B.S Department of Biology at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez

Ph.D. Department of Microbiology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Bruce Levin’s Lab, Department of Biology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 

Dissertation Research: During my graduate studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, I conducted basic research on Trypanosoma brucei, a parasitic pathogen that causes human sleeping sickness in African countries. Specifically, I studied the molecular mechanisms of mitochondrial DNA or kinetoplast DNA (kDNA) replication. Using quantitative fluorescent microscopy analysis, I characterized the spaciotemporal localization of multiple mitochondrial DNA polymerases with respect to the parasites cell cycle.

Current Research: As a postdoctoral researcher, I would like to determine the contribution of the physical structure of the habitat (biofilms) to the pharmaco- population- and evolutionary- dynamics of different classes of antibiotics used to treat Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) and Staphylococcus aureus infections.  I am investigating the relationship between these dynamics for bacteria in biofilms with those in liquid culture. These studies will provide information about the relative efficacy of different antibiotics for treating infections where the bacteria are maintained as colonies and within biofilms associated with the tissues and cells of mammals, epithelia. 

I am also investigating the functional relationship between the MICs antibiotic concentration and the relative fitness of mutants and naturally occurring strains of S. aureus with different susceptibilities to antibiotics of different classes.


Trypanosoma brucei Orc1 is essential for nuclear DNA replication and affects both VSG silencing and VSG switching.Benmerzouga I, Concepción-Acevedo J, Kim HS, Vandoros AV, Cross GA, Klingbeil MM, Li B. Mol Microbiol. 2013 Jan;87(1):196-210.

Dynamic localization of Trypanosoma brucei mitochondrial DNA polymerase ID. Concepción-Acevedo J, Luo J, Klingbeil MM. Eukaryot Cell. 2012 Jul;11(7):844-55.