BRITTNEY GIMZA, B.S., Ph.D. Brittney earned a B.S. in microbiology from the University of South Florida in the summer of 2014. During her bachelors degree, she performed undergraduate research in the Shaw lab, working with Andy Weiss on the molecular regulation of virulence in S. aureus. Upon graduation she assumed the position of lab manager, taking care of day to day running of the lab, as well as performing research on the accessory components of RNA polymerase in S. aureus. Brittney began her doctoral work in the lab in Spring 2015, focusing on mechanisms that control the production and activity of secreted proteases in S. aureus. She successfully defended her dissertation in the fall of 2019, and remained in the lab as a postdoc during the Spring 2020 semester. She left USF in May 2020 to join the Cassatt Lab at Vanderbilt University as a postdoc.
MIGUEL TREMBLAY, B.S, M.S. Miguel obtained a B.S. degree in microbiology from the University of South Florida in 2014. He then earned an MS degree at USF, also in microbiology, in 2015. During both his undergraduate and graduate work he engaged in research alongside PhD student Andy Weiss, focusing on the mechanisms of transcriptional and translational regulation in S. aureus. Miguel continued to teach in the department, and perform research in the Shaw lab, where he developed his infamous Molecular HAMR technique. He left in July 2019 to attend medical school at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.
ANDREW FREY, M.Sci., Ph.D. Andy's passion for all things bacteria saw him graduate from the University of Glasgow in 2011 with a first class M.Sci in Microbiology. This was followed by a PhD at the University of Sheffield, where he worked in the Dental School with Dr Graham Stafford, investigating the sialidases of periodontal pathogens. During his time at Sheffield Andy competed in the Microbiology Society's Young Microbiologist of the Year competition, where he obtained first place in the prokaryotic division. Following graduation in early 2017, Andy's interest in virulence factors, how they act at the host-bacteria interface, and how these interactions contribute to infection led to him being awarded a Fulbright-USF postdoctoral scholarship to work in the Shaw lab investigating the host targets of S. aureus proteases using cutting edge proteomics techniques. During his four years in the lab, Andy developed myriad new ways in which to explore host pathogen interaction using proteomic techniques, publishing several high impact papers. In the fall of 2021, Andy and his family decided to return back to their native England. Andy is current a post-doctoral research fellow in the laboratory of Dr Mathias Trost at the University of Newcastle. He still has a medal that he is very proud of.
LEILA CASELLA, B.S., M.S., Ph.D. Leila earned a bachelors degree in industrial chemistry from IUTIRLA University in Caracas, Venezuela in fall 2001. After working in the world of business, she left Venezuela and moved to the USA, working in a number of health related jobs. She joined the Biomedical Sciences program at the University of Maryland Baltimore, working with Dr Robert Ernst on LPS modifications in the Gram-negative pathogen, A. baumannii. She earned an MS in summer 2013, and was also awarded the Graduate Translational Research Award from UMB. Upon graduation she joined the CQL program at Walter Reid Army Institute of Research, working with Dr Daniel Zurawski in the Wound Infections Department. She joined the Shaw Lab in fall 2014, where her research focused on mapping the regulatory networks of A. baumannii. She defended her dissertation in Spring 2019, and remained at USF, teaching microbiology classes in the department, as well as continuing her work in the lab. She departed USF in late 2019 to join the laboratory of Dr Jose Lemos at the University of Florida as a postdoc.
DEVON MARKING, B.S., M.S. Devon received her BS in microbiology from the University of South Florida in 2012. After this she took time to travel Europe, before returning to Tampa, and volunteering in the Shaw lab. During this time, she was trained by Andy, working on a number of projects focusing on molecular regulation in S. aureus. She joined the lab as an M.S. student in fall 2013, where her research focused on understanding how intracellular aminopeptidases influence the ability of S. aureus to cause disease. She successfully defended her thesis in the Spring of 2015, and remained in the Shaw group for a time as our laboratory manager. At the end of 2015 she joined the USF Health Informatics Institute as a Research Compliance Administrator for clinical trials targeting ALS Disease.
