Student Directory

Alexander's Profile Picture

Alexander Benedict
Masters Student

Research Lab
Griffitts

Research Description

The plant symbiont Sinorhizobium meliloti has a unique genome that’s organized into 3 large DNA replicons. The largest of the three, the chromosome, contains virtually all the organism’s essential genes. I’m trying to understand which of those genes are essential and how the three DNA replicons interact genetically within the cell.

Ann-Aubrey's Profile Picture

Ann-Aubrey Reid
Masters Student

Research Lab
Robison

Research Description

The causative agent of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, is an understudied spirochete that can establish chronic infection in individuals with a healthy immune system. These bacteria potentially can occupy immune cells to modify and evade immune responses. I am investigating cellular attachment and intracellular invasion of human B lymphocytes.

Ashlin's Profile Picture

Ashlin Cowger
Masters Student

Research Lab

Research Description

I study the role of dust mites and endotoxin in asthma.

Brooke's Profile Picture

Brooke Roark
Masters Student

Research Lab

Research Description

I worked on a genetic circuit to be expressed in E. coli that would cause the bacteria to express an indicator, such as a fluorescent protein, only in the presence of three specific inputs.

Daniel's Profile Picture

Daniel Thompson
Masters Student

Research Lab

Research Description

Research involves phage biology, and the relationship between phage and host bacterium and how resistance is achieved; either by mutation accumulation or by CRISPR methods.

Devan's Profile Picture

Devan Bursey
Masters Student

Research Lab

Research Description

Eliza's Profile Picture

Eliza Lawrence
Masters Student

Research Lab
O'Neill

Research Description

My main focus is understanding tumor surface markers present on various hematological malignancies, lymphomas, and other cancer types which include leukemia, breast and lung . 

Emma's Profile Picture

Emma Dallon
Masters Student

Research Lab
Griffits

Research Description

I work in the Griffitts lab on a project focused on discovering novel antimicrobial peptides using a techniqe called Massively parallel Peptide Activity Screening (MPAS). My particular focus is the use of unnatural amino acid incorporation to generate cyclic peptides.

Galen's Profile Picture

Galen Card
Masters Student

Research Lab
Johnson

Research Description

My research focuses on the pathogenesis of an important nosocomial pathogen, Klebsiella pneumoniae. In addition to its acquisition of extreme antibiotic resistance, it has been shown to resist macrophage killing for 48 hours, well past the time most bacteria succumb. I am investigating the genetic mechanism it uses to survive.

Hyrum's Profile Picture

Hyrum Shumway
Masters Student

Research Lab
Robison

Research Description

I work on phage therapy on select agents, such as anthrax and dental disease causing bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans. My team researches novel ways to make the world safer from dangerous and harmful pathogens using viruses that are specific to their unique pathogenic bacterial hosts.

Jenny's Profile Picture

Jenny Pattison
Masters Student

Research Lab
Grose

Research Description

Jeralyn's Profile Picture

Jeralyn Franson
Masters Student

Research Lab
Grose

Research Description

Your diet feeds not only yourself, but the bacteria that live in your gut. I am looking specifically at the role a western diet, high in fats and sugars, plays in anxiety in autism spectrum disorder, and the changes in gut bacteria that result from diet. I also study the role diet and gut bacteria play in the development of insulin resistance and obesity.

John's Profile Picture

John Carter
Masters Student

Research Lab
Johnson

Research Description

Joseph's Profile Picture

Joseph Thiriot
Masters Student

Research Lab
Robison

Research Description

Burkholderia pseudomallei is a highly virulent bacteria, and is hard to diagnose and treat. The mortality rate of those infected remains very high. I work with a set of its genes to characterize their role in reducing the bacteria's virulence. Through this research, we hope to contribute to future treatments.

Kevin's Profile Picture

Kevin Adams
Masters Student

Research Lab
Johnson

Research Description

Olivia's Profile Picture

Olivia Brown
Masters Student

Research Lab

Research Description

Shalee's Profile Picture

Shalee Killpack
Masters Student

Research Lab

Research Description

Shreena's Profile Picture

Shreena Mody
Masters Student

Research Lab
Robison

Research Description

Honey is used as an alternative agent to cure infections of wounds, burns, ulcers etc. Researchers have shown some of the antimicrobial properties of honey when used as an ointment. The purpose of this study is to examine the antimicrobial properties of honey from Utah and other locales, and to identify promising antimicrobial activities that could be useful in treating infections caused by resistant bacteria.

Taalin's Profile Picture

Taalin Hoj
Masters Student

Research Lab

Research Description

I have worked on multiple projects involving various infectious agents including Yersinia pestis, Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis, Burkholderia pseudomallei, chikungunya virus (CHIKV), and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

Thomas's Profile Picture

Thomas Brady
Masters Student

Research Lab
Hope

Research Description

I work with Paenibacillus larvae spores, the causative agent of American foulbrood, which is a disease found in honeybee hives. Working in the Hope lab, I explore the relationship between bacteriophages and bacterial spores. My research involves developing assays that quantify phage/spore interactions to determine whether phage therapy might be a functional treatment of infections involving spore forming bacteria.

