Skip to Main Content
dropdownCombined ShapedropdowndropdownnextGroup 3circle_arrow_left_redGroup 2Group 8Group 35homelocationSeton Hill Universityphonemagnifying-glass
Kristen Butela PhD
Joined Seton Hill
Connellsville, PA
Contact Info
(724) 552-4368

Kristen Butela is a proud alumna of Seton Hill University (Class of 2003), joining the Biology faculty in 2011. She performed her dissertation research in the lab of Dr. Jeffrey Lawrence at the University of Pittsburgh. Kristen's current research interests include: science education, predator-prey relationships between the Salmonellae and protozoa, and bacteriophage biology. Current courses taught include: Genetics, Microbiology, Microbiology Laboratory, Medical Microbiology, Medical Microbiology Laboratory, and Phagehunting Research.


  • Ph.D. - Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology with Minor in Teaching, University of Pittsburgh, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences (Pittsburgh, PA), 2011. "Physiological Basis for Predator Escape in Salmonella"
  • B.A. - Psychology with Minor in Women's Studies, Seton Hill University (Greensburg, PA), 2004.
  • B.S. - Biology, Seton Hill University (Greensburg, PA), 2003.


  • Lawrence, J.G., Butela, K., and Atzinger, A. (2013). A likelihood approach to classifying fluorescent events collected by multicolor flow cytometry. Journal of Microbiologial Methods. 94(1):1-12. [More Information]
  • Butela, K., and Lawrence, J.G. (2012). Genetic Manipulation of Pathogenicity Loci in Non-Typhimurium Salmonella. Journal of Microbiological Methods. 91(3): 477-482. [More Information]
  • Butela, K., and Lawrence, J.G. (2010). Population genetics of Salmonella: Selection for antigenic diversity. In D.A. Robinson, D. Falush, and E.J. Feil (Eds.), Bacterial Population Genetics in Infectious Disease (pp 287-319). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons. [More Information]


  • Andrew Mellon Predoctoral Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh, September 2009-April 2010
  • Teaching Mentor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, September 2009-April 2010
  • Stanton C. Crawford Award for Graduate Student Teaching: University of Pittsburgh (2008) [More Information]



  • Presenter, In Situ Training Workshop. Science Education Alliance: Phagehunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science. Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Ashburn, VA), June 2013. [More Information]
  • Pittsburgh Bacteria Meeting, Duquesne University 2010
  • Gordon Conference in Microbial Population Biology 2009
  • American Society for Microbiology (ASM) 109th Annual Meeting 2009
  • Pittsburgh Bacteria Meeting, Duquesne University 2008
  • Arts and Sciences Graduate Fair, University of Pittsburgh 2008
  • Science, University of Pittsburgh 2007
  • Gordon Conference in Microbial Population Biology 2007
  • American Society for Microbiology (ASM) 107th Annual Meeting 2007
  • Pittsburgh Bacteria Meeting, Duquesne University 2006


  • NEW TEACHING ASSISTANT ORIENTATION WORKSHOP PRESENTER, CENTER FOR INSTRUCTIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND DISTANCE EDUCATION, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH: “Problem-Solving Recitations” (Fall 2009 and Spring 2010) “Testing and Grading in the Natural Sciences” ( Fall 2009) “Cheating and Plagiarism in the Natural Sciences” (Fall 2010)
  • VOLUNTEER INSTRUCTOR: “OUTBREAK;” UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES OUTREACH PROGRAM; JANUARY 2008-APRIL 2011 Course Description: “Outbreak” is an interactive scenario that allows middle- and high-school students and teachers to analyze data, ask questions, and test hypotheses in the format of investigating a potential disease epidemic scenario. Participants become agents for the Centers for Disease Control investigating occurrences of a strange series of symptoms affecting patients at “Panther Hospital.” With the assistance of the Panther Hospital staff, participants implement current scientific technology (cell culture, PCR, gel electrophoresis, and electron microscopy) to solve the potential disease mystery. Participants must ask questions and analyze data to guide the investigation to the hypothesis formation stage, after which they test their hypothesis and attempt to solve the mystery of the disease outbreak. The outcome of this scenario heavily relies on student engagement, as the students’ questions and data analysis determine if the causative agent of the symptoms of Panther Hospital patients is identified and properly treated.
  • VOLUNTEER INSTRUCTOR AND CURRICULUM DEVELOPER: NATURAL SELECTION MODULE; UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES OUTREACH PROGRAM; APRIL 2008-APRIL 2011 Course Description: The Natural Selection Module uses cutting-edge, university-sponsored research in microbiology to illustrate the basic principles of natural selection to high-school and collegiate biology classes. Students explore the relationship between Salmonella and its amoebae predators to try and answer the question of why certain strains of Salmonella only infect certain hosts. Students compete two strains of Salmonella in the presence and absence of an amoeba predator and determine if selective pressure from protozoan grazing could prevent certain strains of Salmonella from living in particular environments. Participants are carefully guided through data collection and analysis and are encouraged to design new experiments to further explore the Salmonella-amoebae relationship. The basic microbiology skills taught in this program include aseptic technique, spread plating, dispensing solutions, making serial dilutions of cultures, pipetting, and counting of colonies. This module is highly adaptable to meet the specific needs of each individual class and is designed to meet many of the Pennsylvania Department of Education Standards for biology courses.
  • VOLUNTEER INSTRUCTOR: PHAGEHUNTING PROGRAM, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH, APRIL 2008-APRIL 2011 Curriculum Description: The University of Pittsburgh Phagehunting Program, coordinated by Dr. Graham Hatfull and Mrs. Debbie Jacobs-Sera, allows middle- and high-school students to learn about the basic biology of bacteriophages while getting a feel for cutting-edge scientific research. Students attempt to isolate bacteriophages that infect Mycobacterium smegmatis, a relative to the causative agent of tuberculosis, from soil samples that they bring to class. The Phagehunting Program also uses classroom visits to recruit students to participate in Phagehunting on-site at the Hatfull lab, in which students are mentored by undergraduate researchers in finding, identifying, and characterizing a bacteriophage.
  • CURRICULUM DESIGNER: SCIENCE MISSION 101, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES OUTREACH PROGRAM AND WQED PITTSBURGH, SUMMER 2009 Curriculum Description: A joint effort between the University of Pittsburgh Biological Sciences Outreach Program and WQED Pittsburgh, Science Mission 101 is a reality-style television program aimed at increasing interest in science among middle school students. In this show, two teams of students worked on the Natural Selection Module I previously developed for the Outreach Program, performing an experiment to test if amoebae could influence survival of two strains of Salmonella. Teams then developed presentations of their experiment and conclusions, competing against each other to determine which team gave the most interesting and comprehensive presentation.