Mara has over 15 years of experience working in the fields of microbiome, fungal genetics and bacterial diversity. As a Senior Staff Associate at Columbia University, she conducted research on diverse human microbiome projects employing next-generation sequencing techniques. This research provided greater insight into the role of the microbiome in health and disease; including stillbirth, HIV, bacterial vaginosis, colorectal cancer and maternal antibiotic exposure during pregnancy. Currently, Mara is the Director of Research & Development at Biotia, a NYC-based startup focusing on clinical diagnostics and surveillance by leveraging genomics and AI for precision infectious disease insights. Mara holds a master's degree in Fungal Genetics from the University of Georgia along with a master's degree in Microbiology from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, where she also earned her BS in Biology.