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Shames Lab

Contact information

Division of Biology
Kansas State University
347 Ackert Hall (office)
331 Ackert Hall (lab)
1717 Claflin Road
Manhattan, KS 66506

(785) 532-0110 (office)
(785) 532-0131 (lab)


Principal Investigator

Stephanie Shames, Ph.D.
 Hons. B.M.Sc., (2006) Microbiology and Immunology, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada
Ph.D. (2012) Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
 Post-doc. (2017) Microbial Pathogenesis, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT

My fascination with bacterial pathogens originated while completing my Honors Bachelor of Medical Sciences at the University of Western Ontario (London, ON, Canada) in Microbiology and Immunology where I studied bacterial superantigens and their interaction with T cells.  I then moved on to earn my Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC, Canada).  During my graduate training, I studied type III secreted effector proteins from the attaching and effacing (A/E) pathogens.  I subsequently pursued post-doctoral training at the Yale School of Medicine.  My post-doctoral research focused on the identification and characterization of Legionella pneumophila effectors that contribute to virulence using a high-throughput transposon insertion sequencing technique called INSeq.  I started my faculty appointment at K-State in October 2017. In my spare time, I'm either cycling, running or at a yoga studio.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Deepika Chauhan, Ph.D.

 B.Sc. (2009) Life Sciences, University of New Delhi, New Delhi, India
M.Sc. (2011) Toxicology, Jamia Hamdard University, New Delhi, India
Ph.D. (2018) Life Sciences/Bacteriology, Shiv Nadar University, Uttar Pradesh, India

I pursued my interest in biology by acquiring a bachelor’s degree in Life Sciences from the University of Delhi (New Delhi, India) followed by M.Sc. in Toxicology from Jamia Hamdard University (New Delhi, India). During my master’s dissertation, I studied the effect of adoptive transfer experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (an animal model of multiple sclerosis) on corpus callosum of mice. Subsequently, I pursued my Ph.D. in Microbiology from Shiv Nadar University, India, where while handling multiple projects, I found the opportunity to work with various pathogenic and non-pathogenic strains of bacteria. My Ph.D. thesis was focused on the identification and characterization of environmental bacteria having potential biotechnological applications. In a second major project, I functionally characterized a cell wall hydrolase, Slt, in Caulobacter crescentus and studied its role in PG remodeling, cell division, and antibiotic resistance. In addition, I attained experience in projects where we characterized genes involved in Staphylococcus aureus biofilm formation and investigated the mechanism of action of small molecules against S. aureus pathogenicity. While working on these projects I acquired my interest in the area of bacterial pathogenesis.

In the Shames lab, I found the opportunity to work on and learn about an intracellular bacterial pathogen Legionella pneumophila which is an excellent model to understand the mechanism of pathogen detection by the mammalian innate immune system.

In my leisure time, I like traveling, running, and meditating.

Graduate Students

Ashley Joseph

B.S. (2014) California State University, Monterey Bay, CA


As an undergrad, I studied microbial ecology looking at the effect of agricultural runoff on bacterial dispersion and evolution within a constructed wetland in Monterey Bay, CA.  I was interested in learning how bacteria can be beneficial to environmental and community health through the breakdown of organophosphate pesticides as a nitrogen source.  I isolated and characterized 5 species of the genus Reinheimera that were found to contain the Organophosphate degradation gene (OpdA) and allowing them to perform bioremediation thus reversing the negative impact of agricultural runoff.  
Following graduation, I worked for 3 years as a microbiologist at The Clorox Company where I gained an interested in pathogenic microorganisms working with Clostridium difficile spores and other human pathogens. While at Clorox I developed a high-throughput assay enabling product developers to screen up to 96-product variables against C.difficile spores at once, promoting a more in-depth knowledge of product-spore interactions and allowing our products to be more thoughtfully designed to fit our consumer's needs. 
Joining Dr. Shames’ lab, I am interested in researching the mechanisms of Legionella spp. infection and how we can exploit this knowledge to help develop more targeted drug treatments and therapies.  
Things I love besides science: hiking, the beach, bocce ball, Harry Potter, and really terrible jokes- what’s the best thing about deadly snakes? They’ve got poisonality. 

