Honors & Awards

  • Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE)-STEM Fellow, Stanford University (2015)
  • Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Fellowship - Draper Fellow, Fannie and John Hertz Foundation (2015)
  • Stanford Graduate Fellowship - Gabilan Fellow, Stanford University (2015)
  • U.S. Biologics Technical Development Outstanding Student Award, Genentech (2014)
  • Amgen Scholar, Amgen-UROP Scholars Program at MIT (2013)

Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, BIOE-PHD (2020)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, Bioengineering (2020)
  • Bachelor of Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Biological Engineering (2015)
  • Master of Science, Stanford University, BIOE-MS (2017)

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • A Protocol to Engineer Bacteriophages for Live-Cell Imaging of Bacterial Prophage Induction Inside Mammalian Cells STAR Protocols Bodner, K., Melkonian, A. L., Covert, M. W. 2020
  • Engineered Fluorescent E. coli Lysogens Allow Live-Cell Imaging of Functional Prophage Induction Triggered inside Macrophages. Cell systems Bodner, K., Melkonian, A. L., Barth, A. I., Kudo, T., Tanouchi, Y., Covert, M. W. 2020


    Half of the bacteria in the human gut microbiome are lysogens containing integrated prophages, which may activate in stressful immune environments. Although lysogens are likely to be phagocytosed by macrophages, whether prophage activation occurs or influences the outcome of bacterial infection remains unexplored. To study the dynamics of bacteria-phage interactions in living cells-in particular, the macrophage-triggered induction and lysis of dormant prophages in the phagosome-we adopted a tripartite system where murine macrophages engulf E. coli, which are lysogenic with an engineered bacteriophage λ, containing a fluorescent lysis reporter. Pre-induced prophages are capable of lysing the host bacterium and propagating infection to neighboring bacteria in the same phagosome. A non-canonical pathway, mediated by PhoP, is involved with the native λ phage induction inside phagocytosed E. coli. These findings suggest two possible mechanisms by which induced prophages may function to aid the bactericidal activity of macrophages.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cels.2020.02.006

    View details for PubMedID 32191875

  • Small-molecule-based regulation of RNA-delivered circuits in mammalian cells NATURE CHEMICAL BIOLOGY Wagner, T. E., Becraft, J. R., Bodner, K., Teague, B., Zhang, X., Woo, A., Porter, E., Alburquerque, B., Dobosh, B., Andries, O., Sanders, N. N., Beal, J., Densmore, D., Kitada, T., Weiss, R. 2018; 14 (11): 1043-+
  • Synthetic biology devices and circuits for RNA-based 'smart vaccines': a propositional review EXPERT REVIEW OF VACCINES Andries, O., Kitada, T., Bodner, K., Sanders, N. N., Weiss, R. 2015; 14 (2): 313-331


    Nucleic acid vaccines have been gaining attention as an alternative to the standard attenuated pathogen or protein based vaccine. However, an unrealized advantage of using such DNA or RNA based vaccination modalities is the ability to program within these nucleic acids regulatory devices that would provide an immunologist with the power to control the production of antigens and adjuvants in a desirable manner by administering small molecule drugs as chemical triggers. Advances in synthetic biology have resulted in the creation of highly predictable and modular genetic parts and devices that can be composed into synthetic gene circuits with complex behaviors. With the recent advent of modified RNA gene delivery methods and developments in the RNA replicon platform, we foresee a future in which mammalian synthetic biologists will create genetic circuits encoded exclusively on RNA. Here, we review the current repertoire of devices used in RNA synthetic biology and propose how programmable 'smart vaccines' will revolutionize the field of RNA vaccination.

    View details for DOI 10.1586/14760584.2015.997714

    View details for Web of Science ID 000350053200013

    View details for PubMedID 25566800