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Microbiology & Immunology (MI) Students & Alumni

Elijah Davis: Drexel Microbiology and Immunology PhD Program Class of 2023-2024

Elijah Davis, Drexel Microbiology and Immunology PhD Program

"I knew that I wanted to conduct impactful research that shed light on unsolved questions of the world. That is exactly what I found at Drexel University College of Medicine. The studies here range from microbiology to pharmacology and include everything in between. It was evident to me that this was the place to be for high-quality research." Read more.


First-Year Students

Hayley Klingenberg
MS Program

Undergraduate: BS, Molecular and Medical Microbiology, University of California, Davis
Email: hjk53@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: James Burns Jr., PhD
Background and Interests: I have always been interested in the immune system and the effect that different pathogens can have on the immune response. During my undergraduate years, I was unable to get the research experience I was hoping for. I applied to the master's program to gain hands-on research experience and further my knowledge of microbiology and immunology. Currently, I am most interested in host immune responses, specifically regarding vaccine development.


Joanna Jones
MS Program

Undergraduate: BS, Microbiology and Cell & Molecular Biology, West Chester University
Email: jj993@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Michael Nonnemacher, PhD
LinkedIn
Background and Interests: After completing my bachelor’s degree, I worked in the microbiology lab at Terumo Cardiovascular in Elkton, Maryland, where I was responsible for testing and verifying the safety of medical devices used in heart surgery and related procedures. In the Nonnemacher Lab, I am focused on investigating CRISPR/Cas9 as a cure strategy for HIV. Later in my career, I hope to work in translational research and clinical trials to develop personalized treatment options for people living with chronic and infectious diseases.


Ukamushu Undieh
MS Program

Undergraduate: BS in Biology with a Biomedical concentration from Messiah University
Email: uau26@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Sandhya Kortagere, PhD
LinkedIn
Background and Interests: During my undergraduate training, I developed various skills working in the generation of monoclonal antibodies for the restoration of a lab under the Microbiology course. Since then, I have broadened my research interests through rotating in labs at Drexel University. Some of these interests include evaluating the genomic diversity within the integrated HIV provirus, and elucidating the roles of gut microbiota in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. My current research interests lie in understanding the gut-CNS-immune axis to probe into novel avenues for curative strategies of various diseases and neurocognitive impairments.


James Johnson
MS Program

Undergraduate: University of Alabama
Email: jaj376@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Olimpia Meucci, MD, PhD
LinkedIn
Background and Interests: During my undergraduate education, I studied the interactions among commensal and pathogenic urinary bacteria. The aim of these studies was to better understand how the urinary microbiome plays a role in urinary tract infections (UTIs). Since starting the Microbiology and Immunology program here at Drexel, I have become interested in the pathogenesis of HIV. In particular, I have an interest in understanding the neuropathogenesis of HIV and the mechanisms of the central nervous system that may have an effect on HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND).


Evangeline Williams
MS Program

Undergraduate: BA, Biology, Earth Science concentration: Environmental Science, University of Pennsylvania
Email: emw366@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Josh Chang-Mell, PhD
LinkedIn
Background and Interests: Previously, I worked at the Philadelphia Zoo, as I have always been interested in studying animals as well as zoonotic diseases. I spent time characterizing retrovirus-host interactions in non-human primate models of HIV at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine. Currently, I am interested in taking a bioinformatic approach to studying genomics and evolution in pathogens to have a better understanding of health and medicine.


Brenna Duffy
PhD Program

Advisor/Mentor: Sandhya Kortagere, PhD, and Michael Nonnemacher, PhD


Ijeoma Okoye
PhD Program

Undergraduate: BA, Biochemistry, Vassar College
Email: ico32@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Akhil Vaidya, PhD
Background and Interests: I am particularly passionate about infectious diseases that disproportionately affect sub-Saharan African countries. So, for my undergraduate thesis, I studied the bioactive compounds in herbs used as antimalarials in malaria-endemic regions. Now at Drexel, I am interested in investigating novel drug targets of Plasmodium falciparum that can be exploited for the development of new antimalarial drugs.


Kenneth Kim
PhD Program

Undergraduate: BS, Biology, Pennsylvania State University; MS, Biomedical Science – Immunology/Virology, Hood College
Email: kmk467@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Christopher B. Rodell, PhD
LinkedIn
Background and Interests: During my undergraduate years, I worked in a biomedical engineering lab focusing on enhancing the visualization of the retinal and choroid blood vessels under diabetic retinopathy conditions using magnetic resonance imaging. Then, I worked at the National Cancer Institute as a Cancer Research Training Award (CRTA) post-baccalaureate research fellow where I also received a master’s degree in biomedical science concentrating on immunology and virology at Hood College. My master's thesis focused on elucidating the molecular function of SERINC protein using the Drosophila model to find the significance of this novel protein in HIV. My research interests are translational and clinical applications focusing on immune engineering, immunology, vaccinology and delivery mechanism aspects.


Lindsay Barger
PhD Program

Undergraduate: BS, Biotechnology, minor in Microbiology, Pennsylvania State University
Email: lnb56@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Gabriel Romano, PhD
LinkedIn
Background and Interests: My research background is relatively broad. I worked for three years as a student at Penn State in the Department of Animal Science. I have had internships generally focused on research and drug development at Genesis Biotechnology and GlaxoSmithKline. At Genesis, I studied proteins involved in bladder cancer. At GSK, I screened small drug molecules in the bioanalytical department of drug manufacturing and pharmacokinetics (DMPK). At Drexel, my primary interest is in onco-immunology.