JESSIE ALLEN, B.S., Ph.D. Jessie received her BS in microbiology from Kansas State University in 2014. While there she worked as an undergraduate assistant in the lab of Dr. Stella Lee, studying signal transduction pathways in the neurodegenerative disorder known as Batten’s Disease. She spent the semester after graduation working fulltime as a Laboratory Assistant in Dr. Lee’s Lab while also volunteering as a teaching assistant. She joined the doctoral program at USF in Fall 2015, with her work centering on developing novel antibiotics targeting the ESKAPE pathogens, with a particular focus on antimicrobial peptides, and the eradication of biofilms. She successfully defended her dissertation in fall 2021, publishing 12 papers in the process, securing a full US patent, and being the only student in department history to win both the Outstanding Researcher and Outstanding Teacher awards. Following graduation, she returned home with her family to Kansas and began work as a Senior Scientist at KCAS Bio in Kansas City.
TIFFANY ROBISON, B.S., M.S. Tiffany received her BS degree in microbiology from the University of South Florida in Spring 2009. During that time she worked in the Shaw lab, studying the function of proteases in S. aureus virulence. Upon graduation she continued in the Shaw lab as an M.S. student, continuing her work on peptidases, specifically focussing on a leucine amino peptidase and its role in the diseases causation of MRSA strains. She graduated from the Shaw lab with her M.S. degree in the fall of 2011, before taking up an instructor position at Fortis Nursing College. Tiffany now works as a Senior Clinical Research Coordinator at Olympian Clinical Research.
RAHMY TAWFIK, B.S, M.S. Rahmy received his BS in microbiology from the University of South Florida in 2014. Rahmy began his graduate work soon after as a MS student, performing research in the Shaw lab to isolate novel Actinobacteria. During his time in the Shaw Lab, Rahmy developed and refined novel isolation protocols for these important microorganisms, generating an ever growing Shaw lab collection of soil bacteria, which he used to search for novel therapeutic compounds. Part of his work focused on the epigenetic manipulation of Actinobacteria to unlock dormant metabolic pathways, which was conducted in collaboration with Dr Bill Baker, USF Dept of Chemistry. He graduated in Spring 2017 and is now an R&D Microbiologist with the Startup company Molekule, who are located on the USF Research Park.
ANASTACIA PARKS, B.S., M.S. Anastacia earned a combined B.S.-M.S. degree in microbiology from the University of South Florida in 2014-2015. During the last semester of her undergraduate studies, she performed research with our former postdoc, Ronan Carroll, understanding virulence determinant regulation in S. aureus. During her non-thesis MS degree she continued to engage in research, working with former Shaw lab PhD student Christina Krute on the prenylation pathway of S. aureus. She left USF, in the Summer of 2015 to enroll as a doctoral student in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Georgia. She performed her dissertation research in the laboratory of Dr Jorge Escalante, and is now a postdoc in the laboratory of Dr Tohomas Bernhardt.
RALLYA TELUSSA, B.S., M.S.P.H. Rallya earned her bachelors degree in Biology, with a focus in Microbiology, from Pattimura University, Indonesia in 2012. During this time she performed undergraduate research on the antibacterial activity of a variety of natural products. Upon finishing her studies in Indonesia, she was awarded a scholarship from USAID to pursue her Masters degree in the United States. Rallya joined the MSPH program in the USF Department of Global Health, performing her thesis research in the Shaw lab. Her work focussed on the development of novel Rifampin, Ciprofloxacin and Penicillin derivatives in collaboration with the Turos lab (USF Dept of Chemistry). She successfully defended her MSPH in Summer of 2016, before returning to her native Indonesia. Rallya currently works as a National Technical Advisor of Antimicrobial Resistance at the Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Disease.
