Our Faculty and Staff


Jump to our Post-Doctoral Associates, or our Staff.



Tyrrell Conway, Ph.D. (Department Head)

Microbiology, 1984, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma
311 Life Sciences East
Tel: 405-744-6243
Email: tconway@okstate.edu 

We study the physiological state of colonized bacteria in the mammalian large intestine. With NIH funding we characterize the symbiotic relationship between E. coli and anaerobes that degrade complex polysaccharides, which in turn release simple sugars to cross-feed E. coli. In addition, we develop intuitive displays and computational environments for functional genomics data analysis. Our E. coli Gene Expression Database serves as a community resource.   

Robert L. Burnap, Ph.D.

Biology, 1987, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California
230 Henry Bellmon Research Center
Tel: 405-744-7445
Email: rob.burnap@okstate.edu 

We research the oxygenic photosynthetic mechanism in cyanobacteria. We have projects looking into the catalytic capabilities of specific photosynthetic enzymes and projects examining the adaptive mechanisms that enable cyanobacteria to thrive and survive diverse environments. The projects address basic scientific questions as well as applied questions relevant to solar energy, green chemical production, and CO2 mitigation. Hypotheses are addressed using advanced molecular genetic and bioinformatic tools to reprogram the DNA sequences encoding specific molecules and pathways. To evaluate the hypothesized changes due to the genetic reprograming, we utilize a variety of biochemical and biophysical to probe the targeted molecules and pathways.  

Kim Burnham, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Immunology, 1984, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas
407 Life Sciences East
Tel: 405-744-5565
Email: kim.burnham@okstate.edu 

Epithelia of the skin, and mucous membranes (of the respiratory, gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts) are especially susceptible to infection. Upon infection, specialized leukocytes within the epithelia, termed dendritic cells, take in and carry foreign substances from these tissues to lymphoid tissues in order to stimulate immune responses that fight infection. We study proteins that modulate the capacity of these cells to stimulate immune responses following their arrival in lymphoid tissues.   

Mostafa Elshahed, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Microbiology, 2001, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
226 Venture 1
Tel: 405-744-3005
Email: mostafa@okstate.edu 

We are an environmental microbiology group with broad research interests. We are active on multiple research fronts, spanning all three domains of life. Currently, our work is focused on two main research areas: Environmental genomics of novel yet-uncultured microbial phyla, and diversity, metabolism, genomics, and biotechnological potential of the anaerobic gut fungi. Please visit the research section for additional details.   

Babu Z. Fathepure, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Enviornmental Microbiology, 1985, Indian Institue of Science, Bangalore, India
421 Life Sciences East
Tel: 405-744-7764
Email: babu.fathepure@okstate.edu 

Research in Babu Fathepure’ s lab focuses on aerobic and anaerobic biodegradation petroleum hydrocarbons in hypersaline environments. We use genome-based tools to characterize hydrocarbon degrading microbial communities and their metabolic capacity. We seek to isolate novel hydrocarbon degrading bacteria and archaea and study their ecology, physiology and molecular mechanisms of hydrocarbon degradation at elevated salinity. Also, our lab explores degradation of plant lignin using bacteria and fungi for enhanced saccharification and efficient biofuel production. We use genomic and proteomic approach to understand lignin-active genes and proteins (enzymes) involved in the delignification of plant biomass.  

Jeffery Hadwiger, Ph.D.

Biology, 1989, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California
402A Life Sciences East
Tel: 405-744-9771
Email: jeff.hadwiger@okstate.edu 

Eukaryotic cells respond to a wide variety of external signals that can regulate cellular growth, division, differentiation, migration, and function. Many of these signals are detected by G protein coupled receptors stimulate specific cell responses. The goals of Dr. Hadwiger's research program are to identify the molecular components of G protein mediated signal transduction pathways and to elucidate how these components act together to transmit signals important for developmental processes such as cellular migration and differentiation. Dr. Hadwiger's laboratory has investigated signaling pathways that regulate the foraging and development of Dictyostelium. This model organism provides an excellent system for the genetic and biochemical characterization of cell movement, cell differentiation, and cell-cell signaling. The research in Dr. Hadwiger's lab has provided insight into proteins and mechanisms that are important for signal transduction pathway specificity.   

Wouter D. Hoff, Ph.D.

Microbiology/Chemistry, 1995, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
230A Henry Bellmon Research Center
Tel: 405-744-4449
Email: wouter.hoff@okstate.edu 

Hoff 1 
We use photoreceptor proteins as model systems for studying protein folding, function, and signaling, and have started to explore biotechnological applications for these proteins. Our long-term goal is to uncover fundamental principles in these processes, and to develop biosensors with useful applications. In addition, we are developing novel highly sensitive, specific, and fast biodetection devices based on engineered proteins that allow a direct optical readout.   

Gilbert H. John, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Microbiology, 1990, Colorado State Univeristy, Fort Collins, Colorado
405 Life Sciences East
Tel: 405-744-7914
Email: gilbert.john10@okstate.edu 

My broad research interest is to study the structure and function of azoreductase, an oxidoreductase, in Enterococus faecium, Clostridium perfringens, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These bacteria are potential pathogens in humans. We have rescued the genes and characterized the proteins for azoreductase and quinone reductase activity. This multi-functional role may provide a mechanism for bacterial survival and pathogenicity. Techniques used in our studies include molecular biology, enzyme kinetics, computer modeling, and X-ray crystallography.   

Erika Lutter, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Bacterial Pathogenesis, 2009, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
102A Life Sciences East
Tel: 405-744-2532
Email: erika.lutter@okstate.edu 

Our lab is interested in exploring infections at mucosal sites with two main research areas: host-pathogen interactions involving Chlamydia trachomatis and polymicrobial interactions of cystic fibrosis infections.   

