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The training faculty are scientists from seven academic units in six colleges of the University. These include Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Molecular Biosciences, Molecular Plant Sciences, as well as Global Animal Health and Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology through the Immunology and Infectious Disease Program.

Affiliation with Ph.D. programs are noted to emphasize the interdisciplinary network that is a hallmark of the organization of biological science departments at WSU.  Because of these multiple affiliations, graduate students in any given laboratory are likely to be in different Ph.D. programs and thus they receive first-hand experience in the fundamentally interdisciplinary nature of contemporary research.

Prospective and new trainees are encouraged to contact faculty members conducting research they may be interested in. Our trainers are committed to helping new trainees find the laboratory and mentor that best fits the strengths and plans of the students, as well as what is needed to continue the cutting edge research that is going on in the program.

Faculty Member List

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Bolded names indicate members of the Executive Steering Committee
Italicized names indicate Emeritus Faculty
Underlined names indicate Provisional Trainers
Director; Member of the Executive Steering Committee (ESC): John W. Peters

Research in the Peters laboratory investigates oxidation-reduction reactions that are fundamental to energy generation and biosynthesis. The lab uses a variety of different approaches, including spectroscopy and structure determination using x-ray diffraction, and often couples these with gene expression and phylogenetic studies. The main goal of the research has been to understand the mechanisms that control intramolecular and intermolecular electron transfer reactions in large enzyme complexes, like nitrogenase, hydrogenase and various carboxylases. We have made major contributions to recent seminal advances that have clarified how low potential reductants are generated to drive these reactions and how enzyme structure is used to guide the progress of complex coupled reactions.

Department (mail): IBC (6340)

Office: Clark 287

Phone: (509) 335-3412

Cliff Berkman
Associate Director, Member of the ESC:
Cliff Berkman

The Berkman lab focuses on the design, synthesis, functionalization, and evaluation of small molecule inhibitors of proteases and peptidases related to cancer. These compounds are then transformed into tumor-specific targeting molecules for the selective delivery of diagnostic and therapeutic agents. One of the major efforts of our lab is aimed at using the prostate cancer enzyme- biomarker known as prostate-specific membrane antigen as a target for immunotherapy and diagnosis.

Department (Mail): Chemistry (4630)
Office: Fulmer 477

Phone: (509): 5-7613

Michael L. Kahn
Member of the ESC: Michael Kahn

The Kahn research program is interested in the biochemistry, genetics and physiology of intermediary metabolism in the nitrogen-fixing symbiosis between Sinorhizobium meliloti and alfalfa. Current projects in the laboratory are investigating an unusual bacterial mutant that forms a nitrogen-fixing but ineffective symbiosis, a novel gene that increases nodulation frequency in several symbioses, the effect of bacterial proteasomes on physiology and protein turnover in free-living and symbiotic bacteria and the role of bacterial RNA binding proteins on symbiosis. The work uses a full range of molecular and genetic tools to probe symbiotic interactions, including proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics and various genetic and physiological manipulations.

Department: Institute of Biological Chemistry (IBC)
Office: Clark 203

Phone: (509): 5-8327

Douglas Call
Member of the ESC:
Douglas Call

The Call lab employs a variety of tools (genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and cellular) to address hypothesis-based questions about pathogenesis of food-borne bacteria including work on type III secretion systems in Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Salmonella. From a food safety and food-animal production perspective, a significant component of the lab effort is devoted to studying mechanisms of antibiotic resistance, ecological components of antibiotic resistance, and development of alternatives to antibiotic use including bacteriocins, probiotics, and vaccines.

Research Area: Mechanisms that lead to the emergence, amplification, persistence and dissemination of antibiotic resistance in food animal production systems (E. coli and Salmonella).

Department: Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health (SGAH)
Office: Allen SGAH 331

Phone: (509): 5-6313


Member of the ESC:
Steven Roberts

The Carabeo laboratory investigates host cell signaling important during the early stages of Chlamydia infection. Research accomplishments include the first demonstration of actin remodeling after Chlamydia attachment, identifying components of the host signal transduction pathway that leads to actin recruitment and eventual uptake of the invading elementary body, showing how this pathway is related to the invasion-associated Tarp protein and the Slc1 translocation chaperone, and the recent identification and description of a novel signal transduction pathway that is probably used by a number of chlamydial species. We are extending our studies on TarP by exploring how its activity is regulated by mechanical tension by using quantitative imaging, proximity proteomics, and experimental methods to monitor post-translational modification in cell culture systems.

