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Caitlin Williams, Ph.D.

Microbiology & Immunology


Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences – Emerging Infectious Diseases


Rita Tamayo, Ph.D.


I received my BS in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology from the University of Richmond in 2008. While at UR, I worked in the laboratory of Dr. Laura Runyen-Janecky investigating iron acquisition by symbiotic gut bacteria of the tsetse fly. In 2019 I completed my thesis research with Dr. Scott Merrell and received my PhD in Emerging Infectious Diseases from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. My PhD project focused on copper resistance of the nosocomial pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii and potential ways to use copper to fight infection. My interest in teaching was inspired by my own mentors and the relationships we had while I was a student; my professors had tremendous positive impact on my life, and I also want to help teach the next generations of scientists. Between my undergraduate and graduate studies, I spent a year teaching at Prishtina High School in Prishtina, Kosovo. I taught all three grades of middle school math, as well as high school physics. PHS students hail from all around the world, and the amazing diversity in my classroom was a constant teacher for all of us. As a SPIRE scholar, I’m excited to advance both my research and teaching skills. For my postdoctoral research project, I’ll be working with Dr. Rita Tamayo studying pathogenesis in C. difficile. I’m also looking forward to being back in the classroom soon.


Fall 2021 Bacterial Pathogenesis – UNC Pembroke Spring 2021 Genetics – UNC Pembroke


Edwards AN, Willams CL, Pareek N, McBride SM, Tamayo R. c-di-GMP Inhibits Early Sporulation in Clostridioides difficile. mSphere. 2021 Dec 22;6(6):e0091921. doi: 10.1128/msphere.00919-21. Epub 2021 Dec 8. PMCID: PMC8653836.

Trzilova D, Warren MAH, Gadda NC, Williams CL, Tamayo R. Flagellum and toxin phase variation impacts intestinal colonization and disease development in a mouse model of Clostridioides difficile infection. Gut Microbes. 2022 Jan-Dec;14(1). PMCID: PMC8890394.

Reyes Ruiz LM, Williams CL, Tamayo R. 2020. Enhancing bacterial survival through phenotypic heterogeneity. PLoS Pathog. 2020;16(5):e1008439. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1008439