The Committee

Meet the people involved in establishing the first ISRS Student chapter! A group of young career marine scientists, diverse in both their nationalities and research.  Here are your current committee members.


jessica Bellworthy coral ISRS student eilat


Jessica Bellworthy is a PhD student working at the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences, in Eilat, Israel. She studies coral ecophysiology during early life history and how the maternal environment affects offspring fitness in the face of climate change.



Elena Bollati is a final year PhD student at the University of Southampton, UK. She is researching the function and regulation of coral fluorescent proteins.

Maha Cziesielski


Maha J. Cziesielski is a PhD student at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia. Her work focuses on temperature adaptation mechanism and symbiosis in the cnidarian model organism Exaiptasia pallida through integration of multi-omics layers.


ashley dungan coral ISRS diving

Ashley Dungan is a PhD student studying at the University of Melbourne under Madeleine van Oppen and Linda Blackall. Her research focuses on characterizing the microbiome of the model organism for corals, Exaiptasia pallida, for future use in assisted evolution experiments.

Claire Lewis


Claire Lewis is a PhD candidate at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa. She is investigating the evolution of the stress- tolerant coral genus Pavona, using phylogenetics, population genetics, molecular dating, and experimental studies.

Hannah Reich


Hannah Reich is a PhD candidate at Pennsylvania State University (USA). She studies iron stress in coral-algal symbiosis from a molecular and physiological approach.

Laura Richardson


Laura Richardson is from the UK and is currently completing herPhD at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in Australia. She has been looking at the influence of coral species composition on coral reef ecosystem function.



Sandra Schleier is from Puerto Rico and has recently graduated from her Master’s in Ecology and Ecosystem Science at the University of Rhode Island. Her research focused on Caribbean coral reef ecosystem response to Acroporid coral restoration.        



Austin Yeung is a senior at Shanghai American School. He has conducted research on thermal stress on corals and investigated the effects of nutrient pollution on coral-algal symbiosis.


The student committee was established with the purpose to provide a broad range of tools to share with students. Hence, committee members are divided into smaller task forces with focused agendas and objectives. The subdivisions enable us to bring you a range of events, information outlets, and opportunities.

The committee roles are allocated as follows:

Student committee chairs: Sandra Schleier, Laura Richardson, Jessica Bellworthy

Science communication and blog: Sandra Schleier, Jessica Bellworthy, Austin Yeung, Maha J. Cziesielski

Social media: Claire Lewis, Hannah Reich, Austin Yeung

Outreach and Education: Elena Bollati, Hannah Reich, Jessica Bellworthy, Laura Richardson, Sandra Schleier

Professional Development: Elena Bollati, Ashley Dungan, Maha J. Cziesielski