Research Area: Invasion of non-phagocytic cells and Modulation of host cell focal adhesions

Department: School of Molecular Biosciences (SMB)
Office: BLS 435

Phone: (509): 5-7788

Alla Kostyukova
Member of the ESC:
Alla Kostyukova

Dr. Kostyukova’s group works on regulation of actin dynamics in the cytoskeleton of muscle and non-muscle cells. Actin filaments play a critical role in muscle contraction, cell movement, and cell morphology, by forming vastly different structures in different cell types and different locations within the cell. Regulating the dynamics of actin assembly is key to forming these structures. Our major goal is to determine the mechanisms of this fine-tuned regulation to explain these processes in living cells, such as myocytes and neurons. An important part of the research is studying protein structure and formation of protein complexes and engineering proteins with desired properties.

Department: Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering
Office: Wegner 340D

Phone: (509): 5-1888

Phil Bates

My lab uses a variety of biochemical, genetic, and molecular biology approaches to investigate plant lipid metabolism. One key approach is the use of radioisotopic tracers to measure lipid metabolic flux in vivofor discovery of novel metabolic pathways, and elucidate bottlenecks within plant lipid engineering. When combined with genetic and molecular biology approaches, lipid flux analysis allows us to elucidate the genes/enzymes that are essential for controlling the flux of fatty acids into desired end products. To understand both membrane lipid and storage lipid metabolism our research involves a variety of plant tissues (e.g. developing seeds or leaves), and a variety of experimental organisms such as: model plant species (Arabidopsis thaliana, Nicotiana benthamiana); crops (soybean, Camelina sativa, tobacco); and natural plant species that produce industrially useful unusual fatty acids (Physaria fendleri, castor bean). By elucidating the control of fatty acid flux through lipid metabolism we will be able to understand the complex connections between essential membrane lipid function and accumulation of valuable storage oils, as well as produce designer vegetable oils to meet the nutritional, bio-fuel or industrial demands of the future.

Department: Institute of Biological Chemistry
Office: Clark 325

Phone: (509) 335-0553

Haluk Beyenal

Work in the Beyenal laboratory focuses on microbial biofilms and bacterial adhesion processes in the context of environmental microbiology and environmental contaminants. Specific research topics in the laboratory include: measuring biofilm parameters with microsensors, microbial fuel cells, electron transfer mechanisms, and bioremediation. Recent work has demonstrated new methods for treating bacterial infections in tissue by altering the growth conditions in situ.

Department (Mail): Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering (6515)

Office:  Wegner 355

Phone: (509) 5 – 6607

Kelly Brayton

Research in the Brayton laboratory focuses on microbial genomics of vector-borne diseases. Research on the tick-borne pathogen Anaplasma marginale examines several aspects of infection biology including comparative genomics of vector-borne transmission, elucidation of effectors of the Type Four Secretion System, mechanisms of persistence, and the ability of the microbiome of ticks to affect transmission. These projects all have as a central theme understanding protein function to elicit a specific response. For example, our comparative genomics project has identified several genes of unknown function that are implicated in transmission of the pathogen, and our task is understand the function of the protein products and how they impact the ability of A. marginale to interact with the tick.

Department (mail) :VMP (7040)
Office: ADBF 4025

Phone: (509): 5-6340

John A. Browse

The Browse research program encompasses a diverse set of projects that investigate the biosynthesis and function of membrane and storage lipids in plants, using Arabidopsis as a model. Glycerolipids constitute approximately 50% of the hydrophobic membrane barriers, and they are major components of the light harvesting membranes of chloroplasts. Oils are major carbon storage molecules in seeds and have many commercial applications. The work characterizes enzymes required for elongation, desaturation and other fatty acid modification and has produced transgenic plants with altered membrane composition and improved vegetable oils. These efforts are linking the biochemistry of lipid metabolism to the physiology and cell biology of photosynthesis and other life processes.

Department: Molecular Plant Sciences and
Institute of Biological Chemistry (IBC)
Office: Clark 443A

Phone: (509): 5-2293


The Brozik laboratory has special expertise in the interaction of light and matter and has made many contributions to single molecule imaging, spectroscopic imaging, fluorescence microscopy, spectroscopy, optical design and fabrication, chemical synthesis, molecular cell biology and protein purification, and biomimetic self-assembly. A recent focus has been on developing methods for membrane protein expression, purification, and functional reconstitution into biomimetic assemblies. This work has enables single molecule imaging methods that are able to track membrane proteins involved in redox reactions and measure their dynamics in biomimetic assemblies with subdiffraction limited physical resolution and 10ms temporal resolution.

