Curriculum Vitae

Updated October 31, 2020


2016 – Present
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Doctor of Philosophy, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Expected Spring 2021

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Bachelor of Science, Biological Sciences Cum laude

Industry Experience

Bioinformatics/Wet Lab Intern & Consultant, Phase Genomics

Developed a Python-based toolkit and assisted clients with eukaryotic genome assembly using Hi-C data.

Research Experience

2016 – Present
Graduate Researcher, Cressler Lab, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Conduct research on the microbiota of Daphnia magna, a keystone zooplankton species. Explore functions of commensal and mutualistic bacterial taxa in a host context. Examine transmission of species in the microbiota between generations.

2014 – 2016
Undergraduate Research Fellow, Relyea Lab, RPI

Participated in multiple facets of the Jefferson Project at Lake George. Involvement included zooplankton, macroinvertebrate, and macrophyte collection and identification for food web analysis. Completed work with Devin K. Jones on the effects of sublethal doses of different road salts on aquatic food webs.

Teaching Experience

BIOS207L: Ecology & Evolution Laboratory (UNL, 1 semester)
2018 – 2019
LIFE121L: Fundamentals of Biology II Laboratory (UNL, 2 semesters)
2017 – Present
Graduate Mentor (Cressler Lab, UNL)
LIFE120L: Fundamental of Biology Laboratory (UNL, 1 semester)
2016 – 2017
BIOS101L: General Biology Laboratory (UNL, 2 semesters)
2011 – 2012
Math and Science Tutor (Dutchess Community College, 1 semester)

Awards, Grants, & Fellowships

Peltier-Georgi Microbiology Scholarship Fund
Suzanne O. Prather Memorial Fund
3-2-1 Quick Pitch Winner
Jessie A. Lee Fund (UNL)
Blair Paxton Udale Fund for Life Sciences (UNL)
2012 – 2016
Rensselaer Leadership Award (RPI)
2012 – 2016
Rensselaer Recognition Award (RPI)


Jones DK, Mattes BM, Hintz WD, Schuler MS, Stoler AB, Lind LA, Cooper RO, Relyea RA. Investigation of road salts and biotic stressors on freshwater wetland communities. Environmental Pollution. 221: 159-167. Link.

Cooper RO, Cressler CE. Characterization of core bacterial species in the Daphnia magna microbiota using shotgun metagenomics. Scientific Reports 10, 652 (2020). Link.

In review:

Cooper RO, Vavra JM, Cressler CE. Targeted manipulation of abundant and rare taxa in the Daphnia magna microbiota with antibiotics impacts host fitness differentially. Preprint available here.

In prep:
Cooper RO, Cressler CE. Exploring mutualistic host-microbe relationships within the microbiota: a spectrum of vertical and horizontal transmission.

Cooper RO, Tjards S, Hotovy J, Cressler CE. Multiple generations of antibiotic exposure and isolation influence host fitness and the microbiome in a model zooplankton species.

Pfenning-Butterworth A, Cooper RO, Cressler CE. Diel rhythm influences microbiota composition in two zooplankton species.


Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Virtual.
Cooper RO. Function Matters: Moving from amplicon sequencing to metagenomics. Invited Talk.

Biology Graduate Student Association Annual Symposium, Lincoln NE
Cooper RO, Cressler CE. Characterization of core species in the Daphnia magna microbiota using shotgun metagenomics. Talk.

EPSCoR Microbiome Symposium, Lincoln NE
Cooper RO, Cressler CE. Microbiota composition and potential functions in a host planktonic crustacean. Poster.

American Society for Microbiology Microbe 2018, Atlanta GA
Cooper RO, Cressler CE. Microbiota composition and function in a host planktonic crustacean. Poster.

Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Portland OR
Cooper RO, Stava K, Vavra J, Cressler CE. What are the effects of individual groups within the microbiota on host fitness? Poster.

University Service

2017 – Present
Graduate Student Invited Speaker Co-Chair, Biology Graduate Student Association, UNL