Kelsi Sandoz, PhD

Kelsi Sandoz

Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences

Assistant Professor

Sandoz Lab

Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
Ithaca, NY 14853


Research Interest

Research in my lab probes the environmental, structural and physiological basis of bacterial quiescence. The majority of earth's microbes exist in a quiescent state, making it important to better understand the mechanisms underpinning this physiological state. We primarily use the environmental zoonotic pathogen, Coxiella burnetii (causative agent of Q fever), to explore questions central to long-term environmental stability and spore-like resistance; characteristics at the root of the pathogen's ability to transmit disease. To gain a better understanding of this phenomenon, we will dive deep into the structural abyss of the C. burnetii cell envelope. This intricate structure acts as both a barrier and a molecular switchboard for the bacterium by connecting environmental signals to the response circuitry within the bacterial cell. We suspect that modifications to this structure reinforce barrier function, limit external signal input, and enable long-term survival of the pathogen. Lucky for us, the developmental biology of C. burnetii and its irrepressible spirit, make this sleeping beauty an attractive model to explore the phenomenon of bacterial quiescence. 


  • 2011, Ph.D. Cellular and Molecular Biology, Oregon State University
  • 2003, B.S. Microbiology, Oregon State University

Biography/Professional Experience

  • 2020 – present, Assistant Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University

  • 2016 – 2020, Research Fellow, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH

  • 2013 – 2014, Adjunct Professor, Bitterroot College, University of Montana

  • 2011 – 2016, IRTA Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH

  • 2006 – 2011, Graduate Research Assistant, Oregon State University

  • 2003 – 2006, Microbiologist, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University


  1. Sandoz KM, Moore RA, Beare PA, Patel AV, Smith RE, Bern M, Hwang H, Cooper CJ, Priola SA, Parks JM, Gumbart JC, Mesnage S, Heinzen RA. β-barrel proteins tether the outer membrane in many Gram-negative bacteria (forthcoming, Nature Microbiology).

  2. Bublitz DC, Chadwich GL, Magyar JS, Sandoz KM, Mesnage S, Ladinsky MS, Garber A, Bjorkman PJ, Orphan VJ, McCutcheon JP. Peptidoglycan production by an insect-bacterial mosaic. Cell. 179(3):703-712.e7. 2019.

  3. Moormeier DE, Sandoz KM, Beare PA, Sturdevant D, Nair V, Cockrell DC, Miller HE, Heinzen RA. RpoS regulates genes associated with development of the small cell variant developmental form of Coxiella burnetii. J. Bacteriol. 201:e00009-19. 2019.

  4. Larson CL, Sandoz KM, Cockrell DC, Heinzen RA. Noncanonical inhibition of mTORC1 by Coxiella burnetii promotes replication within a phagolysosome-like vacuole. mBio. 10:e02816-18. 2019.

  5. Sandoz KM, Beare PA, Cockrell DC, Heinzen RA.  A defined axenic media allows complementation of arginine auxotrophy for genetic transformation of Coxiella burnetiiAppl. Environ. Microbiol. 82:3042-51. 2016.

  6. Sandoz KM, Popham DL, Beare PA, Sturdevant DE, Hansen B, Nair V, Heinzen RA. Transcriptional profiling of Coxiella burnetii reveals extensive cell wall remodeling in the small cell variant developmental form.  PLoS One. 11:e0149957. 2016.

  7. Sandoz KM, Valiant WG, Eriksen SG, Hruby DE, Allen RD 3rd, Rockey DD. The broad spectrum antiviral compound ST-669 restricts Chlamydial inclusion development and bacterial growth and localizes to host cell lipid droplets within treated cells. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 58:3860-6. 2014.

  8. Beare PA, Sandoz KM, Larson CL, Howe D, Kronmiller B, Heinzen RA. Essential role for the response regulator PmrA in Coxiella burnetii type 4B secretion and colonization of mammalian host cells.  J. Bacteriol.  196:1925-40. 2014.

  9. Sandoz KM, Sturdevant DE, Hansen B, Heinzen RA. Developmental transitions of Coxiella burnetii grown in axenic media.  J. Microbiol. Methods. 96:104-10. 2014.

  10. Stead CM, Omsland A, Beare PA, Sandoz KM, Heinzen RA. Sec-mediated secretion by Coxiella burnetii.  BMC Microbiol.  13:222. 2013.

  11. Jeffrey BM, Suchland RJ, Eriksen SG, Sandoz KM, Rockey DD. Genomic and phenotypic characterization of in vitro-generated Chlamydia trachomatis recombinants.  BMC Microbiol.  13:142. 2013.

  12. Sandoz KM, Eriksen SG, Jeffrey BM, Suchland RJ, Putman TE, Hruby DE, Jordan R, Rockey DD. Resistance to a novel antichlamydial compound is mediated through mutations in Chlamydia trachomatis secY.  Antimicrob. Agents Chemother.  56: 4296-302. 2012.

  13. Beare PA, Sandoz KM, Omsland A, Rockey DD, Heinzen RA. Advances in genetic manipulation of obligate intracellular bacterial pathogens. Front. Microbio. 2:97. 2011.

  14. Sandoz KM, Rockey DD. Antibiotic resistance in Chlamydiae. Future Microbiol. 5:1427-42. 2010.

  15. Suchland RJ, Sandoz KM*, Jeffrey BM, Stamm WE, Rockey DD. Horizontal transfer of tetracycline resistance among Chlamydia spp. in vitro.  Antimicrob. Agents Chemother.  53: 4604-11. 2009.  *contributed equally

  16. Sandoz KM, Mitzimberg SM, Schuster M. Social cheating in Pseudomonas aeruginosa quorum sensing.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 104: 15876-81. 2007.

Awards and Honors

  • 2016, K22 NIAID Career Transition Award

Professional/Academic Affiliations