Past Graduates

PhD Graduates


Denise Rohlik, Ph.D.
“Targeting the initiating proteases of the complement system using structure-based small molecule drug discovery”
Defended:  June 26, 2023 (Dr. Brandon Garcia, Advisor)

Wesley L. Kendle, Ph.D.
“Neuropilin-1 is upregulated by HTLV-1 bZIP factor and inhibits cell-to-cell transmission of HTLV-1”
Defended:  June 20, 2023 (Dr. Isabelle Lemasson, Advisor)

Charles E. Booth, Jr. “CJ”, Ph.D.
“Structure-function Analysis of a Family of Borrelial C1r Inhibitors from Lyme Disease and Relapsing Fever Spirochetes”
Defended:  April 13, 2023 (Dr. Brandon Garcia, Advisor)


Alexander G. Bastian, Ph.D.
“TLR-4 agonism induces CD25+ MHCIIhigh dendritic cells in association with tolerogenic antigen recognition”
Defended:  November 22, 2022 (Dr. Mark D. Mannie, Advisor)

Dariel A. Hopersberger, Ph.D.
“A Wzx-Wzy-like Polysaccharide Biosynthetic Pathway Contributes to Virulence in Brucella abortus 2308 through an Unknown Mechanism
Defended:  July 27, 2022 (Dr. R. Martin Roop II, Advisor)


Samantha Palethorpe, Ph.D.
“The Respective Roles of BfmRS and PmrA in Stress Responses and Antibiotic Resistance in Acinetobacter baumannii”
Defended:  September 14, 2021 (Dr. Everett Pesci, Advisor)

Rebecca Nickle, Ph.D.
“Delineating the role of soluble CD25 as an immunoregulatory molecule that promotes a low-zone IL-2 signaling environment favorable for the selection of CD25high FOXP3high T cells
Defended: July 22, 2021 (Dr. Mark D. Mannie, Advisor)

Priyanka Theophilus, Ph.D.
“Delineating the Mechanism of Aggregate or Biofilm Formation in the Lyme Disease Spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi”
Defended:  June 28, 2021 (Dr. Md Motaleb, Advisor)

Kayla B. DeOca, Ph.D.
“Novel Biologics Promote Stable Expansion Of Regulatory CD25 HIGH FOXP3 + T Lymphocytes As A Means For An Adoptive Cell-Based Immunotherapy”
Defended: June 1, 2021 (Dr. Mark D. Mannie, Advisor)


Cody D. Moorman, Ph.D.
“A single-chain GMCSF-MOG tolerogenic vaccine expands MOGspecific CD25+ FOXP3+ T cells through low-efficiency antigen recognition events to inhibit experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.”
Defended: September 30, 2019 (Dr. Mark D. Mannie, Advisor)


Amanda W. Rushing, Ph.D.
The Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type I bZIP factor (HBZ) Manipulates the Host Cell Antioxidant Response to Maintain Survival”
Defended:  April 3, 2018 (Dr. Isabelle Lemasson, Advisor)


Ana Laura Fazio-Kroll, Ph.D.
“Novel Role Of Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type-1 Encoded Protein HBZ In Viral Transmission Through Cell-To-Cell Contact”
Defended: April 5, 2017 (Dr. Isabelle M. Lemasson, Advisor)


Ki Hwan Moon, Ph.D.
“Motility and chemotaxis in the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi: Role in pathogenesis”
Defended: July 29, 2016 (Dr. MD Motaleb, Advisor)

Ahmed E.M. Elhassanny
“Characterization of FtrABCD: a ferrous iron-specific transporter that is required for the virulence of Brucella abortus 2308 in mice”
Defended: July 7, 2016 (Dr. R. Martin Roop II, Advisor)


Lia Walker, Ph.D.
“Function of disintegrin-like domain of KSHV gB in regulating virus infection”
Defended: November 20, 2015 (Dr. Shaw Akula, Advisor)