Department: Chemistry (CHEM)
Office: Fulmer 123

Phone: (509): 5-3746

Jean Celli

The Celli laboratory is trying to understand the mechanisms used by intracellular bacterial pathogens to survive and replicate within mammalian cells. His approach combines cellular, molecular and genetic approaches to examine how these highly infectious zoonotic parasites are able to thrive within phagocytes, which are normally a first line of defense against bacterial infection. One focus is on a bacterial protein secretion system that modulates host functions by injecting bacterial effector proteins into host cells to promote bacterial survival, proliferation, persistence and disease. Additional research studies how these bacteria subvert phagocytosis to promote bacterial spread during infection.

Department: Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health (SGAH)
Office: Allen SGAH 227

Phone: (509): 5-4040

Amit Dhingra

The research program of the Dhingra laboratory focuses on understanding important biological phenomenon in horticultural crops, especially during fruit ripening and maturation. The research integrates transcriptomics, molecular biology, plant physiology, functional and translational genomics and proteomic approaches to identify gene(s) and proteins participating in a biological process in order to establish time saving and cost effective methodologies for effective horticultural crop improvement.

Department: Horticulture and Molecular Plant Sciences
Office: Johnson 46

Phone: (509): 5-3625

Wen-Ji Dong

Research in Dr. Dong’s lab focuses on the cardiac troponin protein complex and its central role in regulating heart function at healthy and diseased conditions. Regulation of cardiac function involves Ca2+-induced alterations in the structure, structural kinetics and dynamics of protein-protein interactions at the interface between troponin and actin. Their approach capitalizes on their expertise in FRET and fluorescence anisotropy measurements and have used new approaches to apply FRET methods with muscle fibers and myofibrils, enabling them to acquire information about the kinetics and dynamics of Ca2+-induced regulation of cardiac function, especially the regulatory role of cardiac thin filaments in cardiac muscle contraction and relaxation.

Department: Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering and Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience
Office: VBRB 271 or Wegner 109

Phone: (509): 5-5798 or 5-8684


The Driskell lab investigates the cellular and molecular mechanisms that support skin regeneration through scar-less wound repair. Scars are not normally a problem, but large scars covering exposed areas of the body can be a long-term source of psychological and physical pain.  In addition, the ability to regenerate skin instead of scarring, would benefit everyone that has experienced skin wounds. Our approach is to understand how mesenchymal cells, called fibroblasts, support normal skin development during embryogenesis and then to transfer those molecular and cellular characteristics to fibroblasts in adult tissue. For example, we have identified a specialized cell type called the papillary fibroblast, which is abundant in embryonic and young skin but is lost during the aging process. We have also found that young skin has the ability to regenerate because of the presence of papillary fibroblasts. Consequently, we hypothesized that genetically inducing aged fibroblasts to express papillary fibroblasts genes could make adult skin regenerative. In this light, we now have generated novel transgenic model systems that induce papillary fibroblasts genes in adult skin, which excitingly induces regeneration. Projects in the Driskell laboratory are now focused on understanding how to induce these properties without transgenic technologies.

Department: School of Molecular Biosciences
Office: BLS 233

Phone: 509-335-5614


The Ficklin laboratory takes a bioinformatics approach to systems genetics and is developing improved models for analyzing gene and protein functional interactions. This is often difficult due to noise and intrinsic variation. The Ficklin group is trying to characterize how this obscures pattern recognition and apply these insights to develop better methods to describe networks. They have recently published a new noise reduction strategy using a human cancer data set. The group works to advance cyberinfrastructure related to the storage, management, transfer, analysis and visualization of large genomic and genetic datasets. One of the laboratory’s two NSF projects includes, as a use case, the recognition/construction of massive-scale gene networks from over 1000 plant and animal species.

Department: HORT

Office:  Johnson 513

Phone: (509): 5-4295

David Gang

The Gang laboratory expertise is in the areas of metabolomics and proteomics, including protein and metabolic pathway analyses and engineering. One specialty is analysis of specialized tissues and cells in diverse species. Dr. Gang is Co-Director of the Murdock Metabolomics Laboratory and the Director of the Tissue Imaging and Proteomics Laboratory at WSU, and is CSO of Botanisol, a company that is interested in the effect of plant products on health.

