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Meet the Lab!

Here's our dynamic team of knowledge conjurers, each adding their unique spark to illuminate our path to understanding insect-microbe interactions!


Principal Investigator

Aram Mikaelyan

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Aram, originally from the (former) Soviet Union and raised in India, is now an Assistant Professor at NC State's Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. He specializes in insect gut microbiology, focusing on the coevolution of insects and their gut microbiomes. He is also co-chair of the Program Advisory Council of Experts at the World Bioprotection Forum. In this free time, he enjoys trailwalking, drawing and playing the bass.


Lab Technician

Clara Tyson

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Clara, the lab's technician, has a deep interest in insect-microbe interactions. While her official bio is currently under construction, we're certain it will be as fascinating as the unseen world she studies.


Graduate Student

Marissa Cole

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Marissa, a local from Cary, NC, holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Meredith College, with a passion for entomology. Her research in the Mikaelyan Lab explores the impact of diet on termite trophallaxis rates, and in her spare time, she enjoys photography, drawing, and sharing her entomological enthusiasm through volunteering.


Graduate student

Marllon Rinaldo de Lima Andrade

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Marllon earned his Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences in 2017 and a Master's degree in Ecology and Conservation in 2020, both from the State University of Paraíba-UEPB. His expertise spans entomology, ecology, and microbiology, with a particular focus on the relationship between termites and fungi. Currently, he is pursuing his doctorate under the supervision of Dr. Maria Avany Bezerra-Gusmão at the Universidade Estadual da Paraíba, co-supervised by Dr. J.J Lelis at the Universidade Federal de Viçosa, and Dr. Aram Mikaelyan at North Carolina State University. His research delves into ecological studies in Brazil's semi-arid regions, exploring biodiversity and ecosystem functions, particularly through the interplay of fauna, soil, and plant relationships.


USDA-FAS fellow

Mavis Acheampong

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Mavis, a lecturer and entomopathologist at the University of Ghana's Department of Crop Science, specializes in the use of microbial agents, including entomopathogenic fungi, and plant extracts for crop pest and disease biocontrol. She is also actively involved in training farmers, serving as a reviewer for Fungal Biology, and enjoys mentoring young individuals while contributing to her community through her church.


Undergraduate researcher

Autumn Sylvestri

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Autumn is an undergraduate researcher with a deep interest in insect-microbe interactions. While her official bio is currently under construction, we're certain it will be as fascinating as the unseen world she studies.


JSPS Postdoctoral fellow

Haruka Osaki

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Haruka is a passionate naturalist and behavioral ecologist hailing from Japan! With a love for all things Blattodea, she has embarked on an epic journey into the origins of sociality in wood-feeding cockroaches! 


These magical beings, once our lab members, have remained persistent collaborators and fellow conjurers of knowledge.


Assistant Professor at LSU

Aaron Ashbrook

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Aaron, a Michigan native and passionate entomologist, has a broad research palette, spanning stress responses and enhancing entomopathogen effectiveness for urban pest control. Outside research, he delights in gardening, pets, and devouring horror and science fiction books and movies. He currently holds a faculty position at Louisiana State University while maintaining an active visiting appointment at NCSU, where he continues to collaborate on our lab's projects.


President's postdoctoral fellow at UMN

Cristian Beza-Beza

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Cristian, hailing from Guatemala, developed a deep love for nature in his mountainous surroundings, sparking a lifelong passion for biodiversity. His research centers on evolution, systematics, and diversification drivers. Outside of work, he enjoys weekend hikes, cheering for Club Social y Deportivo Municipal, and quality time with loved ones. He is currently a President's postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota, while maintaining a visiting appointment at NCSU, where he continues to collaborate on our lab's projects.

Lab Alumni (and their last known whereabouts)
Sydney Baker

BeeMORE mentee (May 2023 - July 2023)

Cristian Beza-Beza (President’s Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Minnesota)

Postdoc (September 2021 - September 2023)

Melbert Schwarz (Postdoc, Meiklejohn lab)

Graduate research assistant (August 2018 - August 2023)

Ezra Bailey (Graduate student, Wiegmann lab)

Lab technician (February 2020 - August 2021); Graduate research assistant (August 2021 - April 2023)

Elizabeth Wiles (Graduate student, Genetics and Genomics Scholars program)

BeeMORE mentee (May 2021 - July 2021); Lab technician (August 2021 - August 2022); Rotation student, GGS program (August 2022 - January 2023)

Maeve Finley

BeeMORE mentee (May 2022 - July 2022)

Estefany Valdez

BeeMORE mentee (May 2022 - July 2022)

Aaron Ashbrook (Assistant Professor, Louisiana State University)

Postdoc (June 2020 - April 2022)

Rebecca Lessler (M.Sc. student, Sobotnik lab)

Lab technician (June 2021 - June 2022)

Sophia Copeman (Graduate student, Frank lab)

Lab technician (February 2020 - February 2021)

Caroline Elliotte

Lab technician (Nov 2018 - Nov 2019)

Former members


Currently, there are no funded opportunities in the Mikaelyan lab for postdocs or graduate students. Jobs will be posted on the website when available. However, we are always eager to working on collaborative proposals for fellowships for independent research, such as postdoctoral fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, NSF-GRFP, the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) 

We are always looking for hard working undergraduate students who are interested in either assisting graduate students or postdocs with their research. There are also opportunities for students interested in gaining experience in independent research. Feel free to contact Dr. Mikaelyan directly for inquiries.

Open positions
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