Our Group

Group Leaders


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Roy Curtiss

Professor

Infectious Diseases & Pathology

College of Veterinary Medicine

 

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Josephine Clark-Curtiss

Professor

Emerging Pathogens Institute

College of Medicine

 


Research Associate Professors

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Qingke Kong

Qingke Kong received his PhD from Nankai University, China in 2004. His research team is affiliated with the Curtiss lab.

Qingke’s research interests are:

1) to develop attenuated live Salmonella vaccine and naturally generate nano-particle vaccines to prevent multiple enteric bacterial infections via remodeling Salmonella outer membrane to maximally expose the conserved outer membrane proteins to the host immune systems by genetic manipulation of Salmonella.

2) to extend our technologies to construct live Salmonella to deliver polysaccharide from specific Gram-negative and Gram-positive pathogens, and to explore a cheap, easy way to deliver polysaccharide-based vaccines for children and elderly populations, while achieving strong induction of memory and protective immunity.

3) to determine in situ structure of the intact injectisome by genetic manipulation combined with high-throughput cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET). This work is done in collaboration with Dr. Jun Liu and Dr. Bo Hu at the University of Texas.

 

Shifeng Wang

Shifeng Wang received his PhD from Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine/Chinese CDC, China in 2002

Shifeng Wang’s work focuses on developing recombinant attenuated Salmonella-based vaccines against Streptococcus pneumoniae and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. He likes soccer.

 


Postdoctoral Fellows

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Whittney Burda

Whittney Burda received her PhD from the University of South Florida where she focused on elucidating the pathogenic and drug resistance mechanisms of the opportunistic pathogen Staphylococcus aureus.  Her work in the Curtiss lab focuses on furthering development of a vaccine against pneumococcal pneumonia using RASV as a delivery vector.

 

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Hedwin Kitdorlang Dkhar

Hedwin Kitdorlang Dkhar obtained his doctorate degree from CSIR-IMTECH-JNU, India in 2014. Kit has worked with the host-pathogen interaction paradigm during the course of tuberculosis infection. In the quest and curiosity to know more about human diseases and finding ways to cure them, he joined the Curtiss Clark-Curtiss group in August 2015. As a postdoc, he will be working in the project area “Vaccine Development, Bacterial Pathogenesis and Immunology Research”. Kit is highly passionate about bench to bedside translational science where he wishes to contribute in the biomedical and microbial infection biology.

Outside the lab he loves to swim, play different sports, travel new places. He also enjoys cooking and listening to music.

 

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Amir Ghasemi

Amir finished his PhD with distinction on the “Study of Brucella melitensis four gene products’ potential in inducing in vitro and in vivo immune responses”, in August 2012 at the Medical Microbiology Department, Tehran University of Medical Sciences and Avicenna Institute, Iran. In this study he demonstrated that a combination of two antigens is as protective against B. melitensis infection in mice as a standard attenuated live vaccine and, thus, may be used as subunit vaccine in livestock. After that, He continued his study at Kashan university of Medical Sciences as assistant professor from 2013 to 2015. Since March 2016, He is a postdoctoral Associate at the Curtiss-Clark-Curtiss Research Group and is trying to develop an effective vaccine against Helicobacter pylori using RASVs system.

 

 Huali

 Huali Su

Dr. Huali Su works as a postdoctoral associate in the Curtiss-Clark-Curtiss Research Group since May 2016. She received her PhD in Preventive Veterinary Medicine from China Agricultural University. During her doctoral study, she worked on “molecular cloning and function identification of the T cell activation associated co-stimulation receptors of swine”. She worked as a postdoctoral associate on feed probiotic in the State Key Laboratory of Direct-Fed Microbial Engineering in China before she came into this lab. Now her research focuses on development and evaluation of attenuated Samonella vaccine to deliver heterologous polysaccharides from important bacterial pathogens to induce mucosal and systemic immune responses.

 

  • 352-294-4083
  • hualisu@ufl.edu
  • Publications
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Banikalyan Swain

Banikalyan received his PhD in Biotechnology from Utkal University, India in 2014. His doctoral work was on “Molecular Characterization of NOD-like receptors modulating the innate immunity in Indian major carps”. He worked as a postdoctoral research associate in Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), India from August 2014 to October 2015. He is continuing as a postdoctoral associate in the Curtiss-Clark-Curtiss Research Group since October 2015, and his work focuses on the effects of RASVs in modulating the innate immune responses on mucosal surfaces.

 

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Stephan Willias

Stephan’s central research objective is to develop innovative therapeutic strategies and vaccine candidates against priority bacterial pathogens. Specifically, he is interested in designing medical countermeasures against Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of plague. In general, his research efforts involve characterizing virulence factors, identifying novel strategies for attenuation, creating live vaccine constructs, and evaluating protective efficacy.

