People in the Criss Lab

People in the Criss Lab

Alison Criss, PhD Alison Criss --

Alison received her PhD from Harvard Medical School on Salmonella infection of polarized epithelial cells. As a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University, she investigated the process of gonococcal pilin antigenic variation and developed new approaches for studying gonococcal interactions with human neutrophils. Her lab investigates the mechanisms underlying survival of gonococci to neutrophils, which allow the bacteria to evade innate immune-mediated clearance.
Research Scientist
AsjaSmirnovPhDS2014.jpg Asya Smirnov --

Asya received her PhD in Animal Sciences from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in Israel. As postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University  she studied the  mechanisms of C. trachomatis interaction with the host cells. Her current research is focusing on examining how N. gonorrhoeae suppresses neutrophil ROS production.


Richard Juneau --

Richard received his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from Wake Forest University in 2011, where he studied neutrophil extracellular trap production in Haemophilus influenzae infections.  As a postdoctoral fellow in the Criss lab, he is studying selected bacterial gene products that contribute to N. gonorrhoeae survival after human neutrophil challenge

Brittany Johnson Brittany Johnson --

Brittany received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from the College of William and Mary and her PhD from the University of Virginia in 2014. She is currently investigating gonococcal interactions with neutrophil extracellular traps
Graduate Students
Jonathan Handing

Jonathan Handing --

Jonathan received his bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from the University of New Mexico in 2008.  He joined the Criss lab in 2011.  His current project examines gonococcal gene products that mediate bacterial resistance to antimicrobial products of neutrophil granules.


Stephanie Ragland --

Stephanie received her bachelor's degree in Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2009.  She worked as a research specialist with Dr. Jason Carlyon at VCU investigating Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection of granulocytes.  Stephanie entered the BIMS graduate program at UVA in Fall 2012 and joined the Criss lab in Spring 2013.  Her research explores how modifications to peptidoglycan affect Neisseria gonorrhoeae interactions with neutrophils.

Jacqueline Stevens --

Jacqueline received her degrees in Biochemistry and French from the University of Virginia in 2012.  She entered the MSTP program in Fall 2012 and joined the Criss lab in Spring 2014.  Her studies are examining neutrophilic inflammation initiated by Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection.

Undergraduate Student
Kylene Daily --

Kylene is a Chemistry major at UVA.  She joined the Criss lab in 2012.  She is investigating how Neisseria gonorrhoeae is phagocytosed by human neutrophils.
Senior Laboratory Specialist
Louise Ball Louise Ball --

Louise received her BSc. (Hons) in Medical Microbiology from the University of Leeds in England in 2002. She worked in Veterinary Microbiology at UC Davis for 6 years before coming to UVA. In the Criss lab she is assessing the effects of the opacity-associated proteins of N. gonorrhoeae on bacterial interactions with human neutrophils.