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Waters Lab News

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Who are the people in the Waters Lab?

Chris Waters-PI,

I now spend most of my days writing grants and manuscripts and teaching microbial genetics. But occasionally I get into the lab to do the various odd job.

Life Outside the Lab: spending time with my family, coaching my kid's sports teams, taking care of our black lab puppy, anything outdoors, playing basketball, watching sports, and cheering for the Kansas Jayhawks!!!


Nico Fernandez-graduate student

Nico's research, in collaboration with Vaughn Cooper, at the Unviersity of New Hampshire, is trying to understand how the GGDEF/EAL hybrid protein YciR enables Burkholderia to evolve during selection for biofilm formation. Nico is also exploring novel phenotypes in Vibrio cholerae controlled by c-di-GMP.


Meng Hsieh-DO/PhD graduate student

C-di-GMP is a second messenger that is present in most bacteria and is involved in a variety of different behaviors including motility, biofilm formation, and virulence. It binds to an unprecendented range of effectors, enabling it to control diverse targets. Of these effectors, I am most interested in understanding how c-di-GMP interacts with transcriptional activators to modulate gene expression. On one hand, c-di-GMP binds to VpsR to activate biofilm formation while on the other hand, c-di-GMP binds to FlrA to inhibit motility. I hope to investigate these two different c-di-GMP-dependent transcriptional mechanisms at the molecular level.

In my free time, I like hanging out with friends, watching movies, shopping, baking, and travelling to different countries.


Alessandra Hunt-postdocotoral research associate

As a new member of the Waters Lab, I have been involved in testing novel small molecules to control biofilms in diverse medical applications. My work includes using existing high throughput methods as well as developing new ones to evaluate the impact of these compounds on biofilm formation by medically relevant microorganisms such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. Additionally, I am developing an animal model to evaluate potential new treatments to biofilm-related diseases such as cystic fibrosis.


Michael Maiden-DO/PhD graduate student

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is the most common life threatening genetic diseases in Caucasians, affecting approximately 10% of the United States population. The human pageoffthogens, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus are two leading causes of chronic infection in CF patients. Because these pathogens form biofilms and develop resistance to antibiotics, infections are refractory to treatment. Current treatments are costly, cultivate resistance, and pose other health risks associated with long-term use of antibiotics. My project has four goals seeks to identify anti-biofilm agent(s) that enhance biofilm killing by antibiotics and develop these as treatment for patients with CF.

In my free time I run long distance, go for long walks, train my dog Kennedy new tricks and spend a great deal of time napping with my three cats: Indy, Wiley, and Nagano.


Geoff Severin-graduate student

Geoff's project is focused on understanding how c-di-GMP controls transcription.

In my free time, I like hanging out with friends, watching movies, shopping, baking, and travelling to different countries.  

Soo Hun Yoon-DO/PhD graduate student

Vibrio cholerae must transition between a motile, planktonic lifestyle and a sessile biofilm-forming lifestyle to survive in the environment and cause disease. I am developing tools to analyze this transition both at the level of phenotype and gene expression using single cell analysis to better understand the heterogenity of a population of V. cholerae.


Nils Benning-undergraduate student

Nils is optimizing a rapid gene replacement method for our laboratory and studying the diversity of second messenger signaling in bacteria.



Alyssa Corpus-undergraduate student

Alyssa, part of the Professorial Assistant program, is working with Geoff to understand how the second messenger cyclic GMP-AMP regulates the CapV phospholipase in V. cholerae.



Charnay Gloss-undergraduate student

Biofilms in industrial systems are a major problem, and the biocides that are used are typically not effective. Charnay is quantifying the activity of biocides used by MSU to kill biofilms of bacterial populations isolated from water cooling systems on campus.



Chris Rhoades-undergraduate student

Chris is working with Geoff to explore how cyclic nucleotide signaling controls motility in Vibrio cholerae. He has performed supressor screens to identify mutants that disrupt this signaling, and he is currently mapping the site of these mutations.




Connor Riegal-undergraduate student

Connor is a professorial assistant who is working with Nico to learn how V. cholerae uses c-di-GMP signaling to respond to DNA damaging agents.






Hannah Smith-undergraduate student

Hannah is working with Meng to perform random mutagenesis of VpsR to identify amino acids that are important in its function.




Neehal Tumma-high-school student

Neehal is a junior in high school who is working with Nico to study c-di-GMP signaling in Burkholderia.





Mitch Zachos-undergraduate student

Mitch is working with Michael and Alessandra to assist in animal models of cystic fibrosis and melanoma. Mitch was accepted to veternary school in the Fall of 2018!




Lab Alumni


Natasha Vukov-2010

Karthik Sambanthamoorthy-2011

Will Soto-2016


Graduate Students

Adam Edmunds, M.S.-2011

Disha Srivastava, Ph.D.-2014

Ben Koestler, Ph.D.-2014

John Shook, M.S.-2016

Eric Bruger, Ph.D.-2016

Ben Pursley, Ph.D.-2016

Rudy Sloup, Ph.D.-2016


Undergraduate Students

David Szandzik-2009

Carolyn Chan-2011

Megan Hull-2011

Kuenyoun Jang-2011

Jon Massie-2012

Amanda Ngouajio-2012

Lauren Priniski-2012

Ashley Konal-2012

Alani Adkins-2012

Jessica Hunter-2013

Evan Reynolds-2013

Sarah Smaga-2013

Josh Smith-2013

Mark Johnson-2013

Melanie Callaghan-2013

Prateek Garg-2013

Rachel Rudlaff-2014

Zamone Sawyer-2014

Kevin Baker-2015

Markus Sievertsen-2015

Katherine Magoulick-2015

Morgan Miller-2016

Jake Gibson-2017

Cassie Larivee-2017

Jenny Nyberg-2017

Ben Franco-2017

Macy Pell-2017


High School Students

Maurice Wilkins-2013

Gucci Fan-2015


Visiting Scholars

Ann-Katrin Kieninger, Germany-2015

Lara Behrman, Germany-2017

Sebastian Myllek, Germany-2017