Dr. Sara Bender

Please welcome Dr. Sara Bender as CINAR's 2013 Postdoctoral Scholar.

I received my B.A. in Biology from Rutgers University, and my Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Biological Oceanography from the University of Washington.

I am interested in how nutrient availability affects phytoplankton physiology and in turn, how phytoplankton physiology impacts the marine environment through the drawdown of nutrients. I use transcriptomic and proteomic methods to understand the metabolism of these microscopic marine organisms in the laboratory and in the field.

At the University of Washington, I studied the effects of nitrogen on the growth and decline of marine diatoms. In the lab, I utilized gene transcripts and available diatom genomes to compare metabolic responses among distantly related diatom species in response to nitrogen availability. In the field, I analyzed metatranscriptomes collected off the coast of the Pacific Northwest to better understand how marine diatoms respond to nutrient availability along a coast-to-open ocean transect. For my postdoctoral project, I will quantify the downstream gene products – the proteins – in the phytoplankton genus Phaeocystis, which forms spring blooms in the North Atlantic and in Polar Regions. As a new member of the Saito Lab at WHOI, I am transitioning from the world of macronutrients to micronutrients to understand how trace metal availability affects cell physiology. This work will provide insight into the bottom-up triggers that affect Phaeocystis bloom formation in Cape Cod Bay, and along the ice-shelf of the Antarctic.

I am excited to be back on the East Coast and to have the opportunity to conduct my research through CINAR.

Sara’s office is Watson 117, MS #51 and her email is sbender@whoi.edu.