Melissa Kendall Laboratory
Kendall Lab UVA


Melissa Kendall, PhD

Melissa M. Kendall, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

I grew up outside of Detroit Michigan, and received my undergraduate degree in French from Michigan State University in 1995. After college, I entered the Environmental Sciences and Resources: Biology program at Portland State University, where I did my dissertation work in Dr. David Boone’s lab. This research explored the physiology and ecology of microbes living in permanently cold, anoxic marine sediments and primarily focused on methanogens, the methane-producing Archaea, and their syntrophic interactions. After receiving my Ph.D. in 2006, I joined Dr. Vanessa Sperandio’s lab at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center for post-doctoral training. During my fellowship training, I became interested in how EHEC integrates environmental signals to recognize a host environment and modulate expression of genes important for pathogenesis, and this interest remains the driving force behind the research in my lab. I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology at the University of Virginia.

Current Lab Members

David Clark

David joined the lab in September, 2012, after leaving the Center for Cell Signaling where he conducted cancer research. He has really enjoyed working with bacteria and learning about bacterial signaling and pathogenesis. David’s research focuses on understanding how the transcription factor EutR regulates virulence gene expression. Outside of the lab David enjoys spending time with his family, reading, beer brewing, and outdoor recreational activities.


Debi Luzader

Debi earned her B.S. from Arizona State University in Genetics, Cell and Developmental Biology. Currently, she works on using in vitro and in vivo techniques to study EHEC pathogenesis, looking specifically at the role of ethanolamine in EHEC virulence gene regulation. In addition to working in lab, Debi likes to go hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, travel, and bake!


CJ Anderson

CJ started his graduate career at UVA in 2013 after earning his B.S from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in biology in 2011. Currently, he studies how ethanolamine influences adhesion in enteric pathogens. Outside of lab, CJ enjoys watching his hometown Chicago Blackhawks, playing golf and participating in various intramural sports here at UVA.


Beth McKenney

Beth joined the BIMS program in 2013 after receiving her BS from the University of Maryland and an MS from George Mason University. Her research focuses on the mechanisms by which ethanolamine influences virulence gene regulation and signaling in EHEC. In her spare time, she enjoys visiting Charlottesville's many wineries, playing with her dog, Dexter, and reading.


Marina Girgis

Marina is a third year undergraduate student in the Biomedical Engineering Program. Marina is studying post-transcriptional gene regulation in EHEC.


Former Lab Members

Laura Gonyar

Laura is currently a post doc in Erik Hewlett's lab at UVA.



SeanNoona, Undergraduate Student

Sean Noona

Former undergraduate researcher.