Photograph by Adam Sings in the Timber

Karine A. Gibbs, Ph.D.

(She/Her) Associate Professor of Plant & Microbial Biology

Dr. Gibbs studies the social behaviors of tiny organisms. She received her A.B. in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from Stanford University. Dr. Gibbs has a long-standing interest in bacterial social interactions and understanding how these single-cell organisms navigate their dense communities with friendly (and unfriendly) neighbors. Dr. Gibbs enjoys reading, running, bicycling, and skiing. 

Find out more about Dr. Gibbs' work on her department page here:

Learn more about her outdoor experiences in Been Outside <>

Alexis Castillo Esguerra

(She/Her) Post-baccalaureate researcher

Alexis Esguerra is a postbaccalaureate from the inaugural Bay Area RaMP Program in Microbiome Sciences. She recently graduated from California State University, East Bay with a Bachelor's in Biomedical Lab Sciences, Microbiology.  Her hobbies include golf, trying new foods, and working out. 

Eliotte Garling

(She/They) Ph.D. candidate

Eliotte Garling is a Ph.D. candidate at UC Berkeley. She received her B.A. in Biology at Reed College. Her research focuses on how identity impacts access to collective behaviors in Proteus mirabilis.

Christopher Lee

Undergraduate student

Christopher Lee is a sophmore undergraduate at UC Berkeley, majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology and Data Science. He is interested in signaling pathways, specifically researching the Proteus mirabilis flagellar motor pathway, and computational genetics. Outside of research, Chris loves studying gastronomy and culinary science and is an avid cross country runner!

Abigail Knecht, Ph.D.

(She/Her) Postdoctoral fellow

Abigail (Abby) Knecht is a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley. She received her B.S. in Biological Physics at Brandeis University and her Ph.D. in Biology at Harvard University. Her research focuses on how protein interactions can shape bacterial communities and affect human health. Abby is also passionate about science communication and science illustration (all the illustrations and cartoons are hers). Check out her website for more! 

Anjali McNeil

(She/They) Ph.D. candidate

Anjali is a Ph.D. candidate at UC Berkeley, and she received her B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Penn State. Her research focuses on how cell shape connects to collective behavior in bacteria.

Jessica Pan

(She/Her) Undergraduate student

Jessica Pan is a senior Molecular Cell Biology (MCB) student at UC Berkeley. She loves Percy Jackson and learning new things about the microbiome! 

Mantra Rajkumar

Undergraduate student

Mantra Rajkumar is an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley studying Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB). Working with her graduate student mentor Eliotte, she studies how self and nonself recognition affects the collective migration of Proteus mirabilis. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, volunteering, and doing Kpop dance.

Michael Tu

(He/Him) Undergraduate student

Michael is an undergraduate obtaining a B.S. in Molecular Environmental Biology and a B.S. in Nutritional Science : Toxicology. He is interested in watershed contamination and identifying microbial composition. 

Karin Yaniv, Ph.D.

(She/Her) Postdoctoral fellow

Karin is a postdoctoral scholar fellowship trainee in Microbial Biology, UC Berkeley. Her broad scientific interest is in bacterial adaptation dynamics driven by cell interactions.

Former  members

(undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, interns, research scientists, and administrative support)

Rhys Rivers

Jacob Austerman

Achala Chittor

Murray Tipping

Denise Sirias

Martha Zepeda-Rivera

Christina Saak

Kristin Little

Lia Cardarelli

Alecia Septer

Nora Sullivan

Zehan Zhou

Larissa Wenren

Jolene Seme

Diana Kornet

Tapan Singha

Erica Oosterhout

Anne Berhe

Emma Keteku

Amy Hao

Akeem Pinnock

Edna Stewart    

Ian Maynor

Margarita Rangel 

Siddhartha Jena   

Jane Jacob   

Maria Banuelos  

Daniel Sandoval   

Jane Studeny   

Bobby Brooke Herrera   

John Welsh

Andrew Fields