Lab Members

The Federle Lab

Discovering Languages of Pathogens...

Michael Federle, PhD, Principal Investigator  (Download CV)

I’ve been hooked on microbial cell-to-cell communication since the day I held a Petri dish with colonies of glow-in-the-dark bacteria.  Light production in marine bioluminescent bacteria occurs only after they communicate to one another to do so. In a dark room, it was like gazing at the night sky, full of stars.  Since that experience, I’ve been curious about the molecular mechanisms allowing bacteria to coordinate behaviors, not only to express luciferase, but also to grow in communities and join efforts to overcome barriers that would be impassable if performed by individual cells.  We anticipate our studies will have big implications in developing strategies to interfere with bacterial communication, and may lead to new antimicrobial therapies.

(In alphabetical order)

Chaitanya Aggarwal, Graduate Student

Chaitanya joined the Federle lab in Summer 2010. His research focuses on identifying peptide pheromones secreted by S. pyogenes which are involved in regulating virulence using biochemical techniques. The long term implication of his research is to develop anti-quorum sensing molecules which can act as novel antibiotics. He received his BS in Biotechnology from India in 2008.

Jennifer Chang, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Jenny joined the Federle Lab in 2008.  She is interested in bacterial pathogenesis and currently works on the Rgg2/3 quorum-sensing circuit.  Jenny received BS and MS degrees from the University of California at San Diego and a PhD in Pathobiology from the University of Washington.

Juan C. Jiménez , Graduate Student


Juan studied Biochemistry at the Universidad de Chile, but did most of his undergraduate research in the topic that fascinates him, which is bacteriology. Currently Juan is a student in the Microbiology and Immunology PhD program here at UIC. He joined the Federle lab in Summer 2011 and is studying how biofilm production in Streptococcus pyogenes is regulated and influenced by peptide pheromones.

Breah LaSarre, Graduate Student


Breah joined the Federle lab in Summer 2008. Her primary interest is bacterial transcriptional regulation, and she is currently investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying the Rgg2/Rgg3 quorum sensing circuit. She received a BA in Biology and Spanish from Illinois College in 2005

Lauren-Mashburn Warren, PhD, Post-Doc fellow