Cope Lab


Emily Cope, PhD

Assistant Director at Pathogen and microbiome institute

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University



Keehoon Lee, PhD

Postdoctoral scholar

Born in Seoul, Korea in the era with no chickenpox vaccine. Had my chickenpox. Grown up developing strong memory immune cells. Came to the U.S. in 1998. Graduated from Northern Arizona University with B.S. and M.S. Trained my body and soul during my time in Flagstaff with high altitude and great beer. Went back to Korea to join the Army and served 3 years as a research specialist. Graduated from Yonsei University with Ph.D.

Project and interests:
I study bacterial and fungal interactions in airway diseases, including Chronic Rhinosinusitis (CRS). How interspecies interactions with microbiota and the host influence microbiome composition of both upper and lower respiratory tract, regulation in immune response, and disease development are the main interest of our project.

Sierra Jaramillo, BS

Graduate Student (MS)

Emily Borsom, BS

Graduate Student (PhD)

Allyson Hirsch

Undergraduate Researcher

My name is Allyson Hirsch and I am an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Cope Group here at the Pathogen and Microbiome Institute. I am a senior studying microbiology and chemistry and am set to graduate May 2020! My lab group studies the human microbiome which includes the bacteria, viruses, and fungi living in and on the body. The first project I am working on is researching role that the gut microbiome plays in Alzheimer’s disease development through the gut microbiome-brain axis. Hopefully, this knowledge will be translated to human health in the form of a microbiome-based therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. The second project I am a part of is studying the sinonasal microbiome and the host immune response of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) patients with and without asthma. I am planning on pursuing a Ph.D. in Microbiology post-graduation. I am interested in continuing my experience in microbiome research or transitioning to infectious disease research for graduate school. My experience as an Undergraduate Researcher has led me to find a community of similar-minded individuals who share my excitement for research and scientific discovery!

Kathryn Conn

Undergraduate Researcher

My name is Katie and I am currently a Junior at NAU, majoring in microbiology and Spanish with a chemistry minor. I began working at the Pathogen and Microbiome Institute in August of 2019 under the instruction of Dr. Emily Cope. Here, I am studying the microbiome of clinical lung and sinus samples from patients with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) patients. The goal of this research is to determine whether the composition or activity of upper and lower respiratory tract microbiota drives inflammation in patients suffering from CRS and asthma. As an Undergraduate Research Assistant, I will be helping with laboratory procedures to define the microbial communities of CRS patients and the roles that these microbes play in human health and disease. The microbiome of CRS patients is poorly understood and this research could someday be implemented in the diagnosis and treatment of this diseases. The time I spend as an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Cope Group will help me to be successful in my future, where I hope to attend medical school or pursue a graduate degree in microbiology.


Oliver Kask.jpg

Oliver Kask, BS

Undergraduate Researcher

Oliver is now a research technician at Stanford University in California

Gabrielle Orsini, BS

Undergraduate Researcher

Gabrielle is now pursuing her DVM at Colorado State University

Shari Kyman, BS

Research technician - core microbiome services

Shari is now a Research Specialist at the Pathogen and Microbiome Institute

Irene Zhang, BS

Research technician

Irene has been accepted into PhD programs across the country and is starting her graduate studies in Fall 2018

The Cope Lab is currently hiring graduate students (M.S. or PhD). Please contact me to apply!