Matt Barber

Assistant Professor of Biology
he/him | mfbarber[at]

Matt grew up in Maryland and Japan before heading to New York to pursue his undergraduate degree at Colgate University. He completed his Ph.D. in the labs of Or Gozani and Katrin Chua at Stanford University studying the biochemistry and cellular functions of mammalian protein deacetylases. 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. He joined the University of Oregon as an assistant professor 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
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 micro-microbe interactions shape microbial 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
NIH T32 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.

Nicole Paterson

Ph.D. Student
NIH T32 training grant recipient
she/her | npm[at]

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Nicole did her undergraduate research in the lab of Kenneth Stedman on a NASA-funded project on acidophilic thermo-stable archaeal proteins. Subsequently she worked in the lab of Curt Machida at OHSU testing the bactericidal properties of bioactive resins on S. mutans biofilms, and then in the lab of Jason Taylor at the Portland VA studying immunological defects in a mouse model of Fanconi anemia. She also has a Master’s degree from work done on spindle orientation in the lab of Ken Prehoda at UO. Nicole is excited to combine her research on the immune system with her early experience in evolutionary ecology to study how immune receptors evolve new functions in primates. She loves animals and almost became a veterinarian, in her spare time she serves the public on the City Council Toxics Advisory Board and hikes mountains with her dog.

Killian Campbell

Ph.D. Student
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. 

Ryan Sayegh

Research Assistant
he/him | rsayegh[at]

Ryan grew up in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, and his family is originally from Lebanon. He is a recent graduate of the University of Oregon, where he attained a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, with minors in Chemistry and Theatre Arts. During his undergraduate degree, he worked in Annie Zemper’s laboratory where he studied the roles of proteins in the colonic epithelium of mice. Ryan is incredibly excited to learn about the evolutionary processes shaping host-microbe interactions. Ryan enjoys drawing, going on hikes, and cooking.

Clara Rehmann

Research Assistant

Clara grew up in Portland, Oregon and attended University of California, Los Angeles, where she studied the effects of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase editing deficiency on Escherichia coli viability, before earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at University of Oregon in 2020, where she researched 3D genome organization of Schizosaccharomyces pombe. She is currently a research assistant in the Barber and Kern-Ralph labs, and is interested in spatial population genetics, coevolution, and host-pathogen interactions (and hopes to combine all three someday!) In her spare time, she’s usually in the wilderness, drawing, or spending quality time with her bearded dragon.

Wyatt Borman

Undergraduate Student

Lab Alumni

Hussein Al-Zubieri, undergraduate student (2019-2020)
Currently: research assistant, Genomics and Cell Characterization Core Facility, University of Oregon

Jasmine Garcia, undergraduate student (2020)
Currently: research assistant, Guldberg lab, University of Oregon

Dimitra Fellman, undergraduate student (2018-2020)
Currently: public health honors student, University of Oregon

Eden Brush, undergraduate student (2017-2019)
Currently: genetic counselor assistant, Lineagen

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: sustainability consulting program manager, Measure to Improve