Jacques Ravel

University of Maryland, Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland, United States

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Publications (206)1122.8 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Background The vaginal microbiota can impact the susceptibility of women to bacterial vaginosis (BV) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). BV is characterized by depletion of Lactobacillus spp., an overgrowth of anaerobes (often dominated by Gardnerella vaginalis) and a pH > 4.5. BV is associated with an increased risk of acquiring STIs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. While these associations have been identified, the molecular mechanism(s) driving the risk of infections are unknown. An ex vivo porcine vaginal mucosal model (PVM) was developed to explore the mechanistic role of Lactobacillus spp. in affecting colonization by G. vaginalis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Results The data presented here demonstrate that all organisms tested can colonize and grow on PVM to clinically relevant densities. Additionally, G. vaginalis and N. gonorrhoeae form biofilms on PVM. It was observed that lactic acid, acetic acid, and hydrochloric acid inhibit the growth of G. vaginalis on PVM in a pH-dependent manner. N. gonorrhoeae grows best in the presence of lactic acid at pH 5.5, but did not grow well at this pH in the presence of acetic acid. Finally, a clinical Lactobacillus crispatus isolate (24-9-7) produces lactic acid and inhibits growth of both G. vaginalis and N. gonorrhoeae on PVM. Conclusions These data reveal differences in the effects of pH, various acids and L. crispatus on the growth of G. vaginalis and N. gonorrhoeae on a live vaginal mucosal surface. The PVM is a useful model for studying the interactions of commensal vaginal microbes with pathogens and the mechanisms of biofilm formation on the vaginal mucosa.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · BMC Microbiology
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    Jacques Ravel · K Eric Wommack
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    ABSTRACT: Contributing reviewers We are deeply grateful to all of the names listed below, who reviewed manuscripts submitted to Microbiome in 2014. We hope that you all will continue to support the journal as a reviewer or, better yet, as a contributing author.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Cervicovaginal mucus (CVM) can provide a barrier that precludes HIV and other sexually transmitted virions from reaching target cells in the vaginal epithelium, thereby preventing or reducing infections. However, the barrier properties of CVM differ from woman to woman, and the causes of these variations are not yet well understood. Using highresolution particle tracking of fluorescent HIV-1 pseudoviruses, we found that neither pH nor Nugent scores nor total lactic acid levels correlated significantly with virus trapping in unmodified CVM from diverse donors. Surprisingly, HIV-1 was generally trapped in CVM with relatively high concentrations of D-lactic acid and a Lactobacillus crispatus-dominant microbiota. In contrast, a substantial fraction of HIV-1 virions diffused rapidly through CVM with low concentrations of D-lactic acid that had a Lactobacillus iners-dominant microbiota or significant amounts of Gardnerella vaginalis, a bacterium associated with bacterial vaginosis. Our results demonstrate that the vaginal microbiota, including specific species of Lactobacillus, can alter the diffusional barrier properties of CVM against HIV and likely other sexually transmitted viruses and that these microbiota-associated changes may account in part for the elevated risks of HIV acquisition linked to bacterial vaginosis or intermediate vaginal microbiota.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2015 · mBio
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    ABSTRACT: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal disorder among reproductive age women. One clinical indicator of BV is a "fishy" odor. This odor has been associated with increases in several biogenic amines (BAs) that may serve as important biomarkers. Within the vagina, BA production has been linked to various vaginal taxa, yet their genetic capability to synthesize BAs is unknown. Using a bioinformatics approach, we show that relatively few vaginal taxa are predicted to be capable of producing BAs. Many of these taxa (Dialister, Prevotella, Parvimonas, Megasphaera, Peptostreptococcus, and Veillonella spp.) are more abundant in the vaginal microbial community state type (CST) IV, which is depleted in lactobacilli. Several of the major Lactobacillus species (L. crispatus, L. jensenii, and L. gasseri) were identified as possessing gene sequences for proteins predicted to be capable of putrescine production. Finally, we show in a small cross sectional study of 37 women that the BAs putrescine, cadaverine and tyramine are significantly higher in CST IV over CSTs I and III. These data support the hypothesis that BA production is conducted by few vaginal taxa and may be important to the outgrowth of BV-associated (vaginal dysbiosis) vaginal bacteria.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Frontiers in Physiology
