Robert O. Watson

Principle Investigator

Ph.D.: Jorge Galan, Ph.D., Yale University

Postdoc: Jeffery Cox, Ph.D., UCSF

Interests: Bacterial pathogenesis, innate immunity, bacterial genetics, autophagy, pathogen sensing


Kristin L. Patrick

Principle investigator

B.S. Hamilton College

Ph.D.: Christian Tschudi, Ph.D., Yale University

Postdoc: Nevan Krogan, Ph.D. and Christine Guthrie Ph.D., UCSF

Interests: I study post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression during the innate immune response to bacteria. Specifically, I'm investigating how bacteria like M. tuberculosis may influence host gene expression at the level of pre-mRNA splicing.


Samantha Bell

Postdoctoral Fellow

B.S. University of Pittsburgh

Ph.D.: Jeffery Cox, Ph.D., UCSF

Interests: I'm interested in dissecting the pathways in a macrophage that allow it to recognize and respond to M. tuberculosis infection. I want it to understand the players involved, their cellular functions, and their mechanisms of regulation. In addition, I'm interested in how these pathways, initiated immediately upon infection, contribute to controlling M. tuberculosis in vivo in a mouse model of infection.



Caitlyn Hoffpauir


B.S. Texas A&M University

Interests: I’m interested in interrogating the pathogenesis of different intracellular pathogens. Specifically, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a stealthy pathogen that is able to maintain its niche for the lifespan of the host.  I want to better understand how Mycobacterium tuberculosis modulates the innate immune response once inside a host macrophage and how the host recognizes and responds to infection. 


Catherine Weindel

Postdoctoral Fellow

Ph.D.: Brigette Huber, Ph.D., Tufts University

Interests: Robust activation of proinflammatory pathways is crucial to fight infection; tight control must be maintained to prevent chronic inflammation. Understanding the factors involved in this balance will inform how our immune system differentiates between “self” and “non-self”, maintains peripheral tolerance, and initiates a productive immune response upon infection. My current work interrogates the role of LRRK2, a Parkinson’s Disease kinase, during infection with M. tuberculosis


Kelsi West


M.P.H. in Epidemiology, East Tennessee State University

B.S. Salisbury University 

Interests: I am interested in the regulation of gene expression upon bacterial infection. I want to understand how these genes are regulated post-transcriptionally and play a role in host and/or bacteria survival, specifically through the regulation of splicing. I am investigating how bacteria can modulate this response for their benefit through different sensing pathways.

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Katie Grantham


B.S. Texas A&M University


Krystal Vail

Veterinary Anatomical Pathology Resident and Graduate Student

M.S. Barry University

D.V.M. Tuskegee University 

Interests: Intracellular bactieral pathogens employ various methods to overcome the host immune system and enable their survival. I am interested in understanding the molecular pathways that control bacterial survival in macrophages and the innate immune response to infection. My work in the Watson lab is focused on elucidating the mechanisms by which the intracellular pathogen, Mycobacterium leprae interfaces with the innate immune system.

Former lab members


Morgan Riba


Interests: I’m interested in the mechanisms by which pathogenic bacteria establish infection through secretion of various effector proteins. In particular, I study the interaction of these bacterial proteins and their host targets that are part of highly conserved eukaryotic pathways. 




Hannah Wilson