Department:Institute of Biological Chemistry (IBC)
Office: Clark 385

Phone: (509): 5-0550


My research centers around plant parasitic nematodes and primarily focuses on root-knot nematodes and their interactions with host plants. These small roundworms are soil borne pathogens with a broad host range. They infect plant roots and can cause damage that affects water and nutrient uptake. As a result, root-knot nematodes cause billions of dollars in crop losses each year. In order to develop new strategies to combat nematodes, my group studies the genetic components of the nematode that allow it to manipulate plant signaling pathways and successfully infect plants. One focus of study is on the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne chitwoodi, a serious pathogen of potatoes in the region. We are interested in identifying novel M. chitwoodi pathogenicity genes required for successful potato infection and in dissecting the defence responses triggered during infection of resistant potato. My lab uses a variety of experimental approaches, such as gene expression analyses, generation and characterization of transgenic plants, and heterologous expression of nematode genes in bacteria, to increase our knowledge of the plant/nematode interaction at the molecular level.

Department: Plant Pathology
Office: Johnson 335

Phone: 509-335-3742


Research in the Goodman laboratory focuses on signaling involved in induction of the innate immune response, the first line of defense to microbial infection. Innate immunity is initiated through the activation of receptors recognizing conserved molecules that are signature of pathogenic infection. Innate immunity is ancient and the response occurs in many animals, including mammals and insects. The laboratory investigates signal transduction and conserved elements using Drosophila as a model system and combines this with bioinformatic analysis of shared patterns of protein and gene expression networks from various organisms in response to infection.

Department: School of Molecular Biosciences (SMB)
Office: BLS 135

Phone (509): 5-4104

Cynthia Haseltine

Work in the Haseltine laboratory focuses on the mechanism of double-strand break (DSB) repair of DNA using the hyperthermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus. Using in vivo mutational analyses coupled with a DSB assay system the research is establishing, for the first time, the cellular function of archaeal recombination proteins. To complement these studies, the laboratory is systematically investigating the recombination proteins in vitro. Each protein is heterologously expressed, purified, and examined for its role during DNA strand exchange. Through these combined approaches, the laboratory is establishing a comprehensive understanding of the basic mechanism of homologous recombination with the goal of elucidating the more intricate eukaryotic process.

Department:School of Molecular Biosciences (SMB)
Office: BLS 137

Phone: (509): 5-6148

ChulHee Kang

Kang is the Director of the WSU X-ray Crystallography Center, which trains over 50 graduate and undergraduate students per year to use various physicochemical instruments, including crystallography for both macro and small organic molecules. The Kang group is trying to understand fundamental catalytic reaction mechanisms and define substrate/product specificity of the enzymes in biodegradation pathways for various xenobiotic pollutants, especially pentachlorophenol (PCP). Trainees in this laboratory will not only first-rate training in the rapidly expanding field of structural biology but will become exposed to biochemical, genetic, and biophysical expertise.

Office: Fulmer 264

Phone: (509): 5-1409


The Kawula laboratory is focused on understanding how intracellular pathogens disarm or evade host defenses and alter host cell processes to acquire essential nutrients. Many research projects focus on effector protein expression, secretion and binding to host target proteins in order to interfere with host signal cascade proteins or mimic host cell enzymes. A particular target is an autocatalytic autotransporter protein that interferes with endosome maturation to autophagic vacuoles, blocking a pathway that normally is involved in stopping bacterial spread.

Department: School of Global Animal Health
Office: Allen SGAH 101

Phone: (509): 5-2489

Helmut Kirchhoff

The Kirchhoff research group studies dynamic structure-function relationships of protein dynamics in photosynthetic membranes. We aim for a holistic understanding of the dynamic response of the photosynthetic apparatus by combining information from three structural levels: the molecular (<10 nm), mesoscopic (ten to several hundred nm) and membrane (micrometer) level. We have established a broad spectrum of mostly quantitative methods in protein and lipid biochemistry, complemented by biophysical and microscopic (confocal and electron microscopy) techniques and computer simulations, to describe many essential features of biological energy transformation that result from the managed plasticity of protein dynamics in these membranes.

