Rachel Poretsky

Associate professor of biological sciences


Image of Rachel Poretsky, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at University of Illinois Chicago

Rachel Poretsky, associate professor of biological sciences

Invisible microbes play a role in our ability to metabolize food, in the recycling of nutrients through the biosphere, and in the spread of deadly infectious diseases like COVID-19.

Rachel Poretsky, UIC associate professor of biological sciences, has dedicated her career to understanding microbes and their impact on other lifeforms and the environment. She and her laboratory team track the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19 as well as other microbes and microbial genes in wastewater. They study how microbes in Lake Michigan cycle carbon. They also investigate microbe-host interactions in humans, fish and other organisms.

Poretsky can provide in-depth analysis of how microbial ecology, bacterial diversity, the human microbiome, and the community structure and interaction of microbes affect real-world outcomes. Her work has been funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Chicago Biomedical Consortium, the Illinois-Indiana SeaGrant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others.

Poretsky can offer expertise in the following areas:

  • Microbes and infectious disease
  • Microbes and carbon impact 
  • Human and animal microbiome
  • Microbial ecology
  • Bacterial diversity
  • Community structure and interaction of microbes in freshwater, marine ecosystems, and wastewater
  • Microbiology and bacteria
  • Ecology
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