Janelle Thompson is a joint Ph.D. student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Department of Biology focusing on the microbial ecology of coastal ecosystems. Her dissertation research investigates the influence of environmental conditions on the distribution of pathogens that are native to the marine environment. Marine-endemic pathogens (such as Vibrio cholera, V. vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus) are not considered in any U.S. water quality standards for marine environments, which are based exclusively on microbial indicator species for sewage contamination. In the context of large-scale global changes such as coastal nutrient enrichment or elevated sea surface temperatures, it becomes increasingly important to understand the factors that promote the proliferation of marine-endemic pathogens and to develop sensitive methods to detect and monitor the activity of pathogens outside of their hosts. Janelle's past work includes research on the bioremediation of TCE (a chemical pollutant), characterization of a novel bacterial species, and implementation of molecular biology-based technology to study microbial growth and population dynamics. Her career goal is to provide scientific backing to motivate policy decisions for coastal zone management. Janelle holds a B.S. in Biology, and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering and Science.
Fellow at a Glance
Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142