Leeann Alferness : M.S. Student

Leeann Alferness

M.S. Student

While in the Deheyn lab I was earning my B.S. and M.S. in Marine Biology at the University of California, San Diego. I was working on completing a short thesis for the Scripps Undergraduate Honors Program. The project is based on isolating the photoproteins in a species of bioluminescent brittle star, Ophiopsila californica. Upon successful extraction and purification, we will then work on characterizing and identifying the sequence of the photoprotein. I was a member of the UCSD women's basketball team for three years and I enjoy SUCBA diving and snorkeling in my free time.

Andre Briscoe : Volunteer

Andre Briscoe


I am a graduate from the University of California, San Diego with a B.S. in Marine Biology and a minor in Chemistry. Currently I am researching the chemical and physical color properties of the seeds belonging to Magnolia grandiflora trees. In the future I aim to continue to do research though more focused on aquatic organisms.

Annick Bay : Postdoctoral Researcher

Annick Bay

Postdoctoral Researcher

I'm interested in the light propagation in natural photonic structures. I want to know how light goes from the inside to the outside of a bioluminescent organisms. I look at the structures that could influence the way light travels through the animal. This knowledge will help to make light emitting diodes more efficient and therefore more economic in terms of energy consumption.

How do animals influence light with their body parts and what can we learn from it to make lighting less energy consuming?

Carla Costa : Undergraduate Student Intern

Carla Costa

Undergraduate Student Intern

I am an undergraduate French student in Biology and Biochemistry. In order to validate my degree, I'm realizing a 3 months internship at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

I joined the Deheyn lab from April until June 2019 in order to work on the evolution of microfibers in the coastal waters of California. My goal is to evaluate the amount of microfibers in the ocean from 1983 to today and to understand their impact on the environment.

I have always been passionate about the ocean and its mysteries, and being able to participate in an environmental topic in this laboratory is a huge opportunity.

Natalie Blea : M.S. Student

Natalie Blea

M.S. Student

I am honored to be working in the Deheyn Lab during my Master of Advanced Studies program in the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at SIO. Even through my upbringing in the desert of New Mexico I have always been intrigued with ocean, especially by the production of light by marine organisms. I am currently researching the neurotoxic effects of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) on a bioluminescent species of Brittle Star, Amphipholis squamata.

My interests are to learn more about the implications of contaminant loads that we are chronically exposed to by studying bioluminescence as an indicator of health. Through analyzing the effects of these emerging pollutants on the health of benthic marine organisms we can provide more information about their persistent effects the health of our bodies and environments. I hope to continue research that will allow the communication of science to the public regarding the effects of environmental health on our world at large.

Allison Delgado : Volunteer

Allison Delgado


My name is Allison Delgado and I have been a member of the Dehyn Lab for about a year now. I just finished my undergraduate degree at UCSD in Environmental Biology and Earth Science. In lab, I work very closely with Mary Ann Hawke on our pollen adhesion project. We are trying to understand the phenomenon of various types of pollen (7 types: olive, pecan, poplar, ragweed, sunflower, dandelion, and kentucky bluegrass) adhesing to various surfaces such as glass, polystyrene, surfasil, etc. We use a flow chamber with water and air at a multitude of speeds (mL/min) to identify the percentage of coverage from start to finish. We are hoping to understand the forces that are happening between the pollen and different surface textures when adhesion occurs. I played water polo for the UCSD Women's Water Polo Team all four years and continue to stay active with yoga and kayaking in the La Jolla Cove. I also enjoy journaling and painting in my spare time.

Zachary Evans : High School Student Volunteer

Zachary Evans

High School Student Volunteer

I enjoy applying chemistry concepts to determine the ways dynamic systems function. As I just graduated from high school, I am still learning these concepts and background knowledge. My research focuses on the electrical stimulus of mucus from the Chaetopterus worm to characterize the chromophore responsible for light production and determine the optimal protocol for light emission.

