About Me


Originally from Minnesota, I earned my B.S. in Genetics and Cellular Development from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. I graduated with honors, writing a review of vitamins and their role in life extension for my senior thesis. After taking a year off to help the underprivileged as an AmeriCorps State & National member serving with Habitat for Humanity, I applied to the Genetics graduate program at UC Davis and was accepted into the Integrative Genetics and Genomics (IGG) graduate group. I currently share a dual appointment with Ian Korf and Danielle Lemay in the Genome Center and David Mills in the Robert Mondavi Institute as I work to complete my PhD.

Research Interests

By the numbers, our bodies are comprised mostly of bacteria. To study these bacteria as a single, interconnected unit, the field of metagenomics creates a DNA profile across multiple species. Now, the new field of metatranscriptomics is taking that idea one step further, using RNA sequencing to generate expression profiles across an entire microbiome.

Analysis of metatranscriptomic data is still in the early stages, with very few programs capable of fully handling these large and complex data sets. I am working to assemble a complete and optimized pipeline for handling this data, capable of providing both abundance counts and differential expression profiles. I hope to apply this pipeline to analysis of the human gut microbiome, shining new light into the link between what we eat and our digestive health.

Korf Laboratory Biography Page


Poster, Westreich ST, Mills DA, Korf I, Lemay DG.  "Exporing methods for metatranscriptome analysis: An in-depth look at MG-RAST metagenomics analysis server." IGG Annual Colloquium.  2 June 2014

Ratcliff WC., Raney A, Westreich ST, Cotner S. 2014. A novel laboratory activity for teaching about the evolution of multicellularity. The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 76 Num.2, pp 81-87, February 2014

Poster, Lemay DG, Beck K, Hartono SR, Porter MD, Silva PI, Westreich ST, Bradnam KR, Korf I. "Milk Science @ UC Davis Genome Center." 3rd Annual Genome Center Symposium. 30 October 2013

Poster, Driscoll S, Falksen J, Hupalo S, Johnson A, Leitzman P, Leonard K, Levine E, Westreich ST. "Transfer of C17 cold resistance gene into tomatoes." University of Minnesota Undergraduate Symposium. 18 April 2009.

Extracurricular Activites

Science Communication Fellow - I work with the Powerhouse Science Center in Sacramento to educate the public about my research, creating interactive demonstrations to present my research to the public in a simplified and easy-to-understand form, engaging and accessible to children and parents alike.  

TrueFish - a startup determined to tackle fraud and mislabeling in the fish industry.  Fraud is widespread in the fishing industry, with a recent report estimating that more than half of all fish sold in the U.S. is mislabeled.  TrueFish aims to solve this issue by creating a portable, handheld disposable DNA test to verify species identity, without requiring prior training or a laboratory environment.

Other Interests

Missing Brains - my personal blog, with a mix of fiction and non-fiction entries covering a wide range of genres and topics.