Caitlin Pepperell

Position title: Professor of Medicine and Medical Microbiology & Immunology


Phone: Office: (608) 262-5983, Laboratory: 262-6167

5301 Microbial Sciences Building

Lab Website



2006-2011, Instructor, Infectious Diseases, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
2003-2006, Clinical Fellowship, Infectious Diseases, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
2002-2003, Clinical Fellowship, Infectious Diseases, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
1999-2002, Residency, Internal Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
1999, MD, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON
1994, BA in English Literature, McGill University, Montreal, PQ

Areas of Study

Bacterial Pathogenesis

Research Overview

The overarching goal of Dr. Pepperell’s research is to understand how bacteria adapt to the pathogenic niche. They seek to identify mechanisms of novel pathogen emergence, delineate how bacterial populations are structured, discover the genetic basis of traits such as tissue invasion and drug resistance in addition to addressing other aspects of pathoadaptation. They use a range of approaches to these questions including experimental evolution and analyses of genomic and phenotypic data from natural populations. Specific examples of tools we use include evolve and re-sequence experiments for bacteria passaged under defined selective pressures, genome-wide association studies, and phenotypic characterization using advanced microscopy and other techniques. Much of Dr. Pepperell’s work focuses on biofilms, structured communities that are central to bacterial adaptation. They work with diverse bacterial species that are illustrative of the multiplicity of adaptive paths to virulence. While the central focus of the lab is bacterial adaptation, they complement this work with studies of disease ecology and the human genetic basis of susceptibility to infectious diseases.