Farnaz Farhang : Master's Student/Staff Research Associate

Farnaz Farhang

Master's Student/Staff Research Associate

I am passionate about improving ecosystem health monitoring by incorporating parasites into the greater understanding of ecosystem health. My research currently focuses on combining the two fields of parasitology and ecotoxicology. My goal is to use parasites as indicator of anthropogenic pollutants and monitoring marine pollution for better wetland management.

Lucille Gendre : Undergraduate Student Intern

Lucille Gendre

Undergraduate Student Intern

I am an undergraduate student from France and I'm currently doing an internship in the Deheyn's lab to complete my formation in biology. I have always been fascinated by the ocean, its living organisms and the mystery that still remains about it. I decided to work on bioadhesion and especially on the adhesion of the particles responsible for marine fungi's reproduction, the spores. Our goal is to understand the link between the type of surface the fungi attach to, and the ultrastructure of spores, in order to understand and then avoid the adhesion of these organisms on boats, maritime platforms or fabrics.

Austin Grodt : Volunteer

Austin Grodt


I am a student researcher working on my B.S. in Environmental Chemistry at the University of California, San Diego. With the Deheyn Lab, I am currently studying the differences in material properties of local barnacle species in order to determine how each species adapts to the varying stresses of their unique environment.

Noah Hamlish : SURF summer student

Noah Hamlish

SURF summer student

This summer I am working in the Deheyn lab as a SURF (Scripps Undergraduate Research Fellowship) participant. I am finishing up my undergraduate degree in molecular biology and biochemistry at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. I am interested in understanding biological phenomena in the oceans at the molecular level. This summer I will be studying the biochemistry of light production in the parchment tube worm and trying to assess the role that iron plays in light production.

Jasmine Haskell : B.S. Student

Jasmine Haskell

B.S. Student

For the past year at the Deheyn lab, I have spent the majority of my time understanding the biochemical properties exhibited by the Chaetopterus variopedatus. Not only does this species exhibit fascinating luminescent properties, but it also has the ability to transform a viscous "slime" into a highly ordered three dimensional solid structure. Once created, this structure becomes its cozy abode. My research focuses on this transformation.

My background lies in Biochemistry and Cell Biology with an added emphasis in Marine Sciences. The bountiful discoveries made about the ocean continue to amaze me every day, and I am very thankful to be able to contribute by working in the Deheyn lab. I have always loved the ocean and I aspire to put my skills that I have acquired in this lab to good use in my future career.

Kira LaFace : M.S. Student

Kira LaFace

M.S. Student

I am currently a student at the University of California, San Diego studying for a BS in Marine Biology with a minor in Environmental Systems, and volunteering as a research assistant in the Deheyn Lab. I have helped with chromatography experiments on brittle stars, taken many photographs of both marine and terrestrial species with the stereoscope (focusing on color, iridescence and light producing organs) and analyzed samples for fluorescence levels using a spectrophotometer. I am currently working on a project to determine if reflectin is the protein responsible in the color formation of the nudibranch species, Navanax. I look forward to more exciting projects with the Deheyn lab in the future!

Clara Legallais : Undergraduate Student Intern

Clara Legallais

Undergraduate Student Intern

I am a French student from ENGEES Strasbourg, and I am doing an undergraduate internship in the Deheyn lab from May 2019 to July 2019. I will graduate next year as an engineer in waste treatment. As I have always been passionate about oceans and its wildlife, for my fourth-year internship I wanted to study marine pollution to lock the two subjects: coming to SCRIPPS Oceanography had been the best idea I could have ever thought about!

The objective of my internship is to assess the concentration of microfibers all over the earth. I use samples of seawater, but also of air and sediments. Microfibers are microscopic fibers usually smaller than 5 micrometers (60 to 80 times smaller than a hair diameter!). These microfibers come from our clothes and textiles: as they are not filtered neither by our washing machines nor by wastewater treatment plants, they end up into our rivers and oceans. They are so small that they can be ingested by fish and penetrate cells and tissues!

