Dr. Kathryn Docherty
I have been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences since August 2011. I received my B.S. in Environmental Sciences/Biology from Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY in 2001 and my PhD from University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN in 2007. My dissertation research focused on the toxicity and microbial biodegradability of designer green chemicals. I then went on to a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of Oregon (Eugene) from 2007-2010. I examined how soil microbial communities are impacted by manipulated global change factors in a grassland ecosystem. From 2010-11 I was a Research Associate at the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) in Boulder, CO. I helped to develop the first large-scale, long-term observation system of soil microbial communities in the United States. I am actively pursuing both biodegradation and global change aspects of research in microbial ecology.
GRADUATE STUDENTS
Coming Soon.
UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

Barbie Buehler: I am a senior in the pre-medical program at Western Michigan University. I plan on attending medical school after graduating from WMU. I started working in the Docherty lab in June 2012 as an NSF-REU Fellow and am currently completing my senior Honor's Thesis. I am studying the biodegradability of imidazolium and pyridinium-based ionic liquids (ILs) with the goal of isolating a microbe or microbial community that is able to degrade these novel green chemicals. I am also very involved in volunteering at a local nursing home and elementary school. In my spare time I love to read novels and bake.

Katherine Walker: I am a sophomore studying Biomedical Sciences with minors in Chemistry and Philosophy with plans to apply to medical school after I complete my undergraduate degree at Western Michigan University. I began working in the Docherty lab in May 2012. I am a member of the Lee Honors College, and have been working on my Honors Thesis with Dr. Docherty which is examining the toxicity of palladium nanoparticles to microorganisms. In addition to my work in the lab, I also work as a Student Ambassador at WMU and I am on the executive board of Western Michigan's chapter of the American Medical Student Association.

Steven Aiello: I am a senior Biomedical Sciences major at WMU and plan to apply to graduate school when I graduate.  I began working in the Docherty lab in May 2012 and am working on my Honor's Thesis examining how wastewater treatment plant microbial communities vary in their ability to biodegrade imidazolium and pyridinium ionic liquids by season and location.  I participated in the HHMI ExPERTs program in Summer 2012.  I am also interested in web design, am the president of the academic fraternity Phi Sigma Pi, and run marathons in my spare time.

Kristen Bergh: I am a senior Biology major at Kalamazoo College, with a minor in Japanese. After graduating I plan to spend a year in Japan teaching English before applying to graduate school. I started working in Dr. Docherty's lab in June 2012 through WMU's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.  I am continuing to work on my Senior Independent Thesis project, which examines how increased nitrogen deposition and fire alter the community structure of soil ammonia oxidizing bacteria in a California grassland.