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Waters Lab News

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Who are the (awesome) 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, 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 University of Pittsburgh, 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.


Alessandra Hunt-postdocotoral research associate

Alessandra is the lab animal model guru and has been involved in testing novel small molecules to control biofilms in diverse medical applications. Her 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, she is developing an animal model to evaluate potential new treatments to biofilm-related diseases such as cystic fibrosis. Finally, Alessandra has performed studies on the impact of cyclic di-nucleotides on inflammation and adaptive immunity.


Brian Hsueh-graduate student

Brian's is interested in understanding how cyclic di-nucleotide second messengers control the activity of transcription factors. To this end, he is working on a collaborative project understanding cyclic di-GMP signaling in the plant pathogen Erwinia amylovora in collaboration with MSU faculty member George Sundin at MSU.


Geoff Severin-graduate student

Geoff is leading studies to understand the function of the new cyclic di-nucleotide, cyclic GAMP-AMP, in collaboration with the laboratories of Christoph Benning (MSU), Wai-Leung Ng (Tufts), and Matt Neiditch (Rutgers). Geoff has shown that cGAMP synthesized by Vibrio cholerae activates a phospholipase to remodel V. cholerae's membrane. Geoff is also interested in discovering the function of additional genes in two pathogenicity islands encoded by the 7th V. cholerae El Tor biotype strains.

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 heterogeneity of a population of V. cholerae.



Amber Bedore-Masters student

Amber is a member of the BS/MS program at MSU. After performing undergraduate research in the laboratory, she is now working on her Masters degree studying the role of c-di-GMP in the evolution of V. cholerae pandemics.




Nils Benning-post-grad student

Nils, who obtained his undergraduate degree in December of 2018, is using mass spectrometry approaches to scan the bacterial tree of life for novel signaling molecules.



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.





Jacob Hieber-undergraduate student

Jacob is working with Brian to study gene regulation in the plant pathogen E. amylovora genes by cyclic di-nucleotides.





Nik Kiel-undergraduate student

Nik is an exchange student from Dusseldorf, Germany. He is performing genetics to understand how the transcription factor VpsR is regulated.



Kyle McCoy-undergraduate student

Kyle is a chemistry major at MSU who is working with Alessandra on pre-clinical experiments to develop our novel anti-biofilm technologies.





Megan Seyerle-undergraduate student

Megan is a member of the Professorial Assistant program. She is working with Nico to use Vibrio cholerae as a heterologous bacterial host to study Burkholderia c-di-GMP signaling.




Neehal Tumma-high-school student

Neehal is a senior in high school who has been working with Nico for two years to study c-di-GMP signaling in Burkholderia.





Joe Williams-undergraduate student

Joe is a freshman at MSU working with Geoff and Brian to develop plasmid tools to study c-di-GMP and cGAMP signaling in bacteria.




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

Michael Maiden, Ph.D.-2018

Meng-lun Hsieh, Ph.D.-2018


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

Charnay Gloss-2018

Chris Rhoades-2018

Hannah Smith-2018

Mitch Zachos-2018

Connor Riegal-2018

Emily Segneri-2018


High School Students

Maurice Wilkins-2013

Gucci Fan-2015


Visiting Scholars

Ann-Katrin Kieninger, Germany-2015

Lara Behrman, Germany-2017

Sebastian Myllek, Germany-2017