Principal Investigator

C.V. Starr 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.


Irma T. Hirschl Career Scientist Award.


NYU Langone Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Award.


C.V. Starr Endowed Professorship.




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.


2008: Assistant Professor of Microbiology

2014: Associate Professor of Microbiology

2019: C.V. Starr Associate Professor of Microbiology

2020: C.V. Starr Professor of Microbiology

    Exene Anderson

    Graduate Student

    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

      Krystal Ching

      Graduate Student

      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!

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      Ashley DuMont

      Associate Research Scientist

      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.

        Juan Gago

        Graduate Student

        Hometown: Buenos Aires, Argentina



        M.D. - University of Buenos Aires

        M.P.H. - City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health


        Project: I am working on analyzing clinical and demographic characteristics of patients with COVID-19 and sepsis.


        Fun Fact: I traveled the Amazonian jungle by boat.

          Juliana Ilmain

          Graduate Student

          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.

            Ashira Lubkin

            Postdoctoral Fellow

            Hometown: Rochester, NY



            B.A. - Biological Studies - Columbia University

            Ph.D. - Immunology - New York University

            M.D. - Medicine - New York University

            Project: I am working to charachterize the virulence phenotypes of S. aureus and Candida ssp. isolates from patients with COVID.

            Fun Fact: I can sing really high.


              Miranda Pawline

              Research Associate

              Hometown: Delanco, NJ



              B.S. - Biology and Chemistry - Florida Gulf Coast University  

              M.S. - Biology - New York University


              Project: Currently studying CA-MRSA colonization of the gastrointestinal tract and assisting in infectious disease hospital surveillance.


              Fun Fact:  I’ve had my boaters license since age 14 and can outfish my dad!

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              Sofya Perelman

              Postdoctoral Fellow

              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.

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              Robert Ulrich

              Instructor, Department of Medicine

              Hometown: Commerce Twp, MI



              B.S. - Human Biology, Health and Society - Cornell University

              M.D. - Medicine - NYU School of Medicine

              Project: I am studying the mechanisms of prophage-mediated virulence driving community-acquired MRSA contagion.


              Fun Fact: I briefly toured as a drummer in an indie rock band. 

                Chunyi Zhou

                Postdoctoral Fellow

                Hometown:  Xinyang, Henan, China



                M.D. - Clinical Medicine - Xinxiang Medical University

                Ph.D. - Microbiology - University of Nebraska Medical Center

                Project: I am working on the study of gastrointestinal tract colonization of CA-MRSA.


                Fun Fact: My hometown is famous for Xinyang Maojian tea.

                  Ze Chen

                  Graduate Student

                  Hometown: China


                  B.S. - Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine.

                  M.S. - New York University

                  Project: My project involves using genomic data to better understand the interaction between S. aureus and the host.

                  Fun Fact: I love soccer!

                    Joseph Cooper Devlin

                    Graduate Student

                    Hometown: Winter Park, FL


                    B.S. - Microbiology - University of Florida 

                    Project: I work on the multi-omic integration of immune profiling data.


                    Fun Fact: I played travel volleyball for 10 years. 

                      Sophie Dyzenhaus

                      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.

                        Sandra Gonzalaz

                        Assistant Research Scientist

                        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.

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                        Keenan Lacey

                        Postdoctoral Fellow

                        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.

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                        Anna O'Keeffe

                        Research Associate

                        Hometown: Dublin, Ireland



                        B.S. - Pharmacology - University College Dublin

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

                        Fun Fact: I love open-water swimming. 

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                        Andrew Perault

                        Postdoctoral Fellow

                        Hometown: Big Sur, CA / Ann Arbor, MI



                        B.S. - Microbiology - University of Michigan

                        MPH - Hospital and Molecular Epidemiology - University of Michigan

                        Ph.D. - Microbiology and Immunology - University of North Carolina

                        Project: I am studying virulence mechanisms used by the multi-drug resistant pathogen Enterobacter cloacae.


                        Fun Fact: When I was a kid, the Dalai Lama gave me a stress ball as a gift (should I read into that?). 

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                        Rachel Prescott

                        Graduate Student

                        Hometown: Hampden, ME



                        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! 

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                        Xuhui Zheng

                        Graduate Student

                        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!

                          Erin Zwack

                          Postdoctoral Fellow

                          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.

                          Past Lab Members

                          Matthew Keller, PhD - Graduate Student (2014-2020)

                          Will Sause, PhD - Postdoctoral Fellow (2014-2020)

                          Leena Kader - Research Associate (2018-2020)

                          Christa Emanuel - Administrative Assistant (2017-2020)

                          Kayan Tam, PhD - Graduate Student (2013-2020)

                          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 - Research Associate (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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