Abigail Onufer
PhD Program

Undergraduate: BS, Biotechnology, Biology, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania
Email: apo38@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Alison Carey, MD
LinkedIn
Background and Interests: During my undergraduate studies, I worked in a wildlife lab designing assays used for pathogen identification in ticks. Following the completion of my degree, I spent two years in the biotech industry. My work mainly focused on ELISA and 2D-DIBE assay development for use in downstream drug processing. My current interests include understanding the immune response to pathogens and development of immunotherapies.


Ikechukwu Nwankwo
PhD Program

Undergraduate: BSc, Zoology (Parasitology Major), University of Lagos, Nigeria
Email: icn32@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Hangjun Ke, PhD
LinkedIn
Background and Interests: My undergraduate study was focused on better understanding the biology of parasitic diseases in designing effective control and elimination interventions. For my underground dissertation, I assessed the utilization and efficacy of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) in treating malaria among outpatients at the University of Lagos Medical Center. We discovered that antimalarial drugs were administered to patients before diagnosing them. Upon completing my undergraduate education, I interned at the Malaria and Genomic Centre, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, undertaking research projects focused on the molecular investigation of Plasmodium falciparum, identifying genes and proteins associated with antimalarial drug resistance. My current interest is centered on understanding the biology of P. falciparum in identifying parasites' genes and proteins that could be considered a potential drug target in the design and development of a new antimalarial drug with the emergence of resistance to ACTs, WHO-recommended drugs against uncomplicated malaria.


Emily Konopka
PhD Program

Undergraduate: BS, Cell and Molecular Biology, Lycoming College
Email: ek845@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Michele Kutzler, PhD
LinkedIn
Background and Interests: During my undergraduate research, I worked on identifying a novel Moraxella species isolated from clinical cases of keratitis. These experiences directed my growing interests in host-pathogen interactions and translational research for infectious diseases.

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Second-Year Students

Alexis Brantly
PhD Program

Undergraduate: BA, English, University of Florida; MS, Microbiology and Cell Science, University of Florida
Email: ab4532@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Mike Nonnemacher, PhD
LinkedIn
Background and Interests: My research background primarily focuses on cancer and cancer virology. During my undergraduate studies, I was involved in studying the DNA damage response in the context of cancer development. During my masters studies, I examined the effect of novel STAT3 inhibitors on Epstein - Barr Virus-derived cancers. After graduating with my masters, I went on to work with Human Papillomavirus, looking at the effect of PTPN14 in promoting a cancer phenotype in HPV positive keratinocytes. My current project in Dr. Nonnemacher’s lab involves understanding the molecular mechanisms of HIV/HBV coinfection, and how this predisposes people with HIV to developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).


Mackenzie Collins
PhD Program

Undergraduate: BS, Clinical Laboratory Science, BA, Biology; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Email: mc4289@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Mike Nonnemacher, PhD
LinkedIn
Background and Interests: My background in clinical laboratory science and diagnostics has fueled an interest in developing and accessing molecular assays to address gaps in knowledge and improve care. My research at Drexel focuses on the latency and genetic variability of HIV-1 infection and understanding how viral transcripts and proteins can continue to cause pathogenesis within viral reservoirs, such as the central nervous system, of persons living with HIV-1 in the context of long-term antiretroviral therapy.


Adam Glass
PhD Program

Undergraduate: BS, Biology, Washington College
Email: ag3894@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Sonia Navas-Martin, PhD
LinkedIn

Background and Interests: Upon completion of my undergraduate education, I worked for two years as an ORISE post-baccalaureate research fellow at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. My research was focused on bacteriophage therapy, specifically for the nasal decolonization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in a mouse model. Currently, my work in the Navas-Martin laboratory is centered on elucidating the roles of toll-like receptors (TLRs), TLR adaptors, and associated signaling components during RNA virus infection, including coronaviruses and flaviviruses. Broad research interests of mine include host-pathogen interactions and emerging pathogens, with a particular focus on viruses.


Kyra Woloszczuk
PhD Program

Undergraduate: BS, Microbiology, University of the Sciences; MS, Infectious Disease and Immunity, Temple University
Email: kw959@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Elias El Haddad, PhD
LinkedIn
Background and Interests: Immune memory against severe SARS-CoV-2 infection is a determining factor in disease risk, clinical severity and clinical outcomes. In addition, duration of immunological memory in patients who were hospitalized with severe SARS-CoV-2 infection is not fully understood, nor is the role of vaccination on immunological immunity in patients who also had severe SARS-CoV-2 infection. In the Haddad lab, we hope to correlate clinical outcomes with immunological memory to potentially find markers of clinical severity. We also aim to find differences between B-cell memory, antigen specific T-cell responses, B and T cell interactions, innate lymphoid cells and the soluble factors released by these cells.


William Stump
MS Program

Undergraduate: BS, Biology, Gettysburg College
Email: ws454@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Jim Burns, PhD
LinkedIn
Background and Interests: My past research experience focused on characterizing bacteriophage genomics and host-pathogen interactions between phage and their bacterial hosts. In the Burns Lab, I am focused on the design and evaluation of the antibody responses to a Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein-based malaria vaccine that is modeled from the recently approved RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine. With our recombinant protein constructs we seek to improve the magnitude and diversity of the vaccine induced antibody response.


