Rachel Poretsky

    Email Address: microbe@uic.edu
    College: Liberal Arts and Sciences Department: Biological Sciences
    Title: Assistant Professor
    Office: SEL 4100 Phone: 55102
    Webpage: http://www.uic.edu/depts/bios/faculty/Poretsky/PoretskyR.shtml
    Participating in the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Awards program: Yes

    Research Interest:
    I am a Microbial Ecologist trained as a Marine Scientist. I am interested in microbial ecology and biogeochemistry, bacterial diversity, and community structure and interactions in natural environments. My research involves exploring the functional diversity of bacteria in marine, freshwater, and urban, aquatic environments (e.g., the Chicago River) through the direct retrieval and analysis of microbial genes (metagenomics) and gene transcripts (metatranscriptomics). By identifying factors involved in the activity and diversity of bacteria, it may be possible to better understand how bacterial communities, and consequently, biogeochemical cycles will respond to environmental changes and other perturbations.

    Minimum time commitment in hours per week: TBD

    Qualifications of a Student:
    GPA is less important than a genuine interest in exploring the natural environment in the context of microbiology. We also do a good bit of computational work to analyze DNA sequence data, so students majoring in Biology, Civil/Environmental Engineering, Earth Sciences, Computer Sciences, or related fields would all have ample opportunities to participate in research. Prior experience doing lab or field work, either independently or through a class, is an advantage; however your desire to gain this experience can be sufficient. Higher priority is given to juniors and seniors who have completed some basic Biology classes.

    Brief Summary of what is expected from the student:
    Lab experiences often require more than one semester of involvement. Therefore, I encourage SOPHOMORES AND JUNIORS to contact me and have limited opportunities for seniors, particularly those graduating at the end of the semester.

    There might be some field work involved in addition to basic molecular biology lab work. Students with a computer science background would be engaged in basic bioinformatics tasks. Please contact me for more details.

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