CHRISTINA KRUTE, B.S., Ph.D. Christina received her BS degree in biology with honors from the University of South Florida in 2010. For her honors thesis, she performed transposon mutagenesis to understand the components that influence sigS expression in S. aureus. Christina joined the Ph.D. program in fall 2010, with her graduate work centering on mechanisms of post-translational regulation in S. aureus; with a specific interest in post-translational modifications and proteolysis. During her time in the Shaw lab, Christina presented her work at a wealth of conferences, including the International Conference on Gram-Positive Pathogens and the Gordon Research Conference on Staphylococcal Diseases. She successfully defended her dissertation in the summer of 2015. She first joined the laboratory of Dr Jeff Bose at the University of Kansas Medical School as a postdoc, before moving on to the U.S. Naval Research Labs, Washington D.C
HALIE MILLER, B.S., Ph.D. Halie was the first graduate student to join the Shaw lab in the spring of 2008, having previously earned a BS degree in microbiology, with a minor in chemistry, from the University of Florida in 2006. Her doctoral work centered on the role of SigmaS in the stress and virulence responses of S. aureus. She published multiple papers and presented her work at numerous conferences during her time in the Shaw lab. Halie graduated in the summer of 2012, moving to the laboratory of Dr Victoria Auerbach Stone at the University of Santa-Cruz as a post-doc. After a successful stint in California, Halie briefly returned to the Shaw lab as a post-doc during the fall of 2014 and spring of 2015. Following this, Halie moved to Atlanta, and is now a senior research associate at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Q-fever laboratory of Dr Gilbert Kersh.
STACEY KOLAR, B.S., Ph.D. Stacey received her BS degree in microbiology from the University of South Florida in summer 2008. She joined the Shaw laboratory as a doctoral student in fall 2008, where her projects focusing on the influence of two-component systems on the regulatory circuits of S. aureus; and the role of staphylococcal extracellular proteases as regulators of pathogenesis. In 2011 Stacey was awarded the departmental outstanding graduate student researcher award. During her time in the Shaw lab Stacey published multiple papers, many of which are now highly cited, and presented her work at numerous conferences, including the International Conference on Gram-Positive Pathogens and the Gordon Research Conference on Staphylococcal Diseases. Upon graduating in the summer of 2012 Stacey moved to the laboratory of Dr George Liu at Cedars-Sinai as a post-doc where her work focused on bacterial hyaluronidases in immune evasion.
JODIE NUNEZ, B.S, M.S. Jodie obtained B.S and M.S. degrees in Microbiology from the University of South Florida in 2014 and 2015, respectively, as part of our accelerated program. During her graduate degree she engaged in research alongside M.S. student Rahmy Tawfik, focusing on the isolation, screening and epigenetic modification of Actinobacteria for the development of novel therapeutics. Jodie has now moved into administration, serving as a Clinical Research Associate at ICON.
WHITTNEY BURDA, B.S., Ph.D. Whittney received her BS degree in microbiology with honors from the University of South Florida in 2010. During that time she worked on her honors thesis in the Shaw lab, focusing on antibacterial agents targeting MRSA. She joined the Ph.D. program in fall 2010, exploring the genetic mechanisms of SigmaS control in S. aureus, as well as the connection between SigS and the DNA damage response. She has also continued her works with novel antibacterial compounds. In 2012 Whittney was awarded the departmental outstanding graduate student researcher award. in 2014 Whittney was named as an inventor on a US Patent stemming from her work with novel antibacterial agents. She left the Shaw lab in summer of 2015, having successfully defended her dissertation, to join the lab of Dr Roy Curtiss at the University of Florida as a postdoc.
SARAH KENNEDY, B.S., Ph.D. Sarah earned a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of South Florida in the fall of 2016. During her undergraduate career she worked in the Shaw lab on the development of novel therapeutics from Actinobacteria. She joined the doctoral program in the spring of 2017, and performed her dissertation research on the identification and characterization of novel microorganisms from marine sources. During this time Sarah became an expert in culturomics and the coaxing of recalcitrant microbes to grace us with their presence on laboratory media. She succeeded with her goal of identifying a new species - Verrucosispora sioxanthis - cultured from a Gulf of Mexico Sponge. She also pioneered myriad new bioinformatic pipelines in the laboratory for genomic analysis, and provided unique insight into the domestication of new bacterial species using phenogenomics. She successfully defended her dissertation in the fall of 2021, and is stayed on for a short postdoc in the lab applying her genomic knowledge to MRSA genomic epidemiology. She flew the nest in Summer 2022, joining the laboratory of Dr Blair Paul as a postdoc at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA.