Julia Sutter
PhD Program

Undergraduate: BS Biochemistry, University of New Haven
Email: js4932@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Fred Krebs, PhD, and Vandana Miller, MD
LinkedIn
Background and Interests: My current research focuses on nonthermal plasma (NTP) as a potential therapeutic alternative for viral infections and cancer. This includes not only the antiviral and anticancer effect of NTP, but also how NTP can contribute to immunomodulation.

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Third-Year Students

Erik Carter
PhD Program

Undergraduate: BS, Pathobiology, University of Connecticut
Email: ec899@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Irwin Chaiken, PhD
LinkedIn

Background and Interests: Following my undergraduate education, I spent six years working, both in academia and industry, in molecular virology, viral immunology and vaccine development. My interests are primarily in the areas of virus-host interaction and vaccine design, particularly as they pertain to RNA viruses. My project focuses on a highly conserved region of the HIV-1 envelope protein called the membrane proximal external region (MPER). My goal is to understand the conformational structure of this region and explore ways of using it as a vaccine antigen.


Gina Cusimano
PhD Program

Undergraduate: BS, Biotechnology, Elizabethtown College; MS, Molecular Medicine, Drexel University
Email: gc468@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Dr. Michelle Kutzler
LinkedIn

Background and Interests: I have a BS in biotechnology and MS in molecular medicine. Following my masters, I spent three years working at Merck Co. & Inc. where I supported vaccine commercialization, manufacturing optimization and batch release. My overall interests are in immune modulation and how our understanding of immune modulation can be applied to vaccine/ adjuvant development as well as cancer immunotherapy development.


Ben Haslund-Gourley
PhD Program

Undergraduate: BA, Biology, University of California at Santa Barbara within the College of Creative Studies
Email: bsh62@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Dr. Mary Ann Comunale and Dr. Joris Beld
LinkedIn

Background and Interests: I am a candidate in Drexel’s MD/PhD program and will complete my PhD in Microbiology and Immunology. Throughout my undergraduate education and during my two gap years before medical school, I gained extensive background in human sepsis, glycobiology and enzyme assay optimization. Under the direction and mentorship of Dr. Mary Ann Comunale and Dr. Joris Beld, I will employ multiple protein fractionation techniques, mass spectrometry (MALDI imaging), HPLC, and other glycoproteomic tools to characterize aberrant glycosylation and identify potential biomarkers that will improve Lyme disease diagnostics and inform on disease resolution. After completing Drexel’s MD/PhD program I plan to pursue a research career in immunology, translational medicine and diagnostics.


Julie Joseph
PhD Program

Undergraduate: BS, Biology, St. John’s University; MS, Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of New Haven
Email: jj932@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Dr. Pooja Jain
LinkedIn

Background and Interests: My overall interest is in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that dictate immunological responses to infection, disease and autoimmune disorders. My past research experience focused on identifying T- cell populations that may be responsible in the generation of food-specific antibodies as well as assisting in characterizing a sub-population of T follicular helper cells that drive anaphylactic IgE. Currently, my primary research focuses on understanding the mechanisms that underlie HTLV-1 associated myelopathy/ tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) and the role exosomes and immune checkpoint mediators play in the overall anti-viral immune response associated with this debilitating neuroinflammatory disease.


Abhisek Rao

Undergraduate: BE, Instrumentation Engineering, Vishwakarma Institute, Pune, India; MS, Biomedical Engineering, Drexel University
Email: asr56@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: First-year rotations in progress
LinkedIn


Dominic J. Sales
PhD Program

Undergraduate: BS, Biology, James Madison University
Email: djs487@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Pooja Jain, PhD
LinkedIn

Background and Interests: My background involves a general aptitude for all things science, specifically cellular and molecular biology. I have always been interested in the interplay between self and non-self, and how biological processes can lead to disease. During my undergraduate education at James Madison University, I was part of a lab that investigated migrational aspects of immortalized tumor cells within extracellular matrices. After graduation, I worked as a laboratory technician at Thomas Jefferson University where I studied a model of pulmonary fibrosis and senescence both in vitro and in vivo. I am currently in Dr. Jain’s lab whose focus is on understanding the mechanisms driving disease pathology during HTLV-1 infection and understanding the role that dendritic cells play in orchestrating the immune response. My project aims to better understand the crosstalk between different populations of immune cells, the impact of this crosstalk on neuroinflammation, and how we can modulate this to develop more effective treatment modalities for patients with neuroinflammatory conditions such as multiple sclerosis.

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Fourth-Year Students

Matthew Bell

Undergraduate: BS, Biology, Gwynedd Mercy University
Email: mrb433@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Michele Kutzler, PhD

Background and Interests: During my time at Gwynedd Mercy University, I studied the relationship between Quercus spp and members of the root microbiome. I also aided in the isolation and characterization of an endophytic bacterium, Serratia marcescens, that produced prodigiosin, a secondary metabolite that shows antibiotic and antitumor properties. Currently, in Dr. Kutzler's lab, my research focuses on studying the impacts of immunosenescence on both the innate and adaptive immune responses in the context of C. difficile infection as well as the immune response to a DNA vaccine for C. difficile.


