Welcome to the Miyashiro Lab!

We seek to understand how bacteria adapt to a host environment. We study the mutualistic symbiosis established between the Hawaiian bobtail squid (Euprymna scolopes) and a bioluminescent bacterium (Vibrio fischeri). From within a dedicated structure called the light organ, populations of V. fischeri produce light that the squid uses to camouflage itself at night. We use microbial genetics, confocal microscopy, and biochemistry to explore bacterial gene regulation within this fascinating symbiosis.

News and Updates

Spring 2020

  • Dr. Kirsten R. Guckes has received an F32 National Research Service Award from NIAID, which will fund her postdoctoral training in the Miyashiro Lab for 3 years.  Her project is entitled ‘Impact of quorum sensing on type VI secretion activities during symbiosis establishment’. Congratulations, Kirsten!
  • The Miyashiro lab has received funding from NIGMS to support the training of MCIBS graduate student Jessica Eason for 2 years.  She will contribute to the lab’s project on ‘Heterogeneity in bacterial quorum sensing during infection’.  Congratulations, Jess!

Congratulations to Dr. Nathan Wasilko for his successful Thesis Defense on                  Monday Feb. 3rd, 2020

Congratulations to graduate student Nathan Wasilko! Link

Congratulations to graduate student Nathan Wasilko! Link to article!

Fall 2019

Miyashiro Lab Fall 2019 Missing: Ericka, Katrina

Miyashiro Lab Fall 2019
Missing: Ericka, Jess, Molly, Katrina

Miyashiro Lab attending the Maryland v PSU game. PSU defeats No. 4 Maryland.

Miyashiro Lab attending the Maryland v PSU game. PSU defeats No. 4 Maryland.


An article outlining an undergraduate research experience featuring Taylor Yount on “Building my own Research Project”.

Miyashiro Lab Fall 2019

Summer 2019

4th annual Miyashiro Lab Reunion.  Great presentations followed by Spikes baseball game!
Missing from photo: Alex Sacharok


Spring 2019

Congratulations to Andy and Roxy for graduating from Penn State and The Miyashiro Lab in Spring of 2019

Andy has accepted a Microbiology Ph.D. program at Cornell University beginning Fall 2019.

Lab bowling Spring 2019

The Lab’s talented undergraduates presenting at the 2019 Undergraduate Exhibition

Miyashiro Lab Spring 2019

Lab Ice cream celebrating the successful semester!


Fall 2018

2018-7-19: Congratulations to undergraduate Caroline Steingard as she begins her Ph.D. in microbiology. Article!

Miyashiro Lab Fall 2018
(Missing Mandi & Rachel)

Congratulations to undergraduate Taylor Yount for receiving a grant from the Student Engagement Network at Penn State to work on an undergraduate research projects in our lab!

Summer 2018

Congratulations to undergraduate Caroline Steingard as she begins her Ph.D. in microbiology. Article!

Spring 2018

Miyashiro Lab
Berkey Creamery

Congratulations to the following students for their impressive achievements during the Spring 2018 semester:

Caroline Steingard (Senior)
-Stipend and fellowship from Cornell University for the Microbiology Ph.D. program where she’s been accepted in the fall 2018 semester.
-Best Undergraduate Poster Overall (1st place)” and $200 from ECMSS (Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology Student Symposium).

 Andy Murtha (Junior)
-RESTEK Student Research symposium – 1st place
-NASA PA Space Grant Consortium Undergraduate Scholarship
-Undergraduate Research Fellowship from American Society for Microbiology

Mandi Williams
-Second place in the Health & Life Sciences category at the Undergraduate Research Exhibition!   Article

Diego Santos and Rachel Bruning (Freshmen)
– “Information Literacy Award at the 2018 Undergraduate Research Exhibition.” All entries at the Exhibition were eligible for this award!  A display is available at the Franklin Atrium in the library.  Article

Congratulations to Austin Wittmer, who will be accepting a summer internship with Kimberly-Clark, working on tissue cultures.  This is a good fit for Austin’s eventual plans for PA school to focus in dermatology.


Welcoming 4 new talented undergraduates to the Miyashiro Lab!


Fall 2017

Lab bowling at Northland Bowl!

Miyashiro Lab Fall 2017
(During the solar eclipse)

Summer 2017

Lab Reunion 2017
Presentations, dinner, ice cream, & bowling!


2017-6-27: Ericka D Reed won a Gilliam Fellowship from HHMI!  Congratulations, Ericka!


Lab Ice Skating at Pegula Ice Arena!

ASM Microbe 2017
Talk by Dr. Tim Miyashiro
Posters by Ericka D. Reed & Caroline Steingard

Spring 2017

Congratulations to Caroline and Andy for winning poster awards at the Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology Student Symposium!

1st Place
Andrew Murtha (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology)
“Communication Between Vibrio fischeri Populations within the Squid Light Organ”

3rd Place
Caroline Steingard (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology)
“Investigation of codependent strain characteristics in polyclonal V. fischeri infections”


Congratulations to the following lab members for the awards won at the Tri-Beta National Biological Honor Society Regional Conference at Frostburg State University in Maryland!

Caroline Steingard (Biology) – Frist Place Poster Sessions I
Brain Bui (BMB) – First Place Poster Session II
Andrew Murtha (BMB) – Third Place Poster Session III


Miyashiro Lab
Spring 2017

The Miyashiro Lab celebrates graduate student
Nathan Wasilko passing his candidacy!


2016-11-17: Andrew Cecere won the 2016 Departmental Research Staff Excellence Award!  Congratulations, Andrew!


2016-11-04: Ericka passed the BMMB Comprehensive Exam!  Congratulations, Ericka!