Zack Mahan : Volunteer

Zack Mahan


My name is Zack Mahan and I am currently a student at University of California San Diego studying Marine Biology, Chemical Biology, and Cell Biology. Within the Lab I am a research volunteer whose main purpose is to assist the other researchers with their experiments and lab work. Being a first time lab student, my interests are very broad and encompass many different fields of Biology (both aquatic and terrestrial) and chemistry. I hope to continue volunteering at Scripps Institute of Oceanography for the years to come and eventually join the ranks of other professional researchers.

Cheyenne Payne : Volunteer

Cheyenne Payne


I study marine biology and computer science at UC San Diego. In the Deheyn lab I characterize the biochemical pathways responsible for light production in novel bioluminescence systems, such as those of the marine annelid Chaetopterus and a new, deep-sea octocoral. I have more information about my activity in this lab and others at Scripps and UCSD on my website: https://cypayne.github.io/

Allison Prange : Master's Student

Allison Prange

Master's Student

My background is health science with a focus on human health; I have worked in the hospital environment and labs from the medicine side of science for 19 years. When I began my Masters at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, I wanted to explore seafood safety and the possible link to human health. I am currently working on a project that analyzes bioaccumulation of metals in two species of Southern California sea urchins. My goal is to monitor metal accumulations in the marine ecosystem of Southern California and beyond to clean up human-caused pollution.

Lauren Quiros : Undergraduate Student Intern

Lauren Quiros

Undergraduate Student Intern

My research is focused on microfibers that are leaching into the ocean from our clothing. I built and implemented two experiments that are currently running simultaneously. The first experiment is demonstrating different textile degradation processes while exposed to the seafloor environment. The second experiment, observes the same fiber samples within a more controlled environment (within the lab). I take this project very seriously as I am incredibly passionate about spreading awareness to the general public with regard to the variety of ways plastic has and is negatively affecting our natural environment. Especially how very few people realize that a lot of our clothes are made out of plastic, such as polyester and nylon, which have now become the more apparent micro-plastic plaguing our oceans.

I enjoy learning from a variety of countries and cultures. I have lived in Denmark, Australia, Spain and I recently completed my first year at Utrecht University in The Netherlands. I am currently at Scripps Oceanography for my internship. Besides trying to better understand microfiber dynamics, I am also passionate about marketing and how to change consumers’ perspective towards single use plastic and a more sustainable lifestlye.

Mackenzie Saideman : Volunteer

Mackenzie Saideman


Mackenzie Saideman is an undergraduate student at the University of California, San Diego working towards her bachelor in Marine Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies. She is interested in conservation and learning more about the way humans impact the environment. She will work on figuring out the distribution of GFPs in corals in hopes to learn more on how to help the species as a whole.

Kelsey Schoenberg : Volunteer

Kelsey Schoenberg


I'm studying Marine Biology at UCSD, gaining a scientific background that I intend to apply towards the reformation of business and government practices and policies that are detrimental to marine ecosystems, as well as the invention and implementation of restorative programs. As oceanographer Sylvia Earle (my hero) frequently remarks, “No blue, no green!” My current research in the lab addresses the mechanism which the shrimp species Palaemonetes paludosas uses in order to keep its figure translucent. The methods I find successful in experimenting on the shrimp will then be transferred to studying the same mechanism found in the glass catfish species, Kryptopterus vitreolus.

Talley Sagot : Volunteer

Talley Sagot


I am a student researcher acquiring lab experience skills. I have a B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. In the Deheyn lab I study ferroxidase activity assays in order to compare differing levels of efficiency between species. I am a certified scientific diver and enjoy snorkeling, hiking and tennis in my free time.

Jenny Tu : Master's Student/Staff Research Associate

Jenny Tu

Master's Student/Staff Research Associate

I study how green fluorescence works as a stress indicator in corals and sea anemones in response to ocean acidification conditions. Fluorescent proteins make up roughly 14% of the coral's total protein content but their physiological role has yet to be determined. I worked on correlating the relationship of GFP to antioxidant capability, maintaining intracellular pH, and the task of calcification under ocean acidification conditions.

There are currently no available methods to determine coral reef physiology except by disruptive sampling. However, coral reefs have already been in such a dramatic decline that it would not be beneficial to remove these animals from their environment. This process would quickly deplete the already-declining coral reef coverage. Thus, there is a great demand for an in vitro non-invasive method to determine coral reef health.