Michael I. Betteken, Ph.D.
“Role of the Iron Storage Ferritins Dps and DpsL during the Prolonged Oxidative Stress Response of Bacteroides fragilis”
Defended: October 28, 2015 (Dr. C. Jeffrey Smith, Advisor)

Diana Wright, Ph.D.
“Human T-cell Leukemia Virus Type 1 Basic Leucine Zipper Factor (HBZ) Interacts and Inhibits the Acetyltransferase Activity of Multiple Cellular Coactivator Families to Deregulate Transcription”
Defended: September 9, 2015 (Dr. Isabelle M. Lemasson, Advisor)

John M. Farrow, III, Ph.D.
“Transcriptional Regulation of pqsR, a Gene that Encodes a Regulator of Quinolone Signal Synthesis and Virulence in Pseudomonas aeruginosa”
Defended: June 19, 2015 (Dr. Everett C. Pesci, Advisor)

Alan D. Curtis, Ph.D.
“Cytokine-neuroantigen fusion proteins induce antigen-specific tolerance in a rodent model of multiple sclerosis”
Defended: May 6, 2015 (Dr. Mark D. Mannie, Advisor)


David A. Martinson, Ph.D.
“Irr is the main iron-responsive transcriptional regulator in Brucella and its activity is controlled by inactivation and degradation through its interaction with heme in response to cellular iron levels”
Defended: December 8, 2014 (Dr. R. Martin Roop, II, Advisor)

Kyle A. Tipton, Ph.D.
“Layered Regulation of a Pathway Capable of Altering Quinolone Production in Pseudomonas aeruginosa”
Defended: November 21, 2014 (Dr. Everett C. Pesci, Advisor)

Yanlu Cao, Ph.D.
“Function and Regulation of the Polysaccharide Utilization Locus, Don, in the Gut Symbiont Bacteroides fragilis”
Defended: August 5, 2014 (Dr. C. Jeffry Smith Advisor)


Jenifer F. Ojeda, Ph.D.
“The bhuTUV and bhuO gene products play vital roles in the ability of Brucella abortus to use heme as an iron source and are regulated in an iron-responsive manner by RirA and Irr”
Defended: April 4, 2012 (Dr. R. Martin Roop II, Advisor)

Clair A. Knoten, Ph.D.
“The Regulation of Anthranilate Synthesis for the Production of PQS in Pseudomonas aeruginosa”
Defended: January 16, 2012 (Dr. Everett C. Pesci, Advisor)


Michael A. Reott, Jr., Ph.D.
“Investigations into the Roles of Bacteroides Fragilis Thioredoxins During the Oxidative Stress Response”
Defended: January 11, 2011 (Dr. C. Jeffrey Smith, Advisor)

Ossie F. Dyson, Ph.D.
“REGULATION OF KSHV REPLICATION by GLYCOPROTEIN B: Chronicles of a Virus and its Host”
Defended: November 17, 2011 (Dr. Shaw M. Akula, Advisor)

William H. Chappell, Ph.D.
“p53 and NGAL: Dual Regulatory Roles in Advanced Prostate Cancer”
Defended: November 18 2011(Dr. James McCubrey, Advisor)


Pamela R. Cook, Ph.D.
“Molecular Characterization Of The Activation Domain Of The HTLV-1 HBZ Protein And Its Interaction With The Kix Domain Of The Cellular Transcriptional Coactivators p300 And CBP”
Defended: November 10, 2010 (Dr. Isabelle M. Lemasson, Advisor)

J. Lori Blanchfield, Ph.D.
“Antigen- specific Tolerogenic Vaccines Inhibit Autoimmune Disease In A Rodent Model of Multiple Sclerosis”
Defended: June 24, 2010 (Dr. Mark Mannie, Advisor)

Kendra H. Steele, Ph.D.
“The Brucella Abortus Alkyl Hydroperoxide Reductase Complex (AhpCD) is the Primary Scavenger of Endogenous Hydrogen Peroxide, and the ahpCD Operon is Regulated in Response to Endogenous Hydrogen Peroxide”
Defended: April 12, 2010 (Dr. R. Martin Roop II, Advisor)

