Principal Investigator

C.V. Starr Associate Professor of Microbiology

Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA, CA-MRSA, toxin, infection, macrophages, neutrophils, PMN, leukotoxin, gene expression, bacterial pathogenesis, toxin-cell interaction, immune response to infection, regulation of virulence factors, in vivo models of infection, leukocytes, toxin receptors.


Hometown: Rincon, Puerto Rico

Fun Fact: I love the beach

Victor J. Torres




NIH-NIGMS: Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Scholar.

NSF-Summer Research Training Program (University of Iowa).

Hispanic Scholarship Fellow.

American Society for Microbiology Corporate Partner Travel Grant Award.

NIH-NIGMS: Individual Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Predoctoral Fellowship.

Pre-doctoral Sidney P. Colowick Award (Outstanding research achievements in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology; Vanderbilt University School of Medicine).

NIH-NIAID: Individual Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship.
2006 & 2008             

Collier Award for Outstanding Research at the Gordon Conference on Microbial Toxins and Pathogenicity (Proctor Academy in Andover, NH).

Post-doctoral Sidney P. Colowick Award (Outstanding research achievements in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology; Vanderbilt University School of Medicine).

Best Research Award at the Gordon Conference on Staphylococcal Diseases (Les Diablerets, Switzerland).

Levi Watkins Jr., Student Award for Contributions in fostering opportunities for under-represented minorities in education and research (Vanderbilt University School of Medicine).

NIH-NIAID: Research scholar development award (K22).

American Heart Association National Scientist Development Grant.

Burroughs Wellcome Fund: Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases.


The Dean’s List, recognition for exceptional research contributions to NYU Langone Medical center.


NYU SoM NextGen Stars lecture.


The Dean’s List, recognition for exceptional research contributions to NYU Langone Medical Center


Irma T. Hirschl Career Scientist Award.


NYU Langone Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Award.


C.V. Starr Endowed Associate Professor of Microbiology.




Bachelor of Sciences: Concentration in Industrial Microbiology 

University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez campus, Mayagüez, PR, U.S.A.

Mentor: Mildred Chaparro, Ph.D.


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD): Microbiology and Immunology

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine,Nashville, TN, U.S.A. 

Mentor: Timothy L. Cover, M.D.



Postdoctoral Fellow: Division of Infectious Diseases

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN, U.S.A.

Mentor: Timothy L. Cover, M.D.



Postdoctoral Fellow: Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN, U.S.A.

Mentor: Eric P. Skaar, Ph.D.

Hometown: Tucson, AZ



B.S. - Microbiology and Molecular and Cellular Biology - University of Arizona 

Project: I'm studying the expression of S. aureus leukotoxins in various organs during infection and how those genes are regulated. 


Fun Fact: I was named after a punk rock singer

Exene Anderson

Graduate Student

    Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA


    B.S. - Biology - Denison University 

    Ph.D. - Microbiology - New York University 

    Project:  I am working on developing a vaccine against S. aureus infections and I study the pathogenesis of multi-drug resistant Gram-negative bacteria.

    Fun Fact: My artwork has been on the cover of Trends in Microbiology twice.

    Ashley DuMont

    Associate Research Scientist

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    Hometown: Queens, NY



    B.S. - Marketing, Minor Communication Studies - The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

    Role: Lab Administrative Assistant- providing daily administrative and operations support to Dr. Torres and the lab.


    Fun Fact: I’ve climbed Mount Fuji.

    Christa Emanuel

    Administrative Assistant

      Hometown: San Ramon, CA



      B.S. - Biology - Purdue University

      Project: I am studying the structure-function relationship of LukAB toxin diversity.

      Fun Fact: My nails are always painted.

      Juliana Ilmain

      Graduate Student

        Hometown: Munroe Falls, OH



        B.S. - Biology - Case Western Reserve University

        Project: I 'm studying host responses to S. aureus infections.  

        Fun Fact: I'm an avid volleyball player. 

        Matthew Keller

        Graduate Student

          Hometown: Dublin, Ireland



          B.S. - Pharmacology - University College Dublin

          Project: I am working on developing new vaccines against S. aureus infections.

          Fun Fact: I like water sports! 

          Anna O'Keeffe

          Research Associate

            Hometown: Hampden, Maine



            B.S. - Biochemistry - Worcester Polytechnic Institute

            Project: I study the interactions between Staphylococcus bacteria and Influenza viruses in a co-infection model.


            Fun Fact: I played the tuba in the WPI Marching Band! Go Tech! 

            Rachel Prescott

            Graduate Student

              Hometown: Hong Kong, China/Fremont, CA



              B.S. - Biomedical Engineering - University of California, Davis

              Ph.D. - Microbiology - New York University


              Project: I study the role of leukocidins in the generation of adaptive immunity against S. aureus


              Fun Fact:  I may not know all the best bars, but I do know all the dessert places in the city!

              Kayan Tam

              Postdoctoral Fellow

                Hometown:  Beijing, China



                B.S. - Biological Sciences - Peking University 

                Project: Secretion and bacteria association of LukAB toxin.


                Fun Fact: My favorite symbol is the Sun not only because I was born during sunrise, my zodiac is related to sun, and my name means sunshine, but also because I have a passion for everything!

