Team

Principal Investigator

  • Mariana Byndloss

    Assistant Professor
    Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology
    Phone
    (615) 353-0087
    Lab Address
    MCN
    1161 21st Ave. S
    Room / Suite
    A5303
    Nashville
    Tennessee
    37232

    Mariana Byndloss received her D.V.M. and a Ph.D. from Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil. After completing her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Davis, Mariana started her lab in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2018. Her research aims at understanding how inflammation-mediated changes in gut epithelial metabolism lead to gut dysbiosis and increased risk of infectious gastroenteritis by Salmonella Typhimurium and noncommunicable diseases, namely obesity-associated cardiovascular disease and colon cancer. Mariana has authored over 70 scientific publications, including some in high-impact journals such as Nature and Science, and has been named a Clarivate highly-cited researcher (field: Microbiology) in 2021. She has received multiple awards throughout her career, including the Science NOSTER Microbiome Prize (runner-up), a V Scholar Award (from V Foundation of Cancer Research), a Bergmann Memorial Research Award (United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation), an HHMI Gilliam Fellowship (graduate student Nic Shealy), and a Medal of Honor from her Alma Mater in recognition of her significant contributions to Society. When not in the lab, Mariana loves to spend time trying new restaurants or exploring the outdoors with her family and her German Shorthaired Pointers. As an authentic Brazilian, she will never say no to watching a good soccer game while enjoying some Brazilian barbecue.

Postdocs

  • Woongjae Yoo

    Postdoc
    PMI Molecular Pathogenesis
    Lab Address
    MCN
    1161 21st Ave. S
    Room / Suite
    A5303
    Nashville
    Tennessee
    37232

    Woongjae Yoo, Ph.D.

    Originally from Republic of Korea, Woongjae earned a Ph.D. in Food and Biotechnology from Seoul National University. Woongjae joined the Byndloss Lab in Sep. 2018.

    Woongjae’s work focuses on understanding how high-fat diet-induced gut dysbiosis causes human diseases. He also focuses on figuring out the mechanism how Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Tm) gains growth advantage in the inflamed gut by interacting with microbiota and the host.

    In his free time, he enjoys watching Netflix with his wife.

  • Tamara Machado

    Postdoc
    PMI Molecular Pathogenesis
    Lab Address
    MCN
    1161 21st Ave. S
    Room / Suite
    A5303
    Nashville
    Tennessee
    37232

    Originally from Brazil, Sao Paulo, Tamara is a Biologist and earned her PhD in Biosciences and Biotechnology Applied to Pharmacy/Bacteriology from UNESP -São Paulo State University, Brazil. She is currently investigating the role of diet and gut microbiota members in the development of colorectal cancer.

    In her free time she enjoys hanging with her family and her lovely dogs, and sometimes cooking or watching TV series. She loves to travel abroad, experience new cultures, and make new friends.

Research Staff

  • Savanna Telaak

    Research Assistant II
    PMI Molecular Pathogenesis
    MCN
    1161 21st Ave. S
    Room / Suite
    A5303
    Nashville
    Tennessee
    37232

    Savanna grew up in Huntsville, AL and received a B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. After graduating, she moved to California, where she worked in Industrial microbiology labs, including Merle Norman Cosmetics. After a couple of years she relocated to Nashville, TN and then settled in as a research assistant II in the Byndloss Lab. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband and son while playing outdoors. 

Graduate Students

  • Catherine Shelton

    Ph.D. Candidate
    MHI Graduate Program
    Lab Address
    MCN
    1161 21st Ave. S
    Room / Suite
    A5303
    Nashville
    Tennessee
    37232

    Catie is from Seattle, WA, and earned her B.S. in Biochemistry from Western Washington University in 2016. After graduating, she worked as a research assistant at the Infectious Disease Research Institute in Seattle, WA and investigated mechanisms of resistances in M. tuberculosis. Catie joined the Byndloss laboratory in 2019 to study how the gut microbiota interacts with enteric pathogens and the intestinal epithelium.

  • Nicolas Shealy

    Graduate Student
    MHI Graduate Program
    Lab Address
    MCN
    1161 21st Ave. S
    Room / Suite
    A5303
    Nashville
    Tennessee
    37232

    Nicolas (Nic) Gray Shealy

    Originally from Columbia, South Carolina, he graduated from the College of Charleston in 2018 cum laude with a B.S. in Biology and minor in Chemistry. Immediately following, he participated in a post-bac (PREP) at MUSC studying post-translational modification of collagen. Nic joined IGP as a Russell G. Hamilton scholar in 2019 and subsequently joined the lab in 2020. In the summer of 2021, Nic was named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute James E. Gilliam Foundation fellow. Nic’s work focuses on understanding how the enteric pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Tm) gains advantage over the collection of commensal bacteria known as the gut microbiota. Specifically, he studies utilization of amino acids and short chain fatty acids by S. Tm. He ultimately aims to start a lab one day of his own interrogating beneficial and deleterious microbe-microbe/microbe-host interactions centered on the gut microbiota. In the past year, Nic served as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Liaison for the PMI GSA as well as writes for the PMI GSA newsletter, The Pathogen. Starting March 2022, Nic will serve as a student member for the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology, and Inflammation Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (VI4 DEI) committee as well as the Basic Science DEI committee. In his free time, Nic enjoys cooking/baking, knitting, painting, and hanging out with his friends whenever he can. His favorite creation to date is a lemon custard tart with a raspberry compote. 