Department: Institute of Biological Chemistry (IBC)
Office: Clark 427A

Phone: (509): 5-3304

Leigh Knodler

The Knodler laboratory investigates Salmonella, the leading bacterial cause of food-borne illness in the U.S.A. and the world. It is interested in understanding how these bacteria cause diarrhea, how gut epithelial cells sense intracellular bacteria and how bacterial factors determine the course of the disease. It recently discovered a novel method that bacteria use to leave polarized intestinal epithelial cells, a phenomenon that could influence how Salmonella spreads within a host and to new hosts. We use cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry and microscopy techniques with in vitro models of intestinal epithelium to study how Salmonella evades host cell defenses to survive and proliferate in the cytosol, and the mechanism of inflammatory host cell death that eventually releases these bacteria into the gut lumen.

Department: Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health (SGAH)
Office: Allen SGAH 229

Phone: (509): 5-4046

Michael Konkel

The Konkel research group studies pathogenesis of Campylobacter jejuni, a leading bacterial cause of human gastrointestinal disease. Biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, and genomic/proteomic approaches are currently being used to understand the unique virulence factors that contribute to the pathogenesis of this facultative intracellular bacterium. One of our current aims is to identify and characterize cell binding and entry-promoting proteins used by C. jejuni to cause disease and to understand how these alter the host.

Department: School of Molecular Biosciences (SMB)
Office: BLS 447

Phone: (509): 3-5039

Henning Kunz

The Kunz laboratory is trying to decipher the molecular identity of plant chloroplast ion transporters and channels. Flux through these membrane proteins is crucial for proper photosynthetic efficiency. We use mutant analyses, large-scale gene expression analyses and protein expression and purification in plant and heterologous systems to identify ion transporter gene candidates. Our goal is to reconstitute purified membrane proteins and establish easy and clean biochemical systems to characterize the ion transporters in great detail, including patch-clamp techniques, and to modify these proteins to alter the efficiency of photosynthesis under stress conditions.

Department: School of Biological Sciences
Office: Eastlick 395

Phone: (509): 5-7698

Bernard Markus ("Mark") Lange

The Lange laboratory investigates the biosynthesis of plant natural products using functional genomics and systems biology approaches, with an emphasis on terpenoids. They have developed mathematical models to quantitatively describe the regulation of metabolic pathways. Our models enable knowledge-based pathway improvements by metabolic engineering. We are particularly interested in understanding metabolism in specialized plant cell types, which are responsible for the synthesis of many important essential oils, oleoresins, and pharmaceutically relevant natural products.

Department: Institute of Biological Chemistry (IBC)

Office: Clark 341

Phone: (509): 5-3794

Norman G. Lewis

The main interest of the Lewis laboratory is gaining a detailed molecular understanding of the biochemistry of various phenylpropanoid radical-radical coupled reactions, particularly those involved in lignan formation, lignin initiation and biopolymer assembly in plants. A second goal is to understand how woody plant species synthesize different reinforced structural tissues and organs unique to land plants, e.g., sapwood, heartwood, the vascular apparatus, branching tissues, etc. A third goal is to learn how various medicinally important lignan skeletons are modified in diverse plant species to produce compounds with antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anticancer properties.

Department: Institute of Biological Chemistry (IBC)

Office: Clark 467A

Phone: (509): 5-2682

Picture of Dorrie Main

Dr. Main’s program focuses on the development of online tools and resources to aid genomics, genetics and breeding research. It develops or aids community databases to support basic and translational research for more than 25 crops and many other organisms, including model animals of interest to NIH. This includes generating comparative genomics approaches, analysis pipelines to identify genes and proteins, and software to visualize protein network and pathway data. They developed Tripal, an open source set of tools for database construction that includes a common standard for data. This allows data to be shared in a uniform way and we have recently developed tools that can go into different databases and consolidate common elements.

DepartmentDepartment of Horticulture

Office: Johnson Hall 45

Phone: (509): 5-2774

Rock Mancini

The Mancini group uses the molecular control of chemistry to effect macroscopic changes in biological and physical systems. As an example, pro-inflammatory immunostimulants activate the immune system but typically cause systemic inflammation, which limits their clinical use. By adding targeting and burst-release functionality to pro-inflammatory immunostimulants, the lab has shown that they can activate immune cells in the presence of melanoma cancer cells and do not generate off-target activation without cancer cells present. This modification is being tested for its ability to overcome the immunosuppressive microenvironment generated by cancer cells and stimulate the immune system to raise an anti-cancer immune response.

