University of South Florida
Department of Pediatrics, Molecular Genetics
Children’s Research Institute in St. Petersburg,
801 Sixth Street South, CRI3008
St. Petersburg, Fl 33701
ldishaw [at] usf.edu
Loop profile: 28944
Dr. Ojas Natarjan earned his PhD at Clemson in 2018 studying nutraceuticals and aging in C. elegans. Ojas is now be focusing on studying the role of secreted immune effectors, such as VCBPs in Ciona, in modulating the ecology and biology of gut microbiomes. Ojas is also using recombinant engineering approaches to manipulate gut bacterial isolates.As a postdoc, Ojas is helping develop a variety of our programs, co-lead our mentorship efforts, and help steer the ship! He will also get unique opportunities to teach within USF and at St. Petersburg College.We are very lucky to have Ojas join our lab.
Celine will also be competing for a NSF graduate research fellowship award, help in our lab's mission to improve science communication, and also help develop and implement our outreach programs. We are so happy to have Celine join us! Welcome!
April Ellis is a PhD student who graduated with a MPH degree from Emory University. She joined our lab via the USF College of Marine Sciences in the Fall of 2020 and will be studying microplastics, and how they impact animals in the marine environment— she will be modeling her investigations in Ciona.
April will also be competing fellowship awards, help in our lab's mission to improve science communication, and also help develop and implement our outreach programs.We are so happy to have April join us! Welcome!
Adam Cruz is a masters student with the USF Biomedical Sciences Program. In our lab, he is working on Carbon Utilization pathways of bacterial isolates from the Ciona gut. Update July 2021: Adam just defended his masters thesis! Congratulations Adam!
Morgan Young is a computer science and bioinformatics specialist who joined our team in 2020. She has become vital in our efforts to map metabolic pathways in bacteria. Welcome Morgan!
Natalia Pluta is a graduate of the USF Biomedical Sciences program and she just got accepted to medical school (Spring 2021). Congratulations Natalia! Natalia interned for us in Fall 2020 and then we hired her for technical support on several projects this spring. She is awesome and will be great in any field!
Summer interns 2019: Caleb Poock from U. North Florida and Alexis Peterson, our REU student on the NSF-MCB project.
Former recent undergrads: Cheri Lotfi, Gio Duca, Elliana Walster, Michael Schepps, and Julie Voelschow. Good luck to Jessica Kramarz on her mission with the Peace Corps.
Britt was supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program. She is now a postdoc at Vanderbilt with Seth Bordenstein.
- Jeff Gralnick, Ph.D, University of Minnesota, Microbial Engineering
- Assunta Liberti, Ph.D former Postdoc, now at SZN (Naples, Italy)
- Paolo Sordino, Ph.D., Naples, Italy
- Bill Baker,Ph.D, USF Chemistry
- Les Shaw, Ph.D, USF Cell Biology, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology
- John Cannon, Ph.D, at USF Pediatrics, Molecular Genetics
- Gary Litman, Ph.D, at USF Pediatrics, Molecular Genetics (now Emeritus Professor)
- Mya Brietbart, Ph.D, at USF Marine Sciences
- Maureen Groer, Ph.D, at USF College of Nursing
- Jack Gilbert, Ph.D, at U. Chicago and Argonne National Labs
- Hans Peter Grossart, Ph.D, Aquatic Microbial Ecology and Biodiversity, Potsdam University
- At USF include Stephen Kornfeld, M.D, Panida Sriaroon, M.D., Jenn Leiding, M.D. and Jolan Walter, M.D.
- At JH-ACH, Katie Wasylik, M.D., and Suzanne Jackman, M.D.
- Rosaria De Santis, Ph.D, and Maria Rosaria Pinto, Ph.D, at the Stazione Zoologica Anton Dorhn, Naples, Italy. These collaborators (both now emeritus professors) first introduced us to Ciona and the rest is history!
- Several additional collaborations and projects are just developing.
Our research is or has been supported by:
National Science Foundation (IOS and MCB)
National Institutes of Health (our collaboration with Dr. Groer in USF Nursing)
All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine Foundation (several studies)
University of South Florida College of Medicine Deans Office (several early studies in Ciona)