Microbiology Program

Microbiology Program

Microbiology Program

Microbiology Program

Microbiology Program

The Doctoral Program in Microbiology provides advanced training and education for students with the desire and ability to thrive in a stimulating, research-oriented graduate program leading to careers in science in the academic, governmental, or private sectors.

Shirli Cohen



Shirli Cohen, PhD Candidate, Doran Lab


Shirli Cohen is a 3rd year PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Kelly Doran. The Doran lab studies Group B Streptococcus (GBS), a bacterium that commonly colonizes the reproductive tract of healthy people. GBS is known to cause severe disease when its environmental conditions change, such as when it gets transmitted to a newborn. Shirli is particularly interested in this transition and how other microbes GBS lives with can influence its lifestyle. She works on GBS interactions with Candida albicans, the fungus best known for causing yeast infections, and how it impacts GBS colonization of the vaginal tract and pathogenicity. 

Shirli has had the opportunity to present her work at several national and international conferences, including the Gordon Research Conference on Streptococcal Biology and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research meeting on Threats and Opportunities in the Fungal Kingdom. Being in the filed of mycology, which is largely understudied in the realm of infectious diseases, Shirli has acquired a deeper interest in science education. She is working with two outreach organizations, Think Like a Scientist and Sally Ride Science, to encourage young students to ask creative scientific questions and build the tools they need to answer them.  

Outside the lab, Shirli loves crocheting and hanging out with her dog Darla! One piece of advice Shirli would give to an incoming graduate student is to put yourself out there! “Ask questions when you don’t understand something and take advantage of opportunities to talk to students and faculty members about their research. You might find that your interests are different than what you expected!” 

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