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Stephanie Shames, Ph.D.

My fascination with bacterial pathogens originated while completing my Honors Bachelor of Medical Sciences at the University of Western Ontario (London, ON, Canada) in Microbiology and Immunology where I studied bacterial superantigens and their interaction with T cells. 


I then moved on to earn my Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC, Canada).  During my graduate training, I studied type III secreted effector proteins from the attaching and effacing (A/E) pathogens. 


I subsequently pursued post-doctoral training at the Yale School of Medicine.  My post-doctoral research focused on the identification and characterization of Legionella pneumophila effectors that contribute to virulence using a high-throughput transposon insertion sequencing technique called INSeq.  I started my faculty appointment at K-State in October 2017.


In my spare time, I'm either cycling, running or at a yoga studio.

Principal Investigator



Deepika Chauhan, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Scholar

I pursued my interest in biology by acquiring a bachelor’s degree in Life Sciences from the University of Delhi (New Delhi, India) followed by M.Sc. in Toxicology from Jamia Hamdard University (New Delhi, India). During my master’s dissertation, I studied the effect of adoptive transfer experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (an animal model of multiple sclerosis) on corpus callosum of mice.

Subsequently, I pursued my Ph.D. in Microbiology from Shiv Nadar University, India, where while handling multiple projects, I found the opportunity to work with various pathogenic and non-pathogenic strains of bacteria. My Ph.D. thesis was focused on the identification and characterization of environmental bacteria having potential biotechnological applications. In a second major project, I functionally characterized a cell wall hydrolase, Slt, in Caulobacter crescentus and studied its role in PG remodeling, cell division, and antibiotic resistance. In addition, I attained experience in projects where we characterized genes involved in Staphylococcus aureus biofilm formation and investigated the mechanism of action of small molecules against S. aureus pathogenicity. While working on these projects I acquired my interest in the area of bacterial pathogenesis.

In the Shames lab, I found the opportunity to work on and learn about an intracellular bacterial pathogen Legionella pneumophila which is an excellent model to understand the mechanism of pathogen detection by the mammalian innate immune system.

In my leisure time, I like traveling, running, and meditating


Tshegofatso Ngwaga

Ph.D. Candidate


Ashley Joseph

My interest in infectious diseases research started when I was old enough to understand the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. And so, after completing my undergraduate degree, I joined the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP), a reference laboratory in partnership between the government of Botswana and Harvard University. During my time at BHP I received the Fogarty Fellowship, which allowed me to carry out independent research by the end of the which I had optimized an in-house assay for HIV Integrase genotyping. This assay is now being used nationwide to screen patients failing 2nd line HIV therapy for resistance mutations to Integrase before they are placed in salvage antiretroviral drugs containing integrase inhibitors.


I am now especially interested in looking at the role of the immune system and understanding mechanism through which pathogens continue to evade it, with a view of developing new potent drugs/therapies and/or vaccines. This is why I joined Dr. Shames and team in March 2018. The research the lab is conducting on Legionella pneumophila is exciting and engaging and is at this very moment, what I am pursuing a graduate degree in the lab.


Outside of work, I like to read novels, papers, keep up with world news, try out new food recipes and walking.

I earned my Bachelor of Science in Biology from California State University, Monterey Bay. My research focused on microbial ecology and the effect of agricultural runoff on bacterial dispersion and evolution within a constructed wetland.  I was interested in learning how bacteria can be beneficial to environmental and community health through metabolism of organophosphate pesticides as a nitrogen source thus reversing the negative impact of agricultural runoff.


Following graduation, I worked for 3 years as a microbiologist at The Clorox Company where I gained an interest in pathogenic microorganisms working with Clostridium difficile spores and other human pathogens as part of the Professional Products Innovation and Devices team. 


In the Shames lab, I work as part of the metaeffectors team, defining the role and mechanisms of metaeffector proteins in Legionella pneumophila virulence and survival.   


When I’m not in the lab I enjoy being outside with my dog, anything Harry Potter, and really terrible jokes- what’s the best thing about deadly snakes? They’ve got poisonality

Ph.D. Candidate

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I first became interested in the microscopic world in high school, reading books about cell biology and new advancements in medicine through the exploration of cellular mechanisms. This is what sparked my interest in the medical microbiology major, and upon graduation in the spring of 2022 I plan to attend graduate school to ultimately earn a PhD in pharmacology/toxicology and work in drug development.