  • Tomas Bermudez

    Graduate Student
    MHI Graduate Program
    Lab Address
    MCN
    1161 21st Ave. S
    Room / Suite
    A5303
    Nashville
    Tennessee
    37232

    Tomas received a B.S. at The University of the South in 2019. He is interested in studying antibiotic resistance and biofilm production in E. coli. Enjoys cooking and hiking outside of lab and used to row in the Sewanee Crew Team.

Undergrads

  • Elizabeth Sing

    Undergrad research assistant
    PMI Molecular Pathogenesis
    Lab Address
    MCN
    1161 21st Ave. S
    Room / Suite
    A5303
    Nashville
    Tennessee
    37232

    Elizabeth grew up in Indianapolis, IN and is starting her senior year at Vanderbilt pursuing a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry. Her favorite things to do are volunteer with Wags & Walks and the Nashville Humane Association, go to the farmer’s markets, and play tennis with her friends on the club team.

Former Lab Members

  • Nora Foegeding

    Postdoc
    PMI Molecular Pathogenesis
    Lab Address
    MCN
    1161 21st Ave. S
    Room / Suite
    A5303
    Nashville
    Tennessee
    37232

    Nora Foegeding is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab. She completed her B.S. in Biology at the College of William and Mary and her Ph.D. in Cell Biology at Vanderbilt. Currently she has a broad interest in the interplay between host cells and gut microbes. She enjoys doing Western blots, she loves Thai food, and her favorite movie is The Barkely Marathons: The Race that Eats Its Young. 

  • Mandy Truelock

    Rotation Student
    Lab Address
    MCN
    1161 21st Ave. S
    Room / Suite
    A5303
    Nashville
    Tennessee
    37232

    Mandy is originally from Houston, TX and went to Oklahoma State University to earn her BS in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. She is currently a first-year IGP student at Vanderbilt and wants to study pathogenic bacteria and infectious disease. 

  • Simone Lee

    Undergrad
    PMI Molecular Pathogenesis
    Lab Address
    MCN
    1161 21st Ave. S
    Room / Suite
    A5303
    Nashville
    Tennessee
    37232

    Born and raised in Houston, TX, Simone is a current undergraduate student at Cornell University majoring in Human Biology, Health, and Society. She plans to earn her Bachelor of Science Degree in 2022.

  • James Zieba

    Undergrad
    PMI Molecular Pathogenesis
    Lab Address
    MCN
    1161 21st Ave. S
    Room / Suite
    A5303
    Nashville
    Tennessee
    37232

    Born and raised in Indiana, Alex is a undergraduate student at Purdue University studying biology. He joined the lab during the summer of 2019 and plans to go to graduate school for Molecular Biology.

  • James Underwood

    High School Observer
    PMI Molecular Pathogenesis
    Lab Address
    MCN
    1161 21st Ave. S
    Room / Suite
    A5303
    Nashville
    Tennessee
    37232
  • Julia Thomas

    Undergrad
    PMI Molecular Pathogenesis
    Lab Address
    MCN
    1161 21st Ave. S
    Room / Suite
    A5303
    Nashville
    Tennessee
    37232

    Born and raised in New Jersey, Julia is a current undergraduate student at Vanderbilt University studying Medicine, Health, and Society and Spanish. She joined the lab at the end of 2018 and plans to earn her Bachelor of Arts Degree in 2021. 

  • Jessica Mo

    Undergrad
    PMI Molecular Pathogenesis
    Lab Address
    MCN
    1161 21st Ave. S
    Room / Suite
    A5303
    Nashville
    Tennessee
    37232

    Jessica grew up in Carmel, IN, and is now a sophomore at Vanderbilt. In her free time she writes for the satirical magazine on campus, is a graphic designer, and works with local environmental groups to try to do her part to mitigate climate change.

  • Zachary Jones

    MSTP Student
    MPI Graduate Program
    Lab Address
    MCN
    1161 21st Ave. S
    Room / Suite
    A5303
    Nashville
    Tennessee
    37232

    Zach grew up in Middletown, Delaware, and earned his B.S. in biochemistry at the University of Delaware. He is interested in how the innate immune system interplays with the gut microbiome, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in immunology. Zach would like to become a pediatric physician scientist in either pediatric hematology/oncology or rheumatology.

  • Jacob Zieba

    Research Assistant I
    PMI Molecular Pathogenesis
    (615) 875-3953
    Lab Address
    MCN
    1161 21st Ave. S
    Room / Suite
    A5303
    Nashville
    Tennessee
    37232

    Jacob grew up in Indianapolis, IN and got a bachelors of Anthropology from DePauw University. Worked at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory before getting a masters in biology from Purdue University. Currently working towards a PhD at Michigan State University.