Kevin M. Mason Lab Staff :: The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital

Mason Lab Staff

Alistair Harrison

Alistair Harrison

I graduated from the University of East Anglia with a B.Sc. in Biology then obtained a Ph.D. at University College London. After post-doctoral training with Dr. Steven King at UCONN and Dr. Lee Johnson at The Ohio State University, my desire to learn about microarray analysis of global gene expression brought me to work with Dr. Robert Munson, Jr. at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.  Fortuitously this move also brought me into the world of microbiology where I primarily studied the nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHI) strain, 86-028NP.  These studies focused principally on global regulation of gene expression in NTHI, with a focus on how the bacterium controls iron uptake and combats oxidative stress, processes critical to the bacterium’s ability to both colonize its human host and cause disease, especially ear infections in infants. In concert with these studies, I also spearheaded the sequencing of the 86-028NP genome (completed in 2005) and initiated the first studies on small, non-coding RNA regulation of gene expression in NTHI.

Derek Heimlich

Derek Heimlich

I graduated from The Ohio State University in 2009 with a major in biology without a clear idea of what I wanted to do with my life. In my ever changing quest to find a career suitable for me; I have been an EMT, a vagabond, a substitute teacher, a packaging engineer intern, and most recently I am working as a research associate in the Mason Lab.  It has been a rewarding experience to study assembly of the sap transporter and learn about microbiology from my talented colleagues in the Center of Microbial Pathogenesis. Giving presentations, writing manuscripts, and performing bench research have pushed me mentally and enhanced my skillset, so that I will be well prepared for my next venture in life: optometry. In my spare time, when I’m not being indecisive about my future, I like to run, play videogames, watch cartoons, write, and root for The Ohio State University football team. Go Bucks!


Matthew Hadad

Matthew Hadad


I have been working in Dr. Mason’s lab over all summer and Christmas breaks since 2012. I currently attend The University of Notre Dame as a Glenna R. Joyce Scholar, pursuing a B.S. in Biological Sciences with plans to graduate in May 2016. I am planning on attending medical school after my time at Notre Dame. My research experience with Dr. Mason has been intellectually stimulating and enjoyable. Working with Dr. Mason was my first significant research experience, and he and his lab have been wonderful getting me trained to work independently. I initially wanted to work in his lab because of the relevance working with a pathogen of profound international prevalence like NTHi. In the lab I have been studying the ClpXP protease complex in NTHi, specifically its role in degrading cytoplasmically localized antimicrobial peptides and helping NTHi to avoid the host innate immune response. In my free time I enjoy skiing, paintballing, and playing video games.

Rachael Hardison

Rachael Hardison

I graduated from Xavier University in 2012 with a degree in Biology. Following graduation, I worked in both academic and industrial research positions. In 2013, I moved to Columbus and joined the Mason Lab as a Research Assistant under the direction of both Dr. Mason and Dr. Sheryl Justice. In this position, I studied the effects of nutritional conditioning on NTHI pathogenesis, specifically investigating how heme-iron starvation alters NTHI invasion and intracellular trafficking during otitis media. While working on this project, I gained valuable experience from attending seminars, presenting data at scientific meetings, and also from interactions with my colleagues in the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis. These experiences cultivated my passion for research and my desire to pursue advanced education. As a result I am currently a graduate student in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program at The Ohio State University and have joined the Mason Lab to complete my dissertation research. I am excited to continue investigating the link between nutrient availability and NTHI pathogenesis under the mentorship of Dr. Mason and Dr. Justice. When I’m not in the lab or in class, I enjoy spending time with my husband Zach and my family, catching up on podcasts and movies, snowboarding, and hanging out with friends.





Samantha Wallace Sharpe joined the Mason lab in 2009 after graduating from Ohio Wesleyan University with a double major in Microbiology and Genetics and a minor in Psychology. 

In Dr. Mason's lab, she studied NTHI outer membrane vesicles, publishing her work in November of 2011.  Sam very much enjoyed working in the Mason Lab. She is now at Ohio Wesleyan University as Laboratory Manager of undergraduate education in the Botany and Microbiology Departments.

Catie, Mason lab


Catie Leimbach Shelton joined the lab in 2008 after finishing her bachelor’s degree in biology/pre-medicine at Trinity International University.

She is now a PhD student at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology where she was selected as a Choose Ohio First Scholar and where she is delving into the protein science underlying bacterial infections.

Kailey, mason lab


Kailey has lived in Gahanna, Ohio for her entire life. Theatre and soccer were her main interests while attending Gahanna Lincoln High School.

Within the past few years she has gone on four mission trips to inner-city Pittsburgh. She now attends Miami University and  will graduate in May 2012 with a B. A. in Exercise Science and continue quenching her thirst for science at P.A. school. She describes working in Dr. Kevin Mason’s lab as an all-around enthralling experience and says she enjoyed her time in the Ohio State-themed lab.

Forrest, Mason Lab


Forrest Raffel attended Occidental College in Los Angeles and majored in biology. During college, he conducted research in an immunology lab and was a teacher’s assistant for the genetics course. During the summer before his senior year, he conducted research at the Mayo Clinic through the Summer Mentored Undergraduate Research Fellowship. He joined the Mason Lab in May 2009 as a student in the Integrated Biomedical Graduate Program at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. When not in lab, he is an avid video game player and takes art classes.

Kevin Mason lab staff


Blake has had the fortune of living in Ohio his entire life, growing up in a suburb of Dayton. Staying true to his Buckeye nature, he graduated with a B.S. in Biological Sciences from THE Ohio State University with a concentration in Microbiology. After graduation, he was given the opportunity to work in Dr. Mason’s lab where he gained a true appreciation for science and medicine. He then left to earn his Masters of Anatomy at Wright State University during which he worked in the Mason lab as much as possible. Future plans are to pursue a career in medicine. When not in the lab, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Ashleigh, his family and, if time permits, golf, soccer, and of course cheering on the Buckeyes. GO BUCKS!

Andrew, Mason lab



Andrew graduated from John Carroll University in 2011 with a B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology and minor in Spanish. At JCU, he was involved in campus ministry and a participant for two mission trips to Duran, Ecuador. He received his D.O. degree from Ohio University in 2015 and plans to continue his residency in Internal Medicine. Working at the Research Institute has introduced him to the importance of translational research and how hard work in the lab can improve patient care at the bedside. He enjoys reading about current events, and playing golf and tennis.

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