Sonia Ghose

I am a PhD candidate in the Population Biology Graduate Group. I received a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Occidental College. After college, I conducted research at the La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica and then as a molecular laboratory technician at the California Academy of Sciences. In the Eisen lab, I study the microbiota associated with the skin of the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog (Rana sierrae) and the interactions between these communities and the pathogenic chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd).

Bdcauses an amphibian skin disease called chytridiomycosis, which has driven severe declines and population die-offs of Rana sierrae in California. My research on the amphibian skin microbiota is incorporated into an existing restoration project to reintroduce Rana sierrae into lakes where it was previously extirpated with researchers from the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory and the San Francisco Zoo. 

For my dissertation research I examine the effects of captive-rearing, Bd infection, and reintroduction to the wild on the skin microbiome of frogs in order to identify members of the microbial community that could be used to improve the success of restoration efforts.I implement this work by: (1) Characterizing the skin microbiome using high throughput sequencing and computational analyses to elucidate the complex interactions within these communities; (2) Culturing bacteria from frog skin and assaying their ability to inhibit Bd to create a library of bacteria that can be used in future reintroduction efforts, and (3) Sequencing genomes of anti-Bdstrains in order to look for and better understand anti-fungal gene pathways related to Bd inhibition.


Ghose, S.L.,T. Yap, H. Sulaeman, A.Q. Byrne, E.B. Rosenblum, W. Bauer, S. Chaukulkar, A. Chan-Alvarado, K. Lutz, A. Moyer, E. Parra, H. Rockney, D.C. Blackburn, and V.T. Vredenburg. Recent surge in prevalence of a fungal pathogen in amphibians on the African continent. In preparation for submission at Science Advances.

Ettinger, C., L. Wilkins L, K. Dahlhausen, S.Ghose,DOberbauer, J. Eisen, and D. Coil. 2018. Even superheroes need help sometimes: Three incredible tales of microbial symbiosis. Front. Young Minds. 6:50.doi: 10.3389/frym.2018.00050

Hirschfeld, M, D.C. Blackburn, T.M. Doherty-Bone, L.N. Gonwouo, S.L. Ghose, and M.O. Rödel. 2016. Dramatic declines of montane frogs in a Central African biodiversity hotspot. PLoS ONE. 11(5): e0155129. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0155129.  

Kerby, J., S.M. Whitfield, S.L. Ghose, and M.A. Donnelly. 2015. Letter to the Editor, The author’s reply: amphibians represent one of many gaps in tropical ecotoxicology.Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.34: 4-5.  

Ghose, S.L., M.A. Donnelly, J. Kerby, and S.M. Whitfield. 2014. Acute toxicity tests and meta-analysis identify gaps in tropical ecotoxicology for amphibians. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.33: 2114-2119.