LEILA CASELLA, B.S., M.S. 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 doctoral program at USF in fall 2014, where her research focuses on mapping the regulatory networks of A. baumannii.

BROOKE NEMEC, B.S. 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 works on a number of our sRNA regulation projects in MRSA, with a specific focus on virulence enhancing entities. 



EMILY DiLANDRO, B.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 is on natural product drug discovery from micro and macro sources, with the goal of developing new drugs for ESKAPE pathogen infections.

NATHANIAL TORRES, B.A., Ph.D. Nate developed a deep passion for all things science while attending Earlham College where he earned his B.A. in Biochemistry in the spring of 2012. As an undergraduate, Nate became a Ronald E. McNair Scholar which provided him the opportunity to conduct research at Earlham ultimately leading him to pursue his Ph.D. at Oklahoma State University. At OSU, Nate worked under Dr. John Gustafson in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology investigating genetic alterations and cellular responses responsible for antimicrobial resistance in S. aureus. During his graduate studies, Nate was the recipient of several research awards including Best Graduate Paper for the 106th Oklahoma Academy of Sciences Technical Meeting. Nate earned his Ph.D. in the summer of 2018 and joined the Shaw lab where he is investigating the relationship between the RNA polymerase delta subunit and virulence factor gene expression.     

RACHEL WASHBURN. Rachel is currently pursuing a B.S in Microbiology on the pre-medicine track. Rachel works alongside Nate in investigating the relationship between the RNA polymerase delta subunit and virulence factor gene expression in S. aureus.


MORGAN MALOF. Morgan is currently a senior at USF majoring in integrative animal biology, concentrating on human anatomy and physiology. She volunteers her time to the Florida Cancer Research Specialists Foundation, which promotes healthcare access for all. Her career goal is to become a dermatologist and join the Doctors Without Borders program. Morgan works with Brooke, focusing on RNA regulation in MRSA and how it contributes to the production of virulence factors. 


ENZO CABRERA. Enzo is a senior currently completing his B.S. in Biomedical sciences with a minor in Biomedical Physics. He will be pursuing an MD at the USF Morsani College of Medicine on graduation. Working alongside Jessie, his honors thesis research focuses on screening synthetic efflux pump inhibitors with the ultimate goal of identifying compounds to enable existing antibiotics to work in multi-drug resistant bacteria.


DANIELLE THOMAS. Danielle is a senior pursuing a BS in Cell and Molecular Biology. She works in the Shaw Lab alongside postdoc Andy, investigating the host targets of S. aureus proteases, using molecular biology approaches to enzymes for use in cutting edge proteomics techniques. After graduation, she plans on continuing her education with the aim of obtaining a PhD. She hopes to focus her studies on pathology/immunology and has a desire to work in a health care setting.


TRISTAN TUBBS. Tristan earned his B.S. in Microbiology and Public Health from the University of South Florida in the spring of 2018. He joined the Shaw lab after graduation to work alongside Jessie, characterizing the mechanisms of biofilm formation in Acinetobacter baumannii. Tristan plans to continue his education next fall with the end goal of obtaining a PhD.


MARIA LARIAS. Maria is currently coming completing her B.S in Microbiology with plans of pursuing an M.D / Ph.D focused on infectious disease. She also serve as a community outreach representative with the American Diabetes Association. Maria works alongside Brittney describing mechanisms that influence secreted protease activity in S. aureus.


JESSICA JACKSON. Jessica is a senior at USF pursuing a major in Microbiology and a minor in criminology. She works in the Shaw lab alongside Jessie testing compounds for activity against the ESKAPE pathogens and the ability to eradicate biofilms. After graduation in spring 2019 she plans to pursue a PhD. 


​CELINE ATKINSON. ​Celine is a senior at USF pursuing a major in Microbiology, and a minor in American sign language. She works in the Shaw alongside Sarah, seeking to isolate novel microbes from marine environments, with the ultimate goal of identifying new chemistry that might one day be used as antibacterial therapeutics.​​


KIRA MELTON. Kira is completing her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology here at USF. She first discovered her love of microbiology in the Biotechnology program at the State College of Florida. There she was introduced to antibiotic discovery through the Small World Initiative in her microbiology class. She now works under Emily and Sarah, who both focus on antibiotic discovery as well.

BRIDGET BUDNY, B.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 continues to work in the Shaw lab as a research assistant, engaging in projects for both Team Pathogenesis and Team Drug Discovery!


JESSIE ADAMS, B.S. 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, where her work centers on developing novel antibiotics targeting the ESKAPE pathogens, with a particular focus on antimicrobial peptides, and the eradication of biofilms. 

BRITTNEY GIMZA, B.S. 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 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.

STEPHANIE MARROQUIN, B.S., M.S.P.H. 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, and continues her research on novel pathways that regulate virulence determinant production in S. aureus.

​​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. He also has a medal that he is very proud of.


SARAH KENNEDY, B.S. 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 currently performs her dissertation research on the identification and characterization of novel microorganisms from marine sources. Her primary goal is to use her new bugs to identify new drugs.


LINDSEY "LES" SHAW, B.Sc. (Hons), Ph.D. When Les was 13 he had major surgery to implant pins in his hip, correcting a growth defect. Unfortunately, as with a lot of surgeries, this resulted in a S. aureus biofilm infection caused by the indwelling pins that was not fully resolved until they were removed 5 years later. As such, Les has been in and/or around hospitals, bacteria, and antibiotics for a good portion of his life. This lead him to pursue a B.Sc. (Hons) degree at the University of East Anglia (Norwich, UK), which he obtained in 1999. For his honors thesis, he worked in the laboratory of Dr Richard James (now at Nottingham University, UK) performing a structure-function study of E. coli colicins. From there, he conducted his doctoral work in the laboratory of Dr Simon Foster at the University of Sheffield (Sheffield, UK). Here he focused on the role of secreted proteases in the virulence of S. aureus - the bacterium that caused him so many problems early on in life. As part of his doctoral training he spent the winter of 2001 studying in the laboratory of Dr Jan Potempa at the Jagellonian University in Krakow, Poland. Upon returning from Poland, and completing his PhD studies, he moved to the laboratory of Dr James Travis at the University of Georgia in fall 2002. Here he worked on the proteolytic enzymes of S. aureus, as well as those from a number of other pathogenic bacteria. In the summer of 2006, Les left UGA and moved to the University of Missouri-Columbia as a research assistant professor in the laboratory of Dr George Stewart, working on the quorum sensing systems of S. aureus. The following summer, in 2007, Les departed UMC, and joined the faculty of USF as an Assistant Professor. He became director of graduate studies in spring 2009, was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure during the summer of 2012, and became a Full Professor in summer 2016. As a result of those early years spent dealing with a S. aureus infections, and taking endless antibiotics, the Shaw lab appropriately works on the virulence mechanisms of this dangerous pathogen, whilst at the same time seeking to develop new antibiotics for the treatment of drug resistant bacterial infections.

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