist Natalie, a MS student, process DNA and RNA sequencing data for her thesis. Natalie’s research focuses on the microbial ecology of groundwater reservoirs. She collected water from several wells in Waukesha in order to compare the microbial communities of potentially pristine and contaminated groundwater sources. To do this, Natalie sequenced 16S rRNA gene fragments from each sample, a common method used to estimate microbial diversity in the environment.

Ariel ran the 16S rRNA sequence dataset through the pipeline DADA2, which infers taxonomy of bacteria and archaea using previously published sequence databases. She compared DADA2 results to those obtained from another pipeline, mothur, and also from the platform BLAST. She and Natalie are discovering remarkable things about groundwater microbes, but for that, you will have to check back at the publications list soon!

Ariel and Natalie also spent a few late nights together in the lab, tackling the complicated process of preparing DNA for metagenomic sequencing. Natalie is grateful for the extra pair of hands, upbeat disposition, and podcast-listening companionship during these endeavors.

Ariel will continue to independently study the groundwater DNA-RNA sequences during her senior year. She may need to return to Kenosha to graduate, but to us, she will remain in Milwaukee in spirit (and in the network).

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