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 Assistant Professor

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

Ann is a Research Assistant Professor 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.

Research Specialists

Bradley Nanna
BS Cellular and Molecular Biology @ Liberty University

Brad is a Research Specialist working on understanding the role of compensatory mutations in maintaining antibiotic resistance. He is excited about learning how genomes adapt to newly acquired genetic information and vice versa. After gaining more research experience, Brad plans to return to school to pursue a PhD or medical degree.
Krizia-Ivana Udquim
MPhil Applied Biological Anthropology @ University of Cambridge
BS Biological Sciences; BA Cultural Anthropology @ University of Maryland - Baltimore County

Krizia is a Research Specialist assisting with a variety of different projects in the Wright lab. She is particularly interested in evolutionary adaptations, especially how they affect health outcomes in the clinic. In the future, Krizia intends to return to school to pursue a medical degree.


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.

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.


Aidan Lakshman
Mathematics major @ University of Central Florida

Aidan is interning with the Wright Lab as part of the University of Pittsburgh Research Training Program. His work involves using algebraic rearrangement theory to identify large-scale genome mutations in prokaryotes. Ultimately, Aidan seeks to better understand the evolution of genome architecture and its role in antibiotic resistance.
Nithya Narayanan
Bioengineering major @ University of Pittsburgh

Nithya is an undergraduate studying Bioengineering at Pitt. Her work involves assembling spatially associated soil bacterial communities and optimizing methods for bacterial identification. After graduating, Nithya intends to study public health in graduate school.

Lab Alumni