Trevor's Profile Picture

Trevor Wienclaw
Masters Student

Research Lab
Berges

Research Description

I study Staphylococcus aureus biofilms. My research focuses on analyzing the variety of biofilms produced by different staph strains, whether they be MRSA, MSSA, clinical isolates, or food contaminates.

Antonio's Profile Picture

Antonio Solis Leal
PhD Student

Research Lab
Berges

Research Description

I study a therapy to fight AIDS. To do so, I'm introducing a gene in Hematopoietic Stem Cells, which are the ones that produce CD4 T cells. This gene codes for a nuclease that specifically disrupts the HIV promoter. Thus, when an organism is exposed to HIV, there will be a resistant CD4 T cell population and the organism will be resistant to develop AIDS

Claudia's Profile Picture

Claudia Freitas
PhD Student

Research Lab
Weber

Research Description

I study T helper cells, important in adaptive immunity, with different CD5 expression. CD5 regulates T cell response. I am interested in the role that CD5 has upon activation by evaluating Ca2+ mobilization and metabolic response. I also study the molecular basis of immune dysfunction in nBMP2 mutant mice that suggest to have a defect in intracellular Ca2+ mobilization, important in immune response.

Daniel's Profile Picture

Daniel Arens
PhD Student

Research Lab

Research Description

I study two proteins, PAS-Kinase and USF1, and their roles in metabolic diseases. As we learn more about their mechanisms, interacting partners, and how to manipulate them we will be able to develop treatments and therapies for diabetes, obesity, and hyperlipidemia.

David's Profile Picture

David Bates
PhD Student

Research Lab
Johnson

Research Description

Deborah's Profile Picture

Deborah Johnson
PhD Student

Research Lab
Weber

Research Description

Helper T cells are activated when their T cell receptor (TCR) recognizes its specific peptide. I research how TCR-peptide affinity influences T cell proliferation and specificity through a panel of high affinity TCRs. I also investigate CD5—a coreceptor— role in T cell activation. This work has application for vaccine and immunotherapy development.

Edwin's Profile Picture

Edwin Velazquez
PhD Student

Research Lab
O'Neill

Research Description

I work developing new cell adoptive therapies for cancer immunotherapy and doing tumor target discovery. My work consists of genetically engineering human immune system cells with tumor targeting receptors to selectively eliminate tumor cells.

Evita's Profile Picture

Evita Weagel
PhD Student

Research Lab
O'Neill

Research Description

I conduct research on the communication between the tumor microenvironment and macrophages. My project explores macrophage polarization factors in the tumor microenvironment and the role of thymidine kinase 1 in the tumor microenvironment.

Israel's Profile Picture

Israel Guerrero
PhD Student

Research Lab
Robison

Research Description

My research focuses on uncovering the pathogenesis mechanisms of Chikungunya virus (CHIKV). CHIKV is a mosquito borne alphavirus which causes chronic arthritis. In the Robison lab we are interested in understanding how CHIKV evades the immune system and how this leads to chronic arthritis.

Jacob's Profile Picture

Jacob Herring
PhD Student

Research Lab

Research Description

Kai Li's Profile Picture

Kai Li Ong
PhD Student

Research Lab
Grose

Research Description

My research focuses on AMPK-oxysterol binding protein signaling pathway in controlling apoptosis, mitochondria morphology, and functions using yeast as a model organism. This would help in identifying a new drug target in treating metabolic diseases and cancer.

Kiara's Profile Picture

Kiara Vaden
PhD Student

Research Lab
Weber

Research Description

My research focuses on studying T cells. One project focuses on studying how altered peptides affect helper T cell activation in response to L. monocytogenes, a common food-borne pathogen. My other project focuses on developing antibodies that specifically target a novel cancer cell surface marker. This research can be applied to vaccine and immunotherapeutic design.

Michael's Profile Picture

Michael Olson
PhD Student

Research Lab
Erickson

Research Description

I am interested in how bacterial pathogens evolve and adapt to survive in different conditions. I study what genes mammary pathogenic Escherichia coli needs to survive in the harsh environment of the mammary gland. I have employed genome-wide transposon insertion site sequencing to identify putative virulence factors needed to survive in diverse conditions.

Michelle's Profile Picture

Michelle Townsend
PhD Student

Research Lab
O'Neill

Research Description

Bio marker analysis for immunotherapy treatment targeting cancer.

Ruchira's Profile Picture

Ruchira Sharma
PhD Student

Research Lab
Grose

Research Description

I work with bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria. I isolate and characterize novel bacteriophages that infect Erwinia amylovora, a bacteria that is known to cause a devastating disease called fire blight in fruit trees of rosaceae family.

Stewart's Profile Picture

Stewart Morley
PhD Student

Research Lab
Nielsen

Research Description

I study DNA replication in plant organelles. Compared to nuclei, their interactions and mechanisms are most likely much simpler, but this has yet to be well studied. Using bacterial and yeast cloning in conjunction with next generation sequencing, we hope to soon illustrate the interactions of plant organelle DNA replication proteins and their mechanisms.