Projects & Investigators

Fey Sketch




Dr. Fey


Paul D. Fey, PhD, D(ABMM)
Professor of Pathology & Microbiology.
Medical Director of Clinical Microbiology Laboratory, Nebraska Medicine. 

Dr. Fey received his training in staphylococcal biology, pathogenesis and genetics from Dr. Richard Goering (PhD Creighton University 1995) and Dr. Gordon Archer (Post-doctoral fellowship Medical College of Virginia 1995-1997). Clinical microbiology training was received from both St. Joseph’s Hospital in Omaha, NE and Medical College of Virginia Hospital in Richmond, VA.


Tra-My N Hoang, BS (PhD Candidate)

BS University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE (Biology) 
Tramy is currently studying transcriptional regulation of the icaADBC locus in Staphylococcus epidermidis.  icaADBC encodes enzymes that function in the synthesis of polysaccharide intercellular adhesion (PIA), a major accumulation molecule in biofilm formation.


Chunyi Zhou, BM (PhD candidate)

BM (Bachelor of Clinical Medicine) Xinxiang Medical University, Henan, China.
Chunyi is currently assessing arginine metabolism in Staphylococcus aureus and its relationship to urease activity and function.


McKenzie Lehman, PhD 
Instructor, Pathology & Microbiology Department

BS Creighton University (Biology)
PhD University of Nebraska Medical Center
Dr. Lehman received her PhD in 2014 from UNMC in Dr. Ken Bayles Laboratory studying the two component regulatory system LytSR.  She is currently studying amino acid metabolism in S. aureus; particularly the regulation and function of glutamate dehydrogenase (gudB) which synthesizes 2-oxoglutarate from glutamate.

Fareha Razvi, PhD  (Post-doctoral fellow)

BS  in Botany, Delhi University, India (1996)
MS in Genetics, Delhi University, India  (1998)
PhD  Aachen University (Fraunhofer-Munich) Germany (2003)
Dr. Razvi is currently studying acetate catabolism in S. aureus and the mechanisms that function to activate the acetate switch.


Natalie Sturd, BS (technologist)

B.A. Carleton College, Northfield MN (Biology)
Proline is a particularly important for use as  a secondary carbon source and as an osmoprotectant in S. aureus.  Natalie is studying the transport of proline within different biological niches and growth conditions.

Cortney Halsey


 Cortney Halsey, PhD

Dr. Halsey received her BS in Biology from Northern State University in Aberdeen SD.  She received her PhD in 2016 (Dissertation title:  “Amino Acid Catabolism in Staphylococcus aureus”) from UNMC where she studied catabolism of multiple amino acids, particularly proline and arginine.  She is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Washington with Michelle Reniere, PhD.

Dianne Wellems


Dianne Wellems, MS

Dianne received her BS in Biology from the University of Georgia and subsequently received her Masters degree at UNMC in 2017 studying proline transport (Thesis title: “Functional Importance of Proline Transporters in Staphylococcus aureus”).  She is currently a PhD student at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, LA.

Roxanne Alter


Roxanne Alter, MT (ASCP), MS 

BS, University of Missouri, Kansas City, MO (Biology)
MT (ASCP), University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
MS, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE (Pathology and Microbiology)

Roxanne coordinated several studies between the Center for Staphylococcal Research and clinical departments at UNMC including multiple studies assessing antimicrobial resistance within the Enterobacteriaceae.
She is currently works in the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory as a state trainer.

Carolyn Schaeffer


Carolyn R. Schaeffer, PhD

Dr. Schaeffer received her PhD in 2014 from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Department of Pathology and Microbiology.  Dissertation title (July 2014): “Contribution of Accumulation-Associated Protein to Staphylococcus epidermidis virulence.”  She performed post-doctoral work in our laboratory studying amino acid metabolism and its connection to urease function in a renal abscess model.  She is currently a medical science liaison for Shire Pharmaceuticals.

Katie Wilcox


Katie L. Maliszewski, PhD

BS Doane College, Crete, NE. Biology
At UNMC, she studied natural competence of Staphylococcus aureus.  Dissertation title (August 2014): “Study of competence for DNA transformation in Staphylococcus aureus.”
Katie was a student in the MD/PhD scholars program at UNMC and is currently an Internal Medicine resident at UNMC.

Jill Lindgren


Jill K. Lindgren, MS

Jill received her BS in Microbiology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  Jill studied the function of arginine deiminase in Staphylococcus epidermidis.  Thesis title (April 2012):  “Native and Acquired Copies of Arginine Deiminase Contribute Differentially to Growth, pH, and Biofilm formation in Staphylococcus epidermidis 1457.” She is currently the mother of two girls and lives in the Twin Cities.

