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Meet 2023 GRAM Recipient: Marissa Roghair Stroud

Marissa Roghair Stroud was awarded the Graduate Research Award in Microbiology (GRAM) for Summer 2023. Marissa is a 4th year PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Larry Halverson, and her summer project will be using CRISPR interference to identify essential and conditionally essential genes in Pseudomonas putida, a model maize rhizosphere colonist. The long-term goal of her project is to use this information to determine genes that are essential for rhizosphere microbiome assembly and maintenance when growing alongside other organisms. By uncovering the rhizosphere microbiome assembly dynamics, we will someday be able to rationally design microbiomes for desired outcomes.


Marissa says that the Interdepartmental Microbiology program has been instrumental in her success in her PhD thus far. Marissa has been a member of the Microbiology Graduate Student Organization (MGSO) for 4 years and currently holds the position of President. MGSO has helped her stay involved with other IM students and faculty, and one of her favorite things to do is baking unique cookies and cakes for every MGSO gathering. She has recently enjoyed outreach activities with MGSO in which Marissa led sessions teaching food microbiology and fermentation to high school students.


Following her PhD, Marissa plans to enter academia and become a professor. She has spent time during her PhD teaching in the undergraduate microbiology program at ISU, being involved in Micro 302L and Micro 440. In the future, she wants to continue performing research on plant microbiomes while teaching genetics and microbiology courses.