PEOPLE

Principal Investigator

Erik Wright (Google Scholar, Twitter)
PhD Microbiology @ UW-Madison
MS Civil & Environmental Engineering @ UW-Madison
BS Electrical & Computer Engineering @ Cornell University


Erik's research integrates experimental and computational approaches to tackle the problem of antibiotic resistance. Although antibiotics have been used by microorganisms for eons, it remains unclear how these organisms have mitigated the rise of antibiotic resistance in their competitors. Erik studies the strategies that naturally antibiotic-producing bacteria have evolved to discourage the build-up of resistance, how we might employ similar tactics in the clinic, and how some pathogens have adapted to overcome antibiotics while paying a minimal price for resistance. The goal of this research is to develop new strategies for treating infectious disease, ultimately turning the tide against increasing antibiotic resistance.

Administrative Assistant

Maria Bond
MLIS @ University of Pittsburgh
BA Humanities @ University of Pittsburgh


Maria is an administrator in the Department of Biomedical Informatics. She manages administrative matters for the Wright lab, including lab ordering, maintenance of equipment, safety plans, and scheduling. She is dedicated to helping the scientists do their science.

Research Specialist

Ann Donnelly
PhD Chemistry @ Princeton University
BA Chemistry @ Drew University


Ann is a research specialist engaged in many of the lab's projects. Her primary research involves studying the role of compensatory mutations in the evolution of antibiotic resistance. Ann is particularly interested in understanding the challenges associated with restoring antibiotic sensitivity in multi-drug resistant pathogens.

Postdocs

Caroline Birer
PhD Molecular Ecology @ University of French Guiana
MS Chemistry @ Paris-Sud University
PharmD @ Clermont Auvergne University

Caroline is a postdoc studying intercellular communication in the microbiome using small molecule mass spectrometry. She is developing a custom 3D printed platform for high-throughput interrogation of intercellular signaling molecules. The goal of her research is to decipher the context-dependent language that microorganisms use to communicate and apply that knowledge to manipulate the microbiome.
Nick Cooley
PhD Chemistry @ University of Missouri
BS Microbiology; BS Molecular Genetics @ Ohio State University


Nick is a postdoc studying the evolution of biosynthetic gene clusters using computational and experimental approaches. The goal of his research is to discover new antibiotic therapies that can eventually be applied in the clinic. Nick is particularly interested in synthetic biology, and whether existing biosynthetic machinery can be modified to perform new or interesting functions.
Travis De Wolfe (website)
Ph.D. Food Science @ UW-Madison
M.S. Comparative Biomedical Sciences @ UW-Madison
B.S. Natural Sciences @ UW-Madison


Travis is a Postdoctoral Associate studying spatial structuring of the microbiome. The goal of his research is to use advanced technologies to test theories about the role of 3D structuring in shaping the ecology of microbial communities in biological and environmental samples. In addition, Travis is optimizing high-throughput workflows for microbiome data collection and bioinformatic analysis.
María Rebolleda-Gómez
PhD Ecology, Evolution and Behavior @ University of Minnesota
BS Biology @ Universidad Autónoma de México


María is a Pittsburgh Ecology and Evolution Postdoctoral Fellow studying the role of spatial structure and dispersal in the evolution of antibiotic resistance. The goal of her research is to understand how antimicrobial resistance evolves and it is maintained in meta-communities (e.g., hosts connected by infection). Additionally, María is interested in the evolution of symbiosis and heritability in complex systems and the evolution of microbes in a community context.

Graduate Students

Andrew Beckley
Biomedical Informatics PhD Fellow
B.S. Microbiology @ University of Rochester


Andrew is a doctoral fellow in the Biomedical Informatics Training Program at the University of Pittsburgh. His research in the Wright lab involves mining electronic health records for correlations between antibiotic prescribing and clinical outcomes. Andrew's goal is to improve patient care by decreasing untoward outcomes of antibiotic use and developing strategies to mitigate antibiotic resistance.
Deepank Korandla
MS Computational Biology @ Carnegie Mellon University
BA Biology @ Carnegie Mellon University


Deepank is a student in the Master’s in Computational Biology program at Carnegie Mellon University. In the Wright lab he is developing machine learning approaches for finding genes in genomes, and through this experience learning how to solve computational problems at the intersection of biology and genomics. After graduation, Deepank intends to pursue a career in industry where he can apply computational tools to solve problems in the biomedical field.
Lauren Rost
Biomedical Informatics PhD Fellow
B.A. Biology @ St. Mary’s College of Maryland


Lauren is a doctoral fellow in the Biomedical Informatics Program at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research involves mining electronic health records for antibiotic usage patterns and rates of antibiotic resistance within clinical settings. The goal of Lauren's research is to determine effective strategies for antibiotic stewardship that will ultimately reduce antibiotic resistance and improve patient care.


Lab Alumni