Nikki Traylor-Knowles

Asst. Professor
Secondary Faculty in Biology

Locator Code:


Assistant Professor and Secondary Faculty in Biology, Department of Marine Biology and Ecology - Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Secondary Faculty in Biology

I am integrative biologist interested in the evolution of immunity and regeneration. I work with cnidarians (corals, sea anemones) to understand how their innate immune system evolved, and how it reacts to changes in their environment, such as those seen during El Niño events, or due to anthropogenic stressors such as pollution. I am also interested in the mechanisms of wound healing, and regeneration, and how these processes are affected by environmental shifts. My laboratory uses techniques in cell biology, genomics, and biochemistry to answer these questions. Lastly, I am interested in applying these techniques to conservation efforts by exploring the development of biomarkers for stress response in coral reefs.


2003B.Sc. Cellular and Molecular Biology Johns Hopkins University
2004M.Sc. Cellular and Molecular Biology Johns Hopkins University
2012Ph.D. Biology Boston University

Honors & Acknowledgements

Ocean Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellow                               2013 - 2015
National Science Foundation: Total amount $170,000

Postdoctoral Enrichment Program Award                                       2013 - 2016
Burroughs Wellcome Fund: Total amount $60,000
Assistant Professorship, University of Miami, RSMAS 2016 - current ! Advising: I am advising two students, and one senior research scientist. ! Research focus: evolution of innate immunity and wound healing. Postdoctoral Researcher, Stanford University, Hopkins Marine Station 2011 - 2015 ! Advisor: Stephen Palumbi ! Research focus: The role of tumor necrosis factor receptor in heat stressed corals (Acropora hyacinthus). ! Techniques: cnidarian stress physiology, bioinformatics/genomics, cell biology, molecular biology, field work Ph.D Graduate Researcher, Boston University 2005 - 2011 ! Co-advisors: John R. Finnerty and Les Kaufman ! Dissertation title: Molecular insights into the stress response of cnidarians with a focus on wound healing in the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis and the coral Pocillopora damicornis. ! Techniques: phylogenetics, cell biology, microscopy, transcriptomics, field work Master’s Researcher, Johns Hopkins University 2003 - 2004 ! Advisor: Gary K. Ostrander ! Master’s Thesis: The initial characterization of coral skeletal tissue anomalies found in Porites compressa. ! Techniques: cell culture, western blots, microscopy