Matt Barber

Associate Professor of Biology
Member, Institute of Ecology and Evolution
he/him | mfbarber[at]

Matt grew up in the United States and Japan before pursuing his undergraduate degree at Colgate University in upstate New York. He completed his Ph.D. in the labs of Or Gozani and Katrin Chua at Stanford University studying the biochemistry and cellular functions of chromatin modifying enzymes. After developing an interest in evolutionary biology, Matt went on to investigate host-pathogen genetic conflicts in Nels Elde’s lab at the University of Utah as an NIH F32 and K99 fellow. He joined the University of Oregon faculty in September 2016. Outside of lab Matt enjoys spending time with his family and exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Kristin Kohler

Research Associate & Lab Manager
she/her | kkohler[at]

Kristin grew up in the small town of Jackson in Northern California and obtained her bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of the Pacific. During her time at Pacific she worked in the laboratory of Craig Vierra where she identified silk genes of the Black Widow spider. She completed her Ph.D. in the lab of David Schatz at Yale University studying the targeting of Somatic Hypermutation in activated B cells. In the Barber lab Kristin applies her knowledge of immunology to study several projects at the interface of evolution and bacterial-host interactions. Outside of work Kristin enjoys hiking with her dog, trail running and baking.

EmilyClare Baker

Postdoctoral Fellow
NIH F32 award recipient
she/her | ebaker6[at]

Emily grew up in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. As an undergraduate at the University of Washington Emily worked in the lab of Dr. Harmit Malik. There she first encountered the many forms of evolutionary conflict. After graduating with a B.S. in biology Emily continued on as a technician in the Malik lab for another two years before moving to Madison, WI to attend graduate school at the University of Wisconsin. In Madison she joined the lab of Dr. Chris Hittinger where she studied the evolution of the cold-loving brewing yeast Saccharomyces eubayanus at the genomic, organelle and gene level. In the Barber lab Emily has enjoyed extending her knowledge of evolution to host-microbe conflicts between primate housekeeping proteins and bacterial pathogens. When not doing research Emily enjoys watching superhero movies, playing cricket with her family and procrastinating writing a blurb for the Barber lab website.

Mary Darby Jackson

Postdoctoral Fellow
she/her | mdj6[at]

Mary Darby, a native of Mississippi, grew up in Oxford, MS and attended Mississippi State University. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences, she joined the lab of Brian Akerley at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Mary Darby studied immune evasion mechanisms and sialic acid-mediated resistance in nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae and was awarded her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology in May 2020. As a new member of the Barber lab, Mary Darby is excited to extend her knowledge in bacteriology to study how host-microbe interactions shape immunity and bacterial adaptation. In her free time, she enjoys running and exploring the area with her husband and dog.

Caitlin Kowalski

Postdoctoral Fellow
Helen Hay Whitney Foundation fellowship recipient
she/her | ckowalsk[at]

Caitlin is a northeast native and grew up in New Hampshire. After receiving her BS in Biology from Stonehill College in Massachusetts, Caitlin returned to New Hampshire for graduate school at Dartmouth. While at Dartmouth, she joined Robert Cramer’s lab where she investigated the influence of hypoxia on filamentous fungal biofilms and pathogenesis utilizing the human fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. She was awarded her PhD in Microbiology and Immunology in April 2020. Caitlin’s graduate work leveraging natural strain heterogeneity and experimental evolution got her interested in the adaptation of host-associated microbes. In the Barber lab, Caitlin is excited to investigate how host-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions shape pathogen adaptation. Outside of lab, Caitlin can be found exploring in the mountains, trail running, or enjoying a local sour beer.

Omoshola Aleru

Ph.D. Student
Molecular Biology and Biophysics Training Grant recipient
she/her & they/them | oaleru[at]

Omoshola (Shola) grew up in Fresno, California and obtained her bachelor’s degree in biology at California State University Fresno in 2017. She is a current Biology Ph.D. student in the Institute of Ecology and Evolution and is excited to integrate her knowledge of microbiology in studying the evolution of host-microbe associations.

Killian Campbell

Ph.D. Student
Genetics Training Grant recipient
he/him | ccampbe4[at]

Killian is originally from Spokane, WA and obtained his undergraduate degree from Eastern Washington University, where he worked with Dr. Andrea Castillo. After that, Killian went on to work at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center as an NIH-PREP post-baccalaureate student in the lab of Harmit Malik. There he worked alongside Tera Levin studying host-pathogen interactions between Legionella and amoeba. Killian is currently a graduate student in the Institute of Ecology and Evolution, and is interested in the evolution of host-pathogen interactions. In his free time, Killian enjoys listening to rap music, running, and cooking. 

Filadelfia Tadjibaeva

Research Assistant
she/her | fbt[at]

Filadelfia grew up in Fergana, Uzbekistan, and came to Oregon to pursue her undergraduate degree in biology. She graduated from the University of Oregon in Winter 2022 and currently is a research assistant in the Barber lab. She is excited to learn more about microbial interactions on human skin. Besides biology, Filadelfia likes painting and learning more about art and architecture, watching documentaries or independent films, and dancing.

Emma Thompson

Undergraduate Student
she/her | ethomps3[at]

Emma was born and raised in Eugene, Oregon. She is a senior Biology major with an emphasis in Molecular, Developmental, and Cellular Biology. This is her first time in a lab and she is excited to develop her knowledge of all things lab-related. She is working under Dr. EmilyClaire Baker and is studying interactions between CEACAM proteins and bacterial adhesins. While not in the lab, Emma enjoys cooking, solving logic puzzles, and learning more about her Catholic faith.

Lab Alumni

Clara Rehmann, research assistant (2020-2021)
Currently: Ph.D. student, University of Oregon

Ryan Sayegh, research assistant (2019-2021)
Currently: Ph.D. student, CU Boulder

Wyatt Borman, undergraduate student (2019-2021)
Currently: medical scribe, Roseburg, Oregon

Nicole Paterson, Ph.D. student (2019-2021)
Currently: bioinformatician, CDC

Hussein Al-Zubieri, undergraduate student (2019-2020)
Currently: dental student, UCSF

Jasmine Garcia, undergraduate student (2020)
Currently: Ph.D. student, UCSF

Dimitra Fellman, undergraduate student (2018-2020)
Currently: research associate II, PHI Cancer Registry of Greater California

Eden Brush, undergraduate student (2017-2019)
Currently: Masters student (genetic counseling), Columbia University

Jacob Laser, research assistant (2017-2018)
Currently: medical student, University of New England

Maddy Griffin, undergraduate student (2017-2018)
Currently: graduate student, Bastyr University

Hanna Buechi, research assistant (2016-2017)
Currently: program manager, Measure to Improve