Brinsmade Lab

Current Lab Members


Picture of Ranjan Behera

Ranjan comes to us with a degree in Veterinary Medicine from India and graduated with a MS and a PhD focusing on infectious disease and drug discovery from the University of Georgia-Athens where he also received an Interdisciplinary Certificate in University Teaching. Following a brief period of training in veterinary pathology at Oregon State University, Corvallis, he joined The Kansas City VA Medical Center as a postdoctoral fellow and continued working on animal models and drug discovery projects. His research interests include microbial pathogenesis (cell biology, molecular genetics, and biochemistry), animal models of infection, and antimicrobial drug discovery. Aside from his work in the lab, Ranjan loves nature, singing, swimming and biking. Here in the Brinsmade lab, he is investigating CodY-dependent regulation of gene regulation and pathogenesis in Staphylococcus aureus.

Graduate Students

Picture of Shahad Alqahtani

Shahad Alqahtani comes to us from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She earned her B.S. in Microbiology from King Abdulaziz University in 2012 and subsequently her M.S. in Cellular and Molecular Regulation at St. Louis University. Her M.S. thesis research focused on Group B streptococcus (GBS) and its reliance on glutathione to defend itself against reactive oxygen species (ROS). Shahad recently received a scholarship from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to pursue her Ph.D. in the Brinsmade lab, where she will focus on CodY’s role in activating the SaeR/S Two Component System. When not in the lab, Shahad enjoys walking, cooking, and dancing with her son.

Picture of Alyssa King

A graduate student in the Brinsmade Lab,  Alyssa is excited to pursue her Ph.D. in biology here at Georgetown University. This is her first time living outside of Illinois, growing up in a suburb of Chicago called Tinley Park and attending Bradley University in central Illinois; she graduated in the spring of 2015 earning her B.S. in Biology. As an undergraduate student, Alyssa worked with Dr. Melinda Faulkner on the Gram-positive, spore forming soil bacterium, Bacillus subtilis, and the proteins involved in its response to oxidative stress. Basically, she loves microbes, but her more specific interests are in microbial pathogenesis, gene regulation, and stress response. Outside of the lab, Alyssa spends time with her dogs at home (she has 7!), likes to explore new places, enjoys reading new books (and re-reading her favorites), and drinking wine and coffee (though not necessarily at the same time).

Picture of Kevin Mlynek

While studying environmental biology and marine biology at Millersville University in Pennsylvania, Kevin was most interested in his research focusing on seasonal colonization and dispersal of freshwater zooplankton. After earning a BS degree in Biology, Kevin refined his research interests and began investigating bacterial biofilms in Dr. Jeffery Kaplan’s lab at American University. During this time, he earned a MS for his research that identified genes responsible for antibiotic induced biofilm formation in Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Kevin comes to the Brinsmade lab as a Ph.D. student with strong interests in the genetic regulation of bacterial pathogenesis and virulence while maintaining his interest in biofilm communities. 

Outside the lab, Kevin avoids being stuck under a roof and will do just about anything that involves being outdoors!

Research Assistants

Picture of Carl Stone

A native of Minnesota, Carl graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.S. in Microbiology. As an undergrad he worked in the lab of Dr. Michael Sadowsky, where he primarily investigated new methods used to track fecal bacteria along the shores of Lake Superior. Carl is interested in bacterial gene regulation, pathogenesis, and the use of genomics and next-gen sequencing in studying bacteria. In his free time, Carl enjoys running, scuba diving, exploring local breweries, and being disappointed by the Vikings.


Picture of Steven Min

Steven is an undergraduate student majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Mathematics and Public Health. After observing several surgeries in the OR, he became interested in the causes of post-surgical complications. As a result, he is interested in engaging in research that investigates how agents of sepsis, such as Staphylococcus aureus, develop biofilms that enter patients’ bloodstream via surgical devices. He hopes to contribute to our understanding of the role of CodY in the production of extracellular DNA-based biofilm. Outside the lab, he is a volunteer at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. Personally, Steven likes to play basketball and soccer and enjoys listening to music.

Picture of Carson Nizialek

Carson is an undergraduate student majoring in biology and minoring in psychology, with a premedical focus.  She became interested in studying gene expression of microbes after working with the Candida glabrata yeast species in her genetics course.  Outside of the lab, she is a member of Georgetown’s varsity women’s soccer program.  In her free time, Carson enjoys volunteering, watching Grey’s Anatomy, and exploring Washington, DC. 

Picture of Stacy Maldonado Ortez

Stacey is an undergraduate student majoring in Human Science with a pre-med focus. She became interested in working in the lab after spending a summer interning at the National Institutes of Health working with two novel genes in S. pombe. On campus, she is a member of Globe Med. In her free time, Stacey likes to read, watch movies, learn languages, and spend time with her family. 

Picture of Sarah Reuter

Sarah is an undergraduate student majoring in Biology of Global Health and minoring in English, with a pre-med focus. She became interested in genetics and microbiology after taking a Genetics course at Georgetown and studying the Candida glabrata yeast species. Outside of the lab, she is the Service and Outreach Chair of the Georgetown Running Club and a Staff Writer for The Hoya. In her free time, Sarah likes to read and enjoys hiking and kayaking in the Pacific Northwest.

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Brinsmade Laboratory
Department of Biology, Georgetown University

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Lab Info
Georgetown University
Department of Biology
301A Regents Hall
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington, DC 20057-1229

Shaun Brinsmade, PhD
Assistant Professor

Office: (202) 687-6549