Marianna Patrauchan, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Microbiology, 1995, Institute of Microbiology, Kiev, Ukraine
304A Life Sciences East
Tel: 405-744-8148
Email: m.patrauchan@okstate.edu 

Our lab is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of calcium (Ca2+) signaling in bacterial physiology. Since Ca2+ regulates essential processes in eukaryotes, even slight abnormalities in cellular Ca2+ homeostasis are associated with many human diseases, including those caused by bacterial infections. We aim to characterize Ca2+ signal transduction cascades regulating virulence in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a human pathogen causing severe chronic infections.   

Rolf A. Prade, Ph.D.

Biochemistry, 1987, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
409 Life Sciences East
Tel: 405-744-7522
Email: rolf.prade@okstate.edu 

My scientific interest emphasizes biological views of how and why simple eukaryotes decide to convert one functional molecule into another. Currently we are involved in a metaproteogenomic effort to determine biomass degrading enzymes which function at extreme high temperatures (95 0C). These enzymes are useful to further engineer crop plants (corn) the biomass source for biofuel production.   

Edward Shaw, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Microbiology, 1997, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama
315 Life Sciences East
Tel: 405-744-5744
Email: ed.shaw@okstate.edu 

My lab is interested in the molecular interactions between obligate-intracellular bacterial pathogens and their eukaryotic host-cell. I have worked with Rickettsiae, Chlamydiae, and Coxiellae species during my career.Our current research is focused on the obligate-intracellular bacteria, Coxiella burnetii. C. burnetii is the etiologic agent of Q fever and chronic diseases such as endocarditis, hepatitis, and chronic fatigue.   

Noha H. Youssef, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Botany and Microbiology, 2006, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
225A Venture 1
Tel: 405-744-1192
Email: noha@okstate.edu 

Our lab is interested in exploring the metabolic diversities in single cell genomes of not-yet cultured Bacteria and Archaea. We analyze single-amplified-genomes (SAGs) of candidate phyla including the candidate bacterial phyla WS3 "Latescibacteria," and WWE1 "Cloacimonetes," and the candidate archaeal superphylum DPANN. We are also interested in studying the evolutionary history of the Neocallimastigomycota, the fungal phylum of the anaerobic gut fungi (AGF). Currently, we are conducting a pan genomic survey of all 6 known AGF genera, and utilizing the data for an extensive phylogenomic analysis of this phylum, especially for resolving the evolutionary history of Neocallimastigomycota within the fungal tree of life.   

Back to Top



Jerreme Jackson: Conway Lab Group

"I’m interested in the molecular mechanisms mediating E. coli colonization of the mammalian intestine, as well as the response of the intestinal epithelium to pathogenic attack and the loss of integrity."

314 Life Sciences East
Tel: 405-744-7730     Email: jerreme.jackson@okstate.edu 


Jessica M. Morrison: Youssef Lab Group

"I have always been interested in sciences, especially with the microscopic living world around us!!"

1110 S. Innovation Way
Tel: 405-744-1192     Email: jessica.morrison@okstate.edu 

Back to Top



Teresa Blakely - Assistant Laboratory Technician

Teresa is responsible for the management of media and overall lab preparation for the micro department. Teresa assists Ms. Budd with the Intro to Micro lab classes as well as assisting for the MICR 4012 and 4112 courses. Teresa is in charge of managing various bacterial cultures that are used for controls in the various lab courses offered by the department.

Contact Teresa:
Tel:  405-744-7180     Email: teresa.blakley@okstate.edu 


Connie Budd - Director of Undergraduate Microbiology Labs

Connie serves the department as the coordinator for all of the Intro to Micro (MICR 2132) labs.  Additionally, she is the manager of all undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants for these labs.  While doing these, Connie is in charge of all media and chemical preparation for the Intro labs, as well as the senior micro labs.  

Contact Connie:
Tel:  405-744-9950     Email:  connie.budd@okstate.edu 


Dana Hatter - Undergraduate Academic Advisor

Dana serves as the department's first-hand experience to our students.  Dana is in charge of all undergraduate academic enrollment issues and advises them through courses selections for upcoming semesters.  Students can refer to Dana for a vaulable insight and communication avenues into resources outside the department.  

Contact Dana:
Tel:  405-744-1387     Email: dana.hatter@okstate.edu 


Becky Hergenreder - Senior Financial Support Assistant

Becky is the Departmental Acquisitions Officer.  Becky maintains and prepares accurate financial records/statements for all in the department.  She supports academic and research activities to the faculty and advisor.  Becky assists with graduate student admissions/fellowship committees.  

Contact Becky:
Tel: 405-744-6243     Email: rdherge@okstate.edu 


Garry Marley, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor

Dr. Marley's responsibilities to the microbiology department include being the Senior Coordinator of the MICR 4012 and 4112 courses (the molecular technique labs).  Dr. Marley is vital the facilitation of lab supplies to other teaching and faculty labs throughout the department.

Contact Dr. Marley:
Tel:  405-744-6411     Email:  garry.marley@okstate.edu 


Sallie Robinson - Senior Administrative Assistant

Sallie is our Human Resources Specialist.  Sallie handles all HR needs for the department and its students. Additionally, Sallie is the coordinator of all travel needs/requests for faculty and students wishing to represent the department at conferences, seminars, workshops, etc.  Sallie handles various graduate student pre-enrollment needs with HR.  

Contact Sallie:
Tel:  405-744-7180     Email:  sallie.robinson@okstate.edu 

Back to Top