David  A. Hunstad, MD

David A. Hunstad, MD

Professor of Pediatrics, Infectious Diseases
Division Director, Infectious Diseases
Professor, Molecular Microbiology
Arnold W. Strauss, MD Endowed Professor for Mentoring
Co-Scientific Director, Children’s Discovery Institute

David Hunstad grew up in southern Minnesota and came to Washington University as a medical student in 1991. After completing medical school on a Distinguished Alumni Scholarship, he trained in pediatrics and was chief resident at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. His research training in the laboratory of Scott Hultgren, PhD, was supported by the Pediatric Scientist Development Program. His outside interests include running, reading, the Cardinals and Blues.


Christina  Collins, BS

Christina Collins, BS

Research Specialist

Christina Collins joined the Hunstad lab as lead technician and laboratory manager in April 2017.

Teri  Hreha, PhD

Teri Hreha, PhD

Staff Scientist

Teri Hreha joined the Hunstad lab in August 2016, having completed her thesis work in the laboratory of Blanca Barquera, PhD, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. She is investigating cellular and molecular determinants of renal abscess formation and fibrosis.

Rachel Jin

Rachel Jin

Research Technician II

Rachel completed her undergraduate degree in Biology (Computational and Genomics Track) at Wash U in 2024 and is working on several projects in the Hunstad lab, with the goal of entering medical school in 2025.

Hunter  Kuhn, BS

Hunter Kuhn, BS

Graduate Student, Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis

Hunter Kuhn earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Central Florida. He is working on the activity of UPEC alpha-hemolysin in the kidney during pyelonephritis.

Robert  Potter, PhD

Robert Potter, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Robert earned his PhD in the laboratory of Gautam Dantas, PhD, and completed a fellowship in Medical and Public Health Microbiology at Barnes-Jewish Hospital prior to joining the Hunstad lab in 2022.  He is interrogating the pan-genome and uropathogenesis of Proteus species.

Rebekkah Smither, BS

Rebekkah Smither, BS

Senior Research Technician

Rebekkah joined the Hunstad lab in 2023.  She has a BS in Biochemistry from UC-Santa Barbara and worked previously at Elemental Enzymes and St. Louis University.

Past personnel

Clay  Albracht, PhD

Clay Albracht, PhD

As a postdoctoral fellow from 2017-2020, Clay Albracht worked on the effects of testosterone on the outcomes of UTI, and the host binding partner of the UPEC neutrophil-suppressing virulence factor YbcL.

Kelleigh  Briden, MD

Kelleigh Briden, MD

Kelleigh Briden spent two years in the Hunstad lab as part of her Newborn Medicine fellowship, working on multiple projects including the evaluation of the urinary kynurenine-to-tryptophan ratio as a marker for UTI.  She is now Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Newborn Medicine) at WUSM.

Elisabeth  Cole, MD, MS

Elisabeth Cole, MD, MS

Clinical Fellow, Newborn Medicine

Elizabeth (Bis) Cole worked in the Hunstad lab from 2022-24 during the research portion of her Neonatology fellowship.

Elizabeth  Danka, PhD

Elizabeth Danka, PhD

Elizabeth Danka completed her PhD (Molecular Cell Biology) thesis work in our lab in 2015, supported by an individual National Science Foundation fellowship grant. She completed an NIH IRACDA postdoctoral fellowship with Peggy Cotter, PhD, (UNC) and is a tenure-track assistant professor at St. Norbert College in Green Bay, WI.

Nicole  Gilbert, PhD

Nicole Gilbert, PhD

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Nicole was a Research Instructor in the Hunstad lab from 2021-24 and now is a tenure-track Assistant Professor with an independent lab studying UTIs and the vaginal microbiome.

Jessie  Griffith, MA

Jessie Griffith, MA

Jessie Griffith completed her MA from Washington University in 2021.  She is currently a student in the Washington University Program in Occupational Therapy.

Megan  Lau, PhD

Megan Lau, PhD

Meg Lau completed her thesis in Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis in June 2013. She defined the role of YbcL, a novel UPEC effector protein, in inhibiting neutrophil trafficking across the bladder epithelial surface.

Jennifer  Loughman, PhD

Jennifer Loughman, PhD

During her seven years (2006-13) as a postdoctoral fellow and staff scientist in the Hunstad lab, Jen Loughman dissected interactions between uropathogenic E. coli and human neutrophils, including UPEC effects on a host immunomodulatory enzyme, indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO).

Abigail  Mapes, MA

Abigail Mapes, MA

Abby Mapes completed her MA from Washington University in 2013. Her work examined exotoxin expression by colonizing and infecting Staphylococcus aureus strains, as part of a collaboration with the Fritz group and Julie Bubeck Wardenburg, MD, PhD.

Lisa  McLellan, PhD

Lisa McLellan, PhD

Lisa McLellan’s work revealed the importance of type 1 pili in pathogenesis of kidney infection and identified the first type 1 pilus receptor on renal epithelium. She completed her postdoctoral training in the lab of Dr. Alan Grossman at MIT and is now Assistant Professor of Biology at Purdue University – Fort Worth.

Tracy  Nicholson, PhD, MPH

Tracy Nicholson, PhD, MPH

Tracy Nicholson completed her PhD thesis work in our laboratory in the spring of 2010. Her thesis detailed the role of the E. coli outer membrane protein A (OmpA) in UTI pathogenesis and described how intracellular UPEC pathogenesis provokes the innate immune response.

Patrick  Olson, MD, PhD

Patrick Olson, MD, PhD

Patrick Olson completed his PhD thesis in the Hunstad lab in 2016 as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program. His work on a new animal model of male UTI was supported by the Infectious Diseases training grant (T32) followed by an individual NRSA fellowship (F30) from NIAID. He is now a fellow in Infectious Diseases at Wash U and Barnes-Jewish Hospital.


David  Rosen, MD, PhD

David Rosen, MD, PhD

David Rosen completed his postdoctoral work in December 2017, forging new avenues in the pathogenesis of pneumonia caused by Klebsiella. He is currently Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Microbiology at WUSM and an independent NIH-funded investigator.

Lubomira  Tothova, PhD

Lubomira Tothova, PhD

Luba Tothova spent six months as a Fulbright Scholar in the Hunstad lab in 2018, coming from her home country of Slovakia. She worked on sex-specific responses to therapeutic agents in UTI.