Although there is an estimated 10(31) bacteriophages on earth, only about 3,000 individual phages have been identified. and their genomes sequenced.  Approximately one-third of these infect bacteria within the phylum Actinobacteria, but of these about 90% infect a single host, Mycobacterium smegmatis.  My objective in the Hatfull Lab is to isolate and characterize bacteriophages that infect other Actinobacetria hosts – including Gordonia terrae – in order to enhance our understanding of the genes horizontally transferred during phage evolution. This will provide useful information on the genome and evolution of Gordonia terrae, as well as its close relative Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Similarly, I also plan to isolation phages ofRhodococcus species, particularly Rhodococcus fascians.  I am also currently working on purifying and characterizing Thunderhawk, a phage I recently found to infect Goronia terrae.

Kerry is majoring in Microbiology at the University of Pittsburgh in the class of 2018. She joined the Hatfull Lab in the fall of 2015.

Kerry can be contacted at:

Department of Biological Sciences
4249 5th Avenue
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
(412) 624 6976