Current D'Orazio Lab members
Sarah E.F. D'Orazio, Ph.D.
Sarah has a B.S. in Medical Technology from Albany College of Pharmacy. She completed her Ph.D. training in bacterial pathogenesis in the laboratory of Carleen Collins at the University of Miami and postdoctoral training in immunology in the lab of Michael Starnbach at Harvard Medical School. She's been a faculty member at UK since Oct. 2004.
Kristin is a UK undergrad majoring in Ag-Biotech who joined the lab in Summer 2020. She was awarded a College of Medicine Undergraduate Research Fellowship to begin working on her own independent project during Summer 2021. She is investigating the function of an internalin-like protein expressed uniquely by neurotropic Listeria strains.
Hiba Khan, B.S.
Hiba is a recent U.K. graduate who majored in Biology. She just started in June 2021 and will be with us for a year while she applies to Medical School. She will be working closely with Jamila to test the ability of intestinal myeloid subsets to support intracellular replication of Listeria.
Taylor M. Albrecht
Taylor was a student enrolled in the Math Science & Technology Center at Dunbar High School. She joined us in the lab every other day during her junior and senior years to complete a required research project for her STEM-focused magnet program. She characterized the distribution of inlF within our strain collection and closed most of the gaps in the draft genome sequence of neurotropic strain 2010L-2198. She is now attending Rhodes College in Memphis, and working in the the lab full time during her summers.
Jamila Tucker, M.S.
Jamila is from Chattanooga, TN. She got a B.S. in Biology at UT-Chattanooga, and then she moved to Middle Tennessee State Univ. where she obtained her M.S. degree. At MTSU, she investigated the sex bias in susceptibility to Cryptococcus neoformans infection for her master's thesis. In 2019, she started the IBS program at UK, and she joined the D'Orazio in July 2020, right in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic!
Emma has been part of the lab group since Fall 2019. The pandemic slowed things down a bit, but she began her own independent project in Spring 2021 to study the function of a targeted surface protein expressed uniquely by neurotropic Listeria strains. She has been accepted into the UK School of Medicine for Fall 2022.
Undergraduate students progressing towards an independent project in the lab:
Rachel Curry, Jude Kiely, Anna Puderbaugh, Nina Bradley, Ifrah Hammad, Lilly Bauer, Andrew Mallamaci
D'Orazio Lab Alumni
Michelle G. Pitts, Ph.D.
Michelle explored differences in the the course of Listeria infection following oral and i.v. transmission. She found that the excessively robust type I IFN response that mediates lymphocyte death and promotes growth of Listeria in the spleen is likely to be an artifact of the i.v. model. She also showed that PMNs harvested from either susceptible BALB/c or C57BL/6 mice could readily kill Listeria, but infection-induced production of PGE2 hampered the killing function of PMN. Michelle is currently a postdoc in Vince Venditto's Lab in the UK College of Pharmacy.
Katie L. Alexander, B.S.
Katie is a graduate of the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science, a 2 year residential school for gifted and talented high school students. She graduated from the UK Honors College in 2020. She is currently a graduate student. in Microbiology & Immunology at Emory University.
Jakob Schardt, Ph.D.
Jakob spent a few months with us as a visiting Scholar from Technische University Munchen, Germany. He tested several mutant strains of Listeria that he had generated and found that bacteria with a defective 1,2-propanediol degradation pathway were unable to persist as well as wild type Listeria in the lumen of the colon following food borne transmission.
Grant S. Jones, Ph.D.
Grant started in the lab as an undergraduate, helping to develop the foodborne model of listeriosis. As a grad student, he showed that most Listeria in the gut were extracellular, but replication in an as yet-unidentified cell type was required for dissemination to the MLN. He found that Ly6CHI monocytes were the predominant cell type associated with Listeria, but were not efficiently invaded by the bacteria. He also showed that dendritic cells harvested from the murine gut did not support intracellular replication of Listeria. Grant did a postdoc in Bill Goldman's Lab at UNC and is currently a Staff Scientist at BioAgilytix.
Taylor E. Senay, B.S.
Taylor is also a graduate of the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science and graduated from the UK Honors College in 2021. Taylor was first author on our study reporting neurotropic strains of Listeria that cause brainstem infections in mice. and she is currently pursuing a PhD at U. Penn.
Travis Combs, M.S.
Travis helped Michelle develop an in vitro killing assay for neutrophils harvested from murine bone marrow. He is currently a medical student at UK College of Medicine.
Hilary Denney Crutcher, M.S., M.D.
Hilary used CD137-deficient mice to explore the role of M cells in translocation of Listeria across the gut mucosa for her master's thesis. She subsequently completed an M.D. at UK College of Medicine and is currently a Resident in Pediatrics.
Elsa N. Bou Ghanem, Ph.D.
Elsa's early graduate work at UK focused on the ability of CD8+ T cells from either mice or humans to rapidly secrete IFN-gamma in an antigen-independent manner during Listeria infection. She demonstrated T cell-intrinsic differences in responsiveness to IL-12 & IL-18. Elsa worked for more than a year to develop the foodborne model of listeriosis that we now use extensively in the lab, and importantly, she showed that InlA was not required to establish intestinal infection. After leaving the lab, she did a postdoc with John Leong at Tufts Medical Center. Elsa is currently an Assistant Professor at SUNY Buffalo in the Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology.
Jooyoung Cho, M.S.
Jooyoung is originally from South Korea. She came to central KY to complete her B.S. and and M.S. in chemistry at Eastern Kentucky University. She worked for several years in the Dept. of Ophthalmology and for 2 years as the D'Orazio Lab Manager. In Fall 2021, she enrolled in the UK Dental School.
Tanya Myers-Morales, M.S.
Tanya refined many of the techniques we use to fractionate gut tissue to harvest bacteria from either the mucus, epithelial cells, or lamina propria. She also showed that differences in gut microbiota do not contribute to the differential susceptibility of BALB and C57BL/6 mice to Listeria infection. Tanya is currently a staff scientist in Erin Garcia's Lab at UK.