The boss (allegedly).
More about him here

GUILLAUME DESANTI. I obtained a PhD degree in fundamental Immunology (Paris 7 - Denis Diderot University, France) based on my research on “Mouse Foetal Spleen Haematopoietic and Structuring Processes” at the Institut Pasteur (Paris, France). In 2007 I joined the University of Birmingham as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow and focused on understanding the importance of the cellular crosstalk between haematopoietic cells (i.e. leucocytes, platelets…) and non-haematopoietic cells (i.e. fibroblasts, epithelial cells…). In August 2017, I joined the May Lab to develop in vivo experimental models of fungal infections in order to discover the mechanisms by which fungi shape the immune responses.

LEANNE TAYLOR-SMITH. I have spent my academic career so far at Birmingham, graduating in 2010 with an MSci in Biological Sciences and with a PhD in 2014 investigating the phagosome dynamics of both Streptococcus agalactiae and Cryptococcus neoformans in macrophages. My Post-Doc was spent looking at the role of HIV co-infection in Cryptococcus macropage parasitism and developing an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) infection model for further investigation of Crytococcus vomocytosis. As of January 2018 I am a lecturer in Eukaryotic Microbiology, but I still help out with various projects in the May lab!

EWA BIELSKA. After graduating from the University of Wroclaw (Poland) with a BSc and MSc in Biotechnology and Molecular Biology I moved to industry and worked as a Research Scientist in Molecular Biology and Protein Technology teams in SB Drug Discovery company in Glasgow, UK. In 2009 I started my PhD studies at the University of Exeter, UK where I was investigating the interaction between molecular motor kinesin-3 and its cargo, early endosomes, in the plant fungal pathogen Ustilago maydis. During my first post-doctoral project at the University of Exeter I was focused on the role of motility of U. maydis early endosomes during the plant infection. In November 2014 I joined the lab of Prof. Robin May as a Postdoctoral Fellow, where I am investigating molecular mechanisms of fungal virulence.

Claudia SimmCLAUDIA SIMM.  I graduated from Martin-Luther University in Halle, Germany with a MSc in Biochemistry. I stayed in Halle to do PhD at the Leibnitz Institute for Plant Biochemistry on heavy metal binding chelators in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. After a postdoc in the group of David Eide in Madison, USA where I worked on zinc sequestration in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, I joined a pharmaceutical start-up company (Viamet Pharmaceutical, USA) to develop new antifungal drugs. I located to the UK in 2011 and ventured into drug development in cystic fibrosis and neurodegenerative disorders. I joined the May lab in October 2017 and will focus on high throughput drug screen development and novel antifungal target identification.

JOAO CORREIA. I joined the May lab in December 2014, currently splitting my time between the lab and the imaging industry (Cairn Research). My background is in reproduction and cell signalling, where I worked with olfactory receptors expressed in human sperm, investigating their role in regulating behavioural changes like motility and chemotaxis. I also had a spell in cardiovascular sciences where I focused on the interplay between intracellular calcium and actin dynamics and the role of the actin nodule. I am a major microscopy enthusiast and I hope my previous experience in cell signalling and imaging will be of good use to unravel the secrets of the fungal world.

WIOLETA TRZASKA. I did my undergraduate study in Genetics and Molecular Biology at the University of Wolverhampton. During my final year I worked on environmental stress tolerance in E.coli, with the aim of understanding how this organism adapts to the environment and how that impacts on human health. I joined the May lab in June 2013 as a research technician and then, in September 2014, started my PhD in the group, working on trauma associated infections caused by Mucorale, Fusarium and Scedosporium fungal species.

PAULA SEOANE. Before coming to Birmingham I did my BSc. in Biochemistry and MSc. in Immunology in Uruguay. In 2015 I joined the HAPI lab as a PhD student. My project focuses on the interaction between Cryptococcus neoformans and macrophages, particularly on the fascinating non-lytic escape mechanism called vomocytosis. I am currently looking at the influence of macrophage activation state on the rate of vomocytosis and further investigating the role of vomocytosis during infection.

MARIAM GARELNABI. I graduated from the University of Leeds in 2010 with a BSc in Human Genetics, and from the University of Birmingham with an MSc in Molecular Biotechnology in 2011. I then interned at the West Midlands Regional Genetics Lab and worked as a research assistant in a virology company in London. I joined the MAY/HAPI Lab as a PhD student in January 2015. My project  involves screening drugs against Cryptococcus neoformans, and studying Cryptococcus neoformans and HIV co-infection in immune cells.

PEDRO BURGEL. Before joining the MAY Lab I graduated in Pharmacy, did my MSc. in Immunology and started my PhD in the same area, all in Brasilia – Brazil. I’ve come to Birmingham to do part of my PhD project, which involves the effect of secreted molecules and extracellular vesicles by C. neoformans in immune response pathways, particularly the inflammasome. Working with fungi since my graduation, I can say that my interest for these organisms has only “grown” over time, so I’m always keen to learn more about immunity against these pathogens and their mechanisms of evasion.

VANESSA DA SILVA.  I hold a Bachelor's in Biomedical Science and a Master's in Fungal Biology (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco-UFPE, Brazil). Currently, I am a PhD student at Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, RJ, Brazil. My research interests are focused on the interaction of the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans with host cells. I am investigating the participation of unconventional mechanisms of secretion on the dissemination of cryptococcosis. I am also specially interested in the development of novel antifungal therapies. Since October 2017, I have joined the MAY/HAPI Lab as a visiting research student, funded by the British Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC).

DEBORAH CROOM-CARTER.  I graduated from Warwick University in 1988 with a BSc in Biochemistry and started work at Birmingham University as a Research Technician. I have spent most of my time working on EBV and its association with cancers. I joined the HAPI Lab at the start of 2018 as Laboratory Manager providing health and safety support to the group.

JUDE WILLIAMS. My background is in EU funding & project management & I have worked in this field in Brussels & the UK since graduating from Cardiff University with a BScECON in European Union Studies in 1997. I administer the ERC funded MITOFUN project & work with Robin May providing admin support to the May/HAPI Lab.

We’re lucky enough to have quite a few ‘satellite’ folk - associated with the lab, but not entirely in it! Some of them are listed here...

ANNE MARIE KRACHLER. Ex-Birmingham Fellow and now at UTHealth, Texas.  More about the Krachler Lab here.

BECKY HALL.  Ex-postdoc in the lab and now an MRC Career Development Award holder and fellow HAPI lab PI.  More on the Hall Lab here.

SIMON JOHNSTON.  Ex May Lab postdoc and now MRC Career Development Fellow and PI of the Johnston Lab at the University of Sheffield.

 LIZ BALLOU.  BBSRC Future Leaders Fellow and fellow HAPI lab PI.  More on the Ballou Lab here.


DAVE MASON. Previous Marie Curie postdoc, now working at the Centre for Cell Imaging in Liverpool.

JENSON LIM.  Ex May Lab postdoc and now a lecturer at the University of Stirling.

HANSONG MA - first ever May Lab PhD student, now a Sir Henry Dale Fellow at the Gurdon Institute, Cambridge.

Check out all the May lab escapees who have moved on from the lab.