Lab Members

Associate Professor

 Department of Microbiology and Cell Science University of Florida
Email | CV


Jamie Foster

Jamie Foster is an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Cell Science at the University of Florida. Dr. Foster’s research lab is located at the Space Life Sciences Lab – Exploration Park, Merritt Island, FL

Education: Ph.D., 2000, Zoology, Mechanisms of developmental remodeling in the symbiosis between the Hawaiian squid Euprymna scolopes and the luminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri, University of Hawai’i; M.S., 1996, Biological Sciences University of Southern California; B.S., 1992, Zoology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Research Interests: Dr. Foster is dedicated to understanding the complex interactions of symbiotic microbes with their surrounding environment.

Artemis (Dyanna) Louyakis

Artemis (Dyanna) Louyakis is a graduate student in the Department of Microbiology and Cell Science of the University of Florida.

Education: B.S. 2009, Biological Science, Murdoch University

Research Interests: Dyanna’s research interests include examining the biota of extreme environments to facilitate the understanding of microbial origins, the search for evidence of life outside of Earth, and microbial genomics and transcriptomics. Currently, she is working on the thrombolites from Highborne Cay, the Bahamas to understand functional gene expression related to calcium carbonate precipitation through a metatranscriptomic approach. 


Joany Babilonia

Joany Babilonia is a graduate student in the Department of Microbiology and Cell Science of the University of Florida

Education: B.S. 2010, Molecular and Microbiology, Biotechnology; minor in Religious Studies from the University of Central Florida.

Research Interests: Joany’s research interests include microbial genomics and the exploration of early life on Earth. She is currently characterizing the core microbiome of stromatolites from spatially diverse sites and from distinct aquatic environments.

Lexi Duscher

Lexi Duscher is working towards her PhD. in Microbiology and Cell Science.
Education: B.S. 2013, Marine Science and Environmental Studies, Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL.
Research Interests: Lexi’s is interested in examining the effects of environmental stress on mutualistic associations between animal hosts and their symbionts. Lexi’s current work involves delineating the impact of the space environment (i.e., microgravity) on the immune system of the squid Euprymna scolopes, immune system in the presence and absence of symbiotic microbes.

Madeline Vroom

Maddie is currenting working on her Ph.D research at the University of Florida Space Life Science Lab.
Education: B.S. 2016, Microbiology, Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, OH.
Maddie’s interest focuses on investigating the role that mutualistic bacterial symbionts play in the physiological development of their animal host. Maddie’s current research involves elucidating the mechanisms by which apoptosis-driven morphological changes occur in juvenile Euprymna scolopes colonized with symbiotic Vibrio fischeri and the effect of a space environment (microgravity) on these developmental events.

Professor Octavius Squidby

Prof Squidby is the Lab Mascot providing emotional calmness and stress relief.
Education:  Cephalopodiatrist Extraordinaire