Jan Claesen – Principal Investigator
Jan was born and raised in Alken, a small town with a big brewery in Belgium. He obtained a B.S. and M.S. in Biological Engineering at the KU Leuven, Belgium, and specialized in Cell and Gene Biotechnology. Next, Jan joined the lab of Prof. Mervyn Bibb and he received his Ph.D. in Molecular Microbiology in 2011 from the John Innes Centre and University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. His Ph.D. studies involved the genetics and biosynthesis of ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptide antibiotics in Streptomyces. After his graduate studies, Jan was a postdoctoral scholar in the lab of Dr. Michael Fischbach in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, USA. There, his work focused on the characterization of bacterial metabolites that mediate microbe-microbe and microbe-host interactions in human gut and skin. The Claesen group was established at the Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic in November 2017. Our aim is to characterize the role of bioactive microbial and dietary small molecules in microbiota-associated diseases.
In his free time, Jan enjoys hiking, outdoors activities, cooking, traveling, RPG computer games, music, Lego, and spending time with his two daughters.
Beckey DeLucia – Research Technician
Beckey joined the Claesen lab as a research technician in March of 2020 after completing her bachelor’s in biological sciences at the University of South Carolina. Beckey’s research is focused on the role of diet and gut microbial metabolites in the prevention of colorectal cancer. Something Beckey enjoys about being a part of the Claesen lab is the immense opportunities to work collaboratively with others. During her time in the lab she has had the joy of working with other labs within the LRI, the engineers located at the Cleveland clinic, and pathologists. She feels that because of these collaborative opportunities, the resources and support here are endless.
Outside of the lab, Beckey enjoys painting, finding record shops to expand her vinyl collection, and visiting her friends and family back in Rochester, NY.
Rachel Markley – Postdoctoral Fellow
Rachel was born and raised in Harleysville, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. She obtained a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Fine Arts from Gettysburg College. She later went on to obtain a M.S. in Biotechnology from The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State). After a short interlude studying the proteomic profile of Chlamydia trachomatis at a pharmaceutical company she returned to Penn State to work in the lab of Dr. Girish Kirimanjeswara. While in the Kirimanjeswara lab, her work focused on the effects of dietary selenium on macrophage response to the intracellular bacteria Francisella tularensis. Rachel finished her Ph.D. in Immunology and Infectious Diseases in 2017. After completion of her graduate studies she moved to the Cleveland area where she is presently a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Jan Claesen at Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic. She is currently studying the role of aryl polyenes, a product of a biosynthetic gene cluster (BCG) in Escherichia coli and other Gram-negative bacteria . Rachel is focused on gaining a better understanding of how aryl polyene expression influences bacterial colonization, immune response and resulting pathogenesis.
In her free time Rachel enjoys spending time with her family and dog hiking, gardening, cooking and traveling.
Shreyaa Nagajothi – Undergraduate Student
Shreyaa Nagajothi was born in Detroit, Michigan and grew up in Canton, Ohio. She is currently a Chancellor’s scholar at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in neuroscience. Shreyaa’s first experience in research was with Dr. Mark Dahlman of Kent State University, studying the prevalence of MRSA in various fitness facilities. She started working with Dr. Jan Claesen at Cleveland Clinic in June of 2019. She is also a member of Dr. Udai Pandey’s lab at the University of Pittsburgh, which studies the molecular mechanisms of ALS pathogenesis.
In her free time, Shreyaa enjoys spending time with her friends and family and trying new restaurants in Pittsburgh.
Luke Osborn – Graduate Student
Luke was born in Ft. Collins, CO where he spent much of his childhood roaming the Rocky Mountains. In 2013, he obtained his B.S. in Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics from Lyman Briggs College of Michigan State University. Luke then completed an internship at the Cleveland Clinic’s School of Medical Technology where he became a board-certified Medical Laboratory Scientist. He then worked in the Immunohematology and Clinical Microbiology labs at the Cleveland Clinic for several years before joining the Cleveland Clinic/Case Western Reserve University Molecular Medicine PhD program in 2017. After rotating in the labs of Mark Brown, Stanley Hazen, and Jan Claesen, Luke joined the Brown and Claesen labs, leveraging their experience in nutrition and microbiology, respectively, to complete his thesis work on the microbial metabolism of dietary input in cardiometabolic disease.
In his free time, Luke enjoys spending time with his wife, dirt biking, traveling, and managing his small petting zoo of 2 cats, 2 dogs, and 4 chickens.
Karlee Schultz – Undergraduate Student
Karlee is a native Clevelander, born and raised in the small suburb of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. She is currently a senior undergraduate student at John Carroll University located in University Heights, Ohio, and is majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology with a concentration in Neuroscience. On her college campus, Karlee started a new student organization called the Health Education & Awareness League (HEAL) in April 2018, whose mission is to bring awareness to various health topics and organize a yearly philanthropic event. Karlee joined the Claesen lab for a summer project in June 2019 to explore her interest in research and has continued to assist with projects in the lab part-time throughout the academic year. She has found it fascinating to explore microbes from a multifaceted view: from the key genes E. coli expresses to enhance survival to the implications of the microbiome on cardiometabolic disease and cancer. Upon graduation, Karlee plans to head to medical school with interests in cardiology and pursuing a career in academic medicine.
In her free time, Karlee enjoys swimming, running, practicing yoga, playing card and board games, volunteering, and spending time with her family and friends.
Carter Powers – Medical Student (summer internship) – Current position: Medical Student at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Cleveland, OH
Isabel Johnston – Postdoctoral Fellow – Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow in the McDonald lab, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland, OH
BJ Massey – Rotation Graduate Student – Current position: Graduate Student in the Brown lab, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland, OH
Jade Larney – Undergraduate Student – Current position: Leasing and Operations Manager at Equity Management, Youngstown, OH
Liz McManus – Undergraduate Student (summer internship) – Current position: Postbaccalaureate Fellow at National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD