Current Lab Members
Christina obtained undergraduate degrees in Biology and Mathematics at the University of Maryland in 1995. She finished her graduate work at the University of California in San Diego, where she studied the genetics of adaptation in an RNA virus. She spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University and the University of Idaho before joining the faculty at UNC. Christina's primary research focus is the genetics of adaptation, but her interests include the evolution of phenotypes with particular relevance to viruses, such as virulence and host range.
(Co-advised by Corbin Jones)
Artur completed his undergraduate degree in Biology at The College of New Jersey and is currently a 5th year PhD student at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. Studying under both Dr. Christina Burch and Dr. Corbin Jones, Artur is primarily interested in microbial genetics, evolution of microbial genomes and the assembly of genetic networks. Currently, he is investigating genetic network assembly in bacterial plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae.
Baltrus DA, Romanchuk A, Nishmura M, Roach J, Jones CD, Dangl JD. Whole genome sequencing of a clade of Pseudomonads reveals complex interplay between effector repertoire and host utilization. PLoS Pathogens published 2011.
Lisa Bono CV
(Co-advised by David Pfennig)
Lisa completed her undergraduate degree at Rutgers University and went on to receive her Masters at Ohio University. As a 4th year PhD student, she is generally interested in the origins and maintenance of diversity. More specifically, she is interested in how inter- and intraspecific interactions can play a role in phenotypic diversification. She is currently examining how competition for resources can drive novel resource use by taking an experimental evolution approach in the phi 6 bacteriophage system. Novel resource use is particularly relevant in viruses as it relates to host range expansion.
Kayla is a 2nd year PhD student who earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Arizona. In general, she is interested in combining computational and experimental laboratory components to look into the evolution of robustness and evolvability in viruses. After helping to develop a program that determines the evolution rate of influenza based on within-host dynamics, she is currently taking a break from coding to explore mutation rate catastrophe in murine hepatitis virus, in collaboration with Dr. Ralph Baric.
She is also currently serving as the 2012-13 President of the Biology Graduate Student Association
Kedar is a junior Biology and Anthropology major working in both the Burch and Corbin Jones Labs. He has been interested in Biology from a very young age and has been working in Burch lab for about a year and a half. This semester he will be doing Undergraduate Research with Artur Romanchuck on gene networks in Dr. Jones' lab. He plans on continuing undergraduate research through the rest of the year and then writing an undergraduate honors thesis with hopes of going to graduate school for Public Health. He's also really awesome at golf!
Marlena completed nine years in the Marine Corps traveling the globe before starting her work towards a bachelor’s degree in Biology. She is currently in her junior year as a transfer student from Craven Community College. She hopes, through working with Lisa Bono on experimental evolution, to narrow down her interests for graduate school. She is a member of the Carolina Successful Transfer Excellence Program that works with community college transfer students in an effort to make smooth transitions into the university setting. She recently was awarded the opportunity to participate in the Science and Math Achievement and Resourcefulness Track (SMART) research program for transfer students.
Yingjie is a 3rd year student double majoring in Life Sciences (with a Biomedical Sciences specialization) and Linguistics at the National University of Singapore on summer lab exchange with UNC Chapel Hill in the Burch lab. He is also concurrently pursuing a double degree with Waseda University in Japan in the liberal arts. With a rather eclectic combination of academic majors, he is primarily interested in the applications of evolution within both virology and linguistics. Once he finishes studies (somewhere in 2016), he plans to pursue a Masters in virology before heading to teacher training in Singapore. Don't get him started on how amazing biology is, his (ex-)students will testify that he can go on for hours at a time!
Sarah joined us from the University of Texas where she worked with Mark Kirkpatrick, using evolution experiments to examine the effects of mutations in haploid and diploid yeast. She is currently an NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow investigating the causes and consequences of superinfection in the bacteriophage Φ6.
Kristen graduated from the University of Utah with a B.S. in communication and a minor in chemistry. During her time there, she worked in the lab of Bob Weiss and helped sequence the genome of Pyrococcus furiosus. Kristen is a participant in UNC's Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Program. Her research interests include computational studies of gene networks, robustness and HIV evolution.