MICHELLE STEIN, B.S. Michelle earned a BS degree in Microbiology from USF in Fall 2017. During this time she performed research in the laboratory of Dr. Cecelia Nunes. Throughout Michelle’s undergraduate career she was involved in the GMDB organization, helping 3rd world countries by providing medical and public health services; eventually serving as president from 2016-2017. During her senior year, Michelle discovered a passion for molecular microbiology, which led to her enrollment in the NT-MS program in Microbiology at USF in Spring 2018. She also joined the Shaw lab at this time, working with Stephanie on the regulation of virulence factors in S. aureus. She graduated her MS degree in the Spring of 2019, and joined the laboratory of Dr Alex Horswill at the University of Colorado.
HAIDER MANZER, B.S., M.S. Haider earned a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of South Florida in the summer of 2016. During his BS, he performed undergraduate research in the Shaw lab, working on our Actinobacteria drug discovery program. Upon graduation he enrolled in a non-thesis MS degree in microbiology for fall 2016, and continued his research as part of our drug development team. Haider graduated in Fall 2017, earning an outstanding student award in the process. He continued to work in the Shaw lab as a research associate, working on topics of both bacterial pathogenesis and antibacterial drug development. Haider left the Shaw Lab in Summer 2018, joining the doctoral program in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. He is performing his doctoral research in the laboratory of Dr Kelly Doran.
SHRUSHTI PATIL, B.S., M.S. Shrushti graduated with a BS in Microbiology and a minor in Psychology from USF in fall 2017. During her senior year, she volunteered in Dr. Sutariya’s drug development lab, formulating corticosteroids nanoparticles. After graduation, Shrushti continued her work in the Sutariya group, before moving to the lab of Dr. Limayem in the USF College of Pharmacy, studying the therapeutic effect of nanomicelles against biofilm formation in wastewater systems. Her curiosity for molecular biology led her to Dr. Yu in CMMB where she investigated the YSIRK/G-S signal peptides in MRSA using immunofluoroscent microscopy. Shrushti eventually made her way to the Shaw Lab, working with us as a lab technician in Fall 2019 before joining us as a MS student in Spring 2020. Her thesis work focused on the role of the Omega subunit in controlling RNAP stability and transcript selectivity. She successfully completed her studies in the fall of 2021, before joining MWG Eurofins in Columbia, MO.
FRANCES RIVERA, B.S., M.S. Frances was the first student to join Shaw lab in the fall of 2007 as an undergraduate honors student. During this time she worked on the HtrA membrane proteases of S. aureus, and their role in post-translational modifications. After finishing her B.S. degree in microbiology in spring 2008, she stayed on in the Shaw lab to complete an M.S. degree in microbiology as well. During her graduate work, Frances developed and refined techniques for proteomic analysis in S. aureus, in collaboration with her co-mentor, Dr Stanley Stevens (CMMB, USF). Upon graduating with her M.S. degree in the fall of 2010, Frances took up the position of lab manager in the Shaw lab, attempting to bring order to seeming never-ending chaos. She finally left the Shaw lab in the summer of 2014, taking up the position of science teacher at the John I. Leonard High School in Greenacres, FL.
BRIDGET BUDNY, B.S., M.S. Bridget received a BS in Integrative Biology from the University of South Florida in the spring of 2017. During her bachelors degree, she performed her honors thesis research in the Shaw lab, working with Jessie on developing novel antibacterial therapeutics targeting biofilms of the ESKAPE pathogens. Upon graduation she enrolled in the MS degree in Medical Sciences with a Health Science concentration, and continued to work in the Shaw lab as a research assistant, engaging in projects studying both bacterial pathogenesis and antibacterial drug development. She graduated with her MS in Fall 2018, and continued to work in the Shaw Lab as a technician until she departed for medical school at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine in the summer of 2019.
