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 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.
Sofia Garman
B.S. Biology & Spanish @ Washington & Jefferson College

Sofia is a Research Specialist studying the combinatory effects of antibiotics and their potential to combat antibiotic resistance. Her goal is to continue gaining research experience at the Wright lab before pursuing a graduate degree.
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.


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.
Gabriela Sycz
PhD in Biological Chemistry – Molecular Microbiology @ University of Buenos Aires
B.S. & M.S. in Biological Sciences @ University of Buenos Aires

Gabriela (Gaby) is a postdoc characterizing novel biosynthetic gene clusters in naturally antibiotic producing bacteria. She is using genetic manipulations to elicit antibiotic production and mass spectrometry to identify new antibiotics. Her main goal is to find ways to fight the problem of bacterial antibiotic resistance.

Graduate Students

Shu-Ting Cho
M.S. in Plant Pathology and Microbiology @ National Taiwan University
B.S. in Life Sciences @ National Central University

Shu-Ting is a graduate student in the Joint CMU-Pitt Ph.D. Program in Computational Biology (CPCB) at the University of Pittsburgh. She is currrently studying the evolution of tandem repeats in genomes, which underly many human diseases.
Aidan Lakshman
B.S. Mathematics @ University of Central Florida

Aidan is a doctoral fellow in the Biomedical Informatics Training Program at the University of Pittsburgh. His work involves using causal modeling to unravel the evolution of prokaryotic genomes. The goal of his research is to show what can be gleaned from tens of thousands of genomes that cannot be learned from only having a few genomes.
Nishant Panicker
B.S. Biology @ Azim Premji University

Nishant is a graduate student in the Integrative Systems Biology program at the University of Pittsburgh. The goal of his research is to predict the evolutionary pathway(s) toward antibiotic resistance to inform clinical decisions on antibiotic treatment strategies. Nishant uses a combination of mathematical models and experimental approaches.