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Faculty, Biological Sciences, Lehigh University

Catherine M. Mageeney
Ph.D. Candidate

Research Interest:
Molecular Biology
Ribosome Biogenesis
Phage Biology

Iacocca Hall
111 Research Drive, B210
Bethlehem, PA 18015


email Ms. Mageeney

Ribosomal Protein Research

Catherine MageeneyThe Ware Lab studies one of the most complex and abundant molecular machines, the ribosome. The ribosome is comprised of several ribosomal RNAs and multiple ribosomal proteins. The focus of my Ph.D. thesis research is a family of ribosomal protein, eRpL22, in Drosophila melanogaster. The eRpL22 family consists of two duplicated paralogues eRpL22 and eRpL22-like. eRpL22 is ubiquitously expressed and eRpL22-like is highly expressed in the adult eye and the testis.

The focus of my research is whether or not the eRpL22 paralogues have dual functionality. It is known that duplicated paralogues can retain the original function or diverge in structure and function over time. The divergence may allow for one or both paralogues to develop new functions. I use the D. melanogaster testis to address this question. Both paralogues are expressed in the fly testis with different subcellular localizations in late spermatogensis. The changes in subcellular localization may indicate a new function for one or both of the eRpL22 paralogues in spermatogenesis and/or the fly testis. This neofunctionalization may be ribosomal or extra-ribosomal. Both ribosomal and non-ribosomal roles are being explored

I plan to combine genetic, molecular, cellular, and biochemical approaches to provide insights into divergent functional roles for eRpL22 paralogues in fly development and in spermatogenesis. Overall, this work will extend our understanding of the evolution of ribosomal protein expression and function in this eukaryotic-specific Rp family.

Phage Research

Catherine MageeneyDuring my undergraduate career at Cabrini College I was selected as the teaching assistant for the HHMI SEA-PHAGES course. The program allows undergraduates discover their own bacteriophage and annotate a phage genome. Upon my arrival at Lehigh I wanted to continue my involvement in phage research. Over the past three and a half years Dr. Vassie Ware and I have developed an advance SEA-PHAGES lab where students who have previously taken the course can continue to perform independent phage related research. My role in this project is twofold; I have mentored many students performing independent phage research projects and have worked on a project myself. This work is in addition to my Ph.D. thesis work.

Bacteriophages are virus that infect bacteria. Mycobacteriophage specifically infect mycobacterium hosts. Mycobacteriophages are important because they may be useful in diagnostics and therapeutics for diseases caused by mycobacterium. The most notable disease caused by mycobacterium is tuberculosis (TB). One third of the world is infected with TB, however not all of these cases are active TB (CDC). TB is the leading cause of death in the developing world and for those who are infected with HIV. Many cases of TB are now multi-drug resistant, so a typical course of antibiotics is not enough to eradicate the infection. This is why mycobacteriophage make a viable alternative for diagnostics and treatments.

Catherine MageeneyThe main focus of the research being done in the advance phages research group is to functionally characterize genes in mycobacteriophage Butters. Butters is an N cluster phage with one of the smallest known mycobacteriophage genomes (41491bp). Genomic functional annotation of Butters revealed three genes of interest. Two are orphams (gp30 and gp31), genes with no known function and no homology to other phages. The third gene (gp57) is an N cluster-specific gene product. The focus of my independent project has been gp31. Computational evidence suggests that gp31 is a second holin. A holin is a protein that pokes holes in the bacterial cell membrane to allow for endolysins to pass through to degrade the outer cell membrane.

The work performed on the orphams of Butters allows for a better understanding of phage genome structure, gene function, and phage biology in general.  One specific long term objective of the research program is to characterize phage gene products that function in lytic infection and to evaluate their potential as biocontrol agents to target pathogenic bacteria.   

For more information please visit the SEA-Phages website.

