The CoMS community at Ohio State consists of faculty members and students from many colleges and departments that span a broad range of disciplines.  Go here to access the current list of our members, which includes their affiliation and research interests. Below you will find more details about each of our faculty members.

Matt Anderson – Eukaryome in human health

Dr. Matthew Anderson is an assistant professor with a joint appointment in the Microbiology Department and the Department of Microbial Infection and Immunity. His lab focuses on the evolution of eukaryotic microbes relevant to human health. This includes both how genetic variation contributes to phenotypic diversity in the fungal pathogen Candida albicans  and how the human eukaryome contributes to health.

Michael T. Bailey – Gastrointestinal physiology and the microbiome

Studies in the Bailey lab seek to understand the impact that the intestinal microbiota have on the local immune system, and on immune reactivity at systemic sites, particularly during periods of psychological stress.  Studies are primarily being conducted in pre-clinical animal models, such as models of inflammatory bowel disease, with the goal of translating these findings into meaningful clinical studies in human patients.

Clifford Beall – Oral Microbiome

My work is focused on studying oral bacteria by molecular methods. With the advent of next generation sequencing technologies, huge amounts of data can be collected at low cost. Computer analysis with biological understanding is a necessity to process the data accurately and meaningfully. Following my Ph.D. and a 30 year career in bench biology I completed an M.Sc. in Computer Science and additional self-training in bioinformatics and have been working on the oral microbiota for the last 10 years. We are using various forms of DNA sequencing and -omics to study the oral microbiome. A partial list of these sequencing techniques is: 16S amplicon, fungal ITS amplicon, whole metagenome, single cell whole genome amplification, and metatranscriptomics. We have worked on various oral research areas and questions including chronic periodontitis, dental caries, odontogenic infections, HIV infection, diabetes, and acquisition of the microbiome during childhood.

M. Soledad Benitez – Plant bacteriology and agricultural microbiome

Dr. Soledad Benitez is an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Pathology.



Alison Bennett – Plant-microbe-insect interactions

Dr. Alison Bennet is an assistant professor in the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology. She is a part of the Center for Applied Plant Sciences, and her own lab focuses on plant-soil and plant-microbe interactions. Her work also includes investigations into multi-species interactions in the plant/soil environment, including the influences of insects, fungi, microbes, and plants on one another.

Patrick H. Bradley – Microbiome gene function and regulation

Dr. Bradley is an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Microbiology and a member of the Infectious Diseases Institute. The Bradley Lab’s long-term aim is to understand our microbiota (especially the gut and oral microbiomes) as well as we currently understand model microbes, using both computational and high-throughput experimental tools. Such an understanding will allow us to interpret human microbiomes, and eventually also to modulate them, with more precision. Current projects include determining how host-associated microbes regulate their metabolism and using natural variation in microbiomes to map complex traits.

Karen Dannemiller – Indoor microbiome

Dr. Karen Dannemiller is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geodetic Engineering. Her Indoor Environmental Quality group seeks to understand the human built environment, where people now spend ~90% of their time, in order to understand how to control microbial contaminants in this space.

Jayajit Das – Computational and mathematical analysis of immune response and polymicrobial infections

Dr. Jayajit Das is a principal investigator in the Battelle Center for Mathematical Medicine at the Research Institute and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Ohio State University. He is also an investigator at the Biophysics program at the Ohio State University. Dr. Das’s research focuses on uncovering mechanisms underlying innate and adaptive responses in higher organisms and polymicrobial infections using computational and mathematical tools rooted in statistical physics and engineering in synergistic collaboration with experimental labs at the Research Institute and outside the campus.

Seth Faith – Applied bioinformatic technologies

Dr. Seth A. Faith investigates bioinformatic tools as applied solutions to biosecurity and forensics challenges for federal and industry stakeholders.  He also directs strategic partnerships for the Infectious Diseases Institute at OSU.



Steve Goodman – Bacterial biofilms, NCH

The Goodman Lab focuses on investigating bacterial biofilms, communities of bacteria that are encased in an extracellular matrix that protects them from the environment and are the primary physiologic state in the host.  We study both making good biofilms using tunable probiotic bacteria to facilitate benefits to the host and getting rid of bad biofilms that are the cause of chronic and recurrent infections.

Andrea Grottoli – Corals and oceanography

Dr. Grottoli’s research is focused on three areas of research: 1- determining what drives resilience in corals in the face of climate change, 2- reconstructing oceanographic conditions in the past based on coral skeletal isotope and trace metal records, and 3- the impact of land-use on the delivery of carbon to small tropical and temperate rivers.


John Gunn – Microbial pathogenesis – Salmonella & Francisella, NCH

The Gunn laboratory studies the pathogenic mechanisms of acute and chronic infections caused by the facultative intracellular pathogens Salmonella Typhi/Typhimurium and Francisella tularensis. They focus on virulence gene regulation, resistance to innate immune killing, chronic infection, biofilm formation and the development of new therapeutics/vaccines.