Department: Chemistry

Office: Fulmer 170

Phone: (509): 5-1144

Michael Neff

The Neff lab uses molecular, genetic and biochemical approaches to uncover and describe the interactions between various signaling pathways that modulate plant development. Specifically, they use seedling development in the plant Arabidopsis as a tool for addressing the question: How do signaling pathways modulated by light interact with each other and with those regulated by endogenous hormones to control plant development? Arabidopsis is perfect for this approach due to its small size, rapid lifecycle and completely sequenced genome. Neff’s research relates to the goal of increasing yield in agricultural crops by studying the photomorphogenic and hormone signaling pathways that regulate plant stature.

Department: Molecular Plant Sciences

Office: Johnson 371

Phone: (509): 5-7705

Anthony Nicola

The long-term goal of the Nicola laboratory is to understand the molecular processes that herpesviruses use to gain entry into host cells. Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a major global pathogen, causing oral and genital infections, blindness, encephalitis, and neonatal infections and a lifelong, latent infection for which there is no cure. We use a combination of cellular, molecular, biochemical, and microscopic approaches to delineate the step-by-step itinerary of the incoming virus. A long-held dogma that herpesviruses enter cells by fusing with the plasma membrane in a pH-independent manner was overturned when we identified a pH-dependent endocytic entry pathway for HSV into epithelial cells. It is now appreciated that herpesviruses utilize acid-dependent pathways in a cell-specific manner. Low pH triggers the envelope protein gB to undergo conformational changes that are thought to mediate membrane fusion between the viral envelope and the limiting membrane of the host cell endosome.

Department: Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology (VMP)

Office: Bustad 315

Phone: (509): 5-6003

Picture of Roberta O'Connor

The O’Connor laboratory studies molecular interactions between parasites and host cells and the immune response to parasite antigens, with the long-term goal of developing effective vaccines and therapeutics. These investigations include studying protein-protein interactions and in vitro models of infection and investigating immune responses in animal models and human populations. We focus on parasites that are extremely challenging to study and are one of the few labs that studies Cryptosporidium, an apicomplexan with tremendous impact world-wide. In one project, we are investigating a natural product produced by symbiotic bacteria in mollusks that has broad and potent efficacy against multiple apicomplexan parasites, including Cryptosporidium. A second project employs immunostimulatory proteins to identify innate immune responses that inhibit Cryptosporidium infections.

DepartmentVeterinary Microbiology and Pathology (VMP)

Office: ADBF 4043

Phone: (509): 5-6335

Anders Omsland

Research in the Omsland laboratory is focused on bacterial obligate intracellular parasites with particular emphasis on how parasite physiology, metabolic capabilities and requirements shape host-parasite interactions. We study Chlamydia trachomatis, a leading cause of sexually transmitted infection, Coxiella burnetii, a zoonotic pathogen with worldwide distribution, and Liberibacter asiaticus, a plant pathogen threatening the citrus industry.  Genomic sequences of these pathogens have opened up new ways of studying them; I was the first to grow C. burnetii without host cells. Our research projects combine new culture methods to understand bacterial metabolic capabilities with technically complicated genetic manipulation and physiological characterization of intracellular pathogens.

Department: Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health (SGAH)

Office: Allen SGAH 315

Phone: (509): 5-3916

Karen Sanguinet

Using developmental, genetic and genomics approaches, the Sanguinet laboratory studies how morphology is influenced by internal and external cues in determining root architecture of temperate grasses like those of barley and wheat. Through characterization and analysis of a suite of root mutants and natural accessions in the model grass Brachypodium distachyon, we are quantitatively and qualitatively investigating the control of branching and elongation and resource allocation. We are also interested in the link between hormonal activity and cell wall constraints on morphogenesis

Department (mail):Department of Crop and Soil Sciences (6420)

Office: Johnson 255

Phone: (509) 5 – 3662



Dana Shaw

Research in the Shaw Lab is broadly focused on tick-borne diseases and the molecular mechanisms that influence the ability of arthropods to harbor and transmit pathogens. One of the main factors that influences vector competence is the arthropod’s immune system. Our research program integrates immunology, microbiology, molecular biology and entomology to understand how and why pathogens persist in the vector. Several research projects are focused on how vector competency is impacted by cellular stress responses, which can function to either potentiate or antagonize immune signaling. We examine these questions using in vitro and in vivo functional transcriptomics, gene silencing, bioinformatics, protein expression and localization, protein-protein interactions and immunofluorescent imaging

