The faculty included in this list are the members of the Graduate Program in Microbiology. Any of the individuals listed may serve as laboratory rotation mentors and thesis advisors for Microbiology Graduate Program students.


David Barton PhD

Research Focus: Macromolecular Structure Microbiology Virology
The Barton lab studies RNA viruses - viral RNA replication - and host-pathogen interactions involving viral RNA and endoribonucleases.

Leslie Berg PhD

Research Focus: Autoimmune Disorders Cancer Biology Gene Regulation Infectious Disease
Specializes in understanding how T cells develop and help fight infection.

Sarah Clark PhD

Assistant Professor
Research Focus: Bacteriology Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Biology Inflammation Microbiology Virology
The Clark lab investigates bacterial-driven immune modulation in the respiratory tract. The upper respiratory tract is home to a diverse microbial community that includes both commensal and opportunistic bacterial pathogens. Research in the lab explores how exposure to these bacteria influences upper and lower respiratory tract inflammation and disease, with a focus on the innate immune response to acute infection.

Sean Colgan PhD

Research Focus: Cardiovascular/Pulmonary/Renal/GI Physiology Cellular Structure
The Colgan Lab studies mucosal inflammation with focus on intestinal inflammation in the context of inflammatory bowel disease and other GI diseases. Studies are aimed at understanding how epithelial and endothelial cells coordinate barrier function and inflammatory responses at mucosal surfaces. Our lab takes a multifaceted approach by investigating the relationships between gut microbiota, host immune system, genetic background, and environmental influences as it pertains to mucosal health and disease, with research emphasis on energy metabolism, host-microbe interactions, hypoxia-inducible factor, and innate immunity.

Eduardo Davila PhD

Research Focus: Cancer Biology Immunotherapy
Our long-term goals are to develop novel approaches for treating immunorefractory cancers and to develop predictive models and diagnostics to identify compounds that sensitize tumors to T cell-based therapies.

Kelly Doran PhD

Research Focus: Infectious Disease Reproductive Biology
The overall interest of the Doran Lab is the study of host - pathogen interactions in the central nervous system and the female reproductive tract. Our studies focus on major human pathogens including Streptococcus agalactiae (also known as Group B Streptococcus, GBS), a leading cause of invasive disease in newborns and certain adult populations including pregnant women. We seek to elucidate the mechanisms by which GBS colonizes the vaginal tract during pregnancy and penetrates the blood-brain barrier in the newborn to cause meningitis, as well as characterize host response to infection and colonization.

Breck Duerkop PhD

Associate Professor Director, Microbiology Program
The Duerkop lab studies bacterial viruses (bacteriophages or phages) and their interactions with their hosts. The long-term goal of the Duerkop lab is to understand how phages and other forms of mobile DNA contribute to host-microbe interactions in the intestine and their overall impact on human health.

Sonia Flores PhD

Pulmonary complications of HIV infection.

Daniel Frank PhD

Associate Professor
Human microbiome in health and disease, Pathogen genomics, and Computational biology.

Jenna Guthmiller PhD

Assistant Professor
Research Focus: Infectious Disease
Our lab is interested in understanding the complexities of humoral immunity against rapidly evolving viruses. Our lab has three major interests: (1) Manipulating host factors to improve humoral immunity; (2) Zoonotic Influenza Viruses and Broadly Protective Humoral Immunity; and (3) Co-evolution of humoral immunity and influenza viruses.

J. Kirk Harris PhD

Associate Professor
Respiratory microbiota and model system microbiota.

Jay Hesselberth PhD

Associate Professor
Research Focus: Chromosome Biology Gene Regulation Genomics Bioinformatics RNA Bioscience
We are a research laboratory of RNA biologists, technology developers, and data analysts focused on discovering and translating fundamental principles of RNA regulation. A major effort in the lab is to understand how RNA damage and repair are integrated with stress responses by combining method development, bioinformatics, genetics, biochemistry, and cell biology.

Katherine Hisert MD, PhD

Assistant Professor
Research Focus: Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Biology Infectious Disease
Research areas include: Airway Inflammation, Cystic Fibrosis (CF), Host Pathogen Interactions, and Pulmonary Disease.

Alexander Horswill PhD

Research in the Horswill laboratory is focused on the physiology and pathogenesis of Staphylococcus aureus. We are also interested in commensal bacterial interactions with S. aureus, development of new treatment approaches, and we’re starting projects on Gram negative pathogens.

Edward Janoff MD

Research Focus: Immunodeficiency Infectious Disease
His primary areas of study are Immunology, Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, Internal medicine, Vaccination and Viral disease. His Immunology research is mostly focused on the topic Immune system. His work carried out in the field of Immune system brings together such families of science as Antibody and Antigen.

