Dr. Olivia Kosterlitz


My  research focuses on the impact of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) on bacterial communities. My work constructs theoretical frameworks and precise laboratory methods to understand the evolutionary effects of HGT, focusing on the dynamics of mobile genetic elements (MGEs) and their cross-species evolution. By measuring the speed of MGE transfer, we enhance our comprehension of HGT’s role in bacterial evolution, especially concerning antibiotic resistance. In future studies, I aim to delve deeper into the nuanced impacts of HGT on bacterial communities, refining our understanding of this mode of inheritance and its implications for evolutionary principles.

Clint Elg

PhD student Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

Clint is a PhD student in the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology program and received an NSF graduate research fellowship for 2019-2023. Previously he completed his Bachelor of Science (Cellular & Molecular Biology) at Central Washington University. His interests in multi-drug resistance plasmids stem from prior experiences as a medic dealing with infections secondary to penetrating trauma. Currently, Clint is focused on mechanisms that influence the maintenance of a plasmid in a population over time, particularly DNA methylation via plasmid encoded methyltransferases. He wrote correlogy, a software package that predicts the functional grouping of horizontally transferred genes by calculating the co-occurrence of homologous genes across the bacterial domain.

Undergraduate students

Morgan Sower

Morgan is an undergraduate Microbiology major at the University of Idaho. Long after graduating from North Idaho College with an A.A., memories of prior laboratory experience and a Microbiology internship led her to attend the University of Idaho seven years later, where she sought to join the Top Lab because of its fascinating and important research. She has helped Dr. Erin Mack with investigating a clinically isolated meropenem-resistance transposon, and is currently working to compare transfer rates and host range of an IncP plasmid. She enjoys motorcycle rides when the weather is nice.

Luke Hoover

Luke Hoover is pursuing undergraduate degrees in Microbiology and Psychology with aspirations of attending medical school to become a Psychiatrist. Originally From Anchorage, Alaska, Luke enjoys colder weather and high adrenalin outside sports. He is currently a leader in the club Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship and spends his free time in Moscow, ID riding his motorcycle, playing sports with his friends, and hosting different events like bible studies and movie nights. Currently Luke is working with E. coli to better understand the evolution of plasmids and their interactions with other plasmids by determining the resistances to different antibiotics and how those change when placed in different environments.

Past Members

Thibault Stalder – Thibault has taken up a position at the University of Limoges in France, where he holds a Distinguished Chair in antibiotic resistance from Inserm. You can contact him at thibault.stalder@inserm.fr

Erin Mack

Salvador “Chava” Castañeda Barba – Chava is now working for Dr. Amy Mathers as a bioinformatics research scientist at the University of Virginia. He can be reached at sgj4qr@uvahealth.org