Katie is a senior Biology and Environmental Studies major at UNC. She began working with the bacteriophage G4 (and Jen Knies) in the summer of 2005 on two projects: 1) examining the genetics of adaptation to different thermal environments and 2) investigating whether adaptive mutations identified in lab experiments also underlie variation in performance in natural phage populations. To better understand the genetics of adaptation to different thermal regimes, Katie helped adapt three G4 populations to two constant thermal regimes and one fluctuating thermal regime. For the second project, Katie has been measuring the performance of wild G4-like phage across a range of temperatures to determine if mutations adaptive to high temperature in the lab also underlie variation in thermal performance in natural populations.
Sébastien Guyader (Postdoc 2004-2006)
Sébastien's research in our lab centered around the evolution of life history traits (e.g. growth rate, transmission, virulence) in pathogens. He is interested in the consquences of such evolution for pathogen epidemiology, and has moved on to the French Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) to pursue related questions in an applied agricultural setting.
Jennifer Knies (Graduate Student 2002-2007)
Jen's work in our lab focused primarily on the genetic basis of temperature adaptation. She demonstrated that adaptation to higher temperatures in bacteriophage conferred two advantages - higher maximal growth rates and broader thermal ranges. She is now a postdoctoral researcher at Brown University, working with Dan Weinreich on the biochemical basis of temperature adaptation in individual enzymes.
Siobain Duffy (visiting Graduate Student 2004-2006)
Siobain is interested in emerging RNA viruses, and using evolutionary ecology to inform public health. As a graduate student, Siobain used evolution experiments to study the adaptation of an RNA bacteriophage to novel host environments. Siobain is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Penn State, working with Eddie Holmes.
Martin Ferris (Graduate Student 2002-2007)
Marty hopes to apply the evolutionary toolkit he developed in graduate school to the study of emerging viral disease. Marty's graduate research investigated the genetic basis of host range evolution in an RNA bacteriophage. He has moved on to a postdoc in the UNC medical school with Mark Heise. There he will be investigating natural variation among alphaviruses, mosquito borne RNA viruses that are a significant cause of encephalitis and infectious arthritis in humans.
Past Research Technician:
Katie Gensel completed a B.S. in Zoology and a B.A. in Spanish Language and Literature at NC State University, with a minor in Microbiology. She then completed a year of graduate coursework/research at Cornell University in Food Microbiology, after which she decided to take time off from school and explore more career options. She spent >2 years as a research technician working on various experiments in the Burch lab, primarily the propagation of phi 6 lineages under various ecological conditions to explore the evolution of novel host use. She was also responsible for training new members of the lab in general lab practice and techniques, as well as management of laboratory cultures, chores, and inventory. She sadly left the lab in 2012 to pursue a new career as a scientific editor/consultant at NCSU.
Christopher Todd graduated from UNC with a double major in Biology and Peace, War and Defense. In our lab, Chris investigated the bacterial host range of the bacteriophage Φ6. After he graduated in 2006, Chris took a job as a research technician in a clinical science lab at Dook.
Stephanie Teeter graduated from UNC in 2006 with a Biology major and a Spanish minor. She investigated the nature of epistasis and genotype by environment interactions in the Φ6 genome.
Monica Meng graduated from UNC in 2005 with degrees in biology and Chinese. She completed the work for her honor's thesis, Triclosan resistance in E. coli and its relationship to antibiotic cross-resistance, in the Burch Lab. Monica is now a dental student at UNC.
Alisha Frank graduated from the UNC Exercise and Sports Science Department in 2004. She is now in medical school here at UNC.
Alden Casati graduated from the Biology Department in 2004. As an undergraduate in our lab, Alden examined the consequences of co-infection (infection of a single host cell by more than one virus) in the Burch lab. Alden is now studying to become a physician's assistant.
Katie Overbey worked in the Burch lab during her sophomore year and is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science with a concentration in Public Health. She worked with Katie Gensel on an experiment examining gene flow via reassortment rates.
Elizabeth is a sophomore Biology and French double major who is undecided about her plans after graduation but hopes that by continuing to do undergraduate research, she will be able to choose a field to pursue. She does hope to pursue the study of genetics in some way. She began in Burch Lab last summer and is now working with Lisa Bono on the experimental evolution of viruses under different selective pressures.
Jacob is working towards his bachelors degree in Biology and hopes to go to graduate school to study Zoology or Wildlife Biology. He is also a member of the UNC BEST Program (Baccalaureate Education in Science & Teaching) and wants to eventually teach high school science. Currently Jacob is working on a project that looks at the evolution of biodiversity using bacteria.