Kristina E. Rehm, Ph.D.
“The Poxvirus A35 Protein Promotes Virulence by Regulating the Host Adaptive Immune Response”
Defended: April 6, 2010 (Dr. Rachel L. Roper, Advisor)


Jarrett T. Whelan, Ph.D.
“Enforced Expression of HoxA9 in B-Lineage ALL Promotes Survival and Proliferation of Leukemic Cells”
Defended: July 2, 2009 (Dr. Ted Bertrand, Advisor)


Heidi Dalrymple, Ph.D.
“Exploring pathways of Lung Homeostasis: Role of Alveolar Macrophages and Lymphocytes”
Defended: July 23, 2008 (Dr. Mary Jane Thomassen, Advisor)

Lindsay Peed, Ph.D.
“Mobilization of a Bacteriodes Conjugative Transposon, CTn341”
Defended: September 2, 2008 (Dr. C. Jeffrey Smith, Advisor)


James T. Paulley, Ph.D.
“Production Of BhuA By Brucella Abortus Is Required For Hemin Utilization And Virulence And Is Dependent On The Transcriptional Regulators RirA and ChrA”
Defended: September 12, 2007 (Dr. R. Martin Roop, II, Advisor)


Brian E. Bullman, Ph.D.
“Identification and Characterization Of PqsH, a Putative Monooxygenase Required for PQS Production, and Comparison To PqsL, an Opposing Putative Monooxygenase”
Defended: April 5, 2006 (Dr. Everett C. Pesci, Advisor)

Eric S. Anderson, Ph.D.
“Identification of the AraC-Like Transcriptional Regulator DhbR and Its Role in the Regulation Of The Genes Required For Siderophore Biosynthesis in Brucella abortus”
Defended: November 21, 2006 (Dr. Roy M. Roop, II, Advisor)

Michael L. Hornback, Ph.D.
“The Brucella abortus xthA-1 and xthA-2 Gene Products Play Overlapping Roles in Base Excision Repair and Resistance To Reactive Oxygen Intermediates”
Defended: November 27, 2006 (Dr. Roy M. Roop, II, Advisor)


Cheryl Spence, Ph.D.
“Characterization and Regulation of an Oxygen-Upregulated Starch Utilization Operon in the Obligate Anaerobe Bacteroides fragilis”
Defended: November 16, 2005 (Dr. C. Jeffrey Smith, Advisor)

Oswaldo G. Rodriguez-Mora, Ph.D.
“Calcium/Calmodulin-dependent Kinases Participate in the Cell Cycle Regulation and Antiapoptotic Mechanisms in MCF-7 Human Breast Cancer Cells”
Defended: May 17, 2005 (Dr. Richard Franklin, Advisor)


John G. Shelton, Ph.D.
“A Conditionally Active v-ErbB Transforms Hematopoietic Cells To Cytokine-Independence and Promotes Cell Survival and Proliferation”
Defended: November 29, 2004 (Dr. James McCubrey, Advisor)

John T. Lee, Ph.D.
“PI3K/AKT and RAF/MEK/ERK Signaling in Advanced Prostate Cancer: Implications for Resistance to Chemotherapeutic Compounds”
Defended: November 19, 2004 (Dr. James McCubrey, Advisor)

Christian J. Sund, Ph.D.
“Identification of oxyR Independent Oxidative Stress Response Genes in the Obligate Anaerobe Bacteroides fragilis”
Defended: November 18, 2004 (Dr. C. Jeffrey Smith, Advisor)

Christopher J. Howe, Ph.D.
“A Novel Mechanism for the Activation of the CaM-Kinases by Hydrogen Peroxide and Their Role in the Phosphorylation of I-κB in Human T Lymphocytes”
Defended: April 16, 2004 (Dr. R. Franklin, Advisor)

Jill A. Maxwell, Ph.D.
“The Mechanism and Kinetics of Reovirus T1- And T3-Induced Apoptosis of Human Colon and Pancreatic Cancer Cells”
Defended: March 29, 2004 (Dr. S. Oberhaus, Advisor)


