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Shellie R. Bench, Ph.D.

Scientist, Global Viral


Postdoctoral Research, Stanford University

Ph.D. (Ocean Sciences), UC Santa Cruz


Research focus: Marine Ecology, Environmental Microbiology

Other appointments: Visiting Fellow, Stanford University

Shellie recently completed a NSF Polar Programs Research postdoctoral fellowship, where she worked at Stanford University under the guidance of professors Kevin Arrigo and Chris Francis. The postdoctoral project she conceived and completed was focused on population dynamics of eukaryotic and prokaryotic marine microbes near the West Antarctic Peninsula using molecular genetic data from samples collected during a three year time-series. Managing that project included multiple deployments to Antarctica, as well as coordinating sample collection and processing with other research groups. In addition to her recent work in Antarctica, Shellie has extensive experience conducting and managing oceanographic field work to globally diverse sites including expeditions to deep sea hydrothermal vents. 

Prior to her postdoctoral fellowship, she completed her PhD at UC Santa Cruz where she used comparative genomics and molecular tools to study tropical marine nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria.  She also holds a BS in genetics from UC Davis, and a MS from the University of Delaware where she completed one of the earliest metagenomic studies of environmental viruses.


Bench SR, Frank I, Robidart J, Zehr JP. Two subpopulations of Crocosphaera watsonii have distinct distributions in the North and South Pacific. Environ Microbiol. 2016 Feb;18(2):514-24. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.13180. PMID: 26663484.


Bench SR, Heller P, Frank I, Arciniega M, Shilova IN, Zehr JP. Whole genome comparison of six Crocosphaera watsonii strains with differing phenotypes. J Phycol. 2013 Aug;49(4):786-801. doi: 10.1111/jpy.12090. PMID: 27007210.


Thompson A, Bench S, Carter B, Zehr J. Coupling FACS and genomic methods for the characterization of uncultivated symbionts. Methods Enzymol. 2013;531:45-60. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-407863-5.00003-4. PMID: 24060115.


Winget DM, Helton RR, Williamson KE, Bench SR, Williamson SJ, Wommack KE. Repeating patterns of virioplankton production within an estuarine ecosystem. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Jul 12;108(28):11506-11. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1101907108. PMID: 21709214.


Bench SR, Ilikchyan IN, Tripp HJ, Zehr JP. Two Strains of Crocosphaera watsonii with Highly Conserved Genomes are Distinguished by Strain-Specific Features. Front Microbiol. 2011 Dec 29;2:261. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2011.00261. eCollection 2011. PMID: 22232617.


Wommack KE, Srinivasiah S, Liles M, Bhavsar J, Bench S, Williamson KE, Polson SW. Metagenomic contrasts of viruses in soil and aquatic environments. Handbook of Molecular Microbial Ecology II: Metagenomics in Different Habitats. 2011. New York: John E. Wiley & Sons.


Tripp HJ, Bench SR, Turk KA, Foster RA, Desany BA, Niazi F, Affourtit JP, Zehr JP. Metabolic streamlining in an open-ocean nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterium. Nature. 2010 Mar 4;464(7285):90-4. doi: 10.1038/nature08786. PMID: 20173737.


Hewson I, Poretsky RS, Beinart RA, White AE, Shi T, Bench SR, Moisander PH, Paerl RW, Tripp HJ, Montoya JP, Moran MA, Zehr JP. In situ transcriptomic analysis of the globally important keystone N2-fixing taxon Crocosphaera watsonii. ISME J. 2009 May;3(5):618-31. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2009.8. PMID: 19225552.


Wommack KE, Bench SR, Bhavsar J, Mead D, Hanson T. Isolation independent methods of characterizing phage communities 2: characterizing a metagenome. Methods Mol Biol. 2009;502:279-89. doi: 10.1007/978-1-60327-565-1_16. PMID: 19082562.


Wommack KE, Williamson KE, Helton RR, Bench SR, Winget DM. Methods for the isolation of viruses from environmental samples. Methods Mol Biol. 2009;501:3-14. doi: 10.1007/978-1-60327-164-6_1. PMID: 19066805.


Zehr JP, Bench SR, Carter BJ, Hewson I, Niazi F, Shi T, Tripp HJ, Affourtit JP. Globally distributed uncultivated oceanic N2-fixing cyanobacteria lack oxygenic photosystem II. Science. 2008 Nov 14;322(5904):1110-2. doi: 10.1126/science.1165340. PMID: 19008448.


Williamson SJ, Cary SC, Williamson KE, Helton RR, Bench SR, Winget D, Wommack KE. Lysogenic virus-host interactions predominate at deep-sea diffuse-flow hydrothermal vents. ISME J. 2008 Nov;2(11):1112-21. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2008.73. PMID: 18719614.


Robidart JC, Bench SR, Feldman RA, Novoradovsky A, Podell SB, Gaasterland T,  Allen EE, Felbeck H. Metabolic versatility of the Riftia pachyptila endosymbiont  revealed through metagenomics. Environ Microbiol. 2008 Mar;10(3):727-37. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2007.01496.x. PMID: 18237306.


Bench SR, Hanson TE, Williamson KE, Ghosh D, Radosovich M, Wang K, Wommack KE. Metagenomic characterization of Chesapeake Bay virioplankton. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Dec;73(23):7629-41. PubMed PMID: 17921274.


Zehr JP, Bench SR, Mondragon EA, McCarren J, DeLong EF. Low genomic diversity in tropical oceanic N2-fixing cyanobacteria. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Nov 6;104(45):17807-12. PubMed PMID: 17971441.


Dos Santos Ferreira V, Rocchetta I, Conforti V, Bench S, Feldman R, Levin MJ. Gene expression patterns in Euglena gracilis: insights into the cellular response to environmental stress. Gene. 2007 Mar 15;389(2):136-45. PMID: 17197134.


Markert S, Arndt C, Felbeck H, Becher D, Sievert SM, Hügler M, Albrecht D, Robidart J, Bench S, Feldman RA, Hecker M, Schweder T. Physiological proteomics of the uncultured endosymbiont of Riftia pachyptila. Science. 2007 Jan 12;315(5809):247-50. PMID: 17218528.


Saunders NF, Thomas T, Curmi PM, Mattick JS, Kuczek E, Slade R, Davis J, Franzmann PD, Boone D, Rusterholtz K, Feldman R, Gates C, Bench S, Sowers K, Kadner K, Aerts A, Dehal P, Detter C, Glavina T, Lucas S, Richardson P, Larimer F, Hauser L, Land M, Cavicchioli R. Mechanisms of thermal adaptation revealed from the genomes of the Antarctic Archaea Methanogenium frigidum and Methanococcoides burtonii. Genome Res. 2003 Jul;13(7):1580-8. PMID: 12805271.


Alizadeh M, Gelfman CM, Bench SR, Hjelmeland LM. Expression and splicing of FGF receptor mRNAs during APRE-19 cell differentiation in vitro. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2000. 41 (8): 2357- 2362.

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