Meet Our Graduate Students

The Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics is proud to have an amazing group of graduate students.  Below, you can meet some of our graduate students and see why they decided to pursue a graduate education in microbiology.  

Michelle King Headshot 2018 Michelle King: Ph.D. Student, Patrauchan Lab
From Choctaw, Oklahoma.

“It is fascinating how an organism so small can manipulate and utilize the environment around them to thrive. I love to think how eukaryotes evolved from these organism and the adaptations that had to take place.”

Melissa Brewer

Melissa Brewer: Ph.D. Student, Shaw Lab
From: Weatherford, Oklahoma

"I've been interested in research, especially pathogens and the immune system since a very young age. Doing research here allows me to study interesting interactions between intracellular pathogens proteins and their host cell."


Jorge Lightfoot: Ph.D. Student, Prade Lab
From Carbondale, Illinois

“Researching and learning about cell biology gives me the same feeling as thinking about the size of the universe. While it is intimidating to think about the unknown, it is also exciting to know that there is so much to learn.”


Radwa Hanafy: Ph.D. Student, Youssef Lab
From Cairo, Egypt

"Anaerobic fungi have unique cellulolytic capabilities and are considered to be promising for biofuel production. I am interested in harnessing their powers by studying their genomes and metabolic capabilities."


Biraj Kayastha: Ph.D. Student, Patrauchan Lab
From Bhaktapur, Nepal

"It is breathtaking to think how microbes present themselves as single cell models for studying various life processes."


Prakash Sah: Ph.D. Student, Lutter Lab
From: Birgunj, Nepal

"Intracellular survival is intriguing; it's amazing how a tiny creature can manipulate the host to its own benefit."


Amal Yahya: Ph.D. Student, MAP Lab ArchanaYadav3

Archana Yadav: Ph.D. Student, Elshahed Lab
From: Janakpur, Nepal

"I am working to uncover the metabolic facts of an uncultured bacterial phylum and it is really fascinating to know how every organism has a pivotal role in the environment they thrive in."


Benjamin Nelson, Ph.D. Student, Wozniak Lab Colleen LaForce 3 1 1 Colleen La Force, Research Masters Student, Lutter Lab 

Coryben Berna

Coryben Berna, Accelerated Masters Student, MAP Lab Deepali Luthra 1

Deepali Luthra, Ph.D Student, Lutter Lab
From: Ludhiana, Punjab, India

"Researching to unravel the mysteries of interactions of the pathogen with host cells stimulates curiosity to learn more about the intricate pathogenesis of a disease!"


Neil Miller: Ph.D. Student, Burnap Lab
From Stillwater, Oklahoma

"It is incredible how sensitive microorganisms can be to changes in their environment, and it has shown me how important the maintenance of microbial communities is to the human industries like the production of crops, biosynthesis of useful chemicals, and fermentation" 

anton 1 1 Anton Avramov, Ph.D. Student, Burnap Lab
Addison Grinnell 1 1

Addison Grinnell, Research Masters Student
From: Choctaw, OK

"I like understanding big things but wanted to start small"

Chris Hamm 1 1

Chris Hamm, Accelerated Masters Student, Cabeen Lab
From: Bay Area, California 

“It’s the small things that are a big deal”

Ashlee Hawkins 1 Ashlee Hawkins, Research Masters Student Ace Mulliner 2 2

Ace Mulliner, Accelearated Masters Student  From: Jenks, OK

"It all started for me when I heard the mitochondria was the powerhouse of the cell."

Cerra Linn 2 2

Cerra Linn, Accelerated Masters Student
From: Tulsa, OK

"I think it is fascinating how microorganisms are responsible for so much in our daily lives. The more we know about how these small, complex machines function, the more we are able to better understand their effects."

Danielle Lemus 2 1 Danielle Lemus, Accelerated Masters Student
Suman Maharjan 1 1 Suman Maharjan, Ph.D. Student  Somalisa Pan 1 2

Somalisa Pan, Ph.D. Student, Cabeen Lab
From: Asansol, West Bengal, India

"It was during my undergraduate studies, I fell in love with Microbiology as a subject. I was fascinated by the fact that things that we can’t even see with our naked eyes, can have such a huge impact on our lives. Keeping aside all the industrial applications of Microbiology, microbes in general play an important role in all sorts of disease development; some of them curable, while some of them incurable. Thus, studying them at the molecular level, to understand their physiology and pave a way towards finding a therapeutic cure triggers my interest as a graduate student."

Imani McGill 2 1 1

Imani McGill, Research Masters Student   From: Oklahoma City, OK     

"Science and I have a pretty good relationship. It kind of just gets me. I was the kid that watched more and spoke less....but when I did speak, one would often find that it would be simple yet complex word, "Why?" ".....Why.......why?"

James Teel 2 1 James Teel, Accelerated Masters Student
Britny Johnson 2 1

Britny Johnson, Accelerated Masters Student From: Sapupla, OK

"Our bodies are a battleground and our immune system is the cavalry."

Kara Daniels 2 1 Kara Daniels, Accelerated Masters Student
Rabindra Khadka 2 Rabindra Khadka, Ph.D. Student
From: Dhangadhi, Nepal
Megan Martinez 1 Megan Martinez, Accelerated Masters Student
Ross Walker 1 Ross Walker, Ph.D. Student Sydney Rudy 1

Sydney Rudy, Accelerated Masters Student
From: Mound, Minnesota 

“You can’t B. cereus” 


Tarosh 2 Tarosha Salpadoru, Ph.D. Student 
William Marsh 2

William Warsh, Research Masters Student
From: Allen, Texas

"It's interesting to think of microorganisms as small, extremely complex machines. Studying how the gears turn or how their electrical systems all connect allow us produce better medicine, clean toxic waste, and further our understanding of how these microorganisms influence our macro-lives."

 Sudhir 9 2018 2 Sudhir Doranga, Ph.D. Student, Shaw Lab   NirakarAdhikari2 1  Nirakar Adhikari, Ph.D. Student, Hadwiger Lab

Justin Bowen, Ph.D. Student, Conway Lab  From: Tulsa, OK

"Upon learning that transforming bacteria with the human insulin gene to effectively turn them into factories that produce insulin for diabetics was when my interest in microbiology became realized. I want to discover novel ways transformed microbes can be utilized for human health. Especially as a way to regulate the human microbiome for the maintenane of human health."

Chelsea Murphey

Chelsea Murphy, Ph.D. Student, Youssef Lab   From: Allen, TX

"Microbes encompass such a stunning diversity of lifestyles, habitats, and more. There is so much to be discovered, and endless questions to be asked, as these tiny organisms impact life so profoundly in so many ways. I seek to explore new, uncultured, and unique microorganisms, and use a variety of bioinformatic techniques to probe both what they are doing in their environments, and how they came to be."

Jie 1 Jie Ren, Ph.D. Student, Hoff Lab Jordan Jordan Satterfield, Accelerated Masters Student, Lutter Lab