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    Full-text · Dataset · Sep 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Different bacteria in stool have markedly varied growth and survival when stored at ambient temperature. It is paramount to develop optimal biostabilization of stool samples during collection and assess long-term storage for clinical specimens and epidemiological microbiome studies. We evaluated the effect of collection media and delayed freezing up to 7 days on microbial composition. Ten participants collected triplicate stool samples each into no media as well as RNAlater® with and without kanamycin or ciprofloxacin. For each set of conditions, triplicate samples were frozen on dry ice immediately (time = 0) or frozen at -80 °C after 3-days and 7-days incubation at 25 °C. Microbiota metrics were estimated from Illumina MiSeq sequences of 16S rRNA gene fragments (V3-V4 region). Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) across triplicates, collection media, and incubation time were estimated for taxonomy and alpha and beta diversity metrics. RNAlater® alone yielded the highest ICCs for diversity metrics at time = 0 [ICC median 0.935 (range 0.89-0.97)], but ICCs varied greatly (range 0.44-1.0) for taxa with relative abundances <1 %. The 3- and 7-day freezing delays were generally associated with stable beta diversity for all three media conditions. Freezing delay caused increased variance for Shannon index (median ICC 0.77) and especially for observed species abundance (median ICC 0.47). Variance in observed species abundance and in phylogenetic distance whole tree was similarly increased with a 7-day delay. Antibiotics did not mitigate variance. No media had inferior ICCs at time 0 and differed markedly from any media in microbiome composition (e.g., P = 0.01 for relative abundance of Bacteroidetes). Bacterial community composition was stable for 7 days at room temperature in RNAlater® alone. RNAlater® provides some stability for beta diversity analyses, but analyses of rare taxa will be inaccurate if specimens are not frozen immediately. RNAlater® could be used as collection media with minimal change in the microbiota composition.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2015
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated whether the gut microbiota differed in 48 postmenopausal breast cancer case patients, pretreatment, vs 48 control patients. Microbiota profiles in fecal DNA were determined by Illumina sequencing and taxonomy of 16S rRNA genes. Estrogens were quantified in urine. Case-control comparisons employed linear and unconditional logistic regression of microbiota α-diversity (PD_whole tree) and UniFrac analysis of β-diversity, with two-sided statistical tests. Total estrogens correlated with α-diversity in control patients (Spearman Rho = 0.37, P = .009) but not case patients (Spearman Rho = 0.04, P = .77). Compared with control patients, case patients had statistically significantly altered microbiota composition (β-diversity, P = .006) and lower α-diversity (P = .004). Adjusted for estrogens and other covariates, odds ratio of cancer was 0.50 (95% confidence interval = 0.30 to 0.85) per α-diversity tertile. Differences in specific taxa were not statistically significant when adjusted for multiple comparisons. This pilot study shows that postmenopausal women with breast cancer have altered composition and estrogen-independent low diversity of their gut microbiota. Whether these affect breast cancer risk and prognosis is unknown. Published by Oxford University Press 2015. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Journal of the National Cancer Institute
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    Julian R. Marchesi · Jacques Ravel
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    ABSTRACT: ᅟ The advancement of DNA/RNA, proteins, and metabolite analytical platforms, combined with increased computing technologies, has transformed the field of microbial community analysis. This transformation is evident by the exponential increase in the number of publications describing the composition and structure, and sometimes function, of the microbial communities inhabiting the human body. This rapid evolution of the field has been accompanied by confusion in the vocabulary used to describe different aspects of these communities and their environments. The misuse of terms such as microbiome, microbiota, metabolomic, and metagenome and metagenomics among others has contributed to misunderstanding of many study results by the scientific community and the general public alike. A few review articles have previously defined those terms, but mainly as sidebars, and no clear definitions or use cases have been published. In this editorial, we aim to propose clear definitions of each of these terms, which we would implore scientists in the field to adopt and perfect.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Sequencing of the PCR-amplified 16S rRNA gene has become a common approach to microbial community investigations in the fields of human health and environmental sciences. This approach, however, is difficult when the amount of DNA is too low to be amplified by standard PCR. Nested PCR can be employed as it can amplify samples with DNA concentration several-fold lower than standard PCR. However, potential biases with nested PCRs that could affect measurement of community structure have received little attention.