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Vera B

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at California Institute of Technology (CalTech)


Microbiology, Bioinformatics, Genetics


Hello! I am Vera and I am currently a PhD student studying biology. My research involves exploring host-microbiome interactions, such as how does host genetics influence the microbiome. I use molecular biology and bioinformatics to uncover the magical world of bacteria. When I am not in lab, I am exploring. I love to find new restaurants, cafes, and ice cream shops. If I am not exploring the food world, I am exploring the outdoors. I enjoy hiking with my dog, skiing, and surfing. Surfing in California is fantastic, I get to see so many dolphins and stingrays.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Infant gut microbiome over time

When we are born, our first microbiomes come from our mother. Then our microbiomes are influenced by the outside environment (including other people). Sharon et al. (2013) has a publicly available metagenomics dataset that contains 11 feacal samples from premature infants during their first month. From this data we can explore how microbial communities change over time.

Evolutionary Game Theory

Some aspects of evolution can be modeled by game theory models, because of interactions between species. We can explore topics in evolutionary game theory, like evolutionary stable strategies, by coding game theory models.

Coding skills

Python, R

Teaching experience

My previous teaching experiences included teaching at Girls Who Code, TAing mathematics classes at the undergraduate level, tutoring for mathematics, and TAing biology classes at the graduate school level.


Work experience

University of Chicago (2018 - 2021)
Research Assistant
University of Chicago (2018 - 2020)
University of Chicago (2017 - 2018)
Teaching Assistant
Girl Who Code (2017 - 2017)
Teaching Assistant


University of Chicago
BS Bachelor of Science (2020)
Computational and Applied Mathematics
California Institute of Technology (CalTech)
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate

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