Elijah H. Davis

Undergraduate: BS, Biological Sciences, University of Maryland Baltimore County
Email: ehd43@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Sonia Navas-Martin, PhD
LinkedIn

Background and Interests: Shortly after graduating for UMBC, I accepted a position within Virginia Commonwealth University’s post-baccalaureate research education program. During this year, I worked in VCU’s Immunology & Microbiology Department, conducting research with Dr. Rebecca Martin and Dr. Daniel Conrad. Our study investigated how helminth infections could confer protection against allergic pathologies. We discovered that B1 cell-derived IgE can enhance parasite survival and may play a role in reducing allergic conditions. We were able to publish these results and present them at national conferences. Currently, I am part of Drexel’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology and work with Dr. Sonia Navas-Martin. Our lab is focused on understanding novel Toll-like receptor signaling pathways and their role in inflammation. My project examines the relationship between Toll-like receptors and exosomal responses within microglia. My other research interests include autoimmune diseases, hypersensitivity disorders, and neuroinflammation.


Dema Ghaban

Undergraduate: MD, Medicine, Taibah University, Saudi Arabia; MSc, Immunology and Allergy, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
Email: dmg384@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Alexander Muller, PhD

Background and Interests: Part of my work in the U.K. focused on multiple sclerosis (MS) which has high prevalence in the U.K. and is one of the most common causes of neurological disability in the younger population. In one project, we looked for the role of multiple sclerosis-associated retrovirus envelope (one of the two main elements encoded by the W family of human endogenous retroviruses) in the pathogenesis of MS. We also studied which immune cells are involved in this process.


Doug Krauth

Undergraduate: BS, Cellular and Physiological Biology, University of Louisville
Email: dmk357@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Sonia Navas-Martin, PhD
Background and Interests: After completing my undergraduate biology degree, I joined the Bagaitkar Lab in the University of Louisville’s Oral Immunology and Infectious Disease Department. There, my research focused on delineating the role NADPH oxidase-derived oxidants have in immune-regulation. Specifically, I worked to understand how NOX-deficient neutrophils contributed to the hyper-inflammatory response seen in patients with chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) and the role ROS plays in modulating neutrophil effecter functions. More recently, my research interests focus on understanding how neurotropic viruses spread within the CNS and how immune responses to viral infection differ in the brain and the periphery.


Richa Pande

Undergraduate: Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS), India
Email: rp834@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Seena Ajit, PhD
LinkedIn

Background and Interests: My previous research experience at NYU Langone Medical Center involved studying ubiquitination and its modification in the cell cycle, including its role in circadian rhythm. After relocating to Philadelphia, I pursued research at the University of Pennsylvania in an immunology laboratory that focused on the mechanisms that lead to impaired fracture healing and connective tissue and bone loss in diabetes via altered transcription factor activity and cytokine dysregulation. The Ajit Lab investigates the molecular mechanisms of pain with emphasis on epigenetics. At present, my project involves studying microRNA has-miR-605 and its role in regulating the pro-inflammatory chemokine CXCL5 in CRPS patients. Another project involves studying the role of macrophage-derived small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) on helper T cell activation during inflammation. This study will help elucidate the contribution of these immune cell subtypes in sEVs-induced attenuation of inflammatory pain.

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Fifth-Year Students

Ian Lamb

Undergraduate: BS, University of Iowa
Email: iml28@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Akhil Vaidya, PhD

Background and Interests: Before starting my PhD at Drexel University College of Medicine, I spent two years as a technician at the University of Iowa looking at immune responses in dogs naturally infected with the protozoan parasite Leishmania infantum. I then moved to New York City, where I was a lab manager for a joint laboratory at Weill Cornell Medical College for two years. The lab investigated DNA damage responses in yeast and mammalian cells with a focus on VDJ recombination in developing B cells. At Drexel, I joined Dr. Akhil Vaidya’s laboratory. The lab studies basic aspects of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum’s molecular physiology with particular attention to the mitochondrion. Since malaria parasites and humans are both eukaryotes, antimalarials often interfere with human protein function and therefore cause side effects. However, given the extreme divergence of mitochondria between P. falciparum and humans, selective toxicity to the parasite is possible. This is highlighted by the antimalarial Atovaquone, which inhibits the parasite bc1 complex of the electron transport chain, thus causing parasite demise. My project focuses on characterizing the function of mitochondrial proteins in P. falciparum that are essential to parasite viability but have no annotated function. The long-term goal is to identify novel protein targets for antimalarials.


Teresa M. LuPone

Undergraduate: BS, Microbiology, BS, Health Sciences, BA, Journalism and Mass Communications, MS, Science of Healthcare Delivery, Arizona State University; MS in Microbiology and Immunology, Drexel University College of Medicine
Email: tml86@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Peter Gaskill, PhD

Background and Interests: My undergraduate research focused on understanding genetic alterations in response to DAMPs and developmental delays in Drosophila melanogaster. My job was to perform expression studies and monitor developmental timing. Throughout my research and coursework at Arizona State University, I became interested in following a path into medically relevant research specifically in the field of virology. As such I am interested in aspects of virology and immunity particularly in host pathogen interactions, how viruses escape the host immune system, and building a deeper understanding of the complexities of the immune system.


