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A week in the life of a scientist: Imade Ojo

Imade Ojo, a senior biology major at Howard University, currently works with graduate student Allie Igwe in Dr. Rachel Vannette’s lab as part of the EEGAP program. Imade’s research focuses on serpentine soil, which is characterized by its notable low concentrations of calcium and nitrogen and heavy concentrations of nickel and magnesium. Imade is studying the differences in the functional potential between the microbial communities associated with the roots of serpentine-indifferent plants grown in serpentine or non-serpentine environments.

Last week included a group field trip in addition to a copious amount of lab work. On Tuesday, Imade and other students took a trip to the Bodega Marine Laboratory. They had a lot of fun learning about endangered white abalone and the research being done to restore the species. While at BML, they also took toured the surrounding preserve and observed the diverse natural landscapes characteristic of the Sonoma coast.

The rest of Imade’s week was filled with lab work aaannnnddd….bioinformatics! For the lab work, Imade is isolating microbes from serpentine and non-sepertine soil samples to compare and analyze the microbial communities. And she rapidly is adding lots of things to her bioinformatic toolbox. She is finishing up work with Mothur, which is an open source software package used for analysis of DNA. She later will analyze output from this tool with other software — PICRUSt, a program used to characterize evolutionary relationships, and STAMP, which researchers use to analyze metabolic profiles — to predict metagenomes from 16S RNA data generated from soil collection completed in 2016. 

mothur logo by Linda Wampach

So far, Imade has enjoyed her time in the lab and looks forward to learning more from Dr. Vannette and Allie.