Michael Abt

Principal Investigator

Michael is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. He joined the UPenn faculty in 2018. His previous postdoctoral research was conducted at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in the laborartory of Dr. Eric G. Pamer. Michael received his Ph’D at UPenn in the laboratories of Dr. David Artis and Dr. John Wherry studying Microbiota signaling that modulate antiviral immunity.


Emily Cribas

Graduate Student

Emily graduated from Penn State with a B.Sc degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2017. She joined the Abt lab in June 2018. Her research focuses on understanding the innate immune response to C. difficile infection. In her spare time, Emily enjoys playing with her two adorable cats, eating brunch, and exploring Philly.


Dr. Joshua Denny

PostDoctoral Fellow

Joshua joined the lab in 2019 after receiving his PhD from the University of Louisville in the lab of Dr. Nathan Schmidt where his thesis work focused on how the gut microbiota modulated resistance or susceptibility to severe malaria in mice. His research interests lie in how the gut microbiota and immune system interact in the context of disease, and how this relationship can be modified to prevent disease pathogenesis.


Dr. Zahidul Alam

PostDoctoral Fellow

Zahidul joined the lab in October 2019. He received his PhD from the University of Texas at Arlington, where his thesis focus was evaluating membrane-active compounds as treatment for Clostridioides difficile infection. Currently, Zahidul is working to understand the role of regulatory T cells in the pathogenesis of Clostridioides difficile infection.


Nontokozo Mdluli

Research Specialist

Nonto graduated from Kenyon College earning a B.A. in biology. Her undergraduate research focused on pH stress response in E. coli. She joined the Abt lab after working under the mentorship of Dr. Kristi Frank at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) in Bethesda, where she focused on identifying biofilm associated virulence factors in E. faecalis. Nonto is interested in researching the biogeography of different bacterial species during C. difficile infection. Outside of the lab, Nonto enjoys hunting for new houseplants, playing her saxophone, and exploring Philly parks. 

Kevin Mears

Graduate Student

Kevin graduated from the University of Washington with a B.Sc degree in Microbiology. He joined the Abt lab in the Spring of 2021. His research focus is on studying the spatial and transcriptional profile of C. difficile in response to immune stimuli.


Jeff Maslanka

Graduate Student

Jeff graduated from Rider University with a B.Sc in Biology. He joined the lab in the Fall of 2021. His research focus is on immune factors that impair fecal microbiota transplant engraftment.