Kayla M. Socarras

Undergraduate: BS, Biological Sciences, University of Saint Joseph; MS, Cellular Molecular Biology, University of New Haven
Email: kms58@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Garth D. Ehrlich, PhD
LinkedIn
ResearchGate

Background and Interests: Kayla Socarras is a PhD student in Garth Ehrlich’s lab within the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at Drexel University College of Medicine. Prior to joining Drexel University, Kayla received her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences at the University of Saint Joseph. Afterwards, she continued her education at the University of New Haven for a master’s degree in cellular molecular biology. During her master’s, Kayla participated in several ongoing studies on the pathogenesis of Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme borreliosis, alternatively known as Lyme disease. Lyme borreliosis is globally one the most common bacterial vector-borne diseases and has become more prevalent due to climate and ecological changes over the past decades. For her master’s thesis, Kayla tested several antimicrobials for their efficiency on destroying Borrelia burgdorferi in vitro as well as their potential efficacy as a therapeutic treatment. After completing her master's thesis, Kayla also did a post-graduate research fellowship at the University of New Haven. During her fellowship, Kayla studied the pathogenesis of Borrelia spp in causing Borrelial lymphocytoma, a cutaneous infection that occurs primarily within individuals infected with Borrelia spp in Europe.

Currently, at Drexel University College of Medicine, Kayla is continuing her research on the pathogenesis of Borrelia spp within the Center for Advanced Microbial Processing, with an emphasis on characterizing the complex dynamics of tick-borne disease microbes within the tick microbiome. In addition to her research studies, Kayla has presented her research in local meetings and conferences and her work on tick-borne diseases has been spoken about at several media outlets. Her media outreach encompasses traditional news outlets such as television, newspapers and radio as wells as social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.


Yih-Ping Su

Undergraduate: BS, Life Sciences, National Chung-Hsing University
Email: ys646@drexel.edu
Advisor/Mentor: Garth Ehrlich, PhD
LinkedIn

Background and Interests: After obtaining my BS in life sciences at National Chung-Hsing University, Taiwan, I worked as a junior research fellow at the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, focusing on the development of a non-invasive screening approach for the early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). My current research interest at Drexel is to investigate the impact of hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotypes, mutations and integration on liver carcinogenesis, with an aim to develop an HCC risk prediction program for the management of the disease.

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Alumni

2022

Jennifer Connors – LinkedIn
Advisor/Mentor: Elias El Haddad, MD, and Michele Kutzler, PhD

Swati Dass – LinkedIn
Advisor/Mentor: Hangjun Ke, PhD; co-advisor: Akhil Vaidya, PhD

Abdullah Izmirly – LinkedIn
Advisor/Mentor: Elias Haddad, PhD; co-advisor: Michele Kutzler, PhD

Haley M. Majer – LinkedIn
Advisor/Mentor: Joris Beld, PhD

Lilly McQueen – LinkedIn

Phillip Palmer – LinkedIn
Advisor/Mentor: Garth Ehrlich, PhD

Amanda Platt
Advisor/Mentor: Joris Beld, PhD

Cassandra Spector – LinkedIn
Advisor/Mentor: Michael Nonnemacher, PhD


2021

Avantika I. Ahiya
Advisor/Mentor: Akhil B. Vaidya, PhD

Matthew Bell
Advisor/Mentor: Michele Kutzler, PhD

Olivia Cipollini –
Advisor/Mentor: Sonia Navas-Martin, PhD

Rita Esposito  
Advisor/Mentor: Fred Krebs, PhD

Katherine (Kaytie) Innamorati – LinkedIn
Advisor/Mentor: Garth Ehrlich, PhD

Ronak Loonawat –
Advisor/Mentor: Michael Bouchard, PhD

Kiran Madugula – LinkedIn
Advisor/Mentor: Pooja Jain, PhD

Hager Mohamed – LinkedIn
Advisor/Mentor: Fred C. Krebs, PhD

Neeta Shadija – LinkedIn
Advisor/Mentor: Hangjun Ke, PhD

Omobukola Solebo – LinkedIn
Advisor/Mentor: Hangjun Ke, PhD

Bhavani Taramangalam – LinkedIn
Advisor/Mentor: Elias El Haddad, PhD

Riley M. Williams
Advisor/Mentor: Glenn Rall, PhD


2020

Donald C. Hall Jr. (DJ) – LinkedIn
Advisor/Mentor: Garth Ehrlich

Alexander Allen – LinkedIn
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl
Thesis: Utilizing the CRISPR/Cas9 system to cure HIV-1 infection

Ogan K. Kumova – LinkedIn
Advisor/Mentor: Alison Carey, MD
Thesis: Altered Innate Immune Responses to Influenza Virus in the neonate

Jamie Marino – LinkedIn
Advisor: Mike Nonnemacher
Thesis: Effects of morphine and HIV-1 Tat on the blood-brain barrier: Implications in HIV disease and HAND

Anthony R. Mele – LinkedIn
Advisor: Mike Nonnemacher
Thesis: Impact of HIV genetic variation on Tat length, function and ability to be targeted by gene-editing

Kevin Raible – LinkedIn
Advisor/Mentor: Joshua Chang Mell, PhD
Thesis: Effects of morphine and HIV-1 Tat on the blood-brain barrier: Implications in HIV disease and HAND

Aarti A. Ramanathan – LinkedIn
Advisor: Akhil Vaidya
Thesis: The antimalarial drug target PfATP4 and effects of its inhibition at the intersection of life and death in P. falciparum