In my free time I like to read, run, and hang out with friends

Lilly Mick

Undergraduate Researcher

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My interest in Biology started as a senior in high school while taking an AP Biology class. From there my love for the sciences has grown with my current goal to work in heart surgery. I am a Biology major and set to graduate in the Spring of 2024. I will then pursue an occupation in the Allied Health Professions depending on where my interest in Biology takes me.


I am a huge Kansas City sports fan from the Chiefs and Royals to Sporting KC. I love participating in almost any sport and spending my time outside.

Will Sydzyik

Undergraduate Researcher

My interest in science comes from its ability to reliably explain observed phenomena. Then in part, medicine applies science's lessons to affect people's lives. As a result, cell biology has been one of my favorite courses because it explains the complexity of health and disease on the cellular level. I plan to graduate with a B.A. in Medical Microbiology in the Spring of 2022 and matriculate into medical school.


In my free time, I enjoy playing guitar, reading, and conversing with friends and family

Andrew Haskell

Undergraduate Researcher

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My name is Sabrina Veith and I’m majoring in Biology and minoring in Spanish on a Pre-Medicine track. I’m very interested in human health and want to learn as much as I can about it. I think it’s important as a future physician to understand medicine from all aspects, including the microscopic ones

Sabrina Veith

Undergraduate Researcher

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I do my own thing and am a big fan of hiding.  Sometimes I let them write about me.

Lenny Legionella

Lab Mascot/Muse


Ben Hulsing, B.S., Microbiology, Kansas State University. Undergraduate Researcher (Fall 2018-Spring 2021) Class of 2021. Ben's research was focused on whether Legionella effectors that augment host immunity are able to restrict other bacterial pathogens. His work also contributed to defining the interaction between LegC4 and its host binding partners. Ben is off to complete his MS in Microbiology at the University of Michigan.  Keep in touch, Ben!

Emily Gibson, B.S., Biology, Kansas State Univerisyt. Undergradaute Researcher (Summer 2018-Spring 2021), Class of 2021. Emily's research involved understadning how Sorghum polyphenols and Legionella effectors influence Listeria monocytogenes intracellular replication. She is planning to attend P.A. school in the near future.  Keep in touch, Emily!

Adrienne Pohl, B.S, Microbiology, Kansas State University. Undergraduate Researcher (Fall 2018-Fall 2020) Class of  2021.  Adrienne's research involved undertanding how effectors and metaeffectors interact with each other. She is an author on our Infection and Immunity paper on SidI and MesI. Adrienne is interested in pursuing her Ph.D. in neuroscience.  Keep in touch, Adrienne!


Abigail Salberg, B.S., Biology, Kansas State University. Undergraduate Researcher (Spring, 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020) Class of 2021. Abigail's research has gotten us closer to understanding how the Legionella pneumophila effector LegC4 attenuates bacterial replication in cytokine-activated macrophages and she will be a co-author on an upcoming publication! Abigail is currently completing her senior year at KSU. Keep in touch!

Aubrey Gilchrist, B.S., Microbiology, Kansas State University. Undergraduate Researcher (May 2019-Dec 2019) Class of 2020.  Aubrey's research revealed that sorghum bran polyphenols can restrict Legionella pneumophila intracellular replication in mouse macrophages!  Her first-author paper has been published in FEMS Microbiology Letters!!


TJ Ball, B.S., Biology, Kansas State University. Undergraduate Researcher (Jan 2018-May 2019) Class of 2020.  TJ's research involved defining molecular mechanisms of Legionella effectors function. He achieved a lot in the lab and his work has earned him authorship on a manuscript in preparation. He was the recipient of a College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Scholarship and plans to pursue medical school after graduation.


Alex Hydock, B.S., Biology, Kansas State University. Undergraduate Researcher (Oct 2017-Jan 2019) Class of 2020. Alex's research project involved investigating mechanisms of L. pneumophila effector-triggered immunity for which he earned authorship on the lab's first publication in the Journal of Bacteriology!  He was the recipient of a College of Arts & Sciences Undergraduate Scholarship, a Kansas-INBRE Semester Scholar Award and a Most Promising Student award from the Division of Biology!  Alex is currently in at KUMC earning his M.D.  Keep in touch, Alex!


Shraddha Shrestha, M.S., Research Assistant (Dec 2017-April 2018).  Shraddha was our first research assistant very helpful in getting us set up!  She has moved on to an exciting position at a company in Wiley, Texas.  Keep in touch, Shraddha!


Meghan Regher, B.S. Biology, Kansas State University (Spring 2018) Meghan was with us for one semester earning laboratory credit.  She was a joy to have in the lab!  Looking forward to seeing your future achievements, Meghan - Keep in touch!