 

 

Ananta Prasad Arukha

Ananta hails from a diverse scientific background. During his initial years he has extensively worked on bronchial asthma, malarial parasite, chikungunya virus and stem cell therapy. He was awarded his Ph. D. from the Visva Bharati, Santiniketan, India in 2013. His doctoral research was focussed on the “Isolation and characterization of Lactic acid bacteria for constitutive production of β-galactosidase”, wherein a novel bacteria Lactobacillus fermentum M1 was isolated and characterized, which constitutively produced β-galactosidase. Post his doctoral studies, Ananta joined Dr. S. K. Gupta’s research team at the National Institute of Immunology, India and worked on the project titled “Development of Contraceptive Vaccine and Novel Delivery Strategies for wildlife with special reference to the street dog population management”. The team could develop a novel immunocontraceptive comprising of GnRH and ZP3 for curtailment of fertility. He has joined the Curtiss-Clark-Curtiss Research Group as a postdoctoral associate in September, 2016 and is working on the development of contraceptive vaccines to control rodent population

 

  • 352-294-4083
  • ananta.arukha@ufl.edu

Vinicius Pereira de Lima Junior, DVM

Vinicius was awarded a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Universidade Federal de Goiás, Brazil in 2016.

Vinicius’ expertise encompasses broad aspects of avian pathology and microbiology, including diagnostics, disease pathogenesis, and treatment. Current research interests focus upon evaluating the efficacy of live recombinant attenuated Salmonella vaccines against priority poultry pathogens. Specifically, Vinicius’ aims to control Campylobacter jejuni, avian pathogenic E. coli, Clostridium perfringens, and Salmonella spp.


Research Technicians

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Shilpa Sanapala

Biological Scientist

Shilpa Sanapala received her master’s degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2011. She has been with the Curtiss group since August 2011. Her work primarily involves construction and evaluation of recombinant attenuated Salmonella vaccines specifying antigen synthesis of protective antigens of Yersinia pestis, enteric pathogens, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and analysis of mucosal, humoral as well as cellular responses in mice.

Her hobbies include hiking, singing and painting.

 

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Soo-Young Wanda

Senior Biological Scientist

Soo-Young Wanda works relate to construction and evaluation Salmonella vaccine vector and Synechocystis sp. PCC6803.

 


Graduate Students

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Matthew Bellefleur

Matt Bellefleur works with Synechocystis sp. PCC6803, a readily transformable cyanobacterium. His project manipulates the efflux pumps of the bacterium in order to excrete cell products during active growth. Outside the lab his hobbies include rowing and cycling.

 

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Yue Han

Yue is a joint-PhD student from Sichuan Agricultural University, China. Her research focus on development and evaluation of heterologous polysaccharide vaccines delivered by attenuated Salmonella against Avian Pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC).

  • 352-294-4083
  • yue.han@ufl.edu

Jessica Jacob MS

Jessica Jacob is currently a PhD student at the University of Florida.  She received a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology degree in 2011 and a Master of Science in Marine Science degree in 2012, both from Hawaii Pacific University.  She fell in love with dolphins at a young age and has been passionate about them every since.  Her research interests include understanding the role of infectious agents in marine mammals at both the individual and population level.         

  • 352-294-4083
  • jessicamjacob@ufl.edu

Undergraduate Students

   Jingyu Zhou

   Richard A Callum

   Amy Guzman

   Katherine Gonzalez


Administrative Support

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Paul Hartig

Research Programs & Services Coordinator

Paul Hartig is responsible for the financial workings of the lab including grant budget preparation, financial reports, purchasing and all other fiscal concerns.  Paul also serves as the office manager for the group and is responsible for maintaining non research related data and interacting with all administrative entities within the department, the college and the university, as well as the outside vendors. He also seeks out funding opportunities and assembles the grant proposals for final submission.

 

  • 352-294-4216
  • paulhartig@ufl.edu
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Tina Hartig

Lab Manager

Tina Hartig joined the Curtiss/Clark-Cutiss group in 1992 and has worked with their group at Washington University, Arizona State University and presently at University of Florida. Her current title is Laboratory Manager for both Dr. Roy Curtiss III and Dr. Josephine Clark-Curtiss. Her responsibilities include providing researchers with essential supplies necessary for daily experiments, equipment maintenance and repair, laboratory safety compliance including training incoming research personnel, safety protocols and procedures. She also maintains a large assortment of common stock laboratory supplies, has extensive experience and knowledge of steam sterilizer operations and manages the group’s database for it’s complete strain collection.

 

  • 352-294-8188
  • tina.hartig@ufl.edu

Lab Alumni

Stephen Forbes Postdoctoral Fellow July, 2015-June, 2016
Rachael A Ferrall Veterinary Student May, 2016-August, 2016 University of Florida
Leandra F Mosca Veterinary Student May, 2016-August, 2016 University of Florida
Wei Sun Research Associate Professor July, 2015-February, 2017 Albany Medical College
Yang Zhou Postdoctoral Fellow Dec, 2015-May, 2017 Huangzhong Agricultural University
Christie Hay Biological Scientist August, 2015-July, 2017
Jessica Pelland Biological Scientist June 2016-August, 2017 Vanderbilt University
Tyler T Charbonneau Veterinary Student May, 2017-August, 2017 University of Florida
Fernanda D Gusmao Veterinary Student May, 2017-August, 2017 University of Florida