Branch Officers


Dr. Kelly Rice - President

Associate Professor, Dept. Microbiology and Cell Science, University of Florida | @KCRiceUF

My research program focuses on aspects of bacterial physiology that contribute to biofilm development and virulence of Gram-positive bacteria. Specific research projects currently under investigation include effects of endogenous nitric oxide production on Staphylococcus aureus physiology, Cid/Lrg system and vitamin transport in Streptococcus mutans, and effects of simulated microgravity on stress resistance and virulence potential of S. aureus and S. mutans.


Dr. Julie Torruellas - Vice President

Associate Professor, Dpt. Biological Sciences, Nova Southeastern University |

Research in the Garcia Lab is conducted exclusively by NSU undergraduate students and focuses on developing techniques to detect novel antibiotics that inhibit bacterial type III secretion systems, examining the efficacy of electrostatic sprayers for the delivery of disinfectants and identifying bacteria from everyday items for the news.

Terri Ellis head shot 2016.png

Dr. Terri Ellis - secretary

Associate Professor, Dept. Biology, University of North Florida |

Research in my lab focuses on the outer surface of pathogenic (disease causing) Gram-negative bacteria. Gram-negative bacteria, unlike other cells, are surrounded by a distinctive cell wall and second, outer phospholipid membrane. Bacterial species within this group include such well known bacteria as E. coli, Salmonella, and Vibrio cholerae. My lab utilizes a range of proteomic, biochemical, cell biology, genetic, and immunology based techniques. Using this integrative approach, we investigate how small changes to the outer surface of these bacteria trigger larger downstream alterations in virulence. Incorporated into all investigations is student training.


Dr. Cory Krediet - treasurer

Assistant Professor, Depts. Marine Science and Biology, Eckerd College | @coryjkrediet

My research interests lie in host-microbe interactions and specifically how mutualistic or commensal microbiota influence the host’s physiological response to various abiotic and biotic stressors. My research aims to better understand how associated microbiota affect the physiology of the coral holobiont and what mechanisms underpin the overall success of the symbiosis. I regularly involve undergraduate students as assistants in my research.


Dr. Jamie Foster - COMS Counsellor

Associate Professor, Dept. Microbiology and Cell Science, University of Florida |

The overall objective of Dr. Foster’s research program is dedicated to examining the interactions between microbial communities and their surrounding environments to improve our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that microbes use to adapt and respond to changes in the environment.

Past Presidents:

Shannon Ulrich (St. Petersburg College)

Jamie Foster (University of Florida)

Mya Breitbart (University of South Florida)