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Katie Mayer

IGC FELLOW    |   Global Change Center

Ph.D. Student  •  Biological Sciences

Advisor : Dr. Austin Gray

Research Interests: Aquatic toxicology, immunology, and ecology; effects of emerging contaminants of concern on freshwater ecosystems 

IGC Fellow

Katie is a PhD student in Dr. Austin Gray’s lab in the Department of Biological Sciences. Before joining Dr. Gray’s lab in the summer of 2022, she worked as an associate scientist at a pharmaceutical research company after graduating from Moravian University in 2020. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Moravian and completed an Honors Thesis. Her project researched how the social hierarchy structures of juvenile American lobsters form and change under acidified ocean conditions. Her interest in both marine studies and pharmaceuticals inspired her to seek a graduate degree in aquatic toxicology.

Katie’s current research interest at VT is understanding how contaminants of concern within streams of southwest Virginia may be affecting freshwater mussel populations. Some aspects of this research will involve investigating how the immune system of mussels respond to these contaminants within their habitat. Katie is excited to be a part of the IGC program where she plans to connect with other scientists who are tackling global change issues. She is looking forward to improving her science communication skills while professionally developing within the IGC program.