2019

Kristen Buenconsejo – LinkedIn
Advisor: Joris Beld
Master's thesis: The Significance of Secondary Metabolism on the Predatory Behavior of Myxococcus fulvus

Jacqueline Schneider Eacret – LinkedIn
Advisor: James Burns
Thesis: Design, Production and Evaluation of a Plasmodium Falciparum Merozoite Surface Protein 2-Based Vaccine for Inclusion in a Multivalent Formulation Targeting Multiple Parasite Stages

Ebony Gary – LinkedIn
Advisor: Michele Kutzler
Thesis: Enhancing the Immunogenicity of Anti-HIV DNA Vaccines with Molecular Adjuvants

Harmin Herrera – LinkedIn
Advisor: Anand Mehta
Thesis: Development of lectins for cancer-specific fucosylation

Sezin Nicklas – LinkedIn
Advisor: Akhil Vaidya
Thesis: Exploring Interactions Between the Parasite Plasma Membrane and the Parasite Vacuolar Membrane of Plasmodium falciparum

Muhammad Sheraz – LinkedIn
Advisor: Ju-Tao Guo
Thesis: Identification of Host Proteins Required for Hepatitis B Virus Covalently Closed Circular DNA Biosynthesis by a Chemogenetic Approach

Liudi Tang – LinkedIn
Advisor: Ju-Tao Guo
Thesis: Role and Mechanism of Host Cellular DNA Repair Proteins in Hepatitis B Virus cccDNA Biosynthesis

Breanna Tyrell – LinkedIn
Advisor: Amy Ma
Thesis: The Complex Nature of Cobalamin Biosynthesis in the Pathogenic Bacterium Vibrio cholerae


2018

Suyash Bhatnagar – LinkedIn
Advisor: Akhil Vaidya
Thesis: Investigating Na+ and Lipid Homeostasis as Targets for Antimalarial Drugs

Rashida Ginwala – LinkedIn
Advisor: Pooja Jain
Thesis: Potential of the Flavonoid Apigenin in Regulating Immune Cell Functions During

Marguerite Johnson – LinkedIn
Advisor: Sandhya Kortagere
Master's thesis: Sustained proinflammatory signaling contributes to neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s Disease

Vivin Karthik – LinkedIn
Advisor: Elias Haddad
Master's thesis: Role of CMV- and HIV-Specific cTFH response in HIV infection

Jennifer Marcy – LinkedIn
Advisor: Vanessa Pirrone
Thesis: Dysregulation of the Wnt Signaling Pathway in the Development of Colorectal Cancer in HIV-Infected Patients

Courtney Marshall
Advisor: Sandhya Kortagere
Thesis: D3 Receptor Agonism Attenuates Deficits Observed in Rodents with 6-OHDAInduced Medial Forebrain Bundle Lesions

Monique Maubert – LinkedIn
Advisor: Mike Nonnemacher
Thesis: Effects of morphine and the viral protein Tat on the blood-brain barrier, Implications in HIV disease and HAND

Elizabeth Parzych – LinkedIn
Advisor: James Burns
Thesis:Towards a Multivalent, Multistage Malaria Vaccine: Evaluation of a Plasmodium-specific Carrier Protein to Enhance Production and Immunogenicity of a Transmission-blocking Vaccine Candidate

Chris Stairiker – LinkedIn
Advisor: Peter Katsikis
Thesis: Molecular Changes in Alveolar Epithelial Cells During Influenza Virus Infection

Neil Sullivan – LinkedIn
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl
Understanding the functional, immunological and clinical impact of genetic variation in the long terminal repeat (LTR), the viral promoter of HIV-1 in relation to CRISPR/Cas9 gRNA design


2017
Frank Bearoff – LinkedIn
Advisor: Libby Blankenhorn
Thesis: Genetic Mapping and Analysis of Disease Susceptibility in a Mouse Model of Multiple Sclerosis

2017
Hanna David – LinkedIn
Advisor: James Burns
Thesis: Parasite growth inhibitory activity of antibodies to conserved and polymorphic epitopes of a malaria vaccine candidate antigen

2017
Kevin Egan – LinkedIn
Advisor: Stephen Jennings
Thesis: Characterizing Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Replication Kinetics, Latency, and Reactivation in the Lip Scarification Model of Infection and Disease

2017
Jenna Hope
Advisor: Peter Katsikis
Thesis: Novel roles for microRNAs in the regulation of effective CD8+ T cell responses

2017
Arpita Mondal – LinkedIn
Advisor: Mueller (Lankenau)
Thesis: IDO1, an immuno-oncology target that supports tumor-promoting, inflammatory neovascularization

2017
Andrea Partridge – LinkedIn
Advisor: Julio Martin-Garcia
Thesis: A senescence-like phenotype in human macrophages

2017
Lindsay Pomykala – LinkedIn
Advisor: Akhil Vaidya
Thesis: Genetic exploration of the ATP synthase complex in Plasmodium falciparum

2017
Arjun Ramamurthi – LinkedIn
Advisor: Michele Kutzler
Thesis: Plasmid DNA as a Platform for the Development of Prophylactic and Therapeutic Vaccines Against Clostridium difficile in Aging Models of Disease

2017
Emily Reesey – LinkedIn
Advisor: Akhil Vaidya
Thesis: Characterization of the Mitochondrial DNA Polymerase in Plasmodium falciparum

