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.

HAIDER MANZER, B.S. Haider earned a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of South Florida in the summer of 2016. During his bachelors degree, he performed undergraduate research in the Shaw lab, working with Rahmy on our Actinobacteria drug discovery program. Upon graduation he enrolled in a non-thesis MS degree in microbiology for fall 2016, and continues his research as part of our drug development team.

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. He completed his MS studies in Spring 2017 and rejoined the Shaw Lab as a doctoral student in Fall of the same year. During his time in the Shaw Lab, Rahmy has developed and refined novel isolation protocols for these important microorganisms, generating an ever growing Shaw lab collection of soil bacteria, which he uses to search for novel therapeutic compounds. Part of his work focuses on the epigenetic manipulation of Actinobacteria to unlock dormant metabolic pathways, which is conducted in collaboration with Dr Bill Baker, USF Dept of Chemistry.

TASHA BUTLER. ​Tasha is a Biomedical Sciences Major at USF working with Jessie on her antibacterial therapeutics projects. Her primary focus is on rifampin analogs via a collaboration with Dr Ed Turos (USF Chemistry) and his wife Dr Maria Cabal (University of Oviedo, Spain). Tasha has already won a best poster award for her work at the USF 2017 Undergraduate Research Symposium.


​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 Haider and Sarah on their natural products drug discovery studies.

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 the eradication of biofilms and persisters cells. 

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. 


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!

CODY JOHNSON, B.S. Cody earned a B.S. in Microbiology from the University of South Florida in the spring of 2016. During his undergraduate career he worked in the laboratory of Dr Yu Chen in the USF College of Medicine on structure based drug design for antibacterial therapeutics. He joined the MS in Microbiology degree program in the fall of 2016, being co-mentored by Dr Shaw and his undergraduate research advisor Dr Chen. His project focuses on the S. aureus transglycosylase as a novel drug target.



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.

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.


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.


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 alongside Rahmy on the development of novel therapeutics from Actinobacteria. She joined the doctoral program in the spring of 2017, performing her dissertation research on novel antibacterial agents derived from marine sources.