Laura C. Cook, PhD

Principle Investigator

I have been an Assistant Professor at Binghamton University since the Fall of 2018. I began my research career as an undergraduate researcher in the laboratory of Dr. Patrick Schlievert at the University of Minnesota studying toxin production in the Gram-positive pathogens Staphylococcus aureusStreptococcus pyogenes, and Bacillus anthracis. I then joined the lab of Dr. Gary Dunny and began working on my PhD dissertation research studying conjugation and biofilm formation in the human pathogen Enterococcus faecalis. My postdoctoral studies took place at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the lab of Dr. Michael Federle. While there, I focused on quorum sensing in streptococci and the role of cell-cell signaling in colonization of the host. It was there that I began using animal models of bacterial colonization. Using a mouse model of vaginal colonization, I developed projects looking at the transcriptome of GAS and GBS during vaginal carriage using RNASeq. These projects developed into the work that is currently done in my lab.

When I’m not in the lab I enjoy playing with my cats, reading, and traveling nationally and internationally. I especially love spending time hiking and exploring upstate New York with my husband and two kids, Ramona and Edison.

Current Graduate Students

Nick Faiola

PhD Student (2020-present)

I began my PhD studies at Binghamton University in the fall of 2020. I also completed my bachelor’s degree at Binghamton University in biology in the summer of 2019. My research experience began as a summer research fellow at SUNY Upstate in the lab of Dr. M Saeed Sheikh where I studied apoptosis and cancer biology, helping to determine the effect of the plant derived anti-cancer compound quinovic acid on cancer cells in culture. I then moved to the lab of Dr. Peter Calvert as a lab technician where I assisted in characterizing the biophysical properties of phototransduction proteins by creating and maintaining transgenic Xenopus lines and performing various molecular biology work. My lifelong passion for microbiology drew me back to Binghamton to study host-pathogen interactions with Dr. Laura Cook.

While I’m not in lab I enjoy playing piano, cooking, baking, gardening, and soaking in any warm sunny weather we get in Upstate NY.

Giselle Jimenez

PhD Student (2022-present)

Nicole Casab

MS Student (2023-present)

Current Undergraduate Researchers

Eliza Klos, May Xu, Laura Bousaid, Isabella Caridi, Natalie Pushlar, Teresa Scotto, Sarah Patach, Damian Wadolowski, Lisa Cao

Previous students

Previous Graduate Students

  • Lamar Thomas, PhD – Currently postdoc in Dr. Victor Nizet’s lab at UCSD
  • Morgan Hulbert M.A. 2019 – Currently in Cornell Veterinary Program
  • Mitchell Waldran M.A. 2020 – Currently in PhD program at SUNY Upstate

Previous Undergraduate Students

  • Melissa Oelefein B.S. 2019
  • Ellie Plotkin-Kaye B.S. 2020 *Honors Senior Thesis
  • Mio Ito B.S. 2020
  • Jenna Battaglia B.S. 2020
  • Lindsay Thomas B.S. 2021
  • Jordan Thesier B.S. 2021
  • Nicole Remes B.S. 2021
  • Courtney Fu B.S. 2022
  • Christopher Thomas B.S. 2023
  • Diana Maneri B.S. 2023
  • Mariia Samofalova B.S. 2023
  • Kevin Rosado Nieves – REU Biofilms
  • Jana Masse – REU Biofilms
  • Samantha Garnsey – REU Biofilms
  • Fiddi Himli – REU Biofilms