2017
Melody Wright – LinkedIn
Advisor: Bill Bergman
Thesis: PFF1320C an Essential but Presumptive Plasmodium Myosin Light Chain

2017
Ming Yang – LinkedIn
Advisor: Akhil Vaidya
Thesis: The Role of Isocitrate Dehydrogenase and Assessment of Intracellular ATP Levels during the Erythrocytic Stages of Plasmodium falciparum

2016
Chelsea Burgwin – LinkedIn
Advisor: Libby Blankenhorn
Thesis: Characterization of the cell-autonomous traits of Tsk2/+ mice, a model of systemic sclerosis

2016
Ashley Curtola – LinkedIn
Advisor: Michele Kutzler

2016
Andrew Holmes – LinkedIn
Advisor: Irwin Chaiken
Thesis: AIDS vaccine candidates from a combinatorial library of human rhinovirus 14 (HRV14): Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV -1) gp41 chimeras

2016
Bethany Jenkins
Advisor: Bill Bergman
Thesis: Characterization of PfCoq10 and its use in exploring the Plasmodium falciparum mitochondrial proteome

2016
Selena Lin – LinkedIn
Advisor: Ying-Hsiu Su
Thesis: Analysis of the complexity of HBV-host junction sequences in patients with HBV-related hepatocellular carcinoma

2016
Courtney Marin – LinkedIn
Advisor: Shira Ninio
Thesis: BffA: a Novel Regulator of Biofilm Formation in the Pathogen Legionella pneumophila

2016
April Pershing – LinkedIn
Advisor: Akhil Vaidya
Thesis: Genetic exploration of the ATP synthase complex in Plasmodium falciparum

2016
Nehal Solanki
Advisor: David Wiest (FCCC)
Thesis: Role of RPL22 in T Cell Development and Transformation

2016
Andreas Solomos – LinkedIn
Advisor: Glenn Rall
Thesis: The central contribution of CD4+ T cells to neurotropic virus control and neuropathogenesis

2015
Adam Fike – LinkedIn
Advisor: Peter Katsikis
Non-thesis master's degree

2015
Aidan Hancock – LinkedIn
Advisor: Peter Katsikis
Thesis: Effect of Influenza A virus on type II alveolar epithelial cells

2015
Jason Lamontagne – LinkedIn
Advisor: Michael Bouchard
Thesis: Global analysis of HBV-mediated changes to the primary hepatocyte transcriptome and metabolome

2015
Renzo Perales – LinkedIn
Advisor: Sonia Navas-Martin
Thesis: Role of Toll-like receptor 3 in the context of a neurotropic virus infection

2015
Fiorella Rossi – LinkedIn
Advisor: Julio Martín-García
Thesis: The Role of TLR3 Stimulation in the Suppression of HIV-1 Infection in Monocyte Derived Dendritic Cells

2015
Divya Sagar – LinkedIn
Advisor: Pooja Jain
Thesis: Dendritic Cell Trafficking in to the Central Nervous System : Targeting C-type Lectin Receptors to Prevent Neuroinflammation

2014
Scott Baliban – LinkedIn
Advisor: Michele Kutzler
Thesis: Development of a DNA Vaccine Encoding the Receptor-Binding Domain of Clostridium Diffiicile Toxin A and Toxin B, and the Role of Immune Suppression in Increased Susceptibility to Clostridium Difficile Infection

2014
Satinder Dahiya – LinkedIn
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl
Thesis title: Transcriptional regulation of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 via the cis-acting binding elements in the long terminal repeat

2014
Ian Goodwin – LinkedIn
Advisor: Shira Ninio
Master's thesis: A Novel Virulence-Related Operon in the Pathogen Legionella Pneumophila

2014
Archana Gupta – LinkedIn
Advisor: Sonya Navas-Martin
Thesis: Activated Monocyte-Derived Exosomes Transfer MIR-223 to Neural Cells: Impact of Peripheral Inflammation of Cognitive Impairment

2014
Elamaran Meibalan – LinkedIn
Advisor: James Burns
Thesis: Reticulocyte-associated protein export machinery and cytoadherence in blood stage malaria parasites

2014
Mohit Sehgal – LinkedIn
Advisor: Pooja Jain
Thesis: Immunomodulatory effects of IFN-α on dendritic cells: Implications for HIV-1/HCV pathogenesis and treatment

2014
Luz-Jeanette Sierra – LinkedIn
Advisor: Julio Martín-García
Thesis: Characterization of the Genotypes, Phenotypes and Neurotropism of the HIV-1 Envelope glycoproteins from two highly Neurotoxic CSF-derived isolates

2014
Gokul Swaminathan – LinkedIn
Advisor: Julio Martin-Garcia
Thesis: Novel roles of Toll-Like Receptor-3 and microRNA-155 in HIV-1 infection of human macrophages

2013
Sarah Cavanaugh – LinkedIn
Advisor: Glenn Rall
Thesis: Characterization of cell type-specific responses to interferons in the central nervous system

2013
Ryan Eberwine – LinkedIn
Advisor: Libby Blankenhorn
Thesis: Germline-Encoded T-cell Receptor Sequences Are a Determinant of Diabetes Susceptibility and Islet-Antigen Recognition in the LEW.1WR1 Rat Model of Type-1 Diabetes

