Faculty and Research Interests

Dr. Marc Benson

The Benson Laboratory studies how bacterial toxins enter host cells, interact with host cellular processes, and the overall pathogenesis of infection.


The Evilia Laboratory studies the extreme biochemistry of halophiles


The Magnuson Laboratory conducts research in Environmental Microbiology, specifically how 'extremophiles' can live on toxic metals and produce energy from agricultural waste.


The Pfau Laboratory studies the immunotoxicology of asbestos and other silicate dusts which cause the production of autoantibodies in exposed mice and humans.  Students in the lab are exploring the immune dysregulation that leads to autoantibody production, and also how those antibodies then cause damage in the lung



The Scalarone Laboratory studies immunomycology: Immunodiagnosis of the systemic fungal diseases, antigen production and evaluation, antibody and antigen detection assays, detection of delayed dermal hypersensitivity.  A recent focus has been on blastomycosis.  


The Sheridan Laboratory studies cold-active enzymes from psychrophilic ("cold-loving" Bacteria); microbial diversity of extreme and not-so-extreme environments; molecular mechanisms of emerging infectious diseases; microbial products and biotechnology.


The Winston Laboratory studies the molecular phylogenetics of the virus which causes Hematopoietic Necrosis (IHN) in salmonid fish and uses computer modeling to predict the 3D structures of viral surface proteins.


The Weber Laboratory 
works at both the organismal and landscape scales to understand the basic principles of plant-associated microbial community assembly, how this is impacted by environmental disturbances (e.g. invasive plant species, changing nutrient regimes) and the resulting feedbacks on biogeochemical cycling.