Alison Ravenscraft

Principal investigator

I am fascinated by the diversity and complexity of insect-microbial symbioses. My work integrates high-throughput sequencing, culture-based assays, and experimental manipulations to understand the composition and function of symbiotic communities. I employ both complex microbiota (e.g. butterfly gut flora, with dozens to hundreds of members) and pairwise relationships (e.g. the bug-Burkholderia symbiosis) as mutually informative systems.

I did my PhD at Stanford University, where I studied the structure and function of the butterfly gut flora with Carol Boggs and Kabir Peay. This work was funded by an NSF GRFP grant. I began exploring the bug-Burkholderia system during an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellowship with Molly Hunter at the University of Arizona. In September 2019 I started as a professor at the University of Texas, Arlington. Find me online: Twitter  CV

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Graduate student

I'm Patrick Stillson, a new Ph.D. student in the Ravenscraft Lab. In my graduate studies, I am excited to study the interactions between Leptoglossus phyllopus and its microbial symbiont Burkholderia. My research plans are to study how the different strains of Burkholderia interact with L. phyllopus as well as identify some of the benefits Burkholderia may impart on the insect host. My research interests include studying the interactions between insects and their microbial symbionts, such as the bug-Burkholderia symbiosis, as well as plant pathogens and their associations with their insect vectors.I completed my M.S. at Michigan State University working with Zsofia Szendrei, where I studied aster yellow phytoplasma and its insect vectors. Find me online: Twitter  Website  CV

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Lab technician

I graduated magna cum laude from UTA in the Fall of 2019 with a major in Microbiology and a minor in Biochemistry.  I also have professional experience in plant health care and integrated pest management with respect to ornamental flowers, shrubs, and tress.  My goal is to combine these disciplines with agricultural science to improve crop performance and soil health.  I joined as a lab tech in late Summer 2020 and have since become enthralled by the interplay between insect pests, their microbial symbionts, and the plants the pests eat.  I do a little bit of everything around here, from raising plants to sequencing microflora samples.  When I have free time I am usually tending my lawn and gardens, fixing/building things around the house,  or simply enjoying time with my wife and pets on the couch. 



Undergraduate research assistant

I'm a junior microbiology major interested in symbiotic and parasitic relationships between microbes and their hosts. I'm also a part of the Campus Cat Coalition; we feed cats on the UTA campus and make sure they're fixed. I joined Ravenscraft Lab in Fall 2019 and have worked on projects researching plant microbiomes as well as a project rearing bugs with different Burkholderia strains. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, baking, and reading.



Undergraduate research assistant

I'm a senior, working on a double Major in Microbiology and Biology. I'm currently working on a project to calculate the growth speed of the lab's Burkholderia isolates at different temperatures. After graduating, I plan to go to graduate school to study Microbiology. Outside of the lab I enjoy walking my 2 dogs, going for runs outside and playing video games.



Undergraduate research assistant

Howdy! I'm a sophomore biochemistry major who is researching the differences in benefits conferred to hosts by different  strains of Burkholderia . Working in the Ravenscraft lab has been amazing. While learning about different microbial techniques and realizing the craft needed behind it, I've managed to overcome my fear of bugs! After graduating, I hope to get into medical school. In my free time, I often find myself playing basketball and watching sports highlights, cooking, and helping my mom tend the garden.