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common vaginal bacterial imbalance associated with risk for HIV and poor gynecologic and obstetric outcomes. Male circumcision reduces BV-associated bacteria on the penis and decreases BV in female partners, but the link between penile microbiota and female partner BV is not well understood. We tested the hypothesis that having a female partner with BV increases BV-associated bacteria in uncircumcised men. We characterized penile microbiota composition and density (i.e., the quantity of bacteria per swab) by broad-coverage 16S rRNA gene-based sequencing and quantitative PCR (qPCR) in 165 uncircumcised men from Rakai, Uganda. Associations between penile community state types (CSTs) and female partner’s Nugent score were assessed. We found seven distinct penile CSTs of increasing density (CST1 to 7). CST1 to 3 and CST4 to 7 were the two major CST groups. CST4 to 7 had higher prevalence and abundance of BV-associated bacteria, such as Mobiluncus and Dialister, than CST1 to 3. Men with CST4 to 7 were significantly more likely to have a female partner with a high Nugent score (P = 0.03). Men with two or more extramarital partners were significantly more likely to have CST4 to 7 than men with only marital partners (CST4 to 7 prevalence ratio, 1.84; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.16 to 2.92). Female partner Nugent BV is significantly associated with penile microbiota. Our data support the exchange of BV-associated bacteria through intercourse, which may explain BV recurrence and persistence.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · mBio
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    ABSTRACT: In this study, we evaluated the association between high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) and the vaginal microbiome. Participants were recruited in Nigeria between April and August 2012. Vaginal bacterial composition was characterized by deep sequencing of barcoded 16S rRNA gene fragments (V4) on Illumina MiSeq and HPV was identified using the Roche Linear Array® HPV genotyping test. We used exact logistic regression models to evaluate the association between community state types (CSTs) of vaginal microbiota and hrHPV infection, weighted UniFrac distances to compare the vaginal microbiota of individuals with prevalent hrHPV to those without prevalent hrHPV infection, and the Linear Discriminant Analysis effect size (LEfSe) algorithm to characterize bacteria associated with prevalent hrHPV infection. We observed four CSTs: CST IV-B with a low relative abundance of Lactobacillus spp. in 50% of participants; CST III (dominated by L. iners) in 39·2%; CST I (dominated by L. crispatus) in 7·9%; and CST VI (dominated by proteobacteria) in 2·9% of participants. LEfSe analysis suggested an association between prevalent hrHPV infection and a decreased abundance of Lactobacillus sp. with increased abundance of anaerobes particularly of the genera Prevotella and Leptotrichia in HIV-negative women (P < 0·05). These results are hypothesis generating and further studies are required.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Epidemiology and Infection
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    Full-text · Conference Paper · May 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Candida albicans, the major invasive fungal pathogen of humans, can cause both debilitating mucosal infections and fatal invasive infections. Understanding the complex nature of the host-pathogen interaction in each of these contexts is essential to developing desperately needed therapies to treat fungal infections. RNA-seq enables a systems-level understanding of infection by facilitating comprehensive analysis of transcriptomes from multiple species (e.g., host and pathogen) simultaneously. We used RNA-seq to characterize the transcriptomes of both C. albicans and human endothelial cells or oral epithelial cells during in vitro infection. Network analysis of the differentially expressed genes identified the activation of several signaling pathways that have not previously been associated with the host response to fungal pathogens. Using an siRNA knockdown approach, we demonstrate that two of these pathways-platelet-derived growth factor BB (PDGF BB) and neural precursor-cell-expressed developmentally down-regulated protein 9 (NEDD9)-govern the host-pathogen interaction by regulating the uptake of C. albicans by host cells. Using RNA-seq analysis of a mouse model of hematogenously disseminated candidiasis (HDC) and episodes of vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) in humans, we found evidence that many of the same signaling pathways are activated during mucosal (VVC) and/or disseminated (HDC) infections in vivo. Our analyses have uncovered several signaling pathways at the interface between C. albicans and host cells in various contexts of infection, and suggest that PDGF BB and NEDD9 play important roles in this interaction. In addition, these data provide a valuable community resource for better understanding host-fungal pathogen interactions.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Genome Research
