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Leila Reyes Ruiz, Ph.D.

Microbiology & Immunology


University of Chicago – Genomics and Systems Biology


Rita Tamayo, Ph.D.


I completed my BS in Microbiology at the University of Puerto Rico in Humacao in 2013. To gain significant research experience before graduate school, I was part of the Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) at the University of Chicago for 1 year. I continued to stay at UChicago, and obtained my PhD in Genetics, Genomics and Systems Biology in 2019. While in graduate school, I worked in the laboratory of Dr. Sean Crosson, where I studied how signal transduction systems regulate the production of an exopolysaccharide adhesin in the non-pathogenic bacterium Caulobacter crescentus. As a SPIRE scholar, I will be working in the laboratory of Dr. Rita Tamayo. My main project focuses in understanding the regulation of c-di-GMP levels in the pathogenic bacterium Clostridioides difficile. As a SPIRE scholar, I am excited to obtain strong undergraduate teaching training and experience to improve my professional skills. I know it is not an easy task to succeed as a student in a STEM field but I was lucky to have support from my family and many amazing undergraduate professors. The SPIRE program will be a great resource to learn about different ways in which to create a supportive and inclusive environment for my students in the classroom.


Spring 2022 Developmental Biology – UNC Pembroke

Fall 2022 Principles of Biology – UNC Pembroke


Reyes Ruiz LM, King KA, Agosto-Burgos C, Gamez IS, Gadda NC, Garrett EM, Tamayo R. Coordinated modulation of multiple processes through phase variation of a c-di-GMP phosphodiesterase in Clostridioides difficile. PLoS Pathog. 2022 Jul 5;18(7):e1010677. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1010677. PMID: 35789350; PMCID: PMC9286219.

Reyes Ruiz LM– Williams CL- Tamayo R. Enhancing bacterial survival through phenotypic heterogeneity.. PLoS pathogens. 2020 May;16(5):e1008439. 10.1371/journal.ppat.1008439. 32437427. pmc-id: PMC7241687;.