Dr. Julian Damashek

Assistant Professor of Biology

I am an aquatic microbial ecologist and biogeochemist. I love thinking about anything related to microbes, nutrients, or water. I teach about ecology, microbiology, computational biology, genomics, oceanography, and limnology. I enjoy developing active learning projects, and am always learning ways to improve my inclusive teaching methods. I am committed to using my position as an educator and scientist to work for social justice.

If you are interested in doing research in my lab or collaborating, please contact me – I would love to hear from you!

My CV can be found here (PDF).

Google Scholar profile here.

Email me: judamash [AT] utica [DOT] edu



Bella Raux (’23)

Investigating dog-owner microbiomes by analyzing 16S amplicon data.

Josh Giblin (’22)

Processing estuary 16S samples for fecal source tracking using machine learning.

Brieann Lohmann (’23)


Brie is developing a field program studying the nitrifying microbial communities in the Mohawk River, Barge Canal, and Oriskany Creek.

Trinity Howell (Hampton University ’22)

Trinity used machine learning tools to identify sources of fecal contamination in estuary waters using 16S data. She was funded by the National Summer Undergraduate Research Project (NSURP) 2021 program.

Nikki Pickett (’21)

Nikki fell in love with debugging computer errors while taking a bioinformatics course and completed a research project studying distribution of antibiotic resistance genes in San Francisco Bay using metagenomic data.

Carrilynn Garrett (’23)


Carrilynn worked on starting a field project studying nitrogen cycling in the Mohawk River.

Arijana Dautovic (’23)

Arijana worked on a field project studying microbes in the Mohawk River.

Matt Fedullo (’20)

Matt designed a project studying antibiotic resistance genes in the Mohawk River near his hometown of Amsterdam, NY. He successfully never fell into the river.


Undergraduate mentees prior to Utica College

University of Georgia (Hollibaugh Lab)

Hailey Goldberg (UGA ’20)

Hailey dove into bioinformatics to learn about the ecology of freshwater Thaumarchaeota using existing metagenomes and metatranscriptomes. She quickly became an expert at finding typos in scripts. Hailey is currently pursuing a MS in Biology (Recombinant DNA Technology track) at NYU.

Aimee Okotie-Oyekan (UGA ’17)


Aimee first learned the fun of working with Thaumarchaeota in the laboratory before mastering the art of DNA extraction and qPCR, and is a co-author on a manuscript on marine polyamine-N oxidation published in Limnology & Oceanography, a manuscript on MGII Euryarchaeota ecology in the South Atlantic Bight published in ISME Communications, and a forthcoming manuscript on nitrification in coastal Antarctic waters. She is currently pursuing a MS in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Oregon and has an excellent website.


Stanford University (Francis Lab)

Tynan Challenor (Stanford ’17)


Tynan worked on a pilot project measuring nitrification rates from waters in Artesian Slough (in collaboration with the Casciotti lab and the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility), which he presented at the AGU Fall Meeting in 2014. He spent many hours in front of machines measuring nutrients and isotopes and then learned the wonders of qPCR, and completed a thesis project studying ammonia oxidizers the Sacramento River. After completing a MS in Biomedical Informatics at Stanford, Tynan now works for the UC Berkeley Labor Center.

Aubriana Menendez (Stanford ’17)

Dollie Pic

Aubriana worked on a pilot project sequencing amoA genes from Artesian Slough water (in collaboration with the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility) and currently works as a user experience researcher at Change Healthcare. Check out her website!

Kade Pettie (Amherst College ’15)


Kade analyzed ammonia-oxidizing communities in samples from the Chukchi Sea (in collaboration with the Arrigo lab) and is a co-author on an article published in Aquatic Microbial Ecology. He excelled at troubleshooting endless qPCR issues. Kade is currently a PhD student in Biology at Stanford.

Kofi Christie (Morehouse College ’14)


Kofi was a SURGE scholar and did a pilot project using stable isotope incubations to measure nitrification rates in creeks at the Baylands Nature Preserve (Palo Alto, CA). Kofi completed a PhD in Environmental Engineering  at Vanderbilt and is now a Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Princeton. His bowties rivaled Julian’s. (Photo: Stanford SURGE program)

Yari Greaney (Stanford ’15)


Yari was a DNA extracting pro and processed many, many sediment samples from San Francisco Bay. She completed a BS and MS in Earth Systems at Stanford and is now a Program Analyst at the DC Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. (Photo: Stanford Splash!)

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