Genbank Submissions

1. Accession Number GU339467.1- Mycobacteriophage RedRock, complete genome
2. Accession Number JF704100.1- Mycobacteriophage Marvin, complete genome
3. Accession Number JF704096.1- Mycobacteriophage Ghost, complete genome
4. Accession Number JN006061.1- Mycobacteriophage Toto, complete genome
5. Accession Number KM408320 - Mycobacteriophage Lasso, complete genome
6. Accession Number KM101118 – Mycobacteriophage Swirley, complete genome
7. Accession Number KT222942 - Mycobacterium phage Dusk, complete genome

Image caption: a collage of electron microscope images of mycobacteriophages isolated at Lehigh University. All images captured by Lee Graham, Lab Manager, Lehigh University. Image courtesy of Lee Graham.Catherine Mageeney

Undergraduate Mentoring

Catherine Mageeney

Left picture:
Ware Lab 2015 - (front row) Brett Gershman, Vassie Ware, Ph.D., Catherine Mageeney
(back row) Kima Wilkerson, Alexis Pezza, Carl Tischbein, Lauren Schlegel

Right picture:
SEA Phage Researchers 2015 - (sitting) Vassie Ware, Ph.D., Catherine Mageeney
(standing) Michelle Juarez, Melanie Grajales, Mikala Kowal, Rachel Pallay

Undergraduate Trainees at Lehigh University
Elizabeth Bina Summer 2015
Cimrin Bhalla 2015
Mariah Brantley Summer 2015
Kenneth Brill Summer 2015
Gabby Dardis Summer 2015
Bhavishya Devireddy 2015-Present
Adrienne Dzurick 2015-Present
Lisa Glover Summer 2015
Marina Grossi 2015
Catherine MageeneyAlex Kratzner Summer 2015
Mikala Kowal 2015-Present
Rachel Pallay 2015-Present
Lauren Schlegel 2015-Present
Joseph Teyim 2015-Present
Melissa Feeney 2014
Kyle Garland Summer 2014
Melanie Grajales 2014-Present
Emily Heckman 2014
Michele Juarez 2014-Present
Barrett Miller 2014-2015
Joseph Skibbens 2014-2015
Carl Tischbein 2014-Present
Amanda Curry* Summer 2013
Celia Fung* 2013
Joseph McGraw* 2013-2015
Michael Santana Summer 2013
Lindsay Stretz Summer 2013
Busra Turkyolu* 2013-2014
Casey Hofstaedter 2012-2015

Undergraduate Trainees at Cabrini College
Deborah Moran* 2010-2011
Trevor Cross 2010-2011

*Currently Enrolled in Ph.D., M.S., or M.D. program




PDFWelkin H Pope, Charles A Bowman, Daniel A Russell, Deborah Jacobs-Sera, David J Asai, Steven G Cresawn, William R Jacobs Jr, Roger W Hendrix, Jeffrey G Lawrence, Graham F Hatfull, Science Education Alliance Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science, Phage Hunters Integrating Research and Education, Mycobacterial Genetics Course. Whole genome comparison of a large collection of mycobacteriophages reveals a continuum of phage genetic diversity. eLife 2015;4:e06416.

PDFLeung W, Genomics Education Partnership, Elgin SCR. Drosophila Muller F elements maintain a distinct set of genomic properties over 40 million years of evolution. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics. March 2015. doi: 10.1534/g3.114.015966.

PDFMageeney C, Pope WH, Harrison M, Moran D, Cross T, Jacobs-Sera D, Hendrix RW, Dunbar D, Hatfull GF. Mycobacteriophage Marvin: a New Singleton Phage with an Unusual Genome Organization. J Virol. 2012 May. 86(9): 4762-4775

PDFDunbar D, Harrison M, Mageeney C, Catagnus C, Cimo A, Beckowski C, Ratmansky L. The Rewards and Challenges of Undergraduate Peer Mentoring in Course-based Research: Student Perspectives from a Liberal Arts Institution. PURM. 2012 April.

PDFHarrison M, Dunbar D, Mageeney C, Lopatto D. Peer Mentoring in an Introductory Biology Laboratory. CUR Quarterly. 2010 Winter. 31(2).