Vanessa Hale – Animal microbiome

Dr. Vanessa Hale is an assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine. Her lab investigates the gut microbiome to better understand how the microbiome shapes disease susceptibility and pathogenesis. Ultimately, her goal is to identify ways in which the microbiome may be manipulated in order to prevent or treat disease.

Natalie Hull – Drinking water microbiome

Dr. Natalie Hull is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geodetic Engineering. She is a member of the Water TEAM (Treatment Engineering And Microbiome) Research Group, which seeks to better understand and control microbes in water. Their goal is to understand the microbiome of water from source to tap and to develop methods for controlling waterborne pathogens and sanitizing water supplies.

Samantha (Sam) King – Streptococcal species

The King laboratory focuses on defining interactions between streptococcal species and their hosts in the context of both health and disease. Specifically, our work is focused on defining the mechanisms by which these species bind relevant host surfaces with the long-term goals of improving health and reducing the burden of disease.

Benjamin Kopp – Host-pathogen interactions in respiratory disease

The Kopp laboratory focuses on host-pathogen interactions that impact chronic respiratory diseases such as cystic fibrosis (CF) and lung disease related to sickle cell. Our studies with human cell models are used to develop novel therapeutics and find new targets to allow for improved killing of bacteria and regulation of hyper-inflammatory signaling in chronic respiratory diseases.

Christian Lauber – Tools for understanding the microbiome

The Lauber lab focuses on how microbial community function affects health and the development of new methods to interrogate the microbiome. Our lab uses meta’omic approaches with in vitro and in vivo models to understand how microbiome function varies across individuals and diseases states.

Jiyoung Lee – Microbiome, resistome & linkage to human and environmental health

Dr. Jiyoung Lee is a Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, College of Public Health (70%) and Department of Food Science & Technology (30%) at The Ohio State University. She is a Co-Director of Thematic Program of Ecology, Epidemiology & Population Health at the Infectious Disease Institute. The main theme of her research is tracking pathogens, toxins, antibiotic resistance, and microbiome disturbance in the nexus of water-food-environments and its linkage to health risks in multi-temporal and spatial scales.

Phillip Popovich – Neuroimmunology of spinal cord injury

Dr. Phillip Popovich is Professor and Chair of Neuroscience. His lab is working to better understand how spinal cord injury (SCI) leads to the development of “neurogenic meta-inflammation”, i.e., a breakdown in the normal function of cellular and molecular mediators of systemic immunity and inflammation, due to loss of neural control provided by spinal networks. Post-injury changes in the composition and function of gut microbes are emerging as key determinants of this pathophysiological process.

Virginia Rich – Climate change microbiology, ecosystems biology

Dr. Virginia Rich is an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology. Her work is primarily focused on microbial biogeochemisty in the soil and oceanic environments. Among other areas of research, her lab studies carbon cycling in thawing permafrost systems and the effects of chemicals used in agricultural crop production on the soil microbiome.

Zakee Sabree – Insect-microbe symbioses

Dr. Zakee Sabree is an associate professor in the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology. His lab focuses on how host-microbial collaborations and interactions evolve and are maintained, and uncovering the evidence of these interactions in the genes, genomes, physiology and behaviors of all involved parties. Their lab has developed an experimental platform for addressing this multifaceted topic that is comprised of an omnivorous germ-free model insect and a rich library cultureable gut symbionts endemic to this model insect.
Dr. Sabree received his B.S. from Howard University, in Washington D.C., his Ph.D. from The University of Wisconsin-Madison, in Madison, WI and did postdoctoral stints at the University of Arizona and Yale University. He is a native of Washington D.C.

Sarah Short – Mosquito microbiome

Dr. Sarah Short is an assistant professor in the Department of Entomology. Her lab studies the factors that influence formation of the microbiome in disease vector mosquitoes and the impact of mosquito-microbiome interactions on transmission of diseases like dengue and Zika virus. Their goal is to improve understanding of mosquito susceptibility to these pathogens and inform vector control efforts that target the mosquito microbiome.

Daniel Spakowicz – The role of the microbiome in cancer

The Spakowicz Lab studies how the microbiome interacts with the immune system, particularly as it relates to cancer and response to immunotherapies. Ongoing projects include defining the microbes associated with cancer treatment responses, particularly in older adults; interventional studies to modify the microbiome to promote response; and studies of the microbes found within tumors and other tissues.

Matthew B Sullivan – Viruses of microbes

Dr. Matthew B Sullivan is a professor in microbiology and civil, environmental and geodetic engineering with interests in oceanic, soil, extreme, and human virome research. Currently his lab is focused on mapping marine virus communities and developing toolkits for understanding their evolution, ecology, and impacts on ecosystem and disease states.

Jenessa Winston – Small animal internal medicine

Dr. Jenessa Winston is an assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Services.




Zhongtang Yu – Gut microbiome, metagenomics, methane mitigation, biogas

Dr. Zhongtang Yu is a professor in the Department of Animal Sciences.