Lab culture

A lab culture is a work in progress that I hope to establish with my team. 
As a PI my starting point will be to embrace the "Ten simple rules towards healthier research labs" by F. T. Maestre​

1: Promote the well-being of your lab members
2: Let people set their own schedules
3: Gratitude is the sign of noble souls
4: Treat your lab members as your teammates
5: Create a collaborative environment within your lab
6: Remember that every lab member is unique
7: Respect working hours, public holidays, and vacations
8: Give credit where credit is due
9: Destigmatize failure and celebrate success
10: Promote the professional development of your lab members


Lab members


Estelle Couradeau

Principle Investigator


Ryan Trexler

Ph.D. student - Dual title Ecology/Biogeochemistry

I have studied Biology at Juniata College, earned a M.Sc. in Environmental Science from Ohio State University, and worked as a Lab Manager in Terrence Bell’s lab at Penn State. Experience in molecular methods, ‘omics techniques, and bioinformatics have led me to investigate projects spanning a broad range of systems including aquatic, deep subsurface, crop-hosted, and soil environments. Currently, I am pursuing a PhD in the Ecology Program and Biogeochemistry dual-title program where I am excited to explore how the interactions and ecology of biocrust microorganisms effect biogeochemical cycling of nutrients in these systems.

Follow Ryan on twitter @ryan_trexler


Jenn Harris

Ph.D. student - Dual title Ecology/Biogeochemistry

Jenn studied Biological Sciences and Environmental Studies at Wellesley College, and worked at a sustainable agriculture startup before joining the lab. She is pursuing a PhD in the Ecology Program and is interested in plant-microbe interactions, soil microbial ecology and nutrient cycling. She is also Co-advised by Liana Burghardt in Plant Sciences.

Link to The Burghardt lab

Follow Jenn on twitter @JennnnHarris


Chad Fautt

Ph.D. student - Ecology

Chad is working towards a Ph.D. in Ecology. He is studying microbe-microbe interactions mediated by the production of tailocin. Tailocins are a kind of bacteriocins that bacteria have hijacked from bacteriophages and use to kill other microbes. Chad is interested at understanding the evolutionary history and modeling the production of tailocin in the Pseudomonas syringae species complex. 

Chad is co-advised by Kevin Hockett


Margaret (Meg) Cross


Meg is currently working on her undergrad at Penn State studying Biological Natural Resource Engineering, with a possible minor in forest ecology. She is interested in pursuing environmental remediation work in the future and is excited to learn more about soil microbiomes.


Haneen Omari

Lab manager

Haneen received a Bsc from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and an Msc in Microbiology from New Mexico State University, where she was awarded the Jornada-LTER Graduate Fellowship. Her thesis focused on identifying temporal and spatial variations of microbial communities within biocrusts in the Chihuahuan Desert. Before becoming the Couradeau Lab Technician, she worked as a Lab Coordinator and Data Analyst for the Jornada-LTER. Her current goals and tasks include setting up the Couradeau lab space and utilizing various “-omic” approaches to assist in collaborative soil microbiome research. Haneen also looks forward to participating in local outreach opportunities for K-12 science education.