My research lab utilizes DNA fingerprinting and sequencing technologies to answer a variety of interesting biological questions. Presently, my research interests include metagenomic analysis of microbial communities, DNA barcoding, and my latest focus: using DNA techniques to monitor and assess zebra mussel invasions.

Along with Dr. Mitch Wagener, former and current WCSU students, and Larry Marsicano (director, Candlewood Lake Authority), I am part of an ongoing project to detect and monitor invasive zebra mussels in local waterways. Funding for this project was provided by the US Forest & Wildlife Service Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force and administered by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP).

Zebra Mussel (Dreisenna polymorpha)
To read more about this invasive species, see these FAQs (USGS).


Here are undergraduate, graduate, and joint faculty research projects that have been supported in my lab.

* DNA Zebra Mussel Monitoring & Phylogeographic Project

  • Stephen M. Wagener, Edwin Wong, Nicole Stiteler, Ann Marie S. Selva, Linda Berger, and Laurence J. Marsicano - Continued Monitoring of Zebra Mussel Introductions from the Housatonic River in Lakes Candlewood, Lillinonah and Zoar: A Pilot Program. 2012. [Report]
  • Edwin Wong, Ana Bortoletto, and Maria Bortoletto - Molecular Detection of Zebra Mussel Veligers in Lake Planktonic Samples. Poster from North American Lake Management Society meeting.
  • Stephen Wagener, Edwin Wong, Melissa Garafola, Ana Bortoletto, Maria Bortoletto, and Larry Marsicano - Early Detection /Monitoring of Zebra Mussel Introductions from the Housatonic River in Lakes Candlewood, Lillinonah and Zoar: A Pilot Program. 2011. [Report]

* DNA Sequencing & Barcode Analysis

  • James Tanner - Morphological and mtDNA Classifications of Mosquitoes in Western Connecticut
  • Casianne Manning & Mayadha Rasheed - DNA Barcode in Angiosperms: Variation in the atpF-atpH Intergenic Region
  • Jeffrey Brentson - DNA Barcoding of Local Marine Fish
  • Annika Casteneda - Capillary DNA sequencing on the Beckman Coulter CEQ8000
  • Adedayo Hanidu & Nadine Khalil - DNA Sequence Analysis of Soil Microbes

* DNA Fingerprint & Metagenomic Analysis

  • Mark Fitzgerald & Mary Alice Secola - Microbial Metagenomic Analysis and Comparison of Candlewood Lake Sediments in Winter Draw-down and Shallow Submerged Shoreline Areas (Winner - 2010 WestConn Research Day Provost's Prize)
  • Cassandra Kocsis & Julia Sammartano - DNA Analysis of Bacterial Communities on Equine Skin
  • Kyle Moske, Jason Conn, & Jacqueline Malecki - Metagenomic Analysis of Cigar Microbes
  • Uyiosa Osagie & Sandy Peterson - Metagenomic Analysis of Water Samples
  • Jacob Putkowski - Analysis of the Bacterial Community Within a Building Ventilation System
  • Valerie Watson, Courtney Pietropaolo, & James Tanner - DNA Sequence Analysis of Lake Zoar Sediment Microbes
  • Rachel Yonika & Michael Ammirata - Intestinal Colonization of Equus ferus caballus for the First Week of Life
  • Valerica Albu & Annika Castaneda - Comparison of Soil Bacterial Communities Found in Connecticut Forests & Gardens (Winner - 2007 WestConn Research Day Best Poster)
  • Yvonne Santiago - Zygosity of D1S80 Alleles in Human Populations
  • Teresa Fox & Cassandra Jabara - Temperature Selection and Microbial Robustness
  • Oriane Broustal & Deborah Carella - DNA Extraction & Amplification From Animal Hair & Fur
  • Karen Beitler - Effects of Soil Amendments on Rhizobium-treated Legumes
  • Luanne LaRose - DNA Fingerprint Analysis of Aquarium Fish
  • Joanna Sweeney - TRFLP Analysis of Soil Fungal Communities Along Stone Walls
  • Edna Soto - Sequence Comparison of Mitochondrial COI Gene Sequences from Copepods of North & Central Americas
  • Sarah Ronning - Differences in Bacterial Community Structure in Casts from Earthworms Fed Different Soil Types
  • Roger Martinez - Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Analysis of Soil Fungal Communities Along Stone Walls
  • Maria Ahmed & Joanna Sweeney - Comparison of Soil Bacterial Communities at WCSU Westside Campus
  • Timothy Dejulio & Jonathan Brooks - A Comparative Study of the Microbiota Within Three Artificial Aquatic Environments
  • Kristin Davies & Tracey O'Neill - A Comparative Study of Bacterial Communities in the Digestive Tract of Two Populations of Harbor Seal, Phoca vitulina
  • Edward Schwerkolt - Molecular Analysis of Bacteria Found on American Paper Currency
  • Edwin Wong & Mitch Wagener - The Influence of Stonewall Environments on Soil Microbial Community Structure as Assessed by Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Analysis
  • Edwin Wong & Howard Russock - Methods for isolating genomic DNA from the Mossambique Tilapia for Randomly Amplified Polymorphic DNA Analysis

* Conjugation between Procaryotes and Eucaryotes

  • Jonathan Brooks - Trans-kingdom Conjugation between E. coli and the eucaryote, Saccharomyces cerevisiae

* Bacterial Degraders of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

  • Lisa Mara & Brian Sampson - Identification of Microbial Biodegraders
  • Irene Vishnevsky - Identification of Microbial Biodegraders

* Mercury Modification by Soil Bacteria

  • Anthony Reeves - PCR Amplification of Mercury-resistance Genes
  • Baerbel LoSacco - Bacterial Biodegradation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Mary Ann Whalen & James Archer - Identification of Mercury-Resistant Bacteria in Soil


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