2016-10-06: Tim gave a seminar at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Loyola University Chicago Health Sciences Division.


2016-08-11: Tim gave a talk at the Molecular Genetics of Bacteria and Phages Meeting in Madison, WI.

Lab Reunion
Summer 2016


2015-12-10: The lab celebrates Yan’s upcoming transition to a position at the University of Chicgao with dinner!

2015-11-13: Jessie and Imperio presented posters at the 2015 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Seattle, WA.  Congratulations to Jessie on his award for outstanding presentation!  Check out this cephalopod at the Pike Place Market.

2015-11-07: The Miyashiro Lab participated in the 2015 Meeting for the Allegheny Branch of the American Society for Microbiology at U Pitt-Greensburg.  Jessie won first place for his oral presentation and Eli won first place for his poster presentation…congratulations!

2015-11-03: Congratulations to Ericka for passing her PhD candidacy exam…the lab is proud of this major accomplishment!

2015-10-22: Jessie presented a poster at the Fall Science Undergraduate Poster Exhibition and won a poster award!  Congrats!

2015-10-01: The lab celebrates Subhash’s upcoming transition to a position at NIH with dinner and ice skating!

2015-09-28: The lab welcomes (back) BMMB graduate student Nathan Wasilko for a 5-week rotation.

2015-08-05: Nathan and Jessie presented a poster at the Molecular Genetics of Bacteria and Phages Meeting in Madison, WI.

2015-07-06: Our manuscript was accepted at Frontiers in Microbiology: Microbial Symbioses!

2015-06-23: Tim was an invited speaker at the 1st GRC on Animal-Microbe Symbiosesin Waterville Valley, NH.

2015-06-19: The lab had fun at the season opener of the State College Spikes!

2015-06-08: SROP students Imperio Real-Ramirez and Jessie Larios-Valencia begin their summer projects.

2015-06-02: Tim presented a poster at the 115th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in New Orleans, LA.

2015-05-15: Tim gave a talk at the Host-Microbe Workshop at Penn State.

2015-05-09: Congratulations to our graduating seniors!

2015-04-13: Tim gave a talk at the Inserm Microbiota Workshop held in Bordeaux, France.

2015-01-19: WISER students Caroline and Elli join the Miyashiro Lab.

2014-12-03: Ericka Reed has joined the lab to earn her Ph.D. in the BMMB graduate program.  Welcome to the lab, Ericka!

2014-11-08: Haikel, Kyle, Nadia, and Alex presented posters at the Annual Meeting of the Allegheny Branch of the American Society for Microbiology at Lycoming College.  Congratulations to Alex for winning first place for her poster presentation!

2014-10-30: Tim gave a seminar in the Plant Biology Department at UVM.

2014-10-19: Nathan, Alex, and Haikel participated in Haunted-U by presenting a demo involving the squid-vibrio symbiosis!

2014-09-26: The lab celebrates the completion of Ericka Reed’s rotation with ice cream!

2014-09-25: Nathan and Alex presented posters at the Undergraduate Poster Exhibit.

2014-08-20: Andrew and Yan taught Alex and Nathan how to  collect squid in HI.  They also had a chance to explore!

2014-08-06: Tim presented at the 2014 Molecular Genetics of Bacteria and Phages Meeting in Madison, WI.  Current and past members of the Goulian Lab were in attendance!

2014-06-19: The lab has a picnic to welcome our research technologist Brittany Heffelfinger.

2014-05-28: Aloha Party hosted by the labs of the 4th Floor of S. Frear Building.

2014-05-16: Tim presented at the 2014 Squid-Vibrio Pow-Wow at UConn.

2014-05-09: Andrew and Subhash successfully collected a new cohort of E. scolopesfrom HI.

2014-05-06: Tim and George visit Easter Seals in State College for a science demonstration.

2014-04-23: The lab celebrates the upcoming graduation of Fun, Erik, and Brittany with ice cream!

2014-04-09: Haikel, Alex, Fun, and Nathan presented posters at the 2014 Undergraduate Exhibition at Penn State University.

2014-03-31: Congratulations to Alex and Nathan for winning summer discovery grants!

2014-03-28: Haikel, Alex, Fun, and Nathan presented posters at the 17th Annual Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology Student Symposium at Penn State University.

2014-02-11: Andrew, Subhash, and Tim’s squid collection trip to HI.

2014-01-20: The Miyashiro Lab welcomes new undergraduate researchers for Spring 2014!

2014-01-15: Our mariculture room is currently up and running in S. Frear.

2013-12-20: The lab has moved to our renovated space in South Frear Building!

2013-12-10: The lab celebrates the end of the fall semester with bowling.

2013-11-26: Haikel will be a 2014 McNair Scholar in the summer!

2013-11-02: Alex, Subhash, Yan, and Tim presented at the Annual Meeting for the Allegheny Branch of the American Society for Microbiology held at St. Vincent’s College in Latrobe, PA.  Congratulations to Alex for winning a poster award!

2013-10-23: Tim presented a seminar at the Center for Systems Genomics.

2013-10-19: Congratulations to Haikel and Alex, who won Undergraduate Research Support grants from the Eberly College of Science!

2013-08-12: Tim and Subhash’s squid collection trip to HI.

2013-08-06: Yan presented a talk at the 2013 Molecular Genetics of Bacteria and Phages Meeting.

2013-06-06: Subhash presented a poster at the 25th Squid-Vibrio Pow-Wow.

2013-05-18: Tim convened a workshop on Single-Cell Microscopy at the 113th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.  His abstract was also selected for a Young Investigator Oral Presentation in the Symposium on Biofilms!

2013-04-01: Tim has been awarded an NIH R00 (Pathway to Independence) grant from the National Institute of General Medicine!