Mindi R. Walker, Ph.D.
“T Cell Expression of MHC Class II Glycoproteins: Presentation of the Self Peptide Rat Myelin Basic Protein Induces Tolerance in the Lewis Rat Model of EAE”
Defended: April 1, 2002 (Dr. M. Mannie, Advisor)


Dhaval M. Patel, Ph.D.
“Intercellular Exchange of Functional Class II MHC Glycoproteins Among Leukocytes is Activation-Dependent in the T Cell Compartment but is Activation-Independent in Other Types Of APC”
Defended: November 26, 2001 (Dr. M. Mannie, Advisor)


Christopher D. Herren, Ph.D.
“Identification and Characterization of Genes Induced During Oxidative Stress in the Opportunistic Pathogen Bacteroides fragilis”
Defended: November 28, 2000 (Dr. C. Jeffrey Smith, Advisor)

Caroline R. Weinstein-Oppenheimer, Ph.D.
“Roles of the RAS-RAF-ERK Signaling Pathway in the Development of Resistance to the Chemotherapeutic Drug Doxorubicin in the MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cell Line”
Defended: September 28, 2000 (Dr. James A. McCubrey, Advisor)

Darren J. Smalley, Ph.D.
“Identification of Oxidative Stress Response Genes from the Obligate Anaerobe Bacteroides fragilis: Characterization of a Ribonucleoside Diphosphate Reductase that is Functional During Aerobic Conditions”
Defended: May 11, 2000 (Dr. C. Jeffrey Smith, Advisor)

William L. Blalock, III, Ph.D.
“Autocrine Transformation of Hematopoietic Cells by the RAS/RAF/MAPK Pathway Member MEK1 and the Ability of BCL2 Overexpression to Enhance MEK-1 Mediated Transformation”
Defended: June 13, 2000 (Dr. James A. McCubrey, Advisor)


Karla J. Posekany, Ph.D.
“Evaluation of α1,3 Galactosyltransferase for Cancer Gene Therapy: Anti-Gal Antibodies Exert In Vitro and In Vivo Anti-Tumor Activity”
Defended: February 16, 1999 (Dr. Kathryn M. Verbanac, Advisor)


William D. Proctor, Ph.D.
“Genetic and Biochemical Characterization of HexR, a Negative Regulator of Carbohydrate Utilization of the hex Region of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA01”
Defended: November 24, 1998 (Dr. Paul V. Phibbs, Advisor)

Kim M. Koslowski, Ph.D.
“The Characterization of Two Distinct Properties of the UL28 Protein in Pseudorabies Virus and Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1”
Defended: November 10, 1998 (Dr. Nels Pederson, Advisor)

Paul E. Hoyle, Ph.D.
“Signaling through the Raf Family of Serine/Threonine Kinases in Hematopoietic Cells”
Defended: November 9, 1998 (Dr. James A. McCubrey, Advisor)

Paula Y. Arnold, Ph.D.
“Antigen Presentation by T Cells: Evidence for T Cell Receptor-Mediated Uptake of Vesiculated Peptide/MHC Class II Complexes Derived from Antigen Presenting Cells”
Defended: July 14, 1998 (Dr. Mark D. Mannie, Advisor)

Gena D. Tribble, Ph.D.
“Development of a Model of Transposition for the Bacteroides Mobilizable Transposon Tn4555”
Defended: April 20, 1998 (Dr. C. Jeffrey Smith, Advisor)


Fiona C. Beaumont, Ph.D.
“The Bordetella Alcaligin Siderophore System: A Study of Biosynthesis and Regulatory Genes”
Defended: November 20, 1997 (Dr. Sandra K. Armstrong, Advisor)

Ho Young Kang, Ph.D.
“Identification and Characterization of the Bordetella pertussis Alcaligin Siderophore Biosynthesis Operon”
Defended: October 8, 1997 (Dr. Sandra K. Armstrong, Advisor)

