Georgetown University
Georgetown University, Brinsmade Lab
Georgetown University, Dept of Biology

Lab Personnel

Image of Shaun R.  Brinsmade

Shaun R. Brinsmade

Principal Investigator
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology

Shaun earned his B.S. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of Connecticut-Storrs and his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with Jorge Escalante-Semerena. Shaun was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Tufts University School of Medicine where he trained with Abraham "Linc" Sonenshein. Shaun is interested in how cells coordinate changes in gene expression and metabolism, and how microbes switch between commensal and pathogenic lifestyles. In his spare time, Shaun enjoys running, baking, brewing beer and creating stained glass works of art. 
Image of Fernanda Vargas

Fernanda Vargas

Research Assistant

After completing one year of medical school in Cochabamba-Bolivia, Fernanda found her passion in genetics and molecular biology. Fernanda earned her B.S in Microbiology and Cell Science from the University of Florida. As an undergraduate, she acquired skills working in the Department of Biology on Vitamin D and the development of anti-infective treatments against the opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Fernanda is interested in the regulation of gene expression of mediators of host defenses against Gram-positive bacteria in the respiratory tract. Outside the lab, Fernanda likes to play tennis, hike, run, and explore the city. Also, she likes to go out with friends and attend concerts and dance festivals.
Image of Ranjan Behera

Ranjan Behera

Postdoctoral Associate

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.
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Alyssa King

Graduate Student

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).
Image of Kevin Mlynek

Kevin Mlynek

Graduate Student

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!

Image of John Fitzgerald

John Fitzgerald


John is an undergraduate student majoring in Biology of Global Health and minoring in Mathematics with a premedical focus. After studying C. glabrata in his genetics lab course, he was drawn to studying microbes in the lab. He is interested to see how the combination of genetic and environmental factors might affect the virulence of S. aureus. Outside the lab, he is a volunteer for GUMSHOE math and science tutoring, and a volunteer with Project Sunshine at the Georgetown University Hospital. He likes to spend time playing basketball and exercising in the gym, and watching Cardinals baseball. 
Image of Luke Curran

Luke Curran


Luke is an undergraduate student majoring in biology with a concentration in pre-med. After studying yeast in genetics lab, Luke found a passion for microbiology and genetic research. On campus, Luke is on two club sports teams, Running and Ultimate Frisbee, and tutors for GUMSHOE. In his free time, Luke enjoys hiking in Upstate New York, listening to music, and traveling to new places. 
Image of Sarah Reuter

Sarah Reuter

Undergraduate student

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.

Lab Alumni

Deepak Sharma
Research Associate at Meso Scale Diagnostics, LLC.
Nick Waters
PhD student, Department of Microbiology, National University of Ireland-Galway
Samiksha Borkar
Research associate, Molecular HIV Host Interaction Section (NIAID/NIH)
Nivedita Sengupta
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
David Samuels
Secondary education
Tobi Coker
Global Capital Markets Analyst at Morgan Stanley
Alec Hou
Medical Student, Northwestern University
TzeYin Tang
Medical Student, Drexel University College of Medicine
Kurt Hill
Medical Student, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University
Josh Smith-Sreen
Department of Biology, Boston University
Matt Linz
Research Program Coordinator, Pediatrics/Infectious Disease, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine