Meet the Lab

Associate Professor

Principal Investigator


Phone Number: 734-764-3552

The Current Lab

Postdoctoral Fellow

Kris Blair earned his BS in Microbiology from Indiana University in 1998. After working as a lab manager in Dr. Daniel Kearns lab at IU from 2004 to 2010, he moved to Seattle, WA for graduate school at the University of Washington. Kris earned his PhD in the Nina Salama's lab at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center elucidating mechanisms of helical cell shape control in the gram-negative, human gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori. He is now a postdoctoral fellow in the Immunology and Microbiology Department at the University of Michigan in the Sandkvist lab.

Austin Shannon

Graduate Student

Austin is a PhD student in Dr. Maria Sandkvist’s lab working on the Type-II Secretion System (T2SS) of Vibrio cholerae. His work currently focuses on membrane-bound substrates of the T2SS and the particulars of their transport through the T2SS. Austin received his Bachelor’s of Science in Biomedical Science along with minors in Chemistry and Philosophy from Northern Arizona University in 2016. After undergrad, he spent two years as a Research Technician at the Pathogen and Microbiome Institute (PMI) in Flagstaff, AZ. At PMI, Austin was under the guidance of Dr. Erik Settles and Dr. Paul Keim and aided in developing a serodiagnostic assay for Burkholderia pseudomallei infections. He began his PhD of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Michigan in the fall of 2018.

Colby Gura, M.S.

Research Assistant

Colby earned his BS in 2015 from Aurora University majoring in biology and minors in chemistry and physiology. After 2 years of working as a laboratory technician at Suburban Labs he decided to pursue a master's degree at Bowling Green State University in the Scott O. Rogers Ice Lab. There he performed metagenomic and metatranscriptomic analyses of ice cores retrieved from Lake Vostok, a subglacial lake in Antarctica, to analyze the biodiversity of the lake. After which he graduated in December of 2019. He is currently a research assistant at the University of Michigan Microbiology and Immunology department as part of the Sandkvist lab.

Elin Stone

Undergraduate Student

Elin Stone is an undergraduate at the University of Michigan majoring in biochemistry and minoring in writing. In the lab she assists with the work being done on Acinetobacter baumanii by characterizing a collection of patient isolates obtained from the University hospital. Her free time is spent watching romantic comedies, reading mystery novels, playing card games with her family, and dancing with a student run dance organization. After college Elin hopes to go to medical school and become a pediatrician to pursue her passion for children's health.

Graduate Alumni

Jiaxin Chen

Graduate Student

Jiaxin Chen received her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science at University of California, Davis in 2017. She started her master program in Microbiology and Immunology at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2019 and joined the Sandkvist lab in 2020. Jiaxin graduated in May 2021 with a master's degree and is starting veterinarian school in the fall.

Eliese Potocek, M.S.

Eliese graduated in 2019 with a master's degree and is currently an associate scientist in the Microbiology department at Prompt Praxis Laboratories, Vernon Hill, IL.

Ursula Waack Ph.D.

Ursula graduated with a PhD in 2017. She is currently an ORISE Postdoctoral fellow at FDA in Rockville, MD.

Chelsea Rule, Ph.D.

Chelsea graduated with a Ph.D. in 2016 and is currently the Assistant Director and Manager for the Health Careers Advising program at Cornell University.
Shilpa graduated with a Ph.D. in 2014. She is a Career Resources Specialist at the American Society for Microbiology in Washington, DC.
Marcy graduated in 2011 with a Ph.D. She is now the Director of Quality Control and Quality Assurance at Addgene (Cambridge, MA).

Undergraduate Alumni

Miranda Lumbreras

Miranda Lumbreras, an undergraduate student from University of Texas San Antonio spent the summer of 2018 in the lab on a MARC funded fellowship. She graduated in 2019 and is currently working in a BSL3/BSL2 Tuberculosis lab at Texas Biomedical Research Institute.

Sarah McColm

While pursuing a bachelor's degree at University of Michigan, Sarah McColm worked as a laboratory assistant in 2018-2019. She contributed to lab maintenance and characterization of type II secretion system mutants of Vibrio cholerae. Sarah is currently a Scientist I at ICON plc in New York state.

Mallory Hoevet

Mallory was an undergraduate student that wrote her honors thesis while in the lab and graduated in 2019. She is currently in Medical School at Oakland University, MI.

Gregory Giancana

Greg did undergraduate research in the lab in 2017/2018. He is currently attending medical school at Hofstra University in New York.

Harry Zhen, M.S.

Harry Zhen did his independent undergraduate research in the lab in 2016/2017. He graduated with a Master's degree from the University of Michigan School of Public Health in 2019 and is currently an Infection Preventionist in the Infection Prevention & Epidemiology department at Michigan Medicine.

Ryan Thomas

Ryan Thomas was a UROP student during the 2014/2015 academic year. The following three years Ryan volunteered in the lab doing research on extracellular proteases produced by Vibrio cholerae and Acinetobacter baumannii until graduation in 2018. Ryan is currently a laboratory assistant in regenerative medicine.