Our Graduate Students and Post Doctoral Scientists

Graduate Students

Temitayo T. Bamgbose

B.S., Microbiology, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Nigeria, 2014

Research: New student

Cassidy M. Blackburn

B.A., Biology, 2016, DePauw University

Research:  Atherosclerosis is a hypercholesterolemia-induced inflammatory condition of arteries mediated by macrophages. Why macrophages become inflammatory in response to hypercholesterolemia is enigmatic. We have demonstrated that the glycerolipid synthetic enzyme lipin-1 in macrophages is atherogenic.  My project is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which macrophage-associated lipin-1 promotes atherogenesis.

Kellie N. Brown

B.S., Biology, 2015, University of Memphis

Research: Rotavirus causes gastroenteritis that can be life-threatening in children. The rotavirus nonstructural protein NSP1 inhibits the host immune response by promoting the degradation of proteins required for interferon production. NSP1 has been shown to interact with cullin RING ligases (CRLs), which are host ubiquitin ligase complexes. My research is investigating the NSP1-CRL interaction to determine if NSP1 is using this complex to induce degradation of host proteins or if the interaction has other roles in viral replication.

Anthony J. Domma

B.S., Louisiana State University, 2017

Research: This lab has found that HCMV protein UL148 induces quality control structures, and formation of these structures are PERK dependent. My project is to identify the protein-protein interactions that are crucial for the formation of these quality control structures. I will use tandem affinity purification and other methods in attempts to elucidate the molecular mechanism of how 148 induces stress and to answer if its effects on Endoplasmic Reticulum Associated Degradation (ERAD) are specific.

Joseph I. Eniafe

B.S., Microbiology, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, 2016

Research: New student

Heather Fulkerson 

B.S., Biology, 2014, University of Houston 

Research: Our lab has focused on understanding how Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection of monocytes promotes viral spread. We have demonstrated that binding of viral glycoproteins to cellular epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and integrins drives a unique signalosome in monocytes, which initiates biological changes required for hematogenous dissemination. This signalosome facilitates viral entry and nuclear translocation in monocytes. My project seeks to determine how HCMV-induced signaling through EGFR and integrins directs viral trafficking to the nucleus of the infected monocyte.

Rebecca B. Lopez

B.S., Biology, Centenary College, 2019

Research: New student

Bailey S. Mosher

B.S., Microbial, Cellular, and Molecular Biology, Auburn University, 2016

Research: HCMV utilizes a unique intracellular trafficking pattern in peripheral blood monocytes. This trafficking pattern is critical for successful nuclear translocation and ultimately a productive viral infection. My project is to determine the mechanics behind this viral trafficking pattern in monocytes. Currently, I am focusing on trafficking through the TGN as a critical trafficking event prior to nuclear translocation.

Samantha K. Murphy

B.S., Biological Sciences, 2013, LSU Shreveport

M.S., Molecular & Cellular Biology, 2015, LSU Shreveport

Research: Rotavirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis in young children and infants worldwide.  The virus inhibits the innate immune response by preventing the host from producing interferon. The goal of my project is to understand how the viral nonstructural protein NSP1 inhibits the interferon response by inducing degradation of host proteins.

Julia E. Myers

B.S., Biology, 2016, University of Central Arkansas

Research: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and human papillomavirus (HPV) are two viral infections commonly found worldwide. It has been previously shown by our lab that coinfection of HPV and EBV is present in oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCC). Using an organotypic raft model system, we have found that the expression of HPV E7 inhibits EBV replication. The goal of my project is to investigate the mechanisms behind E7 inhibition of EBV replication.

Sadie Rice 

B.S., Microbiology, 2014, Oregon State University

Research: Human papillomaviruses regulate host and viral gene expression to create an environment in which the virus can persist and replicate. My project focuses on the viral oncoprotein E7 and its abilty associate with transcriptional regulators in chromatin to modify gene expression patterns. 

Danielle L. Schaal

B.S., Biology, Ouachita Baptist University, 2019

Research: New student

Robert. M. Schilke

B.S. (2014), M.S. (2017), University of North Carolina Wilmington

Research: Atherosclerosis is a hypercholesterolemia-induced inflammatory condition of arteries mediated by macrophages. We have demonstrated that lipin-1, a key enzyme in the glycerolipid synthesis pathway, regulates oxidized low-density lipoprotein-induced macrophage inflammatory response. Lipin-1 also has transcriptional co-regulatory activity and its contribution to atherosclerosis has yet to be elucidated. My project will seek to identify protein-protein interactions between lipin-1 in macrophages in response to oxLDL to provide insight into the regulation of lipin-1 activity that may contribute to atherogenesis.