STEPHANIE MARROQUIN, B.S., M.S.P.H., Ph.D. Stephanie earned bachelors degrees in Cell and Molecular Biology and in Public Health from the University of South Florida in Spring 2015. Upon graduation, she joined the Fall 2016 cohort in the USF College of Public Health for her graduate studies. She completed her MSPH degree from the Department of Global Health, with a concentration in global communicable diseases, in Spring 2017; performing research in the Shaw lab for her thesis work. She immediately rejoined the Shaw Lab as a doctoral student in Summer 2017, where her worked centered on novel pathways that regulate virulence determinant production in S. aureus. As part of this, she studied G5 family proteases and their relatives. As part of this work she discovered the protease MroQ (that may or may not be named after her), which she demonstrated is a central regulator of Agr quorum sensing. She successfully defended her dissertation in the fall of 2021, and stayed on briefly in the lab, before starting her real life as a post-doc in the laboratory of Dr Kelly Doran at the University of Colorado-Denver in Spring 2022.
KATIE PROSEN, B.S., M.S. Katie received her BS degree in microbiology from the University of South Florida in spring 2007. During that time she worked in the Dao lab, focusing on antibacterial agents targeting MRSA. She joined the CMMB M.S. program in fall 2007, working on novel N-thiolated-Beta-Lactams developed by the laboratory of Dr Ed Turos (Dept of Chemistry, USF). She graduated from the Shaw lab with her M.S. degree in the fall of 2010, before taking up a position at Avatar Energy in Burlington, Vermont. Since then, Katie has held positions at ExcelImmune, Joule Unlimited, Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard and the Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research. She is currently working as a scientific associate at the Pew Charitable Trusts.
BROOKE TOMLINSON, B.S., Ph.D. Brooke received a BS in agricultural biotechnology from the University of Kentucky in 2015. While there she initially performed research on equine cytogenetics in the lab of Dr Ernie Bailey, before moving to the Department of Entomology, working for Dr Bruce Webb on insect virology. Upon graduating, Brooke worked as a research analyst at ParaTechs Corporation on projects enhancing baculovirus expression systems, and the use of modified viruses as control agents. She also found time to travel extensively through Europe, before gaining admission to the doctoral program at USF in Fall 2016. In the Shaw lab, Brooke worked on a number of our regulation projects in MRSA and A. baumannii, with a specific focus on those that relate to biofilm formation. She successfully defended her dissertation during the summer of 2021, and joined ThermoFisher as a field applications specialist.
RENEE FLEEMAN, B.S, Ph.D. Renee received her BS in microbiology from the University of South Florida in 2013. During her bachelors degree she performed undergraduate research, first in the laboratory of our collaborator Dr Roman Manetsch in the Department of Chemistry, before joining Shaw lab in Summer 2012. During both research stints she worked on the development on novel antimicrobial agents targeting drug resistant bacteria. At graduation Renee received the departmental award for outstanding undergraduate researcher. She transitioned to a Ph.D. student in Spring 2014, continuing her work on novel antibiotic development, specifically focusing on the ESKAPE pathogens. During her time in the Shaw Lab Renee published 9 papers, with many more to come, and is an inventor on 2 issued, and 3 pending US Patents. She successfully defended her dissertation in the Summer of 2017, and is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in the laboratory of Dr Bryan Davies at the University of Texas at Austin.
EMILY DiLANDRO, B.S, M.S. Emily graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University's Frederick M. Supper Honors Program, majoring in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology, with a minor in French. As part of her undergraduate research experience she traveled to South Bimini, Bahamas in 2014 diving for tunicates that were used to extract novel antimicrobial compounds. Additionally, she participated in a Student Undergraduate Academic Research internship studying essential oil efficacy against infectious respiratory bacteria. In 2016, Emily studied abroad at Oxford University's College of Wycliffe Hall. Emily joined the Shaw Lab, and MS in Microbiology program at USF, in the Fall of 2018. Her thesis work was on natural product drug discovery from micro and macro sources, with the goal of developing new drugs for ESKAPE pathogen infections. Despite the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic, she successfully defended her thesis and graduated in the Spring 2020 semester.
