Ph.D. Marine Biology
Nova Southeastern University 2010
M.Sc. Population Genetics
Nova Southeastern University 2006
B.Sc. Population Genetics
Nova Southeastern University 2001
Introduction to Applied Genomics BIOL4030/6030
Biology in the News BIOL2000
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
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 (i) invade, colonize, and respond to different environments and hosts, (ii) evade host defenses, (iii) acquire virulence factors, and (iv) interact at the community level.
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, information regarding demographic history and transmission dynamics can be obtained, and bacteria communities can be profiled. 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. The human biome is an exciting new field of genomic study and the profiling of communities from the perspective of species, genes, and gene expression has the potential to aid in the development of novel disease therapeutic and prevention strategies. 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.
Please visit my lab website for information regarding Illumina Next Generation DNA sequencing, genomics, and bionformatics services and colaborations.
He J, Kim D, Zhou X, Ahn S, Burne R, Richards VP, Koo H. (2017). RNA-seq reveals transcriptomic changes of Streptococcus mutans co-culturing with Candida albicans within mixed-species biofilms. Frontiers in Microbiology, doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.01036
Richards VP, Alvarez AJ, Luce A, Perry S, Bedenbaugh M, Mitchell M, Hong H, Shaddox LM, Burne RA, Nascimento MM. (2017). Microbiomes of site-specific dental plaque of children with different caries status. Infection and Immunity, doi: e00106-17
Marra NJ, Richards VP, Early A, Bogdanowicz SM, Pavinski Bitar P, Stanhope MJ, Shivji MS. (2017) Comparative transcriptomics of elasmobranchs and teleosts highlight important processes in adaptive immunity and regional endothermy. BMC Genomics, 18-87.
Jacob A, O'Brien Andersen L, Pavinski Bitar P, Richards VP, Shah S, Stanhope MJ, Stensvold R, Clark G (2016). Blastocystis mitochondrial genomes appear to show multiple independent gains and losses of start and stop codons. Genome Biology and Evolution, 8, 3340-3350.
Palmer A, Painter J, Hassler H, Richards VP, Bruce T, Morrison S, Brown E, Kozak NA, Lucas C, McNealy TL. (2016) Legionella clemsonensis sp. nov., - a green fluorescing Legionella strain from a patient with pneumonia. (In press: Microbiology and Immunology).
DeBiasse MB, Richards VP, Shivji MS, Hellberg ME. (2016) Shared phylogeographic breaks in a Caribbean coral reef sponge and its invertebrate commensals. Journal of Biogeography. doi:10.1111/jbi.12785
Richards VP, Bernard AM, Feldheim KA, Shivji MS (2016) Patterns of population structure and dispersal in the long-lived "redwood" of the coral reef, the giant barrel sponge (Xestospongia muta). Coral Reefs, 1-11.
Huang X, Palmer SR, Ahn SJ, Richards VP, Williams ML, Nascimento MM, Burne R (2016) A Highly Arginolytic Streptococcus Species That Potently Antagonizes Streptococcus mutans. Applied and environmental microbiology. 82, 2187-2201.
Richards VP, Lefébure T, Pavinski Bitar PD, Simpson KW, Schukken YH, Stanhope MJ. (2015) Genome based phylogeny and comparative genomic analysis of intra-mammary pathogenic Escherichia coli. PloS One, 10(3):e0119799.
Richards VP, DeBiasse MB, Shivji MS. (2014) Genetic evidence supports larval retention in the Western Caribbean for an invertebrate with high dispersal capability (Ophiothrix suensonii: Echinodermata, Ophiuroidea). Coral Reefs, 34, 313 – 325.
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, 6, 741 – 753.
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 genomics 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) Development and characterization 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.