Research Associate
Kellie Hom,Kellie
Ph.D. University of California San Francisco Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry,
Kellie is the Manager of the School of Pharmacy NMR Facility. Kellie’s projects irange from utilizing NMR methods in the structural characterization of the bacterial HemO’s, protein-protein interactions, SAR and Fragment based screening by NMR in the design and synthesis of novel inhibitors.


Post-Doctoral Fellows

 Susanna Susana Mourino-Lopez
Ph.D. Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Santiago de Compostela University, Spain.
Susana’s research is addressing the transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of heme uptake in P. aeruginosa. Through a combination of bacterial genetics, biochemical, and metabolomic analysis we are investigating the link between extracellular heme flux and the transcriptional and post-transcriptional iron-regulatory network. In collaboration with our department colleague Amanda Oglesby-Sherrouse, Susanna is defining the role of the recently identified heme regulated sRNA PrrH in the regulation of heme uptake and metabolism.
Weiliang_1 Weiliang Huang, 2014 – Present
Ph.D. University of Queensland, Chemistry Department
Weiliang’s project is directed toward understanding the mechanism of heme transfer from the the cytoplasmic heme binding protein PhuS to HemO. Through a combination of site-directed mutagenesis and biophysical methods he is determining the protein-protein interface and structurally characterizing the PhuS-HemO complex by X-ray crystallographic methods. In addition he is collaborating with Pierre Moenne-Loccoz at Oregon Health Sciences University to determine the spectroscopic properties of key intermediates in the transfer reaction using freeze-quench stopped flow and resonance Raman methods.

Graduate Students

GeoffH Geoffrey A. Heinzl, 2012 – Present
B.S. Alleghany College, PA
Geoff’s project is a collaboration with his co-advisor Fengtian Xue on the design and synthesis of novel antimicrobials targeting the P. aeruginosa cytoplasmic heme binding protein (PhuS) and heme oxygenase (HemO). A series of small molecule inhibitors identified through computer aided drug design (CADD) are being optimized through SAR and assayed by fragment-based NMR screening and crystallography. High-throughput in vitro fluorescent assays are also being developed for screening inhibitor binding to HemO and PhuS.

Bennett Giardina, 2013 – Present
B.S. Pennsylvannia State University
Bennett recently purified and characterized the Acinetobacter baumannii HemO. Studies are underway to crystalize inhibitor bound P. aeruginosa and A. baumannii HemO proteins for future optimization by CADD and chemical synthesis. The crystallographic studies are being performed in collaboration with our departmental colleague C.S. Raman. Bennett is also designing and developing several in cellulo fluorescence based assays for high-throughput screening of PhuS and HemO inhibitors in P. aeruginosa and A. baumannii.
Alecia Alecia Thomas, 2015 – Present
B.S. University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Alecia is studying the structure-function of the outer-membrane heme receptors HasR and PhuR of P. aeruginosa. She is combining biochemical, isotopic labeling and bacterial genetics to determine the contributions of the respective receptors to extracellular heme uptake and virulence. Furthermore, she is investigating the role of HasA-HasR cell surface signaling system in regulating both heme sensing and acquisition in the context of infection. Crystallization of the receptors is an ongoing collaboration with Tom Poulos at the University of California, Irvine.