Tshegofatso Ngwaga

B.Sc. (2010) University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana
My interest in infectious diseases research started when I was old enough to understand the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. And so, after completing my undergraduate degree, I joined the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP), a reference laboratory in partnership between the government of Botswana and Harvard University. During my time at BHP I received the Fogarty Fellowship, which allowed me to carry out independent research by the end of the which I had optimized an in-house assay for HIV Integrase genotyping. This assay is now being used nationwide to screen patients failing 2nd line HIV therapy for resistance mutations to Integrase before they are placed in salvage antiretroviral drugs containing integrase inhibitors.
I am now especially interested in looking at the role of the immune system and understanding mechanism through which pathogens continue to evade it, with a view of developing new potent drugs/therapies and/or vaccines. This is why I joined Dr. Shames and team in March 2018. The research the lab is conducting on Legionella pneumophila is exciting and engaging and is at this very moment, what I would want to continue with when I pursue a graduate degree.
Outside of work, I like to read novels, papers, keep up with world news, try out new food recipes and walking.

 Undergraduate Researchers

Adrienne Pohl, Class of 2021, B.S. Microbiology, Kansas State University

I have always had an interest in science and knew that it was something that I wanted to do. I started my path in research when I took a phage hunters class during my freshman year of college. I enjoyed what I was doing and was lucky to be able to continue research in the Shames lab and gain more experience by being a recipient of the Kansas- INBRE scholarship. My experience here at K-State and working in the lab has helped me find my path with research as a profession in the future. Besides working in the lab, I enjoy being outside and all things sports. I am an avid fan of K-State football and basketball. I enjoy reading, spending time with family, friends and my dog. 

Ben Hulsing, 
Class of 2021, B.S. Microbiology, Kansas State University
I was first interested in microbiology when introduced to it during high school and have since spent time in a lab last year working with bacteriophages from local soil samples. This sparked an interest in pathology which I hope to culture through working in this lab. In my free time, I enjoy binging Netflix, hanging out with friends, and cooking.
Abigail Salberg, Class of 2021, B.S. Biology, Kansas State University
Emily Gibson, Class of 2021, B.S. Biology, Kansas State University


Lenny Legionella
I do my own thing and am a big fan of hiding.  Follow me on Twitter (@LennyLegionella

Lab Alumni 

Aubrey Gilchrist, Undergraduate Researcher (May 2019-Dec 2019) Class of 2020 B.S., Kansas State University, Microbiology. Aubrey's research revealed that sorghum bran polyphenols can restrict Legionella pneumophila intracellular replication in mouse macrophages!  Her first-author paper has been submitted for publication as is available as a preprint on bioRxiv!!
TJ Ball, Undergraduate Researcher (Jan 2018-May 2019) Class of 2020 B.S., Kansas State University, Biology.  TJ's research involved defining molecular mechanisms of Legionella effectors function. He achieved a lot in the lab and his work has earned him authorship on a manuscript in preparation. He was the recipient of a College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Scholarship and plans to pursue medical school after graduation.
Alex Hydock, Undergraduate Researcher (Oct 2017-Jan 2019) Class of 2020 B.S., Kansas State University, Biology. Alex's research project involved investigating mechanisms of L. pneumophila effector-triggered immunity for which he earned authorship on the lab's first publication in the Journal of Bacteriology!  He was the recipient of a College of Arts & Sciences Undergraduate Scholarship, a Kansas-INBRE Semester Scholar Award and a Most Promising Student award from the Division of Biology!  After graduation, Alex is planning to pursue medical school. 
Shraddha Shrestha, M.S., Research Assistant (Dec 2017-April 2018).  Shraddha was our first research assistant very helpful in getting us set up!  She has moved on to an exciting position at a company in Wiley, Texas.  Keep in touch, Shraddha!

Meghan Regher, B.S. Biology, Kansas State University (Spring 2018) Meghan was with us for one semester earning laboratory credit.  She was a joy to have in the lab!  Looking forward to seeing your future achievements, Meghan - Keep in touch! 



Prospective Post-Docs and Undergraduate Students should email sshames [at] ksu [dot] edu with a CV and statement of research interests/experience.  Prospective Graduate Students must apply to and be accepted into the K-State Graduate Program