University of Maryland Baltimore County, Chemical Engineering, PhD, 2009
University of Maryland Baltimore County, Chemical Engineering, BS (Summa Cum Laude), 2003
Montgomery College, Chemical Engineering, AS (With Honors), 2001
Faculté Libre de Sciences, Life and Earth Sciences, AS, 1998
Bacterial adhesion, microfluidic systems, biofilm engineering, infectious diseases, drug discovery, high/low throughput screening
Our long-term goal is to enhance current antimicrobial arsenal and further understanding of complex microbial communities.
Our research program focuses on (i) the development and implementation of high‐ and low- throughput screening assays for the identification of novel small molecules with antimicrobial activity, (ii) the development and characterization of physiologically and industrially relevant multispecies in vitro biofilm models for the identification of potential drug targets, and (iii) the in vivo assessment of cytotoxicity and pharmacokinetics parameters and hypothesis‐driven validation of antimicrobial drug targets for site colonization related to biofilm formation. This approach combines the benefits of physiologically and industrially relevant assays with a target validation approach superior to that typically encountered for either drug discovery screening or biofilm resistance studies.
Current work and collaborative research projects include (i) the investigation of the impact of biofilm structural features (i.e., porosity, diffusional distance, biomass, and biovolume) and physical fluid forces on the efficacy of known antimicrobial agents; (ii) the evaluation of potential antimicrobial challenge mechanisms as a strategy for in situ biofilm control; and (iii) the identification of novel chemical probes and microbial targets and development of novel drug delivery strategies in biofilm settings. Further details are available on our laboratory website
These studies have applications in medical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnological sciences.
Introduction to Biomedical Engineering
Introduction to Engineering Design
Chemical Engineering Laboratory
Independent Study in Chemical Engineering
Appointments and Affiliations
2012-Present Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, Howard University
2009 Lecturer, Chemical Engineering, University of Maryland Baltimore County
2003-2005 Teaching Assistant, Chemical Engineering, University of Maryland Baltimore County
Awards, Honors, and Distinctions
2014 2014 Provost Research Resources and Small Equipment Award
2006 Center of Biofilm Engineering Summer School Scholarship (MSU)
2004 Grosvenor Inc. Graduate Fellowship (UMBC)
2003 Outstanding Senior in Chemical Engineering (UMBC)
2003 UMBC Alumni Outstanding Student Award
2003 Local Chapter AIChE Award for Undergraduate Talk
2001 United States Achievement Academy (USAA) National Award (MC)
2001 Paul Peck Humanities Internship Award (MC)
2001 Recognition for Academic Excellence in Honors Curricula (MC)
2000, 2001 Dr. Harry Harden, Jr. Black & African American Academic Awards (MC)
2000, 2001 The R.B. Woodward Memorial Organic Chemistry Award (MC)
1999-2001 Dean’s list at Montgomery College (MC, all semesters)
1. Ymele-Leki P, L Houot, PI Watnick (2013). Mannitol and the mannitol-specific enzyme IIB subunit activate Vibrio cholerae biofilm formation. Appl Environ Microbiol, 79(15):4675-83.
2. Py BF, SF Gonzalez, K Long, MS Kim, YA Kim, H Zhu, J Yao, N Degauque, R Villet, P Ymele-Leki, M Gadjeva, GB Pier, MC Carroll, J Yuan (2013). Cochlin produced by follicular dendritic cells promotes antibacterial innate immunity. Immunity, 38(5):1063-72.
3. Absalon C, P Ymele-Leki, PI Watnick (2012). The bacterial biofilm matrix as a platform for antigen presentation and enzyme delivery. MBio, 3(4):e00127-12.
4. Ymele-Leki P, S Cao, J Sharp, K Lambert, A McAdam, R Husson, G Tamayo, J Clardy, PI Watnick (2012). A high-throughput screen identifies a new natural product with broad-spectrum antibacterial activity. PLoS ONE, 7(2):e31307.
5. Acosta MA, P Ymele-Leki, Y Kostov, JB Leach (2009). Fluorescent microparticles for sensing cell microenvironment oxygen levels within 3D scaffolds. Biomaterials, 30(17):3068-74.
6. George NPE, P Ymele-Leki, K Konstantopoulos, JM Ross (2009). Differential binding of biofilm-derived versus suspension grown Staphylococcus aureus to immobilized platelets in shear flow. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 199(5):633-40.
7. Ymele-Leki P, JM Ross (2007). Erosion from Staphylococcus aureus biofilms grown under physiologically relevant fluid shear forces yields bacterial cells with reduced avidity to collagen. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 73(6): 1834-1841.
8. Mascari L, P Ymele-Leki, CD Eggleton, P Speziale, JM Ross (2003). Fluid shear contributions to bacteria cell detachment initiated by a monoclonal antibody. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 83(1): 65-74.
One Senior and six juniors chemical engineering students respectively participated in the 2016 AIChE Annual Student Conference in San Francisco, CA, November 14-18, 2016. The students were Simone Stanley, April Howard, Anayia Reliford, Mahtab Waseem, Bekuechukwu Uzondu, Diwash Bajracharya and Okeoghene Osevwe. Simone Stanley (Senior Chemical Engineering student) won first place for her presentation of “An Experiment Based Smartphone Education App for a Simple Introduction to Chemical Engineering Kinetics” in the General Engineering and Engineering Education session of the poster competition.Read More >>
Dr. Ramesh Chawlaof the College of Engineering and Architecture's Chemical Engineering Department has been invited to serve on the U.S Environmental Protection Agency's National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology for a two-year term. As a representative member, he will represent the interests of the Howard University Department of Chemical Engineering.Read More >>