Office: 111 Jordan
Lab: 111 Jordan
2013 - 2014 Research Associate, Cornell University
2010 - 2013 Postdoctoral Associate, Cornell University
2009 - 2009 Adjunct Professor of Biology, Nova Southeastern University
2000 - 2010 Research Assistant, National Coral Reef Institute and Guy Harvey Research Institute
Professional Experience prior to Academia
Aviation industry (avionics) with British Aerospace
Served in the Royal Air Force (UK)
2010 Ph.D. Marine Biology (Population Genetics), Nova Southeastern University
2006 M.Sc. Marine Biology (Population Genetics), Nova Southeastern University
2001 B.Sc. Marine Biology, Nova Southeastern University
My lab's primary research objective is to better understand how pathogenic bacteria evolve and adapt to their environment. Specific topics include understanding how these bacteria invade and colonize different environments and hosts, evade host defenses, acquire virulence factors, and move between different environments and hosts.
Central to this endeavor is the study of genetic variation and differential gene expression. With the advent of next generation sequencing technology, these processes can now be examined at the genomic level, and we utilize this technology to examine genomic variation in nucleotide sequence, gene content, and gene expression. Through a combination of these approaches, genes associated with particular disease states and tropisms can be identified, population genetic structure can be precisely delineated, and information regarding demographic history and transmission dynamics can be obtained. Subsequent gene knockout, attenuation, and challenge experiments can be performed with the ultimate goal of identifying targets for therapeutic agents and aiding vaccine development.
The correlation of genetic factors with disease state can also be used to develop diagnostic assays that can aid disease management. Lastly, information obtained from population studies can help control the spread of disease, elucidate outbreak causal factors, aid post infection source tracking, and assist in the management of livestock. Parallel to this specific interest in bacterial pathogens, we maintain a wide interest in evolutionary biology and population genetics.
- Choi SC, Parker J, Richards VP, Ross K, Jilly B, Chen J. (2014) Draft genome sequence of an atypical strain of Streptococcus pneumoniae isolated from a respiratory infection. Genome announcements 2(4).
- Richards VP, Palmer SR, Highlander S, Pavinski Bitar PD, Qin X, Weinstock GM, Highlander SK, Town CD, Burne RA, Stanhope MJ (2014) Phylogenomics and the dynamic genome evolution of the genus Streptococcus. Genome Biology and Evolution, doi:10.1093/gbe/evu050.
- Richards VP, Choi SC, Pavinski Bitar PD, Gurjar AA, Stanhope MJ (2013) Transcriptomic and genomic evidence for Streptococcus agalactiae adaptation to the bovine environment. BMC Genomics, 14, 920.
- Richards VP, Suzuki H, Stanhope MJ, Shivji MS (2013) Characterization of the heart transcriptome of the white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). BMC Genomics, 14, 697.
- Richards VP, Greig TW, Fair PA, McCulloch SD, Politz C, Natoli A, Driscoll CA, Hoelzel RA, David V, Bossart GD, Lopez JV (2013) Patterns of population structure for inshore bottlenose dolphins along the eastern United States. Journal of Heredity, 104, 765 – 778.
- Palmer SR, Miller JH, Abranches J, Zeng L, Lefébure T, Richards VP, Lemos JA, Stanhope MJ, Burne RA (2013) Phenotypic heterogeneity of genomically-diverse isolates of Streptococcus mutans. PloS One, 10(1371): e0061358.
- Richards VP, Lefébure T, Pavinski Bitar PD, Stanhope MJ (2012) Comparative characterization of the virulence gene clusters (lipooligosaccharide [LOS] and capsular polysaccharide [CPS]) for Campylobacter coli, Campylobacter jejuni subsp. jejuni and related Campylobacter species. Infection Genetics and Evolution, 14, 200 – 213.
- Richards VP, Zadoks RN, Pavinski Bitar PD, Lefébure T, Lang P, Werner B, Tikofsky L, Moroni P, Stanhope MJ (2012) Genome characterization and population genetic structure of the zoonotic pathogen, Streptococcus canis. BMC Microbiology, 12, 293.
- Cornejo OE, Lefébure T, Pavinski Bitar PD, Lang P, Richards VP, Eilertson K, Do T, Beighton D, Zeng L, Ahn SJ, Burne RA, Siepel A, Carlos D. Bustamante CD, Stanhope MJ (2012) Evolutionary and population genomevelopment and cics of the cavity causing bacteria Streptococcus mutans. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 30, 881 – 893.
- Bernard AM, Feldheim KA, Richards VP, Nemeth RS, Shivji MS (2012) Dharacterization of fifteen novel microsatellite loci for the Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus) and their utility for cross-amplification on a suite of closely related species. Conservation Genetic Resources, 4, 983 – 986.
- Lefébure T, Richards VP, Lang P, Pavinski-Bitar P, Stanhope MJ (2012) Gene repertoire evolution of Streptococcus pyogenes inferred from phylogenomic analysis with Streptococcus canis and Streptococcus dysgalactiae. PLoS One, 7(5): e37607.
- Richards VP, Stanhope MJ, Shivji MS (2012) Island endemism, morphological stasis, and possible cryptic speciation in two coral reef, commensal Leucothoid amphipod species throughout Florida and the Caribbean. Biodiversity and Conservation, 21, 343 – 361.
- Richards VP, Lang P, Bitar PD, Lefébure T, Schukken YH, Zadoks RN, Stanhope MJ (2011) Comparative genomics and the role of lateral gene transfer in the evolution of bovine adapted Streptococcus agalactiae. Infection Genetics and Evolution, 11, 1263 – 1275.
- Feldheim KA, Chapman DD, Simpfendorfer CA, Richards VP, Shivji MS, Wiley TR, Poulakis GR, Carlson JK, Eng R, Sargarese S (2009) Genetic markers to support conservation of the endangered smalltooth sawfish, Pristis pectinata: rapid forensic identification, sawfish DNA-barcodes and polymorphic microsatellites. Conservation Genetics Resources, 2, 105 – 113.
- DeBiasse MB, Richards VP, Shivji MS (2009) Genetic assessment of connectivity in the common reef sponge, Callyspongia vaginalis (Demospongiae: Haplosclerida) reveals high population structure along the Florida reef tract. Coral Reefs, 29, 47 – 55.
- Smith WD, Bizzarro JJ, Richards VP, Nielsen J, Márquez-Farías F, Shivji MS (2009) Morphometric convergence and molecular divergence: the taxonomic status and evolutionary history of Gymnura crebripunctata and Gymnura marmorata in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Journal of Fish Biology, 75, 761 – 783.
- Richards VP, Henning M, Witzell W, Shivji MS (2009) Species delineation and evolutionary history of the globally distributed spotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari). Journal of Heredity, 100, 273 – 283.
- Banks KW, Riegl BM, Richards VP, Walker BK, Helmle KP, Jordan LKB, Phipps J, Shivji MS, Spieler RE, Dodge RE (2008) The reef tract of continental Southeast Florida (Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, USA). In: Coral reefs of the USA (eds. Riegl BM, Dodge RE), pp 175 220. Springer.com.
- Richards VP, Thomas JD, Stanhope MJ, Shivji MS (2007) Genetic connectivity in the Florida reef system: comparative phylogeography of commensal invertebrates with contrasting reproductive strategies. Molecular Ecology, 16, 139 – 157.