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    ABSTRACT: Screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) and precancerous colorectal adenoma (CRA) can detect curable disease. However, participation in colonoscopy and sensitivity of fecal heme for CRA are low. Microbiota metrics were determined by Illumina sequencing of 16S rRNA genes amplified from DNA extracted from feces self-collected in RNAlater. Among fecal immunochemical test-positive (FIT +) participants, colonoscopically-defined normal versus CRA patients were compared by regression, permutation, and random forest plus leave-one-out methods. Of 95 FIT + participants, 61 had successful fecal microbiota profiling and colonoscopy, identifying 24 completely normal patients, 20 CRA patients, 2 CRC patients, and 15 with other conditions. Phylum-level fecal community composition differed significantly between CRA and normal patients (permutation P = 0.02). Rank phylum-level abundance distinguished CRA from normal patients (area under the curve = 0.767, permutation P = 0.006). CRA prevalence was 59% in phylum-level cluster B versus 20% in cluster A (exact P = 0.01). Most of the difference reflected 3-fold higher median relative abundance of Proteobacteria taxa (Wilcoxon signed-rank P = 0.03, positive predictive value = 67%). Antibiotic exposure and other potential confounders did not affect the associations. If confirmed in larger, more diverse populations, fecal microbiota analysis might be employed to improve screening for CRA and ultimately to reduce mortality from CRC.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · EBioMedicine
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    ABSTRACT: A mechanistic understanding of the purported health benefits conferred by consumption of probiotic bacteria has been limited by our knowledge of the resident gut microbiota and its interaction with the host. Here, we detail the impact of a single-organism probiotic, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG ATCC 53103 (LGG), on the structure and functional dynamics (gene expression) of the gut microbiota in a study of 12 healthy individuals, 65 to 80 years old. The analysis revealed that while the overall community composition was stable as assessed by 16S rRNA profiling, the transcriptional response of the gut microbiota was modulated by probiotic treatment. Comparison of transcriptional profiles based on taxonomic composition yielded three distinct transcriptome groups that displayed considerable differences in functional dynamics. The transcriptional profile of LGG in vivo was remarkably concordant across study subjects despite the considerable interindividual nature of the gut microbiota. However, we identified genes involved in flagellar motility, chemotaxis, and adhesion from Bifidobacterium and the dominant butyrate producers Roseburia and Eubacterium whose expression was increased during probiotic consumption, suggesting that LGG may promote interactions between key constituents of the microbiota and the host epithelium. These results provide evidence for the discrete functional effects imparted by a specific single-organism probiotic and challenge the prevailing notion that probiotics substantially modify the resident microbiota within nondiseased individuals in an appreciable fashion.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2015 · mBio

  • No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Gastroenterology
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    ABSTRACT: SINC, a new type III secreted protein of the avian and human pathogen, Chlamydia psittaci, uniquely targets the nuclear envelope of C. psittaci-infected cells and uninfected neighboring cells. Digitonin-permeabilization studies of infected or SINC-GFP-transfected HeLa cells indicate SINC targets the inner nuclear membrane. SINC localization at the nuclear envelope was blocked by importazole, confirming SINC import into the nucleus. Candidate partners were identified by proximity to biotin ligase-fused SINC in HeLa cells and mass spectrometry (BioID). This strategy identified 22 candidates with high confidence including the nucleoporin ELYS, lamin B1 and four proteins (emerin, MAN1, LAP1 and LBR) of the inner nuclear membrane, suggesting SINC interacts with host proteins that control nuclear structure, signaling, chromatin organization and gene silencing. GFP-SINC association with the native LEM-domain protein emerin, a conserved component of nuclear 'lamina' structure, or with a complex containing emerin, was confirmed by GFP pull-down. Our findings identify SINC as a novel bacterial protein that targets the nuclear envelope with the capability of globally altering nuclear envelope functions in the infected host cell and neighboring uninfected cells. These properties may contribute to the aggressive virulence of C. psittaci. © 2015 by The American Society for Cell Biology.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Molecular biology of the cell
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    ABSTRACT: Although vaginal microbial communities of some healthy women have high proportions of Atopobium vaginae, the genus Atopobium is more commonly associated with bacterial vaginosis, a syndrome associated with an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes and the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. Genetic differences within Atopobium species may explain why single species can be associated with both health and disease. We used 16S rRNA gene sequences from previously published studies to explore the taxonomic diversity of the genus Atopobium in vaginal microbial communities of healthy women. Although A. vaginae was the species most commonly found, we also observed three other Atopobium species in the vaginal microbiota, one of which, A. parvulum, was not previously known to reside in the human vagina. Furthermore, we found several potential novel species of the genus Atopobium and multiple phylogenetic clades of Atopobium vaginae. The diversity of Atopobium found in our study, which focused only on samples from healthy women is greater than previously recognized, suggesting that analysis of samples from women with BV would yield even more diversity. Classification of microbes only to the genus level may thus obfuscate differences that might be important to better understand health or disease. © FEMS 2015. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Foodborne Pathogens and Disease