Sarah Soorya

B.S., Microbiology, Nicholls State University, 2017

Research: New student

Jared Tiller

B.S., Microbiology, Western Illinois University, 2017

Research: New student

Courtlin D. Vinson

B.S., Microbiology and Immunology, University of Texas San Antonio, 2019

Research: New student

Geetika Sruti Vutukuri Amaranth

M.S., Biomedical Engineering, Louisiana Tech University, 2016

Research: New student

Billy H. Ward, Jr. 

B.S. (2007), M.S. (2016), Mississippi State University

Research: Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Ng) is a human-adapted bacterial pathogen responsible for an estimated 80 million cases of sexually transmitted disease each year. Unable to survive outside the human host, Ng has evolved multiple strategies to promote persistence and growth by modulating host immune system functions.  Macrophages are critical mediators of the immune response and tissue homeostasis. The role of macrophages in Ng pathogenesis is poorly understood. Our laboratory has found that Ng exploits macrophages for survival and growth. We have shown Ng displays niche plasticity during macrophage infection, by colonizing and replicating on the cell surface or intracellularly. We also discovered that gonococci invade macrophages by a novel actin-dependent mechanism to establish a unique membrane-bound organelle. The goal of my research is to elucidate the mechanisms by which Ng colonizes the macrophage and to understand the role of this interaction in gonococcal pathogenesis.

Ashley Wilkins

M.S., Microbiology and Immunology, Tulane University, 2019

Research: New student

Post Doctoral Scientists

Dr. Malgorzata Bienkowska-Haba

Research Specialist

Email: mbienk@lsuhsc.edu
Sapp Laboratory

Dr. Bienkowska-Haba is investigating the intracellular trafficking of human papillomavirus during infection. Her focus is the identification of cellular compartments which are targeted by the minor capsid protein L2 and investigation of L2's role in intracytoplasmic trafficking and nuclear translocation of the viral genome.


Dr. Liudmila S. Chesnokova

Email: lchesn@lsuhsc.edu
Yurochko Laboratory

Dr. Chesnokova investigates how human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) glycoprotein complexes contribute to productive cell infection, persistence, and disease.

Dr. Edna Ondari

Email: eondar@lsuhsc.edu
Ivanov Laboratory

Dr. Ondari studies the mechanisms by which Legionellae establish their intracellular niches, particularly cellular trafficking and metabolic pathways exploited by different species.

Dr. Byeong-Jae Lee

Email: blee19@lsuhsc.edu
Yurochko Laboratory

Dr. Lee focuses on how HCMV regulation of host signaling influences cellular differentiation to promote dissemination and monocytes and macrophages to promote life-long viral persistence.

Dr. Chan-ki Min

Email: cmin@lsuhsc.edu
Yurochko Laboratory

Dr. Min investigates HCMV infection in monocytes and the influence on macrophage phenotype.

Dr. Gaurav Raikhy

Email: graikh@lsuhsc.edu
Bodily Laboratory

Dr. Raikhy studies how human papillomaviruses regulate the interaction between infected cells and their stromal microenvironment, and the role of the stromal microenvironment in regulating the viral life cycle.

Dr. Akhalesh K. Shakya

Email: ashaky@lsuhsc.edu
Yurochko Laboratory

Dr. Shakya investigates HCMV regulation of host cell signaling and cytokines in myelosuppression.

Dr. Abida Siddiqa  

Email: asidd2@lsuhsc.edu
Sapp Laboratory

Dr. Siddiqa is investigating the underlying biological mechanisms that are involved in establishment of human papillomavirus 16 infection and events of intracellular trafficking during infection. 

Dr. Mohammed N. Siddiquey

Email: msidd2@lsuhsc.edu
Kamil Laboratory

Dr. Siddiquey is working to identify the roles UL148 in HCMV cell tropism. He will also be involved in projects concerning mechanisms of viral gene regulation in HCMV.

Dr. Hongbo Zhang

Email: hzhan1@lsuhsc.edu
Kamil Laboratory

Dr. Zhang investigates the role of UL148 in HCMV cell tropism.  

Dr. Katarzyna Zwolinska

Email: kzwoli@lsuhsc.edu 
Sapp Laboratory

Dr. Zwolinska is investigating immediate early events of the HPV-16 lifecycle.

Graduate Program

Microbiology & Immunology

Graduate Program

Microbiology & Immunology

Graduate Program

Microbiology & Immunology