Research Theme and Faculty

A multidisciplinary faculty mentor team has been formed to train REU students. Faculty mentors will engage and assist REU students in developing research plans and in designing and conducting experiments to achieve the goals established by the program. Faculty mentors will also assist students in their career development by advising students of career opportunities and helping them identify career paths in STEM. Below is a list of faculty mentors for the Biofilm REU program.

The Microbial Biofilm REU program places students in existing faculty labs for hands-on research on specific research projects. Because host faculty labs may rotate based on availability and access, students should identify specific microbial biofilms research themes in which they are interested. To the best of their ability, REU advisors will place students in a lab aligned with one of their top three research themes of interest. Below are the central Research Themes and some of the host labs who may sponsor REU students on this theme. Be sure to check out these themes and their corresponding faculty so you can select your top three research theme choices during application.

Research Themes

  1. Biofilm Attachment, Development, and Dispersion: Davies, Sauer, Light, McKenney, Cook
  2. Biofilm Tolerance, Persistence, and Resistance: Sauer, Marques, McKenney, Bane
  3. Bacterial Outer Membrane Vesicles: Schertzer, Chiarot, Light
  4. Dual Species Biofilms: Marques, Davies, Cook, Mahler
  5. Host-microbe Interactions: Cook, Marques, McKenney, Musselman, German, Mahler
  6. Bioengineering: Schertzer, Marques, Sauer, German, Mahler, Chiarot
  7. Bacterial Ecology and Evolution: Cook, Sauer, Marques, Swierk

Participating Departments

Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, First-year Research Immersion

Research Faculty

Gretchen Mahler

Interim Dean of the Graduate School; Professor; Interim Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School

Graduate School; Biomedical Engineering; Academic Affairs, Office of the Executive VP and Provost

Research Interests

  • Organ-on-a-chip technology
  • Tissue engineering
  • Nanotoxicology
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Susan Bane

Professor; Biochemistry Program Director


Research Interests

  • Chemical Biology
  • Microtubules
  • Molecular mechanism of Taxol chemotherapy
  • Site-specific fluorescent labeling of proteins
  • Molecular mechanisms of colchicine and related drugs
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2022 Research Projects

Role of Biofilms in Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections 

Facutly - Dr. Claudia Marques and Dr. Gretchen Mahler

Students - Jasmine Wanyoike and Thu Hsa

Jaz Thu

Exploring the Microbiome of Lizard Skin

Faculty - Dr. Laura Cook and Dr. Lindsey Swierk

Students - Sam Garnsey and Fiddi Hilmi

Sam Fiddi

Electrospray Printing for Antibiofilm Surfaces

Faculty - Dr. Caitlin Light and Dr.  Paul Chiarot

Students - Pat Moran and Xiaoyun Sun

Pat June

Dispersion and Enzymatic Degradation in Dual-Species Biofilms

Faculty - Dr. David Davies and Dr. Whitni Redman

Students - Kylie Purkeypile and Vivian Chavez

Kylie Vivian

Biofilm Antibiotic Tolerance and Oxidative Stress

Faculty - Dr. Karin Sauer and Dr. Susan Bane

Students - Mackenzie Bennett and Eduardo Almes Jr.

Mack Ed