Laura Marks.

Laura Marks


Microbiology and Immunology


Insights into Colonization, Transformation and the Transition to Disease of Streptococcus pneumoniae And Possible Targets for Therapeutic Interventions (Completed 2013)

The studies described in this thesis explore the physiology of upper respiratory tract colonization by S. pneumoniae and S. pyogenes. We have shown that colonization is associated with biofilm formation and examined the effects of co-colonization on genetic exchange.  Additional studies have investigated the virulence and inflammatory potential of biofilm bacteria, and identified factors influencing cellular egress from biofilm communities and the transition to acute disease. The remaining chapters explore the mechanism of action of the human milk protein lipid complex HAMLET and its potential for antimicrobial adjutancy.

Residency Placement

Internal Medicine, Washington University/B-JH/SLCH Consortium, St. Louis


Undergraduate Education

Biochemistry and Spanish,
Pacific Union College

Thesis Advisor

Anders Hakansson, PhD


  • Weinberger M, Mesquita A, Carroll T, Marks L.R., Yang H, Zhang Z, Ludovico P, Burhans WC. 2010.  Growth signaling promotes chronological aging in budding yeast by inducing superoxide anions that inhibit quiescence. Aging. 2: 709-26. PMID: 21076178
  • Clementi EA., Marks L.R., Duffey M.E., Hakansson A.P. 2012. A novel initiation mechanism of death in Streptococcus pneumoniae induced by the human milk protein-lipid complex HAMLET, and activated during physiological death. J. Biol. Chem. 287: 27168-82. PMID: 22700972
  • Marks L.R., Parameswaran G.I., Hakansson A.P. 2012. Pneumococcal interactions with epithelial cells are crucial for optimal biofilm formation and colonization in vitro and in vivo. Infect. Immun. 80: 2744-60. PMID: 22645283
  • Marks L.R., Clementi E.A., Hakansson A.P.. 2012. The Human Milk Protein-Lipid Complex HAMLET Sensitizes Bacterial Pathogens to Traditional Antimicrobial Agents. PLoS One 7: e43514. PMID: 22905269
  • Marks L.R., Reddinger R.M., Hakansson A.P. 2012.  High levels of genetic recombination during nasopharyngeal carriage and biofilm formation in Streptococcus pneumoniaeMBio. 3: e00200-12. PMID: 23015736
  • Marks L.R., Clementi E.A., Hakansson A.P. 2012. Sensitization of Staphylococcus aureus to methicillin and other antibiotics in vitro and in vivo in the presence of HAMLET. PLoS One. 8: e63158.  PMID: 23650551. (Commentary by Science Magazine: ScienceNOW (May 1)
  • Marks, L.R., Davidson B., Knight P., Hakansson, A.P.  2013.  Interkingdom signaling induces S. pneumoniae biofilm dispersion and transition from asymptomatic colonization to disease.  MBio. 4: 00438-13. PMID: 23882016. (Highlighted in Nature. 2013: 500: 124)
    Marks L.R., Reddinger R.M., Hakansson A.P. 2013.  Biofilm Formation enhances Fomite Survival of S. pneumoniae and S. pyogenesInfect. Immun. (Published ahead of print December 26). PMID: 24371220. (Commentary by New Engl J Med
  • Clementi E. A.#, Marks L.R.#, Hakansson H., Hakansson A.P.  2014.  Monitoring changes in membrane polarity, membrane integrity, and intracellular ion concentrations in Streptococcus pneumoniae using fluorescent dyes.  JoVE. # denotes shared first authorship
  • Marks L.R., Mashburn-Warren L, Federle M.J., Hakansson A.P.  2014 Streptococcus pyogenes Biofilm Growth in vitro and in vivo and its Role in Colonization, Virulence and Genetic Exchange.  J. Infect. Dis.   
  • Pettigrew M.M., Marks L.R., Kong Y., Gent J., Roche-Hakansson H., and Hakansson A.P. Variation in the Streptococcus pneumoniae transcriptome in transition from biofilm formation to invasive disease. Under Review.

Patent Filings

  • R-6745 Potentiation of Antibiotic Treatment with a Human Milk Protein-Lipid Complex, HAMLET

Professional/Educational Meetings/Abstracts

  • “Cell Stress and Aging in S. Cerevisiae” – 55th Research Participation Program in Science, Scientific Conference presented by Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (2007)
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae biofilm interactions with epithelial cells” – Eurobiofilms 2011, Copenhagen, Denmark (2011).
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae biofilms show high levels of genetic recombination” – WNY ASM conference on microbial pathogenesis (2012)
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae biofilms show high levels of genetic recombination” – ASM Biofilm conference, Miami, FL (2012)
  • Interkingdom signaling induces S. pneumoniae biofilm dispersion and transition from asymptomatic colonization to disease.” – WNY ASM conference on microbial pathogenesis (2013)


  • Vera A Winn Award, Pacific Union College - recognizing a senior chemistry major for creativity, technical skills and exceptional academic achievement, 2008
  • Pacific Union College Full Academic Scholarship for High Achievement, (2006-2007, 2007-2008)
  • Pacific Union College Honors Program Scholarship (2005-2006)
  • National Science Foundation Fellowship to attend Roswell Park Research Experience for Undergraduates- 2007
  • SUNY Buffalo, Moore Fellowship – 2008-2009, 2009-2010
  • Sigma Xi research award to outstanding original graduate research – Poster title: “Streptococcus pneumoniae biofilms show high levels of genetic recombination” – 2012
  • The Erwin Neter Award for Outstanding Graduate Research (Best poster presentation) at the Western NY American Society for Microbiology meeting – 2012

Medical School Activities

  • Instructor – Cell Biology, 18 students, Medical School post baccalaureate program, Summer - 2012
  • Reviewer – Mark Diamond Research Foundation Graduate School Grant – Spring 2012
  • SMBS Representative; Boosting the Power of SUNY: A Celebration of Graduate Research- 2013

Extracurricular Interests

Through-hiking, Violin, Scuba Diving, Skiing, Quilting