Meeting Abstracts

Sarli Sl, Teyim JN, Juarez MC, Bhalla C, Devireddy B, Dzurick AP, Kowal MA, Nielsen DD, Pallay RA, Rufffing KM, Shaw A, Skibbens JW, Mageeney CM, Kenna MA, Ware VC. Bioinformatics Discoveries: Investigating Mycobacteriophage Genomic Relationships and Immunity Mechanism. Poster presented at Seventh Annual SEA-PHAGES symposium, Ashurburn, VA. June 2015

Mageeney C, Chen A, Colquhoun J, Kearse M, Ware V. Overexpression of erpL22 leads to increased proliferation, decreased fertility, and a shortened lifespan. Poster Presented at: Annual GSA Drosophila Research Conference, 2015, March 4-8, Chicago, IL.

Juarez MC, Heckman EL, Grajales ME, Turkyolu B, McGraw JM, Curry AM, Fung CS, Stretz LJ, Colquhoun JM, Mageeney CM, Kenna MA, Ware VC. Genetically minute, but proficient for infection: Functional explorations into the small genomes of Mycobacterium phage Butters and Arthrobacter phage Maggie. Poster and Invited talk presented at the Sixth Annual SEA-PHAGES symposium, Asburn, VA. June 2014.

Juarez MC, Heckman EL, Feeney MS, Delgado BM, Feathers CT, Feuer KL, Florin DT, Gordon MB, Gorman SE, Grajales ME, Miller BD, Schlegel JL, So CY, Sternberg RA, Graham LH, Mageeney CM, Marzillier JY, Kenna MA, Ware VC. Unraveling phage mysteries genomic analyses and the long “tale” of the DramaQueen family of phages. Poster presented at the Sixth Annual SEA-PHAGES symposium, Asburn, VA. June 2014.

Mageeney C*, Kearse M*, Colquhoun J, Ware V. Ectopic expression of male germline-specific RpL22e-like in RpL22e-depleted flies rescues embryonic lethality but causes reduced longevity and fertility. Poster presented at: Annual GSA Drosophila Research Conference, 2014, March 26-30; San Diego, CA.

Curry AM, Caruso AM, Fung CS, McGraw JM, Peters KK, Petrochko JM, Turkyolu B, Santana MA, Stretz LJ, Album ZM, Betterman EL, Chester DA, Coffey CE, Colasurdo M, Copti JG, Desai BJ, Hofstaedter CE, Homer WG, Jerwick JR, Johnson Cl, Kelleher IP, Lee Sh, Long AW, Mayeu SE, McCleerey TP, McGahan MD, Metzger LN, Moore JC, Murphy CD, Ricci MC, Shah AS, Shah JB, Smith TA, Sokoloff SR, Walters KM, Warren JA, Watkins MB, Colquhoun J, Mageeney C, Kenna M, Marzillier J, Ware V. BRED and Butters: Exploring the functions of novel genes using a recombineering approach in the N-cluster mycobacteriophage Butters. Poster and Invited Talk presented at the Fifth Annual SEA-PHAGES Symposium, Asburn, VA. June 2013.

Mageeney C. Genomic Characterization of a Novel Mycobacteriophage. Poster presented at Pennsylvania Poster on the Hill. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. April 2011

Cimo A, Cooch T, Cross T, Derby A, Doherty K, Fleck A, Gilmartin E, Jeon J, Kelly J, LaCour L, Leng J, McCartney R, Mizelle N, Moran D, Potesta J, Wodarski D, Mageeney C, Catagnus C, Dunbar D, Harrison M. The Discovery of Novel Mycobacteriophages on the Campus of Cabrini College. Poster and Invited Talk presented at the Third Annual SEA-PHAGES Symposium, Ashburn, VA. June 2011.

Mageeney C, Harrison M, Boyd K, Dunbar D. Undergraduate Research Student Peer Mentoring in an Introductory Biology Laboratory: Using Phage Genomics Course as a Case Study. Poster presented at CUR Creating a Culture of Research. Williamsburg, Virginia. October 2010

Danner B, Cusmiani M, Bruno G, Daywood M, Doyle M, Jeon J, Norris J, Norton C, Phillips M, Radcosky B, Hutson M, Mageeney C, Forrester S, Harrison M, Dunbar D. The Discovery of a Novel Mycobacteriophage: Marvin. Poster presented at the Second Annual SEA-PHAGES Symposium, Ashburn, VA. June 2010.

Harrison M, Dunbar D, Mageeney C, Lopatto D. Undergraduate Research Student Peer Mentoring in an Introductory Biology Lab: Using a Phage Genomics Course as a Case Study. Poster presented at the Second Annual SEA-PHAGES Symposium, Ashburn, VA. June 2010.

Doyle MK*, Forrester SJ*, Mageeney CM*. Isolation and Molecular Characterization of Mycobacteriophage. Poster presented at the Pennsylvania Poster of the Hill. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. April 2010.

* denotes equal contribution
_Presenter(s) are underlined

Educational Background

Catherine MageeneyEducation

Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA
Ph.D. Candidate
Cell and Molecular Biology Expected Completion: August 2017

Cabrini College
Radnor, Pa
B.S. Biology
Minors: Chemistry, Mathematics May 2011

Honors and Awards

1. Who’s Who Among Colleges and Universities- Cabrini College (2011)
2. Anna C. Kruse Excellence in Biology Scholarship – Cabrini College (2010)
3. Dean’s List recognition for 7 semesters – Cabrini College

Teaching and Service

Teaching Experience

Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa
2015 Lecturer: BioS118 Phage Bioinformatics
2015 Teaching Assistant: BioS396 Advanced Phage Research Lab
Summer 2015 BDSI and Mountaintop projects with Vassie Ware, Javier Buceta and Bryan Berger
Summer 2014 Mountaintop project with Bryan Berger, Xuanhong Cheng, and Vassie Ware
2014, 2015 Teaching Assistant: BioS095 Phage Genetics
2012, 2013, 2014 Teaching Assistant: BioS118 Phage Genetics
Summer 2013 Mountaintop project with Kelly Austin and Vassie Ware
2013 Teaching Assistant: BioS041 Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory

Cabrini College, Radnor, Pa
2011 Co-Instructor: Bio350 Bioinformatics
2010, 2011 Teaching Assistant: Bio102 Phage Genomics Laboratory Part II
2010 Teaching Assistant: Bio440 Biochemistry Laboratory
2010 Teaching Assistant: Bio206 Cell and Molecular Biology Lab
2009, 2010 Teaching Assistant: Bio101 Phage Genomics Laboratory Part I


Service to the Scientific Community

Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
Fall 2014- Present
Graduate Student Seminar Series Co-Coordinator
Served as co-coordinator for the Lehigh Student Seminar Series. Duties included scheduling students to give weekly seminars, presenting speakers, and ensuring feedback was given to each speaker.

Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
Summer 2014-Summer 2015
Biology Organization of Graduate Students (BOGS)
Served as treasurer to the graduate student run organization. Duties included monitoring budget, submitting reimbursement forms, assisting with meeting preparation, and facilitating volunteer work to the community.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Baltimore, MD
July 2014, June 2015
Invited Teaching Assistant Facilitator
Invited to aid with HHMI SEA-PHAGES In Situ workshop. Duties included leading sessions to prepare for course work, preparing all media and reagents needed for meeting, aiding in discussions on teaching the SEA-PHAGES course.

Lehigh Valley Science Fair, Bethlehem, PA
2013, 2014, 2015
Judge for Youth Science Fair
Judge science fair projects in biochemistry, microbiology, and physiology for students in grades 4-12.

Biological Sciences
111 Research Drive
Bethlehem, PA 18015
Phone: 610-758-3680
Fax: 610-758-4004