Inga Van den Bossche : Undergraduate Student Intern

Inga Van den Bossche

Undergraduate Student Intern

Fascinated by color in nature, I was immediately attracted to the amazing research and biomimicry performed at the Deheyn lab. In particular, it is the strong emphasis of research performed on marine biology such as cephalopods, nudibranchs, and corals that intrigued me to join as a volunteer.

A first year undergraduate Materials scientist and engineer (MEng) from Imperial College London, I am currently using my knowledge to further discover mechanical, thermoregulating, and optical properties of various types and compositions of melanin in the local giant keyhole limpet species (Megathura crenulata). Working with technology such as tensile testing, IR-imaging, and oceanographic spectrometers, I have received so many exciting opportunities! I look forward to pursuing a career related to marine biology and biomimicry; Scripps Oceanography is a great place to learn and be inspired!

Julie Van Ferneij : Undergraduate Student Intern

Julie Van Ferneij

Undergraduate Student Intern

I am a biology student at the University of La Rochelle in France. In order to validate my degree, I had the opportunity to do my three-month internship at the renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography. I joined Dr. Deheyn's laboratory in order to work on microfibers. My subject is to analyze the degradation of different textiles under natural conditions. For this reason my subject is divided into two different parts. The first experiment aims to observe the alteration of the different textile coupons over time. While the second experiment quantifies the amount of microfibers detached from textile coupons. This subject is very interesting because it reflects today's problems concerning environmental pollution caused by plastics, microplastics, but also microfibers released in very large quantities as a result of textile washing.

It is therefore an honor for me to participate in environmental research and to work with the Deheyn lab team.

Bridget Vaughan : Volunteer

Bridget Vaughan


My role in the lab has largely centered around projects to determine the effect of pesticide treatment on coral fluorescence. I hope to contribute to the establishment of new sub-lethal indicators of coral health, which will help future researchers less destructively test coral resilience. I am especially interested in the biomedical and technological applications of such light production and ecotoxicology studies, and determining the role anthropogenic sourced toxicants play in a marine environment.

Daniel Wangpraseurt : Marie Curie Fellow

Daniel Wangpraseurt

Marie Curie Fellow

I am interested in understanding the various light harvesting strategies and design solutions of photosynthesizing underwater organisms with an emphasis on coral reef organisms. My current research focuses on the development of bioinspired approaches for improving photosynthetic efficiency in biofuel production. I enjoy working at the interface between biology and optics and incorporate aspects of microalgal photobiology and ecophysiology, optical modelling and imaging as well as 3D printing in my research. If you want to learn more about my work, visit biomicfuel.com

Nicolas Wibart : Undergraduate Student Intern

Nicolas Wibart

Undergraduate Student Intern

I am a French undergrad biology major and I am interested in learning about marine biology and especially about bioluminescence. I believe that the ocean offers an incredible source of information to learn about a large diversity of organisms. The Deheyn's lab studies different concepts of marine life to improve our scientific knowledge.

I am working on a project about photoprotein reaction involved in light production. Indeed, the parchment tube worm produces a bioluminescent mucus. Studies show that the mucus light production is highly specific to iron and not shared with other elements. However, we believe that the affinity between iron and the photoprotein prevents a reaction with any other element. My goal is to remove iron using different treatments and add other metals to see if the light production is affected.

Bryan Zhu : Volunteer

Bryan Zhu


I am currently pursuing my B.S. in Bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego. I have always been fascinated with the idea of mimicking nature and the use of nature's innovation to solve problems we face today. I joined the Deheyn lab at the end of 2016 and I am extremely excited for the opportunity to explore the possibilities of biomimicry. I am currently working with Dr. Jennifer Taylor to characterize barnacle shells and with Dr. Daniel Wangpraseurt observing photosynthesis in coral reef organisms. In both of these projects, I am also excited to explore the possibilities of also implementing 3D printing. I am also on the men's volleyball team at UCSD and enjoy playing basketball when it is not volleyball season.