Department: Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology
Office: ABDF 4031

Phone: 509-335-3884


A major focus of the Sheldon lab is the Hsp27 family of heat shock proteins. Heat shock proteins are critical players in maintaining cell health by protecting the cytoskeleton, and they participate in protein folding, oxidative homeostasis and cell death signaling systems. Hsp27 proteins are overexpressed in some cancers of the reproductive organs and nervous system and are highly expressed in muscle cells, where they bind to components of the sarcomeres during injury. There are many potential binding sites for Hsp27 in muscle cells, but our analysis indicates that a major binding activity is to the giant protein titin. The laboratory uses cultured cells and zebrafish as models in order to localize proteins and protein complexes in vivo.

Department (mail): School of Molecular Biosciences (7520)
Office: BLS 341
Phone: (509): 5 – 2368

Kiwamu Tanaka

The Tanaka laboratory studies plant signaling in response to stress and pathogens. ATP is well-known as an energy currency, but once ATP is released following cellular damage, it acts as a damage signal. Their discovery of the plant receptor for extracellular ATP has triggered mechanistic study of this danger signal and has expanded the understanding of defense signaling networks and mechanisms of innate immunity. A number of fungal-derived signals, such as chitosan and DNase, are uniquely able to induce defenses through direct effects on the plant defense gene chromatin structure. Reactive oxygen species, salicylates, and other chemicals (most of which are induced by pathogen infections) contribute to the induction of plant defense responses mediated by activation of DNA damage responses.

Department (mail):  Plant Pathology (6340)

Office: Johnson 355

Phone: (509) 5-6418

Viveka Vadyvaloo

Dr. Vadyvaloo’s laboratory investigates the molecular mechanisms of transmission and environmental persistence of Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of the bubonic plague. To answer questions about the roles of specific genes and their protein products in the Y. pestis – flea interaction and adaptation to the flea gut numerous molecular biology and biochemical techniques including next generations omics technologies are employed. Students enrolled in this program would be exposed to understanding bacterial pathogenesis using molecular approaches and in vivo models, e.g., fleas and protozoa.

Department (mail): Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health (7090)

Office: Allen SGAH 317

Phone: (509) 5 – 6043

Bernie Van Wie

Van Wie uses ion channel-forming, transmembrane receptor proteins as biosensors for specific antigens. There are currently three major foci of his research. The first is developing methods to grow chondrocytes and B and T cells in bioreactors, the former for cartilage generation and the latter for prophylactic human antibody production and studies of the immune response to biological pathogens.. A second is developing chemical and biochemical sensor for diagnostics and environmental monitoring, particularly miniature hand-held devices with telemetry circuitry for water quality testing. Dr. Van Wie also has a well-developed and highly recognized interest in engineering education.

Department (mail): Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering (6515)

Office: Wegner 311

Phone: (509) 5 – 4103

Wipawee Joy Winuthayanon

At Winuthayanon Lab, we focus on studying how ovarian steroid hormones (estrogen and progesterone) affect fertility during sperm migration, fertilization, embryo development, and embryo transport within the female reproductive tract. There are multiple components of the cells in female reproductive tract that work in concert to provide optimal microenvironment for gametes (eggs and sperm) and the embryos to establish successful pregnancy. In our lab, we use genetic engineered mouse models to dissect the molecular mechanisms and functional requirement of estrogen and progesterone signals through their classical nuclear receptors (estrogen receptor; ESR1 and progesterone receptor; PGR) during pregnancy. Our research aims to provide fundamental knowledge in reproductive biology during early pregnancy as well as potential targets for contraceptive agents and therapeutic approaches for infertility.

Department: School of Molecular Biosciences
Office: BLS 239

Phone: 509-335-8296

John Wyrick

Dr. Wyrick’s laboratory investigates the cellular responses of the yeast Sacchromyces cerevisiae to environmental or developmental signals by reprogramming the expression of specific genes. In particular his work focuses on the role genome-wide histone modification patterns in regulating yeast gene expression. More recently his work has focused on the regulation of gene transcription by the histone H2A and H2B N-terminal domains and on global patterns of response to DNA damage.

Department: School of Molecular Biosciences
Office: BLS 241

Phone: 509-335-8785