While studying for her undergraduate degrees at Victoria University of Wellington, Rochelle took a summer semester paper in Environmental Microbiology, which included a trip to the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS) to look at microbes that live in hot springs. This sparked an interest in extremophiles. Rochelle then moved to Hamilton to study at the University of Waikato under the supervision of Prof. Craig Cary at the Thermophile Research Unit (TRU), identifying the microbial diversity of thermophilic communities in hot mineral soils of Tramway Ridge, Mount Erebus, Antarctica. After finishing her MSc, she moved to Australia and started working at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in Townsville as a RA to Dr. Nicole Webster, looking at microbial communities in sponges on the GBR, and Dr. Lone Hoj, in aquaculture. She then moved to Brisbane to undertake a PhD at the University of Queensland with Prof. Phil Hugenholtz and Prof. Gene Tyson, studying the non-photosynthetic Cyanobacteria.
Rochelle is now working as a Postdoctoral fellow for Prof. Hugenholtz. Her interests still lie in looking for non-photosynthetic Cyanobacteria but she also studies Australian marsupial microbiomes and how they cope with metabolising toxic eucalyptus.
PhD in Microbial Genomics, University of Queensland
MSc with honours, University of Waikato
BBMedSc and BCA, Victoria University of Wellington
Understanding the role of microbes in koala digestion and their potential to buffer digestive efficiency against the impacts of climate change as well as from translocation to areas with different species eucalyptus trees.