Current Lab Members

PhD Students:


Starla Thornhill

Starla (who is shown sitting in the pilot’s seat in a model space shuttle at JSC) is studying how mixed culture, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms form in microgravity. Her initial experiments are being conducted using modeled microgravity and we are planning to have an experiment on the International Space Station in the next 12-24 months.

Priscilla Pham

Priscilla is working jointly with Dhiraj Vattem and Vatsala Maitin and studying how lipid metabolism in the probiotic bacterium, Bifidobacterium longum, can control obesity using a Caenorhabditis elegans model.

Masters’ Students:


Quentin DiPasquale

Quentin is characterizing bacteria that show a preference for growing under modeled microgravity conditions.


Sahar Kianarsi

Sahar is studying the influence of anaerobic culture and metal ions on the growth, biofilm formation and quorum signaling in Chromobacterium violaceum.


Ashley Summers

Ashley is studying the influence of membrane vesicles on the formation of magnesium-containing crystals.


Lindsey Tristan

Lindsey is doing a course-based masters and is interested in dental school.

Undergraduate Students:


Shelbie Powers

Shelbie just joined the lab and is investigating bacterial removal from biofilms.