Ronan Carroll, BA (Hons), Ph.D. Ronan earned his BA in microbiology from Trinity College Dublin in Ireland in 1999. Following this, he performed doctoral research in the laboratory of Dr Charlie Dorman, also at Trinity College Dublin, focussing on the regulation of virulence mechanisms in Salmonella. He then moved to the United States, as a postdoctoral research associate in the laboratory of Dr Linda Kenney at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he continued his work on the pathogenic mechanisms of Salmonella. In 2008 he joined the laboratory of Dr James Musser at Methodist Hospital Research Institute in Houston, TX, as postdoc, where his research centered on comparative genomics and transcriptomics in group A streptococci. Ronan joined the Shaw laboratory in late 2010, transitioning to S. aureus, and specifically focussing on how the bio-activation/inactivation of proteins (via proteolysis) influences intracellular signaling cascades and virulence processes. In addition to this, Ronan also pioneered the Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) efforts of the Shaw lab, setting up our transcriptomics/genomics suite, and developing protocols for genome sequencing and RNAseq. He used these technologies to great effect in numerous studies, and is now a leading expert in the field of prokaryotic NGS. He left Shaw lab in the fall of 2014 to take up an Assistant Professor position in the Department of Biological Sciences at the Ohio University, Athens, OH. Here his lab (www.CarrollLab.com) uses NGS to explore the pathogenic potential of S. aureus.
ANDY WEIẞ, M.S, Ph.D. Andy received his Diplom degree (equivalent to an M.S.) in molecular genetics from Dresden Technical University in Germany in Fall 2010. For his thesis he worked on the regulation of efflux pumps in B. japonicum. As a result of outstanding grades and glowing recommendations, he was awarded the prestigious DAAD scholarship to study in the USA upon graduation. He spent 6 months working at Florida State University on symbiosis genes in S. meliloti, before joining the doctoral program at USF in Spring 2013. His work in the Shaw Lab focussed on the genetic regulation of virulence in S. aureus and A. baumannii, particularly at the levels of transcriptional and translational control. During his time at USF Andy published an incredible 16 papers, 9 of which were first author. Additionally, he won a wealth of prizes, including best poster prizes at the 59th Annual Wind River Conference on Prokaryotic Biology, best talk at the 14th Gordon Research Conference on Staphylococcal Diseases, a highly competitive USF Graduate Student Success Scholarship in 2015, the 2016 Departmental Outstanding Graduate Student Researcher Award, the 2016 Chih Foundation Award, which is a nationally competitive prize, and best poster at the Florida Statewide Graduate Student Research Symposium in 2017. Andy successfully defended his dissertation in Spring 2017, and is now a postdoctoral research fellow in the laboratory of Dr Eric Skaar at Vanderbilt University.
Jose Antonio Ibarra, BS, Ph.D. Antonio earned a BS degree in microbiology and parasitology from the National School of Biological Sciences at the National Polytechnic Institute (ENCB) in Mexico City, Mexico. His thesis focused on the attachment of multiple diarrheagenic E. coli strains to cultured epithelial cells. He received his Masters degree in Microbiology also at ENCB, using molecular probes to detect virulence genes in clinical enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) isolates. From here he moved to the nearby city of Cuernavaca to pursue a PhD in the Biotechnology Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. There he worked under the mentorship of Dr. Jose Luis Puente on the regulation of pilus formation in EPEC. After his PhD he stayed in the Puente lab working aspects of EPEC gene regulation, before moving to the US for a post-doctoral position at the Rocky Mountains Laboratory of the NIH. There he trained in the laboratory of Dr. Olivia Steele-Mortimer, working on regulation of the type III secretion systems in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. In 2011 Antonio joined the Shaw laboratory as a postdoc, where he worked on transcriptional regulation in the context of virulence in methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). During the winter of 2012, he was recruited back to his alma mater at ENCB in Mexico City as an Assistant Professor. Here he works in the Laboratory of Microbial Genetics in the Department of Microbiology, and continues his work on microbial gene regulation in pathogenic organisms.