Xiao-Yang Wang, Ph.D.
“Autocrine Transformation of IL-3 Dependent Hematopoietic Cells Mediated by Intracisternal Type A Particle Transposition into the 3′ Untranslated Region of IL-Gene”
Defended: January 28, 1997 (Dr. James A. McCubrey, Advisor)


James E. Devente, Ph.D.
“Altered Protein Kinase C (PKC) Expression in the Human MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cell Line: Role of PKC Pathway in Breast Cancer Progression”
Defended: August 6, 1996 (Dr. Kirk Ways and Dr. James A. McCubrey Co-Advisors)


Betsaida Torres, Ph.D.
“Identification and Characterization of Thyroid Hormone Regulated Genes in Human Fibroblasts by mRNA Differential Display Analysis and Quantitative Competitive Polymerase Chain Reaction: Insights into Thyroid Hormone Receptor Isoform Specific Gene Regulation”
Defended: October 3, 1995 (Dr. Stephen Usala, Advisor)

Lyndon C. Kirby, Ph.D.
“Chemical Synthesis and Characterization of Reverse Amide Analogs of Conjugated Bile Acids”
Defended: July 5, 1995 (Dr. James P. Coleman, Advisor)

Lorita M. Rebellato, Ph.D.
“Specificity and Effectiveness of Polyclonal and Monoclonal Antibodies in the Induction of Primate Transplantation Tolerance”
Defended: April 6, 1995 (Dr. Judith M. Thomas, Advisor)


Shiwani K. Arora, Ph.D.
“Characterization of the crc Gene and its Product Required for Catabolite Repression Control in Pseudomonas aeruginosa”
Defended: November 28, 1994 (Dr. Paul V. Phibbs, Advisor)


Mark B. Rogers, Ph.D.
“Molecular Genetic Analysis of Endogenous β-Lactamase Production in Bacteroides fragilis”
Defended: December 14, 1993 (Dr. C. Jeffrey Smith, Advisor)

Marty W. Mayo, Ph.D.
“The Mechanism by Which Phorbol Esters Support the Proliferation of an Interleukin 3-Dependent Hematopoietic Cell Line”
Defended: December 2, 1993 (Dr. James A. McCubrey, Advisor)

Paul W. Tebbey, Ph.D.
“Identification of Arachidonic Acid as a Pluripotent Regulator of Gene Expression”
Defended: November 19, 1993 (Dr. Thomas M. Buttke, Advisor)


Paul A. Algate, Ph.D.
“Molecular Basis of the Abrogation of IL3 Dependency in Lymphoid Cell Lines Transformed by an Autocrine Mechanism”
Defended: November 24, 1992 (Dr. James A. McCubrey, Advisor)


Dale L. Ludwig, Ph.D.
“Influence of Copy Number and Chromosomal Position Effect on Heterologous Gene Expression in the Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae”
Defended: July 16, 1991 (Dr. Carlo V. Bruschi, Advisor)


Scott D. Cobourn, Ph.D.
“The Biological Effects of Palindromic and Direct Repeat DNA Sequences with the Potential for Formation of DNA Secondary Structures”
Defended: March 30, 1990 (Dr. Uwe R. Muller, Advisor)


Barry R. Stripp, Ph.D.
“Cloning, Sequencing and Expression of Newcastle Disease Virus Glycoprotein Genes”
Defended: September 25, 1989 (Dr. Henry 0. Stone, Jr., Advisor)

William H. Wallace, Ph.D.
“Genetic and Biochemical Analysis of Gluconate Utilization in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1”
Defended: May 23, 1989 (Dr. Paul V. Phibbs, Advisor)

MS Graduates

Jackson WoodEverett C. Pesci2023
Ryan GarriguesBrandon L. Garcia2021
Christopher NortonIsabelle Lemasson2020
Denise RohlikBrandon L. Garcia2019
Alexandra HayesRachel L. Roper2019
Anastasia WeeksMark D Mannie2017
Aaron M. YerkeMd A. Motaleb2013