                Xuhui Zheng

                Graduate Student

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                Hometown: Alameda, CA


                B.A. - Molecular and Cellular Biology, Immunology - University of California, Berkeley

                Project: Mechanisms of exosome secretion in response to infection.

                Fun Fact: I love playing ultimate frisbee!

                Krystal Ching

                Graduate Student

                    Hometown: Toronto, Canada



                    B.S. - Immunology - University of Toronto


                    Project: I work on virulence mechanisms of contemporary S. aureus clinical isolates from bloodstream infections.


                    Fun Fact: My family moved a lot when I was younger, and by the time I was 8 I had lived on 4 different continents.

                    Sophie Dyzenhaus

                    Graduate Student

                        Hometown: Bogotá, Colombia



                        B.S. Microbiology - Universidad De Los Andes - Bogotá, Colombia

                        M.S. Microbiology - Universidad De Los Andes - Bogotá, Colombia

                        Project: I work on the host-pathogen interactions occurring during nosocomial MRSA pneumonia infections.


                        Fun Fact: I like to dance salsa and cumbia.

                        Sandra Gonzalez

                        Assistant Research Scientist

                            Hometown: Berlin, CT



                            B.S. - Molecular and Cell Biology - University of Connecticut

                            Project: I am part of a project that is trying to generate monoclonal antibodies against S. aureus leukotoxins, which will ultimately identify functional epitopes.

                            Fun Fact: I am a coffee enthusiast!

                            Leena Kader

                            Research Associate

                                Hometown: Dublin, Ireland



                                B.A. - Microbiology - Trinity College Dublin.

                                Ph.D. - Immunology - Trinity College Dublin.

                                Project: I work on the host-pathogen interactions occurring during nosocomial MRSA pneumonia infections.


                                Fun Fact: My grandfather was also a microbiologist and worked at the Guinness factory.

                                Keenan Lacey

                                Postdoctoral Fellow

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                                  Hometown: Nizhny Novgorod, Russia



                                  M.S. - Biophysics and Bioengineering -Lomonosov Moscow State University  

                                  Ph.D. - Cell and Molecular Biology - UT Southwestern Medical Center


                                  Project: I am investigating the role of leukocidin AB (LukAB) diversity in S. aureus pathogenesis.


                                  Fun Fact:  Polo is my favorite sport to both watch and play.

                                  Sofya Perelman

                                  Postdoctoral Fellow

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                                    Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT



                                    B.S. - Biology - University of California, Santa Cruz

                                    Ph.D. - Microbiology - University of California, Santa Cruz


                                    Project: I study how S. aureus repurposes transcriptional regulators that are classically associated with metabolism to control pathogenesis in the host.


                                    Fun Fact: I like snowboarding.

                                    Will Sause

                                    Postdoctoral Fellow

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                                      Hometown: Oxford, CT



                                      B.S. - Biology with a concentration in Genomics - Davidson College 

                                      Ph.D. - Cellular and Molecular Biology - University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine 


                                      Project: Defining the toxin-dependent and toxin-independent S. aureus response of primary human phagocytes.


                                      Fun Fact: Completed an 8-day, 100-mile hike in the Adirondacks.

                                      Erin Zwack

                                      Postdoctoral Fellow

                                          Past Lab Members

                                          Kristina Boguslawski, PhD - MSTP student (2015-2019)

                                          Irnov Irnov, PhD - Associate Research Scientist (2017-2019)

                                          Rita Chan - Research Associate (2013-2019)

                                          Marilyn Vasquez - SURP 2015, Research Associate (2016-2019)

                                          Bianca Dunn - Assistant Research Technician (2017-2019)

                                          Michael Lesser, PhD - Postdoctoral Fellow (2017-2018)

                                          Ashira Lubkin, PhD - MSTP student (2014-2019)

                                          Alexis Sommerfield - Research Associate (2015-2018)

                                          Evelien Berends, PhD - Postdoctoral Fellow (2015-2018)

                                          Lamia Harper, PhD - Graduate Student (2014-2018)

                                          Aidan O'Malley - Research Associate (2013-2017)

                                          David James, PhD - Postdoctoral Fellow (2013-2017)

                                          Divya Balasubramanian, PhD - Postdoctoral Fellow (2014-2017)

                                          Pauline Yoong, PhD - Associate Research Scientist (2011- 2015)

                                          Elizabeth Ohneck, PhD - Postdoctoral Fellow (2013-2015)

                                          Tamara Reyes-Robles, PhD - Graduate Student (2011-2015)

                                          Francis Alonzo, PhD - Postdoctoral Fellow (2011-2014)

                                          Ashley DuMont, PhD - Graduate Student (2009-2013)

                                          Meredith Benson, PhD - Graduate Student (2009-2013)

                                          Amanda Smith - Research Associate (2009-2011)

                                          Sarit Lilo, PhD - Postdoctoral Fellow (2009-2010)

                                          Kevin Fabrizio, PhD - Postdoctoral Fellow (2009-2010)

                                          Torres Lab

                                          Alexandria Center for Life Sciences - West Tower

                                          430 East 29th St, Lab Rm 324

                                          New York, NY 10016

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