ASM Career Development Grant Helps with Studying Ocean Health in Puerto Rico
Dr. Amanda Shore is a postdoctoral fellow at Rice University. Her research focuses on how human activity influences the health of a variety of marine organisms, like coral. She shares with us how she tied her research interests into a trip to Puerto Rico.
Congrats on getting the ASM Career Development Grant! How did you use the funding and how did receiving the grant affect you?
The ASM Career Development Grant provided travel funds to the Mayaguez Marine Lab in Puerto Rico for 4 weeks to enhance my research. There, I conducted experiments to find the pathogen of a novel disease impacting sea fans (a type of soft coral) in Puerto Rico's La Parguera Bay. Finding the pathogen responsible for this new disease is an essential first step before other epidemiological studies can be done or effective restoration methods can be developed. The ASM Career Development Grant helped my professional development by allowing me to meet and learn from well-respected and knowledgeable coral ecologists at the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez. This visit also broadened my field experience to the ecosystems and marine diseases of the Caribbean, which was beneficial because my previous experience on coral reefs had only been in the Indo-Pacific region. Ultimately, the relationships that I built and the data generated during this visit will help me write a successful grant application to continue studying this novel marine disease and will be a stepping stone to create my own independent research platform.
What first attracted you to science?
I've always had a natural curiosity and a love of nature. My passion for the ocean stems from my childhood years of fishing, boating and snorkeling along the Florida Gulf Coast and the Florida Keys. It was clear from an early age that a career in the biological sciences was the path for me. Science is still attractive as a career because I'm constantly learning, I always have a sense of purpose, and I have the opportunity to make a meaningful, positive change in the world.
What is your research about?
I study ocean health and how human activity is influencing the health of a variety of marine organisms, especially coral. My research focuses on how host-microbe and host-pathogen interactions contribute to host susceptibility and disease spread. My research draws on knowledge and skills from diverse disciplines, including ecology, organismal biology, immunology, microbiology, genetics and bioinformatics. My research focuses on finding out how we can help promote ecosystem health to conserve and restore our remaining coral reefs.
What advice do you have for women postdocs in research?
In order for me to better understand and navigate my own career path in science, I talk to many different women scientists. So I recommend that you listen to the stories and perspectives of diverse women in science and use their experiences to your advantage.
Contributor: Dr. Amanda Shore got her Bachelor’s in Microbiology from the University of Florida and her Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She did a postdoc at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and now is on her second postdoc at Rice University.