Dr. Marina Ascunce is a research scientist in the Interdisciplinary Research on Invasive Species (IRIS) lab. At the IRIS lab, they use genetics and genomics approaches to understand evolutionary and ecological processes in invasive species and how invasive species affect native communities. The two main current projects are: 1) Ants and Microbes that aims to evaluate the role of microbes on invasive species and how they could be affecting native species and 2) citrus greening, which is a bacterial plant disease, for this project they are analyzing the effect of antibiotic uses on plant microbial communities. They conduct field work to collect samples in different sites in Florida. In addition to research, their lab teaches a Classroom-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) course every Spring named: “Ants and Microbes.” They also conduct diverse community outreach educational activities through the “The ImportANTS of Ants” educational program. Their lab is headed by Dr. Marina Ascunce, with a big help from postdoctoral researcher Dr. Marie De Gracia, current undergraduate students are Patricia Perez, Tori Argenti, Nabil Chowdhury and Jieli Wegerif. The IRIS lab forms a diverse and inclusive research and learning community.
Dr. Ascunce has mentored countless undergraduates including 2 Emerging Scholars and multiple URSP students through her partnership with CUR. She is a valuable partner and her work with the undergraduates goes beyond research.
Thank you for your contribution to Undergraduate Research!