Karen Sullam

Universität Basel,
Zoologisches Institut
Vesalgasse 1
CH-4051 Basel


+41 (0)61 207 03 72

+41 (0)61 207 03 62



Karen Sullam

Post-doctoral Researcher in the group of Prof. Dieter Ebert.

Research interests

My research interests lie at the intersection of ecology and evolutionary biology, and my research focuses on how animal-associated bacterial communities are structured and how they can impact host biology. During my dissertation, I studied the intraspecific variation in the gut communities of Trinidadian guppies and lake and stream sticklebacks as well as interspecific variation among fish from Lake Tanganyika. I used these systems to explore symbiont acquisition and the forces that drive shifts in gut bacteria. For my post-doctoral research, I plan to investigate how genetic background and host disease state influences the microbial communities of Daphnia magna.


Curriculum vitae

2014-ongoing Post-doctoral research at the Zoological Institute, University of Basel, Switzerland    
2007-2013 Ph.D. Drexel University, Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science, Philadelphia, PA, USA. Thesis title, "Patterns, causes and consequences of gut microbial community variation across fish" PhD supervisors: Susan Kilham and Jacob Russell    
2011-2012 Visiting student researcher on U.S. Fulbright-Swiss Government Grant. ETH Zürich & Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Switzerland. Project supervisors: Blake Matthews and Helmut Bürgmann    
2002-2006 B.A. Hamilton College, Clinton, NY, USA. Major: Biology (with Honors); Minor Environmental Studies    

Research Awards and Fellowships

2013 Drexel University Office of Graduate Studies Dissertation Fellowship    
2011-2012 U.S. Fulbright-Swiss Government Research Grant    
2012 National Science Foundation, Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DEB-1210695)    
2011 American Cichlid Association Guy Jordan Research Fund Award    
2010 Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research    
2007 James H. Glass Fellowship for research in Biology, Hamilton College    
2007 The Elihu Root Fellowship for research in Science, Hamilton College    
2005 National Science Foundation K-12 Teaching Fellowship, Conducted outreach education in conjunction with the Duke University Marine Lab    


2014 Spring Supervisor of an undergraduate 'Zoology Block course' project, with two 3rd-year B.Sc. students in Biology, University of Basel    
2007-2012 Teaching Assistant for Cells and Genetics, Essential Biology, Applied Biology, Molecular Ecology, Organismal Diversity and Ecology, Physiology and Nutrition in the Department of Biology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA    
Summer 2010 Grading Assistant for Environmental Science and Society in the Department of Biology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA    



Contributed Talks and Posters

Other contributions

Reviewing work

ISME Journal, PNAS, Molecular Ecology, Evolutionary Applications, Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, Scientific Reports, Marine Ecology Progress Series, Microbial Ecology

Scientific activities & services