Press "Enter" to skip to content


Laura Wegener Parfrey
Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia

Laura is fascinated by microbial diversity and enjoys exploring many facets of our microbial world. She got her scientific start investigating the eukaryotic tree of life, and carries this phylogenetic perspective into all aspects of her research. [CV]

Office phone: 604-827-2214
Lab phone: 604-827-1879
Location: Biodiversity Research Centre 109 (Office) and 170 (Lab)
Address: 2212 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada

Vincent Billy
PhD Student

Background: University of Angers (BSc), University of Montpellier (MSc)

I am interested in the interaction between eukaryotic microbes, the gut microbiome (especially bacteria diversity), and the mammalian immune system in the context of human health. During my PhD, I will be exploring the role played by Hymenolepis diminuta and Blastocystis as potential modulators of the immune system and microbiota in humans and in mammalian models of immune-Mediated Diseases.

Siobhan Schenk
PhD Student

Background: University of Western Ontario (BSc), McGill University (MSc)

I am interested in the bacterial community of kelp. Part of my research asks how salintiy alters the bacterial community of kelp, while my other projects focus on how farmed kelp acquire their bacterial community, what diseases occur in kelp farms, and if we can use bacteria as a toolkit to improve kelp health and farm yields.

Parker K Lund (they/them)
PhD Student

Background: Oregon State University (BSc), Cal Poly Humboldt (MSc)

I am broadly interested in host-associated microbial communities, and how microbial functions can support the health and resilience of their host during stress. Previous research focused on microbial communities on sea anemones, however I also have worked in plant pathogen testing and with marine eDNA data.

Alice Olivia Simon (she/her)
Background: Freie Universität Berlin (BSc)

I’m generally interested in studying what role the bacteria-kelp interaction plays in the health of wild kelp populations. How temperature and other environmental factors can affect the microbiome of bull kelp populations, and if microbes can enhance the resilience of kelp to environmental stressors are topics I want to explore. My previous work focused on micro and macroalgae ecology and physiology.

Evan Kohn (he/him)
Undergraduate, Honours Thesis

I am interested in functional mechanisms of host-microbe interactions. My work focuses on the sugar-kelp microbiome, and whether bacterial auxin production is influencing kelp growth.



Andrea Jackman
Undergraduate, Honours Thesis

I’m interested in interactions between microbes and hosts such as sugar kelp and seagrass. I’m working with Siobhan to characterize disease in kelp aquaculture and try to use bacteria to mitigate disease. I have also been working on identifying the diatoms present on eelgrass in the Salish Sea.


Reilly Perovich (they/them)
Undergraduate, Honours Thesis

Background: Langara College (ASc w/ distinction), Bamfield Marine Science Center (BMSC) Fellow and Alum

I’m interested in using bioinformatics to investigate symbiotic interactions using microbial and molecular data. My current research is focused on elucidating novel biomarkers of prenatal alcohol exposure using immune and microbial datasets from rat models. Other projects in the lab involve kelp metabolomics, diatom identification, and estimating the range of microbes across salinity gradients, along with assorted statistical analysis and data management. Previous research has been focused on anemone symbiont proportions in Barkley Sound.

Amreen Kaur Aulakh (she/her)
Undergraduate, Directed Studies

I’m interested in the relationships between protists and the gut microbiome. I’m working with Vincent to understand the mechanism through which Blastocystis can alter the immune system directly and indirectly by altering the gut microbiome.

Former Lab Members