Kayla Sylvester


Headshot of Kayla SylvesterMGM Graduate Student (2015)
Derbyshire Lab
5324A FFSC, DUMC 90349
Durham, NC 27710
Phone: (919) 684-0413


Research Interests: Infectious Disease, Fungal Pathogenesis, and Microbial Pathogenesis

I was born and raised in a suburb of Milwaukee, WI and earned my bachelors degree in Microbiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While at UW-Madison I joined the Hittinger Lab. The Hittinger Lab was a very diverse lab that focused on yeast, specializing in, but not limited to, a newly discovered Saccharomyces species, Saccharomyces eubayanus. My main focus in the lab was on the isolation and identification of wild yeast, as well as identification of new species, and associations of yeast species and ecological aspects. I also helped in determining population structure of the S. cerevisiae sister species, S. paradoxus, as well as multiple projects relating to brewing and hybridization. After my undergraduate career I continued to work in the Hittinger lab for a year and a half to finish my projects, as well as mentor undergraduates.

With my interests in infectious disease and fungal pathogenesis, Duke was my top choice. While interviewing at Duke I fell in love with the town and the generosity so many of the people in the department showed me. In the end Duke was the perfect choice for me.

Some of my hobbies, besides working hard in the lab, include hiking, skiing, and watching Packer games.