Marijke Keestra-Gounder PhD

Assistant Professor
Research Focus: Infectious Disease Microbiology Virology
The major focus of my research program is to elucidate pathways of innate immunity that can distinguish harmless microbes from pathogens, thereby enabling the host to mount responses that are commensurate with the threat.

Kristi Kuhn MD, PhD

Associate Professor
Research Focus: Other Systems Rheumatoid Arthritis
Dr. Kuhn’s research program focuses upon understanding mechanistic connections between the gut mucosa and joints in the development of spondyloarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Mamuka Kvaratskhelia PhD

The research in our laboratory focuses on new generation HIV-1 inhibitors and virus-host interactions. We employ complementary biochemistry, structural biology, pharmacology, molecular biology and virology approaches.

Laurel Lenz PhD

Research Focus: Cancer Biology Infectious Disease Inflammation Microbiology Virology Other Systems
We study mechanisms of immune subversion and immune regulation during bacterial infections and other disease settings. We dissect strategies that microbes have evolved to thwart or manipulate immune responses and work to define host immune regulatory circuits that are manipulated by pathogens. Our studies focus on innate immune responses during mucosal and systemic infections. We are actively pursuing translation of information from our studies towards improved therapies for infectious, inflammatory, cancerous, and other diseases.

Catherine Lozupone PhD

Associate Professor
We combine bioinformatics and experimental work to understand the driving factors of human microbiota composition, host:microbe interactions, and the intersection with diet in a variety of disease contexts. Our work has a particular focus on HIV-positive and high HIV-risk populations, cancer and Clostridioides difficile infection.​

Thomas (Tem) Morrison PhD

Research Focus: Infectious Disease Microbiology Virology
Emerging infections are a global public health threat. In the 21st century alone, we already have experienced devastating outbreaks of infectious disease, including diseases caused by mosquito-borne (e.g., chikungunya and Zika viruses) and respiratory RNA viruses (e.g., SARS-CoV-2). Our laboratory seeks to improve our knowledge of the molecular pathogenesis of these infections (i.e., what are the critical host-pathogen interactions that contribute to protection or pathology?) by addressing questions at the interface of immunology and virology/parasitology.

Maria Nagel MD

The mission of Dr. Maria Nagel’s lab is to dissect mechanisms by which viruses evade immune clearance and produce aberrant, chronic inflammation that leads to disease corresponding to affected sites. Research is predominantly focused on the pathogenesis of varicella zoster virus (VZV) and herpes simplex virus (HSV), as well as new exploratory studies on SARS-CoV-2. By understanding virus-host interactions, we can identify biomarkers that would assist clinicians in disease diagnosis and prognosis, as well as identify pathways that can be targeted to treat infection and associated inflammation.

Kyla Ost PhD

Assistant Professor
Research Focus: Infectious Disease Inflammation Microbiology Virology Other Systems
Fungi are normal members of the human gut microbiome that are benign commensals in people. However, fungi can become pathogenic when the microbiome or immune system is perturbed. Candida species dominating the gut fungal community are notorious opportunistic pathogens capable of causing life-threatening disseminated infections. Candida species can also drive pathogenic inflammation in the gut and are associated with worsened inflammatory bowel disease in people. It is still largely a mystery as to how these fungi reside peacefully in the gut of most people. The goal of the Ost lab is to uncover the immune forces that constrain these fungi to a commensal state to prevent disease.

Brent Palmer PhD

Associate Professor
Delineating the effects of HIV infection on T cell function.

Cristina Penaranda PhD

Assistant Professor
Research Focus: Bacteriology Infectious Disease
Our lab studies host-pathogen interactions with the goal of defining host and bacterial pathways involved in bacterial persistence. Bacterial interactions with the host involve dynamic exchanges where heterogeneity from both sides can lead to many different outcomes. Persistence occurs when the pathogen evades the host immune response and the host is unable to clear the invading pathogen, resulting in stable bacterial colonization. Individuals with persistent infections often do not respond to long-term or repeated appropriate antibiotic treatment and, importantly, serve as reservoirs for the development of antibiotic resistance.

Vanessa Phelan PhD

Assistant Professor
We aim to study the chemical ecology of environmental and host-derived microbiome communities by developing broadly accessible experimental approaches. We accomplish this goal by combining modern and classical tools and techniques from a variety of scientific fields, including chemistry, microbiology, cell biology, molecular biology, and biochemistry.

