Graduate Research in Microbiology

Polar research
 Bacterial attacking cell
 Fluorescent viruses
 Fraction collection
Column chromatography
Graduate student research
Graduate student research
 Culture plates
Undergraduate researcher
3-minute thesis finalists

Steven Distelhorst wins Three Minute Thesis competition Three Minute Thesis is a research communication competition that challenges graduate students to present a semester's worth of research and study in a three-minute oral presentation with language appropriate for a nonspecialist audience. Pictured with Steven (front row - second from left) were top ten finalists Chris Sedlacek (second row - left) and Wei Li (second row - second from left).

These are some of the recent accomplishments and recognitions our graduate students have received for their research efforts.

Graduate student publications


  • Feng M, Schaff AC, Cuadra Aruguete SA, Riggs HE, Distelhorst SL, Balish MF. (2018) Development of Mycoplasma pneumoniae biofilms in vitro and the limited role of motility. Int. J. Med. Microbiol. 308:324-334.
  • Ohneck EJ, Arivett BA, Fiester SE, Wood CR, Metz ML, Simeone GM, Actis LA. (2018) Mucin acts as a nutrient source and a signal for the differential expression of genes coding for cellular processes and virulence factors in Acinetobacter baumannii. PLoS ONE 13:e0190599.
  • Wood CR, Mack LE, Actis LA. (2018) An update on the Acinetobacter baumannii regulatory circuitry. Trends Microbiol. 26:560-562.
  • Wood CR, Ohneck EJ, Edelmann RE, Actis LA. (2018) A light-regulated type I pilus contributes to  Acinetobacter baumannii biofilm, motility and virulence functions. Infect. Immun., in press.


  • Álvarez-Fraga L, Rumbo-Feal S, Pérez A, Gómez MJ, Gayoso C, Vallejo JA, Ohneck EJ, Valle J, Actis LA, Beceiro A, Bou G, Poza M. (2017) Global assessment of small RNAs reveals a non-coding transcript involved in biofilm formation and attachment in Acinetobacter baumannii ATCC 17978. PLoS One 12:e0182084.
  • Beck HJ, Janssen GR. (2017) Novel translation initiation regulation mechanism in Escherichia coli ptrB mediated by a 5’-terminal AUG. J. Bacteriol. 199:e00091-17.
  • Distelhorst SL, Jurkovic DA, Shi J, Jensen GJ, Balish MF. (2017) The variable internal structure of the Mycoplasma penetrans attachment organelle revealed by biochemical and microscopic analyses: implications for attachment organelle mechanism and evolution. J. Bacteriol. 199:e00069-17.
  • Johns CW, Finley NL. (2017) Site I inactivation impacts calmodulin calcium binding and activation of Bordetella pertussis adenylate cyclase toxin. Toxins (Basel) 9:E389.
  • Rumbo-Feal S, Pérez A, Ramelot TA, Álvarez-Fraga L, Vallejo JA, Beceiro A, Ohneck EJ, Arivett BA, Merino M, Fiester SE, Kennedy MA, Actis LA, Bou G, Poza M. (2017) Contribution of the A. baumannii A1S_0114 gene to the interaction with eukaryotic cells and virulence. Front. Cell Infect. Microbiol. 7:108.
  • Pérez A, Merino M, Rumbo-Feal S, Álvarez-Fraga L, Vallejo JA, Beceiro A, Ohneck EJ, Mateos J, Fernández-Puente P, Actis LA, Poza M, Bou G. (2017) The FhaB/FhaC two-partner secretion system is involved in adhesion of Acinetobacter baumannii AbH12O-A2 strain. Virulence 8:959-974.
  • Shang H, Garretson TA, Kumar CMS, Dieter RF, Cheng XW. (2017) Improved pFastBacTM donor plasmid vectors for higher protein production using the Bac-to-Bac® baculovirus expression vector system. J. Biotechnol. 255:37-46.


