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Lab Members

Principal Investigator
Mikael Elias

Associate Professor, BMBB/BTI

Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUGS)

Ph.D., Aix-Marseille University, France, 2009
FEBS Fellow (2010), Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
Marie Curie Fellow (2012), Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel


Lab Members
Sudipta Shaw

Postdoctoral associate, Ph.D.

Research Interests: I am studying the remarkable ability of bacterial phosphate binding proteins to discriminate between phosphate and arsenate at molecular level. The two anions are very similar in terms of their physical and chemical properties and the ability to differentiate them is a major survival strategy used by several bacteria in phosphate limiting and arsenate rich environments. I am using a combination of molecular biology, X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy to unravel the secrets of these essential bacterial proteins.

Rakesh Sikdar

Postdoctoral associate, Ph.D.

Research Interests: My research interests are focused on bacterial signalling mechanisms associated with virulence and pathogenesis. I am presently studying the effect of quorum quenching lactonases on bacterial virulence using Caenorhabditis elegans infection models.

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Siqian Huang

Postdoctoral associate, Ph.D.

Research Interests: My research interest is in environmental microbiology, applied biotechnology in water treatment, bioremediation, and biofouling control. My current research is focused on developing anti-biofouling and biocorrosion coatings with embedded quorum quenching lactonase enzymes.

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Mai Beauclaire

Graduate student

Research Interests: My research focuses on the effects of signal disruption by lactonases in complex and mixed microbial communities. I am currently studying how the substrate preference of the engineered lactonases changes microbial communities, and how bacteria respond to different chemical signaling molecules. 

Amir Shimon

Postdoctoral fellow, Ph.D.

Research Interests: coming soon.

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Kitty Sompiyachoke

Graduate Student

Research Interests: I am interested in applied enzymology, microbial ecology, and biotechnology. I am currently working on characterizing the different classes of enzymes that are able to degrade bacterial signalling molecules and investigating their effects on single species cultures of pathogenic bacteria and in heterogeneous bacterial communities. Ultimately, my goal is to understand and exploit the mechanisms of quorum quenching for bacterial control.

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Jo Bravo

Graduate Student

Research Interests: Coming soon.

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Reed Jacobson

Graduate Student

Research Interests Coming soon.

Elias lab (summer 2018)

1st row, left to right: Mikael Elias, Ryan Martinmaki, Isabel Larus, Maria Ron Vargas, Sol Choi, Sudipta Shaw.

2nd row, left to right: Anthony Jenks, Sara Engemann, Qian Zhang, Celine Bergonzi.

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Elias lab (summer 2021)

 left to right: Sudipta Shaw, Reed Jacobson, Kathleen Mahan, Amir Shimon, Kitty Sompiyachoke, Mai Beauclaire, Jo Bravo, Mikael Elias.

Past Members


Kathleen Mahan

MD, pulmonary specialist, faculty

Nathan Hoekstra

Master student


Isabel Larus

undergraduate student

Bryan Doeden

undergraduate student

Ryan Martinmaki

undergraduate student

Sara Engemann

undergraduate student


Celine Bergonzi

Postdoctoral fellow, graduate student

Prof. Joshua Mylne

Fulbright Scholar

University of Western Australia


Abby Sarne

Graduate student

Tanushree Naik


Ryoya Tanahashi

Visiting scholar

Maria Ron Vargas

Undergraduate student

Olfa Khelifi

Visiting scholar

Sol Choi

Rotation Graduate student

Judee Sharon

Rotation Graduate student


Shannon Moskowitz

Undergraduate student

Louis Hey

Undergraduate student

Sriya Byrapuneni

Undergraduate student

Jacob LaMirande

Undergraduate student

Vanessa Pegos


Michael Schwab

Researcher III

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