Biologist Rebecca Gast uses molecular methods to study the microscopic ocean. An Associate Scientist in theWHOI Biology Department, she examines the ecology of single-celled non-bacterial organisms, or protists in the marine environment. Her work is often based in the Antarctic, where she studies protists in seawater, sea ice, and slush. She is interested in their diversity, distribution, and abundance, and how their proteins function in the extreme cold. Becky received her Ph.D. from the Department of Molecular Genetics at Ohio State University in 1994, and then came to WHOI as a Postdoctoral Scholar, where she has remained, keeping warm between visits to the ice and slush. In other projects, she studies symbiotic relationships of protistswhere they occur and how they function. She is developing techniques to detect human pathogenic organisms (Giardia and Cryptosporidium) and invertebrate parasites (Quahog Parasite Unknown or QPX, a parasite in clams) in coastal ocean waters.