  • Álvarez-Fraga L, Pérez A, Rumbo-Feal S, Merino M, Vallejo JA, Ohneck EJ, Edelmann RE, Beceiro A, Vázquez-Ucha JC, Valle J, Actis LA, Bou G, Poza M. (2016) Analysis of the role of the LH92_11085 gene of a biofilm hyper-producing Acinetobacter baumannii strain on biofilm formation and attachment to eukaryotic cells. Virulence 18:443-455.
  • Balish MF, Distelhorst SL (2016) Potential molecular targets for narrow-spectrum agents to combat Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection and disease. Front. Microbiol. 7:205.
  • Beck HJ, Fleming IM, Janssen GR. (2016) 5’-terminal AUGs in Escherichia coli mRNAs with Shine-Dalgarno sequences: identification and analysis of their roles in non-canonical translation initiation. PLoS ONE 11:e0160144.
  • Brzoska RM, Bollmann A. (2016) The long-term effect of uranium and pH on the community composition of an artificial consortium. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 92:fiv158.
  • Fiester SE, Arivett BA, Schmidt RE, Beckett AC, Ticak T, Carrier MV, Ghosh R, Ohneck EJ, Metz ML, Sellin Jeffries MK, Actis LA. (2016) Iron-regulated phospholipase C activity contributes to the cytolytic activity and virulence of Acinetobacter baumannii. PLoS One 11:e0167068.
  • Garretson TA* McCoy JC, Cheng XW. (2016) Baculovirus FP25K localization: role of the coiled-coil domain. J. Virol. 90:9582-9597.
  • Li W, Podar M, Morgan-Kiss RM. (2016) Ultrastructural and single-cell-level characterization reveals metabolic versatility in a microbial eukaryote community from an ice-covered Antarctic lake. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 82:3659-3670.
  • Michaels DL, Leibowitz JA, Azaiza MT, Shil PK, Shama SM, Kutish GF, Distelhorst SL, Balish MF, May MA, Brown DR. (2016) Cellular microbiology of Mycoplasma canis Infect. Immun. 84:1785-1795.
  • Sedlacek CJ, Nielsen S, Greis KD, Haffey WD, Revsbech NP, Ticak T, Laanbroek HJ, Bollmann A. (2016) Effects of bacterial community members on the proteome of the ammonia-oxidizing bacterium Nitrosomonas strain Is79. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 82:4776-4788.
  • Springer TI, Emerson CC, Johns CW, Finley NL. (2016) Interaction with adenylate cyclase toxin from Bordetella pertussis affects the metal binding properties of calmodulin. FEBS Open Bio 9:25-34.

Graduate research awards

Orton K. Stark Awardees

The Orton K. Stark Award is given "in Recognition of Academic Achievement of the Highest Order and Efforts and Talents Reflecting the Learning Traditions of the Department of Microbiology." Recent recipients include:


  • Isha Kalra
  • Cecily R. Wood

Susan R. Rockwood Awardees

The Susan W. Rockwood Award is given "in Recognition of Excellence in Teaching and Research by a Woman in Graduate Study." Recent recipients include:


  • Shasten S. Sherwell


  • Jenna M. DeLuca
  • Jyoti S. Kashyap
  • Lydia E. Mack
  • Mariah S. Squire

Donald C. Cox Travel Award Recipients

Donald C. Cox Graduate Travel Awards were established in honor of Donald Cox, dedicated professor and former chair of the Department of Microbiology. The award provides $500 for national or $1,000 for international to help fund travel to a national or international meeting for a research presentation, or attendance at a workshop beneficial to the graduate student's research. Recent recipients include:


  • Adam Creighbaum
    2019 Archaea: Ecology, Metabolism and Molecular Biology
  • Monica Feng
    5th Biennial Meeting: US Organizations for Mycoplasmology Conference 2019
  • Jyoti Kashyap
    Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory Microbiome 2019
  • Joseph Mikulin
    American Association of Immunologists Immunology 2019
  • Nathan Schwab
    5th Biennial Meeting: US Organizations for Mycoplasmology Conference 2019
  • Shrameeta Shinde
    American Society for Microbiology Microbe 2019
  • Sonali Singapuri
    The Ohio Branch of the American Society for Microbiology 2019

Other Award Recipients

Graduate students can receive travel awards from the host scientific organizations, based on for the quality of their research presentations. Recent recipients include:


  • Nathan Schwab
    Travel Award - 22nd Congress of the International Organization for Mycoplasmology