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UM Rosenstiel School Hires New Faculty Members

MIAMI— The University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science has announced today the hiring of two new faculty members, Assistant Professor Nikki Traylor-Knowles in the Department of Marine Biology and Ecology, and Assistant Professor Cassandra J. Gaston in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences.

An integrative biologist interested in the evolution of immunity and regeneration, Traylor-Knowles works with cnidarians (corals, sea anemones) to understand how their innate immune system evolved, and how it reacts to changes in the environment, such as those seen during El Niño events, or due to anthropogenic stressors, such as pollution. She is also interested in the mechanisms of wound healing, and regeneration, and how these processes are affected by environmental shifts.

“My laboratory uses techniques in cell biology, genomics, and biochemistry to answer these questions,” said Traylor-Knowles. ”I am interested in applying these techniques to conservation efforts by exploring the development of biomarkers for stress response in coral reefs.”

Traylor-Knowles obtained her B.Sc. and M.Sc., in cellular and molecular biology from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. in biology from Boston University. She was a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station prior to joining the UM Rosenstiel School.

Gaston uses field-deployable instrumentation to measure aerosols and trace gases in the laboratory and field to understand the interactions between atmospheric particles (i.e., aerosols), trace gases, oceans, land ecosystems, and clouds.

“These interactions are important for understanding the impact of atmospheric chemistry on air quality and climate,” said Gaston.

Gaston received a B.A. in environmental chemistry, a B.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego, and a Ph.D. from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington prior to joining the UM Rosenstiel School.

Cassandra J. Gaston, Ph.D. and Nikki Traylor-Knowles, Ph.D.

From left, Cassandra J. Gaston, Ph.D. and Nikki Traylor-Knowles, Ph.D.

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