Eric Poeschla MD

His research group investigates the roles that cellular proteins play in viral replication cycles, and innate immune system factors that mediate frontline antiviral defenses and prevent cross-species virus transmission. They are interested in cellular systems that sense and respond defensively to viral RNA and DNA and also prevent autoimmunity to self nucleic acids.

Janani Ravi PhD

Assistant Professor
We develop general-purpose computational approaches that integrate large-scale heterogeneous public datasets that lead to the mechanistic understanding of microbial genotypes, phenotypes, and diseases.

R. Lee Reinhardt PhD

Associate Professor
Research Focus: Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Biology Signal Transduction
​The long-term goal of our research is to expand our understanding of the following five areas: 1) The cellular and molecular events that influence allergic disease susceptibility and initiation; 2) The mechanisms regulating immunity to parasites as a foundation for vaccine development; 3) The role and relationship between follicular T helper (Tfh), T-helper 2 (Th2), and follicular regulatory (Tfr) cells in the development/suppression of allergic and infectious disease, 4) The role of group 2 innate lymphoid cell (ILC2) subsets in mucosal barrier immunity, and 5) The mechanisms driving interferon-mediated autoinflammatory diseases.

Diego Restrepo PhD

Research Focus: Cell Biology Cellular Physiology Development Neuroengineering Optogenetics Other Systems Sensory Systems
I am a systems neuroscientist with a background in physics studying sensory decision making and neurological disorders using novel genomics, transcriptomics, computational neuroscience, automated behavioral testing, advanced neurophotonics and multielectrode arrays. I believe that diversity, equity and inclusion are key in neuroscience inquiry.

Brian Russo PhD

Assistant Professor
Research Focus: Cell Biology Microbiology Virology
The Russo lab is interested in understanding how bacterial pathogens interact with their hosts. As a model, we investigate the pathogenesis of Shigella flexneri, which infects cells of the colon and causes diarrhea in humans.

Mario Santiago PhD

Associate Professor
Research Focus: Immunodeficiency Microbiology Virology
Our laboratory studies the interplay between the innate and adaptive immune response against retroviruses to conceptually advance vaccine and cure strategies against HIV/AIDS. We are specifically interested in “restriction factors” – host proteins that could directly inhibit retroviruses but we discovered also play critical roles in shaping adaptive immune responses. These factors could be regulated by Type I interferons, thus highlighting possibilities for clinical translation.

Michael Schurr PhD

Associate Professor
The focus of research efforts in my laboratory is on the pathogenic mechanisms of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, specifically in cystic fibrosis (CF) chronic respiratory infections.

Arianne Theiss PhD

Associate Professor
Research Focus: Cardiovascular/Pulmonary/Renal/GI Physiology Cell Biology Inflammation
The overall goal of the Theiss Lab is to elucidate the role and mechanism whereby mitochondrial signaling pathways in intestinal epithelial cells contribute to gastrointestinal diseases, specifically inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), colitis-associated cancer, and colorectal tumorigenesis.

Kenneth Tyler MD

Research Focus: Neurovirology
His laboratory uses a variety of neurotropic viruses, including reoviruses, Enterovirus D-68, and Flaviviruses (West Nile, Japanese encephalitis and Zika) to study the pathogenesis of viral CNS infections. A particular interest has been in understanding the nature of specific cellular pathways (signaling, gene expression, apoptosis) that are activated during neurotropic viral infections and that lead to neuronal injury and death. The laboratory uses primary cell cultures, ex vivo slice cultures of brain and spinal cord, and murine models to study virus-cell interactions.

Linda van Dyk PhD

Research Focus: Cancer Biology Gene Regulation Microbiology Virology
The van Dyk lab studies the interactions between virus and host in health and disease. Specifically, our work focuses on gammaherpesviruses.

Andres Vazquez-Torres DVM, PhD

Research Focus: Cellular Structure Genomics Bioinformatics Microbiology Virology
The research in the Vázquez-Torres lab uses state-of-the-art biochemical, genetic and molecular biology approaches to understand the molecular mechanisms by which reactive species mediate resistance of macrophages against intracellular bacteria, as well as the adaptive strategies that boost antioxidant and antinitrosative defenses of pathogenic bacteria.

Martin Voskuil PhD

Associate Professor
Research Focus: Cellular Structure Microbiology Virology
Mycobacterium tuberculosis survival during latent disease.

Hongjin Zheng PhD

Associate Professor
Research Focus: Accepting Students Signal Transduction Structural Biology
The biological functions of a cell are heavily influenced by its surrounding environment. This influence is achieved mostly through membrane proteins that mediate various informational exchange between the two bodies. Thus, it is vitally important to understand how these membrane proteins function, which is the overarching goal of our research. The main tools we use in the laboratory are cryo electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography.