Davidson Lab

Current Lab Personnel

Graduate Students

Olesia Ivantsiv

Olesia started in September, 2011, and defended her thesis in November, 2018. She has provided the first detailed understanding of Tfa proteins. These ubiquitous phage proteins are required for the proper assembly of tail fibres that phages use to recognize their host cells.

Sabrina Stanley

Sabrina started in October, 2012, and defended her thesis in June, 2018. Sabrina unraveled the complicated mechanism by which phages regulate the expression of anti-CRISPR proteins, providing the first insight into the function of the ubiquitous anti-CRISPR associated (Aca) proteins.

Olesia (far left) with former graduate students, April Pawluk and Amber Zhu, Bianca, and former post-doctoral fellow, Carina Buttner.

Maria Vladimirov

Maria started in September, 2013 and will soon be finishing her Ph.D. She has performed bioinformatic and experimental studies on fascinating phage tail-like entities, called PVCs, that can kill eukaryotic cells. For the first time, she has identified a function for PVCs in Streptomyces. She has also delineated the major groups of PVCs and identified the unique features of each.

Maria (right) with Bianca.

Chidozie Ojobor

Chidozie is a Ph.D. student who entered the lab in February, 2016. He is studying phage tail-like bacterial killing agents, known as F-pyocins, that are produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Chidozie is figuring how the host range of F-pyocins is determined and how they are able to kill cells.

Popping the Champagne as Sabrina defends her thesis.

Chidozie (centre) amazes Eric (left) and Vasu (right) with his pipetting skill.

Eric Lu

Eric is a Ph.D. student who started in September, 2016. He is working on a family of anti-CRISPR that inhibits diverse type I-F CRISPR-Cas systems. These anti-CRISPRs function through a remarkable mechanism by which the CRISPR-Cas complex is rendered unable to recognize it specific target site. At the same time, it gains the ability to tightly bind non-specific DNA.

Clockwise from left, Cayla, Brian, Sabrina (can barely see her), Ruth and Yurima enjoy our beautiful lab.

Cayla Burk

Cayla, a Ph.D. student, started in January, 2017. Cayla is working on a previously uncharacterized contractile tail-like entity in Salmonella. These tails are encoded in hundreds of Salmonella genomes, and Cayla has recently shown that they have bactericidal activity.

Priscilla Wang

Priscilla, an M.Sc. student, started in January, 2018. Priscilla, who is co-supervised by Dev Sidhu, is developing selection approaches to evolve the specificity of Cas9-inhibiting anti-CRISPRs.

From left: Priscilla, Ruth, Eric, Yurima, Chidozie, Olesia, Cayla, Brian, Sabrina, Bianca, and Vasu.

Ruth Zhang

Ruth, a Ph.D. student, started in January, 2018. Ruth, with Maria, is part of the PVC team. Ruth is defining the role of various proteins in the assembly of PVCs, including the elusive PVC tape measure protein.

Kristina Sztanko

Kristina, a Ph.D. student, started in January, 2018. Kristina is elucidating the mechanisms determining the host range specificity of phages infecting Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In particular, she is focused on how phages bind to the type IV pilus, which is a key virulence determinant.

Brian Hicks

Brian, an M.Sc. student, started in January, 2019. Brian is studying a diverse family of anti-CRISPR proteins that inhit the type I-E CRISPR-Cas system.

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Bianca performs the ritual slaughter of Andrew Wong, former undergrad in the lab, who sadly decided to attend graduate school at a different institution. Assisting are Sabrina, Vivian Cheung (lab friend), and Yurima.

Permanent Staff

Bianca Garcia

Bianca, Senior Research Associate, has worked in the Davidson lab since 2002. Bianca has worked on many projects and is the master of all molecular biology techniques. Her most recent work involves discovering and assaying large numbers of anti-CRISPRs. Bianca also makes sure that the lab keeps running smoothly.

Yurima Hidalgo-Reyes

Yurima started as a technician in 2008, following Bianca from Havana to the Davidson lab. Yurima has worked on many projects and also plays key roles in keeping the lab running.

Vasu Gautam

Vasu joined the lab in April, 2015. Vasu has undertaken a variety of bioinformatic studies aimed at accurately annotating and understanding the functions of phage morphogenetic proteins.

Chantel Trost

Chantel joined the lab in June, 2016. Chantel discovered and is characterizing an incredible anti-CRISPR that rips apart the type I-F CRISPR-Cas complex.

Kristina enjoying an awesome talk at the Phage/Viral Assembly meeting.

Marios Mejdani

Marios started in September, 2014, and defended his thesis in July, 2019. His work focused on an intriguing anti-CRISPR (AcrIIE2) that binds to the Type I-E CRISPR-Cas complex, but does not prevent binding to ist specific DNA target. This inactivated complex can repress or activate transcription.

Marios captured by world's scariest phage.

Recent Former Lab Members