Katrine L Whiteson
Katrine Whiteson uses metagenomics, metabolomics, microbiology and ecological statistics to answer questions about how microbes and viruses affect human health. She studied Biochemistry at UC Berkeley (BA, 2000) and University of Chicago (PhD, 2007). During her PhD, Dr. Whiteson focused on the active site chemistry and DNA binding specificity of a site-specific recombinase from the class of proteins that enable the spread of antibiotic resistance genes. In 2008, she began a new job at the University of Geneva Hospitals with Dr. Jacques Schrenzel and Dr. Patrice Francois. This was an exciting era, just at the start of the Human Microbiome Project, for asking basic unanswered questions about the microbes and viruses inhabiting various niches of the human body. Dr. Whiteson focused on the oral microbial communities of healthy Europeans, and malnourished kids in Niger who develop a devastating facial gangrene known as noma. In 2011 she moved to Forest Rohwer’s lab at San Diego State, where she undertook breath and sputum metabolite analysis to better understand the activity of CF patient microbial communities from Dr. Doug Conrad’s Adult CF clinic at UCSD. Combining information about the genetic potential of a microbial community through DNA sequencing with the activity of the community by metabolite profiling is a powerful approach that Dr. Whiteson hopes to employ in future projects as she begins her own lab at University of California Irvine in Fall 2014.