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    ABSTRACT: In humans, the vaginal microbiota is thought to be the first line of defense again pathogens including Chlamydia trachomatis. The guinea pig has been extensively used as a model to study chlamydial infection because it shares anatomical and physiological similarities with humans, such as a squamous vaginal epithelium as well as some of the long-term outcomes caused by chlamydial infection. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the guinea pig - C. caviae model of genital infection as a surrogate for studying the role of the vaginal microbiota in the early steps of C. trachomatis infection in humans. We used culture-independent molecular methods to characterize the relative and absolute abundance of bacterial phylotypes in the guinea pig vaginal microbiota in animals non-infected, mock-infected or infected by C. caviae. We showed that the guinea pig and human vaginal microbiotas are of different bacterial composition and abundance. C. caviae infection had a profound effect on the absolute abundance of bacterial phylotypes but not on the composition of the guinea pig vaginal microbiota. Our findings compromise the validity of the guinea pig - C. caviae model to study the role of the vaginal microbiota during the early steps of sexually transmitted infection. © FEMS 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of FEMS. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Foodborne Pathogens and Disease
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    ABSTRACT: Background We identified predominant vaginal microbiota communities, changes over time, and how this varied by HIV status and other factors in a cohort of 64 women. Methods Bacterial DNA was extracted from reposited cervicovaginal lavage samples collected annually over an 8–10 year period from Chicago Women’s Interagency HIV Study participants: 22 HIV-negative, 22 HIV-positive with stable infection, 20 HIV-positive with progressive infection. The vaginal microbiota was defined by pyrosequencing of the V1/V2 region of the 16S rRNA gene. Scheduled visits included Bacterial vaginsosis (BV) screening; clinically detected cases were referred for treatment. Hierarchical clustering identified bacterial community state types (CST). Multinomial mixed effects modeling determined trends over time in CST, by HIV status and other factors. Results The median follow-up time was 8.1 years (range 5.5–15.3). Six CSTs were identified. The mean relative abundance (RA) of Lactobacillus spp. by CST (with median number of bacterial taxa) was: CST-1–25.7% (10), CST-2–27.1% (11), CST-3–34.6% (9), CST-4–46.8% (9), CST-5–57.9% (4), CST-6–69.4% (2). The two CSTs representing the highest RA of Lactobacillus and lowest diversity increased with each additional year of follow-up (CST-5, adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.62 [95% CI: 1.34–1.94]; CST-6, aOR = 1.57 [95 CI: 1.31–1.89]), while the two CSTs representing lowest RA of Lactobacillus and higher diversity decreased with each additional year (CST-1, aOR = 0.89 [95% CI: 0.80–1.00]; CST-2, aOR = 0.86 [95% CI: 0.75–0.99]). There was no association between HIV status and CST at baseline or over time. CSTs representing lower RA of Lactobacillus were associated with current cigarette smoking. Conclusions The vaginal microbial community significantly improved over time in this cohort of women with HIV and at high risk for HIV who had regular detection and treatment referral for BV.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · PLoS ONE

Publication Stats

12k Citations
1,122.80 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1994-2015
    • University of Maryland, Baltimore
      • • Institute for Genome Sciences
      • • Department of Microbiology and Immunology
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2014
    • Loyola University Maryland
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2012
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2011
    • University of Colorado at Boulder
      • Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
      Boulder, CO, United States
    • Indiana University Bloomington
      • Department of Biology
      Bloomington, Indiana, United States
  • 2007-2009
    • J. Craig Venter Institute
      Maryland, United States
  • 2004-2007
    • Biomedical Research Institute, Rockville
      Роквилл, Maryland, United States
    • Translational Genomics Research Institute
      Phoenix, Arizona, United States
  • 2000-2004
    • Johns Hopkins University
      • Department of Chemistry
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
    • National Institute of Oceanography
      Nova Goa, Goa, India
  • 1999
    • Australian Institute of Marine Science
      Townsville, Queensland, Australia
  • 1997
    • National Institute of Standards and Technology
      Maryland, United States