Who is the Mad Molecular Man?

“The gene was something in the minds of people as unimaginable as the material of the galaxies. What wonders may lie ahead, I cannot fathom” ~ Yours Truly

My name is Jacob Michael Green and I am the Mad Molecular Man.

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Currently:

I am a PhD candidate at the University of Rhode Island in the Biological and Environmental Sciences program with a specialization in Evolution and Marine Biology. I am currently researching in the Puritz lab developing a de novo Exome sequencing and assembly pipeline. My research interests are in bioinformatics development, marine ecology and evolution, molecular cellular and developmental biology, biological chemical and physical oceanography, disease epidemiology, and ocean climatology.

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History and Motivation:

My passion to understand how stress shapes our molecular world has been driven by two events that drastically altered my reality at its core. In fourth-grade I began my battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and experienced first-hand the devastating consequences that cancer has on young children. In remission, I promised myself that I’d work with a vigorous persistence to enrich the lives of those children in my communities. I excelled in academics and athletics during high school which lead to my admission to University of California, Davis, becoming the first person in my family to attend a four-year college. However, after losing my athletics scholarship to a stress injury, I struggled to stay afloat, and lacked the necessary support to navigate the UC system, and dropped out. After taking a year off, I enrolled in Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) where my inspiration to study molecular biology began.

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My brothers, my niece, and I. From left to right: Brandon (Athlete), Thomas (Police officer), Me (Scientist), Robert (Pastor).

SBCC gave me the opportunity to start fresh and create a strong foundation in science communication and research in molecular biology at the SBCC Biological Sciences Department.  As President of the Biology club, I brought non-STEM majors closer to the natural world by developing a Library Outreach Program. Collaborating with my faculty adviser Blake Barron and managing bio club members, we brought live specimens to the lobby of the library and taught lessons on the differences between monophyletic clades. The program has grown to be an established monthly event ,that is still occurring today, bringing together the diverse student body through zoological sciences and culminated in an Outstanding Club Achievement Award in 2014. My research position would begin with an award as Molecular Biologist of the Year, which led to Dr. James Doohan offering me an internship in his lab. Our project identified DNA primers specific for the order Coleoptera, beetles, and are used in molecular biology curriculum when introducing students to the process of DNA barcoding. I transferred to CSU Monterey Bay (CSUMB) to couple my interest in molecular biology and marine science.

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Conducting research at CSUMB and involvement in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center (UROC) opened a new path towards achieving my doctorate in molecular marine biology. I pursued a research position in Dr. Cheryl Logan’s marine experimental physiology lab through the UROC researchers program. My first project used enzyme assays to understand the complex metabolic balance that juvenile rockfish use to survive in an increasingly acidic ocean. I presented the results as a research poster at SACNAS and was honored with a third-place award for my oral presentation at CSUMB’s Fall Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, & Creative Activity Showcase. At the end of my summer research I was selected as a McNair Scholar and asked to join the UROC Scholars program that engages students in two years of mentored undergraduate research, prepares them for doctoral programs, and to become leaders in their respective fields. I have continued my work in the Logan Lab at CSUMB on the effects of climate change on rockfish physiology by utilizing next generation sequencing to quantify the adaptations non-model marine organisms use to deal with environmental stress, and how we may forward conservation through genetic modification.

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I have a need to communicate that science and a want to enrich the lives of students in my communities. I am worked with High School GEAR UP programs to develop ocean acidification curricula to help prepare low-income students to enter and succeed in post-secondary education. I am also created a session plan framework for genetics and bioinformatics tutors through the Cooperative Learning Center (CLC) at CSUMB to decrease the drop/fail/withdrawal (DFW) rate of an “gateway” college courses. Through developing my position as a Supplemental Instruction leader in the CLC at CSUMB for upper-division biology students in the genetics course. In my gap year between my B.S. at CSUMB and my current research position, I was a Science Mentor at the Monterey Bay Aquarium through the Student Oceanography Club, helping middle school interested in conservation of marine ecosystem and fostering a personal connection with the ocean.

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Moving Forward:

After completing my Bachelors of Science in Molecular biology at CSUMB in 2018 I took a year off to apply to graduate schools and continue projects such as: comparative transcriptomics of rockfish, Dongsha as a source of genetic diversity, editorial on tutoring as an undergrad, and vulnerability in science that I have been meaning to finish. Two of these projects are going through the primary stages of paper writing and we are close to submitting for publication. The gap year ended as I was accepted to the University of Rhode Island for a PhD position in the Puritz lab. It is here that we develop bioinformatic, molecular, and phylogenetic hypothesis to answer important questions about marine organisms in the face of climate change. I have been so ecstatic to be pursuing my PhD in order to continue with my goal of truly impacting how we research, teach, and protect the marine environment and communities that depend on it.

After completing my doctoral research, I will pursue a research career either in public Educational or private Marine Institutions, and inspire my community through molecular studies, community involvement, and devout investment in their educational aspirations.