Austin Nuxoll


Austin S. Nuxoll, PhD

BS University of Nebraska-Kearney. Biology
During his time at UNMC, Dr. Nuxoll studied the metabolism and transcriptional regulation of arginine biosynthesis in S. aureus and its relationship to staphylococcal pathogenesis.  Dissertation title (July 2014): “Arginine Biosynthesis in Staphylococcus aureus.”   

He was a post-doctoral fellow studying in the laboratory of Professor Kim Lewis at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

Elaine Waters, PhD


Elaine M. Waters, PhD

Elaine received her PhD from UCD Dublin in Ireland under the mentorship of Professor Jim O’Gara.

She studied the relationship between virulence, biofilm formation and methicillin-resistance in S. aureus. Elaine studied in our laboratory for approximately one year (September 2012-July 2013) in a collaborative project with Professor O’Gara and Hannah McCarthy assessing the function of AtlE in a mouse flank model of infection.  She is currently studying in the laboratory of Professor Aras Kadioglu at the University of Liverpool.

Dr. Jamison


Wendy P. Jamison, PhD

Dr. Jamison received her BS in Biology from the University of Iowa and MS in Biology from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Dr. Jamison studied the emergence and dissemination of blacmy-2 in Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium and Newport. Dissertation title (May 2005):  “Molecular analysis of ceftriaxone-resistant Salmonella enterica.” She was a post-doctoral fellow at NIH Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, MT under the mentorship of Dr. Ted Hackstadt where she studied Chlamydia pathogenesis. She is currently an Associate Professor and Department chair in the Department of Biology at Chadron State University in Chadron, NE.

Dr. Handke


Luke. D. Handke, PhD

Dr. Handke received his BS in Biology from Kansas State University.
He studied phenotypic variation in Staphylococcus epidermidis and also identified several transcriptional regulators of icaADBC transcription including SarA and sB.  Dissertation title (October 2005):  “Phenotypic variation of the ica operon in Staphylococcus epidermidis.”  Luke accepted a post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Linc Sonenshein at Tufts University in Boston where he studied CodY in Bacillus subtilis.  Dr. Handke is currently a Principal Scientist with the vaccine research group at Pfizer in Pearl River, NY.

Shawn Slater


Shawn R. Slater, BS

Shawn (pictured left with Dr. Handke) was a technologist in the laboratory for 6 years (2002-2008) and studied biofilm maturation in S. epidermidis and molecular diagnostics of BSL-3 pathogens (Yersinia pestis and Francisella tularensis).  Shawn currently works for the US government at Dugway Proving Grounds in Dugway, UT. 


Kathie L. Rogers, PhD

Dr. Rogers received her bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University in Wayne, NE. 
She studied class III phenotypic variation in S. epidermidis, which is a deletion event, mediated by insertion sequence elements.  Dissertation title (December 2008): “Genetic characterization of class III phenotypic variation in Staphylococcus epidermidis.”  Dr. Rogers, who had 20 years of experience in clinical microbiology before earning her PhD, is director of clinical microbiology of Iowa Health in Des Moines, Iowa. 

Dr. Michael Olson


Michael E. Olson, PhD

Dr. Olson received a BS in Biochemistry from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.  Dr. Olson wrote his dissertation on genes that function to mediate biofilm maturation in S. epidermidis.  His work was the basis for the current investigation on arginine metabolism.  Dissertation title (April 2009): “Biofilm maturation in Staphylococcus epidermidis.”  Dr. Olson was a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Alex Horswill at the University of Iowa. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Southern Illinois School of Medicine in the Department of Medical Microbiology, Immunology, and Cell Biology.

Lauren Kinkead



Lauren E. Kinkead, BS, PhD

Lauren received her BS in microbiology from Minnesota State Mankato.  She was an undergraduate summer student and technologist for three years where she investigated the effects of TCA cycle mutations on the activity of bactericidal antibiotics against S. epidermidis.  She received a PhD from the University of Iowa studying Francisella tularensis pathogenesis with Dr. Lee-Ann Allen.

Kendall Bryant


Kendall A. Bryant, PhD D(ABMM)

Kendall received his BS in Biology (minor in History) from the University of Tennessee Knoxville.  Dr. Bryant studied the macromolecular synthesis operon of S. epidermidis and identified the function of genes co-transcribed with helicase and primase.  Dissertation title (December 2008):  “Characterization of the macromolecular synthesis operon in Staphylococcus epidermidis.”  Dr. Bryant completed a one- year fellowship at the Kansas Department of Health and received his clinical microbiology fellowship training (CPEP) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  He is currently the director of clinical microbiology at Orlando Health Medical Center in Orlando Florida.

Keith Woods, PhD

Dr. Woods received his BS in Biology from Western Washington and his PhD in Immunology from Kansas State University.  Dr. Woods developed a rat model of intravascular catheter related infection to study S. epidermidis pathogenesis.