Kent Laboratory University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
 

PEOPLE

Kent Lab 2012




























Associate Professor Angela D. Kent

Ph.D., Bacteriology, December 2000
University of Wisconsin-Madison

M.S., Bacteriology, August 1996
University of Wisconsin-Madison

B.A., Biology, May 1992
Grinnell College

Download CV (PDF, 221 KB)

CONTACT INFORMATION
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
1102 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL
Telephone: 217-333-4216
Fax: 217-244-3219
E-mail: akent@illinois.edu

Graduate Students

Sara Paver

Ph.D. Student (Program in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology)
August 2007 - present

M.S., Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
November 2009
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

B.S. (with honors), Biology, May 2007
University of Illinois at Springfield

PROJECT:
Aquatic Microbial Ecology

Research Interests:
In my current research, I am examining linkages between bacteria and algal populations in aquatic ecosystems, exploring the importance of biological interactions for shaping aquatic bacterial communities. The phytoplankton community has been identified as an important force structuring bacterial community composition in lakes. Phytoplankton exudates support bacterial growth. We hypothesize that as phytoplankton communities change through time, shifts in the composition and quantity of exudates cause bacterial communities to change. I am using a number of microbial ecology approaches to investigate the direct influence of phytoplankton-mediated resources on bacterial community composition. I will continue to work in aquatic systems for my PhD, and I plan to develop the idea of using bacteria living on individual algal cells as a model for examining bacterial communities at ecologically relevant spatial scales for investigating community assembly.


Ginny Li

Ph.D. Student (Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences)
August 2009 - present

M.S., Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
August 2011
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

B.Sc., Environmental Chemistry, May 2009
Nanjing University, China

PROJECT:
Biofuels and Sustainability

Research interests: I am interested in identifying beneficial bacteria and fungi that colonize potential bioenergy crops. I am particularly interested in identifying nitrogen-fixing bacteria that colonize long-term sustainable fields of Miscanthus, and hope to determine if nitrogen-fixing bacteria might contribute to sustainable growth of this potential bioenergy crop. This work will contribute to efforts toward sustainable production of bioenergy crops here at the University of Illinois by improving our understanding of the ecology of microbial communities that may positively contribute to plant nutrition.



Dora Cohen

Ph.D. Student (Program in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology)
July 2012 - present

B.S., Biology, May 2012
University of Idaho

PROJECT:
Illinois Wetland Restoration

Research Interests:
Microbes play key roles in many biogeochemical cycles, thus there is a critical need to understand processes that create and maintain microbial diversity. I am investigating the effect of altered disturbance regimes on the structure and function of floodplain soil communities. Floodplains offer an ideal ecosystem in which to study how disturbance shapes microbial communities, as they present microbial communities with a gradient of disturbance. In addition, floodplain microbial communities carry out important ecosystem services that affect water quality and greenhouse gas production. As global change will impact precipitation and flood regimes in floodplain habitats, the typical pattern of disturbance experienced by soil microbes will be altered, with unknown consequences for nutrient cycling functions and GHG production.



Adam Wallenfang

Ph.D. Student (Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences)
August 2012 - present


M.S., Molecular Microbiology, August 2009
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

B.S. (with High Honors), Integrative Biology, May 2007
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

PROJECT:
Illinois Wetland Restoration

Research Interests:

My interests are in water quality issues. I am currently trying to determine the physical, chemical, and biological factors that affect the microbial community structure and function in restored and created wetlands. I am also interested in determining if wetland restoration activities prescribed by the Clean Water Act are restoring microbial ecosystem services. This research is important for understanding the wetland function of removing nitrate from the waterways and preventing nitrate pollution of downstream waterways such as the Gulf of Mexico.

Sarah Hathaway

M.S. Student (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
August 2011 - present

PROJECT:
Microbial ecology of denitrifying biofilters

Research interests: I am interested in investigating the diversity, dynamics and functional redundancy of microbial populations in denitrifying biofilters.









Visiting researchers

Michael Lemke

Professor (University of Illinois at Springfield)
2008 - present

PROJECT:
Wetland Restoration

Research interests: I am interested in the diversity and dynamics of floodplain bacteria following ecosystem restoration. We are characterizing and comparing bacterial community dynamics and ecological drivers in a newly restored floodplain lake not yet connected to its flood pulse river source (Thompson Lake) to an established reference floodplain lake that receives flood pulses (Lake Chautauqua). Identifying the ecological drivers governing the dynamics of microbial communities in floodplain lakes may allow us to better understand and explain microbial dynamics and link them to microbial ecosystem functions. This is especially important in ecosystem restoration, where we hope to restore ecosystem functions mediated by microbial populations.


Lab affiliates

Katie Amato

Ph.D. Student (Program in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology)
August 2008 - present

PROJECT:
Investigating the relationship between primate foraging behavior and intestinal microbial communities in the black howler monkey population at Palenque National Park, Chiapas, Mexico.




Glen Menezes

Ph.D. Student (Agricultural and Biological Engineering)
August 2007 - present

PROJECT:
Role of microbial community structure and function in carbon sequestration













Derrick Lin

Ph.D. Student (Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences)
August 2009 - present

PROJECT:
Investigating the impacts of invasive species on soil microbial community structure and function.









Yi Lou

M.S. Student (Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences)
August 2009 - present

PROJECT:
Investigating the impacts of invasive species on soil microbial community structure and function.






 

Undergraduate Students

Scott Rysz

B.S., Integrative Biology
May 2012 - present

PROJECT:
Aquatic Microbial Ecology

Research Interests:
I am interested in studying microbial communities in aquatic ecosystems, and how they interact with other aquatic organisms. I am using DNA "fingerprinting" approaches to examine changes in microbial assemblages in response to floodplain dynamics.








Jonathan Bressler

B.S., Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
NGRREC Intern
January 2012 - August 2012

PROJECT:
Illinois Wetland Restoration

Research Interests:
I am interested in studying microbial community structure and function in wetland ecosystems. I am comparing microbes in restored and natural wetlands to determine if microbial ecosystem services are being fully restored.








Lab alumni