PEOPLE

Principal Investigator

Erik Wright (Google Scholar, Twitter)
PhD Microbiology @ UW-Madison
M.S. Civil & Environmental Engineering @ UW-Madison
B.S. 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
B.A. 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
B.A. 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

Samuel Blechman
B.S. Biochemistry @ University of Akron


Sam is a Research Specialist working on understanding the role of compensatory mutations in maintaining antibiotic resistance. He plans to return to graduate school after gaining more research experience in the Wright lab.
Allison Petrick
B.S. Biology @ Robert Morris University


Alli is a Research Specialist working on inter-cellular communication among soil bacteria. Her goal is to go to medical school after acquiring more research experience.

Postdocs

Nick Cooley
PhD Chemistry @ University of Missouri
B.S. 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.

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
B.S. Mathematics @ 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.

Undergraduate Students

Shania Khatri
Biology major @ Georgia Institute of Technology


Shania is an undergraduate student studying Biology at the Georgia Institute of Technology. For the 2020 - 2021 academic year she is completing a research internship in the Wright Lab where she is studying the extended evolution of Staphylococcus aureus to the antibiotic vancomycin.


Lab Alumni