Team Bios

The Gut Microbiome Laboratory at Mayo Clinic

Purna C. Kashyap, M.B.B.S., second from right, and members of his research team.

  • Purna C. Kashyap, M.B.B.S.
    • Director, Gut Microbiome Laboratory
    • Combining his expertise in gastrointestinal physiology and microbial ecology, Dr. Kashyap hopes to understand the mechanisms by which gut microbes alter gastrointestinal function and their relevance to disorders associated with microbial dysbiosis.

      Dr. Kashyap completed his medical school training at Bangalore Medical College, now Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, in India before moving to the U.S. He completed his internal medicine residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. His fellowship was in gastroenterology and hepatology at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, with a focus on gastrointestinal motility disorders. His interest in the role of gut microbiota in maintaining normal gastrointestinal function then led him to spend two years studying microbial ecology in the laboratory of Justin L. Sonnenburg, Ph.D., at Stanford University.

  • Eric J. Battaglioli, Ph.D.
    • Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    • Dr. Battaglioli is interested in dissecting the mechanisms by which microbes regulate the metabolic milieu in the gut and how this affects gastrointestinal physiology and resistance to opportunistic enteric pathogens.

      Dr. Battaglioli earned his Bachelor of Arts in molecular biology from Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. Shortly after graduating he began an Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) Fellowship, jointly administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Association of Public Health Laboratories. After completing his fellowship he transitioned to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he earned a doctorate in microbiology under the mentorship of Rodney Welch, Ph.D., studying uropathogenic Escherichia coli pathogenesis.

  • Yogesh Bhattarai, Ph.D.
    • Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    • Dr. Bhattarai uses a combination of electrophysiology, pharmacology and imaging studies to study the impact of intestinal microbes and its associated metabolites on host physiology.

      He earned his Bachelor of Science in biological and agricultural engineering from the University of Idaho and his doctorate in neuroscience from Michigan State University under the mentorship of James J. Galligan, Ph.D. During his doctorate, Dr. Bhattarai was involved in translational research that aimed to identify the etiology of obesity-induced gastrointestinal motility disorders.

  • George B. Saffouri, M.D.
    • Clinical Research Fellow
    • Dr. Saffouri is interested in the impact of diet on the small intestinal microbiome and subsequent effects on host functions.

      Originally from Los Gatos, California, Dr. Saffouri earned his medical degree at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, before moving to the Midwest for his internal medicine internship and residency at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota. He stayed on for his clinical fellowship in gastroenterology and hepatology and is in the process of completing this stage in his medical training. He joined Dr. Kashyap's lab in the summer of 2016.

  • Janice M. Cho, M.D.
    • Internal Medicine Resident
    • Dr. Cho is studying Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) in patients who have received bone marrow transplants, management of CDI and fecal microbiota therapy.

      She earned her Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Nevada, Reno and her medical degree from Mayo Clinic School of Medicine. Dr. Cho was involved in research investigating HIV vaccine development and pathogenic mycology prior to her time at Mayo Clinic.

  • David A. Muniz Pedrogo
    • M.D.-M.S. Student
    • David Muniz Pedrogo is interested in studying the role of the gut microbiome in the pathophysiology of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Under Dr. Kashyap's mentorship, he is working to identify bacterial signatures linked with IBD-associated inflammation of the joints (arthropathy).

      David earned his Bachelor of Science in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus and is currently an M.D.-M.S. student from the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine. David joined the Gut Microbiome Lab in 2015 to pursue his master's degree in clinical and translational science at Mayo Clinic.

  • Marcia K. Mahlman
    • Clinical Research Coordinator
    • Marcia Mahlman coordinates studies on gut microbiome in obesity to better understand the role of diet and lifestyle interventions on gut microbiome.

      Marcia obtained her Bachelor of Arts in social work from Luther College and her Master of Arts in health and human services administration from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. She began her career at Mayo Clinic in 1995 and has research coordinator experience in the Department of Health Sciences Research, the Division of Hematology, the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Metabolism and Nutrition, the Mayo Clinic Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging, and most recently the Department of Medicine Clinical Research Office and the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

      Marcia has held national certification through the Society of Clinical Research Associates since November 2003.

  • Heather R. Lekatz, CCRP
    • Associate Clinical Research Coordinator
    • Heather Lekatz is an associate clinical research coordinator in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology for studies related to the gut microbiome. She coordinates and ensures implementation of clinical research protocols and monitors research activity and subject participation.

      Heather is a graduate of the clinical research coordinator program at Mayo School of Health Sciences (now known as Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences). She completed her fieldwork at Mayo Clinic in the Pulmonary Clinical Research Unit. She is certified by the Society of Clinical Research Associates.

  • Lisa M. Till
    • Research Technologist, Gnotobiotic Specialist
    • Lisa Till manages the needs of Mayo Clinic's gnotobiotic facility, which is run by Dr. Kashyap's lab. She maintains the gnotobiotic breeding colony and supports the needs of the users of the facility.

      Lisa earned her Bachelor of Science in animal science at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. She began working at Mayo Clinic in the Office of Clinical Trials and then moved on to the Department of Comparative Medicine. She earned her Laboratory Animal Technician certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science.

  • Bradley (Brad) A. Schmidt
    • Research Technologist
    • Bradley Schmidt is involved in multiple projects investigating the role of gut microbiota in modulation of host physiology using a combination of multiomics, in vitro models such as organoids and gnotobiotic mouse models.

      Bradley is originally from Wisconsin and earned his Bachelor of Science from Cedarville University in Ohio. As an undergraduate he was involved in investigating the effect of chemorepellents in T. thermophile. He is an avid Vikings fan.

  • William J. Moor
    • Animal Care Specialist II, Gnotobiotic Specialist
    • William Moor's focus is on assisting with the needs of Mayo Clinic's gnotobiotic facility and the needs of the investigators using the facility.

      William completed his Associate of Applied Science as a veterinary technician at Rochester Community and Technical College, and has earned his Assistant Laboratory Animal Technician certificate from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. He began working at Mayo Clinic in the Department of Comparative Medicine.