Featured DRI Graduate Students

Ema Kuhn, July 2013 Featured DRI Graduate Student

july-graduate-student-featureMeet Emanuele (Ema) Kuhn, a Fulbright scholar, in biochemistry and molecular biology. She is currently working with Dr. Alison Murray and Dr. Chris Fritsen studying microorganisms for the Lake Vida Project in Antarctica. Life in Lake Vida is the major topic for her dissertation, which will be concluded in December 2013.

What brought you to DRI?

Grads KUHN 2-thbWhat brought me to DRI is the research on Antarctica and microbial diversity developed by Dr. Alison E. Murray. I have been following Dr. Murray’s publications since 1998, when I began to work with environmental microbiology at the University of Rio Grande do Sul, in Brazil. My fascination for microorganisms, extremophiles and, specifically, psychrophiles guided me to DRI to work with Dr. Murray and Dr. Chris Fritsen on the Lake Vida Project. I received my Masters in 2007 in Biotechnology at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, working with bioremediation in Antarctica and applied for a four-year Fulbright scholarship. In a national competition, I earned a Fulbright scholarship which allowed me to pursue my doctorate in the US. So, in August 2009, I arrived at DRI to begin my PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UNR and to work in Dr. Murray’s lab in Reno.

What are you studying? What research projects are you working on? And who at DRI are you working with?

Grads KUHN 6-thbI have been studying environmental microbiology since 1998. In 2004, I began my studies in Antarctic microbial life and continued developing my research on life in extremely cold environments. At DRI, I am working on the Lake Vida Project with Dr. Murray and Dr. Fritsen. I participated in the 2010 expedition to Dry Valleys, Antarctica, helped in collecting the samples from Lake Vida, and processed the material for DNA and RNA-based molecular analyses and electron microscopy. Life in Lake Vida is the major topic for my dissertation, which will be concluded in December 2013.

What are your short-term and long-term goals while at DRI?

Grads KUHN 7-thbShort-term goal: finish my dissertation and graduate in December 2013.

Long-term goal: publish the three chapters of my dissertation as first author and be co-author in the upcoming Lake Vida publications related to: Lake Vida bacterial isolates, Lake Vida meta-genome and meta-transcriptome, Lake Vida ice-sediment cores, and Lake Vida ultra-small microbial cells.   

Tell us about yourself. What do you do for fun?

I come from a family which values life, respect, and learning. My dad is a physicist/math teacher and my mom is a musician. I have two older sisters, and my niece and my nephew, Spagueti and Tutiz, are the love of my life!!!! 

I love to be with animals, go to erudite music concerts and movies.

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