Previous Students


Nathaniel O'Bier, Ph.D. 2023

  • Thesis title: Optimization of a Chimeric Vaccine for Human Lyme Disease
  • Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow; VCU Department of Microbiology and Immunology; Richmond, VA

Caellaigh Kimpston, Ph.D. 2023

  • Thesis title: Investigation of the outer surface protein, BBK19, as a potential component of a chimeric antigen for diagnosis of human Lyme disease
  • Current position: Medical student, VCU School of Medicine

Tu Phan, M.S., 2023

  • Thesis title: Antibody profiling of the human Lyme Disease Biobank serum panel: Implications for serological diagnosis of Lyme disease.

Edward J. A. Schuler, Ph.D., 2022

  • Thesis title: Development of a novel epitope-based chimeric protein for prevention of Leptospirosis
  • Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow; VCU Department of Microbiology and Immunology; Richmond, VA

Andrew C. Camire, Ph.D., 2021

  • Thesis title: Immunological analysis of family 12 proteins of Borreliella burgdorferi for potential use in a preventative multi-protein chimeric vaccinogen.
  • Current position: Scientist; QuidelOrtho; Peabody, MA

Amanda Hatke, Ph.D., 2021

  • Thesis title: Generation of a multi-protein chimeric construct for diagnostic applications in Lyme disease
  • Current position: Antibody Discovery Scientist; AstraZeneca; MD

Karen Stasiak, D.V.M., M.S.N., M.S.C., M.S., 2020 

  • Thesis title: Serosurvey for evidence of maternal antibodies for Borreliella burgdorferi in young dogs from Lyme endemic, Lyme emerging and Lyme non-endemic regions of the United States
  • Current position: Head of Core Dx and Infectious Disease Platforms, Global Diagnostic Team, Zoetis

Jerily R. Izac, Ph.D., 2019

  • Thesis title: Generation of a linear epitope-based multi-protein chimeric construct for prevention of Lyme disease in humans
  • Current position: Biologist, Biomarker and Genomic Sciences Group, National Institutes of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD

Dhara Patel, M.S., 2018

  • Thesis title: Assessment of a predicted diguanylate cyclase in Treponema denticola
  • Current position: Ph.D. Candidate; VCU Department of Microbiology and Immunology; Richmond, VA

Lucas Reed, M.S., 2018

  • Thesis title: The Effects of Amixicile, A Pyruvate Ferredoxin Oxidoreductase Inhibitor, on Oral Treponemes
  • Current position: Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami FL

Lee Oliver, M.S., 2015

  • Thesis title: Development of novel chimeric epitope based diagnostic
    antigens and vaccines for Lyme disease
  • Current position: Investigator; GlaxoSmithKline; Philadelphia, PA

Daniel Miller, Ph.D., 2014

  • Thesis title: Characterization of complement evasion of the periopathogen, Treponema denticola.
  • Current position: Assistant Professor; VCU Department of Microbiology and Immunology; Richmond, VA

Bridget Catherine Dillon, M.S., 2014

  • Thesis title: Evaluating the antibody response against OspA, OspC and OspE in Borrelia burgdorferi positive serum samples.

Brittney Scott, M.S., 2013

  • Thesis title: Analysis of plasminogen binding to Treponema denticola, a key periopathogen
  • Current position: Senior Scientist; The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson; Philadelphia, PA

Katherine Mallory, M.S., 2013

  • Thesis title: Characterization of cyclic-di-GMP binding by the sole Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia hermsii PilZ domain-containing proteins
  • Current position: Lab Manager/Senior Scientist Contractor; Walter Reed Army Institute of Research; Silver Spring, MD

Jessica L. Kostick Dunn, Ph.D., 2011

  • Thesis title: Characterization of cyclic-di-GMP signaling within the Lyme spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Current position: Lieutenant Commander, Policy Lead, FDA/CDER - Office of Policy for Pharmaceutical Quality; Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service; Haymarket, VA

DeLacy V. L. Rhodes, Ph.D., 2011

  • Thesis title: Analysis of the role of outer surface protein C (OspC) in Borrelia burgdorferi pathogenesis
  • Current position: Associate Professor; Berry College; Mount Berry, GA

John C. Freedman, Ph.D., 2011

  • Thesis title: Cyclic-di-GMP signaling in the Borrelia spirochetes

Juni Sarkar, Ph.D., 2011

  • Thesis title: Characterization of the Phk2-Rrp2 two-component regulatory system of Treponema denticola.
  • Current position: Senior Regulatory Science Professional; Verily; Los Angeles, CA

Elizabeth A. Rogers, Ph.D., 2008

  • Thesis title: Gene regulation and Factor H binding in the Lyme spirochetes.
  • Current position: Adjunct professor; Truckee Meadows Community College; Reno, NV

Kelley M. Hovis, Ph.D., 2007

  • Thesis title: The relapsing fever spirochete, Borrelia hermsii, and complement regulatory proteins
  • Current position: Professor of Biology; Community College of Baltimore County; Dundalk, MD

Christina M. Sundy, M.S., 2005

  • Thesis title: Characterization of paralogous gene family 163 of the Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi

John V. McDowell, Ph.D., 2003

  • Thesis title: Analysis of antigenic variation in the Lyme disease Borrelia
  • Current position: Instructor; Delaware Technical & Community College; DE

Michael S. Metts, M.S., 2003

  • Thesis title: Analysis of the OspE determinants involved in the binding of Factor H and OspE targeting antibodies elicited during infection in mice

Lindy M. Fine, M.S., 2002

  • Thesis title: Genetic manipulation of the relapsing fever spirochete Borrelia hermsii permits novel investigation into the role of Factor H binding in Borrelial virulence

David Martin Roberts, Ph.D., 2002

  • Thesis title: Characterization and analysis of the role of the Bdr protein family in pathogenic Borrelia
  • Current position: Executive Director of Laboratory Operations; Alexandria LaunchLabs; Seattle, WA

Emily Tran, Ph.D., 2001

  • Thesis title: Immunological and molecular analyses of the Borrelia burgdorferi OspF family

Shian-Ying Sung, Ph.D., 2000

  • Thesis title: Molecular and immunological characterization of OspE gene family in Lyme disease spirochetes
  • Current position: Professor; Ph.D. Program for Translational Science at Taipei Medical University; Taiwan

Jason Carlyon, Ph.D., 1999

  • Thesis title: Molecular characterization of the rep gene family, a paralogous gene family carried by pathogenic Borrelia species
  • Current position: Professor; VCU Department of Microbiology and Immunology; Richmond, VA

Crystal Paz LaVoie, M.S., 1999

  • Thesis title: Molecular characterization and cloning of circular plasmid carried open reading frames of the Lyme disease spirochetes.
  • Current position: Wallingford Public Schools; Wallingford, CT