2013
Kelley Healey – LinkedIn
Advisor: Santosh Katiyar
Thesis: Sphingolipids modulate echinocandin susceptibility in opportunistic fungi

2013
Alicia Holmgren – LinkedIn
Advisor: Glenn Rall
Thesis: Interferons induce BST-2/tetherin in measles virus-infected neurons and permissive mice

2013
Noshin Kathuria – LinkedIn
Advisor: Michele Kutzler
Thesis: Modulation of immune responses to DNA-based vaccine antigens following co-delivery of mucosal chemokine molecular adjuvants CCL28 and CCL25

2013
Shawn Keogan – LinkedIn
Advisor: Fred Krebs
Thesis: Sphingolipids modulate echinocandin susceptibility in opportunistic fungi

2013
Christina Kollias
Advisor: Stephen Jennings
Thesis: Innate and Adaptive Immune Responses in Herpes Simplex Virus

2013
Kathryn Matthias – LinkedIn
Advisor: Rick Rest
Thesis: A Tale of Two Regulators: Expression of the Virulence-Associated Type IV Pili and Lipooligosaccharide sialyltransferase is Controlled by CrgA and Rsp in Neisseria gonorrhoeae

2013
Nirzari Parikh – LinkedIn
Advisor: Fred Krebs
Thesis: Using an in vitro model of the polarized cervicovaginal epithelium to investigate the immunomodulatory effects of human semen and impact on the risk of hum

2013
Marianne Strazza – LinkedIn
Advisor: Mike Nonnemacher/Brian Wigdahl
Thesis: The Impact of HIV-1 and Mu-Opioids on the Bone Marrow and Blood-Brain Barrier

2012
Benjamas Aiamkitsumrit – LinkedIn
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl
Thesis: Identification of HIV-1 X4 and R5 genetic signatures in the viral promoter, Tat, and Vpr

2012
Jennifer Bennett – LinkedIn
Advisor: Garth Erlich
Thesis: Identification and characterization of a novel bacterial virulence in Haemophilus influenza

2012
Amy Cernetich Ott – LinkedIn
Advisor: James Burns
Thesis: Global gene expression profiling, cytoadherence and immune evasion in Plasmodium yoelii blood-stage malaria parasites

2012
Joseph Fraietta – LinkedIn
Advisor: Peter Katsikis
Thesis: Targeting Inflammation for the Prevention of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Transmission and Disease Progression

2012
Donald Gracias – LinkedIn
Advisor: Peter Katsikis
Thesis: Role of microRNA-155 in CD8+ T cell Responses

2012
Benjamin Janto – LinkedIn
Advisor: Garth Erlich
Thesis: Characterization of Autoinducer-2 Quorum Sensing and the Lsr locus Haemophilus influenzae

2012
Michael Johnson – LinkedIn
Advisor: Thomas Edlind
Thesis: Mutational and topological analysis of FKS1: A novel for echinocandin action

2012
Lorena Loarca – LinkedIn
Advisor: Carol Artlett
Thesis: The Role of Glucose-derived Compounds in Liver Diseases

2012
Kristen Long – LinkedIn
Advisor: Libby Blankenhorn
Thesis: Examination of a Model of Systemic Sclerosis, Tight Skin 2 Mouse: Before, During and After Fibrotic Disease

2012
Luidmilla Mazaleuskaya – LinkedIn
Advisor: Sonia Navas-Martin
Thesis: Contrasting Effects of Triggering Toll-Like Receptors 2, 3, 4, and 7 in the Macrophage Susceptibility to Murine Coronavirus Infections

2012
Jonathan Pitcher – LinkedIn
Advisor: Olimpia Meucci
Thesis: The role of ferritin heavy chain and opiates in neuroAIDS

2012
Sonia Shah – LinkedIn
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl
Thesis: Regulation of HIV-1 LTR driven gene expression within a chromatin-based microenvironment

2011
James Alaro – LinkedIn
Advisor: James Burns
Thesis: Development of a novel chimeric blood-stage malaria vaccine.

2011
Nishat Aliya – LinkedIn
Advisor: Ju-Tao Guo
Non-thesis master's degree

2011
Kasturi Chaterjee – LinkedIn
Advisor: Bill Bergman
Thesis: Identification of the myosin B light chain partner in Plasmodium and elucidation of the motor properties.

2011
Adriano Ferrucci – LinkedIn
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl
Thesis: The role of extracellular human immunodeficiency virus type 1 viral protein R in neuropathogenesis

2011
Suresh Maddur Ganesan – LinkedIn
Advisor: Akhil Vaidya
Thesis: Investigation of mitochondrially targeted proteins in blood stage malaria parasites.

2011
Jennifer Gyamfi – LinkedIn
Advisor: Michele Kutzler
Non-thesis master's degree

2011
Hangjun Ke – LinkedIn
Advisor: Akhil Vaidya
Thesis: Investigation of the unusual tricarboxylic acid metabolism and mitochondrial electron transport chain functions in Plasmodium falciparum.

2011
Sumit Kumar – LinkedIn
Advisor: Bill Bergman
Thesis: Identification and characterization of transcription co-factor multiprotein bridging factor-1 in Plasmodium.

2011
Yuanjie Liu – LinkedIn
Advisor: Anand Mehta
Thesis: Ubiquitin plays a critical role in Hepatitis B virus envelope protein MHC class I antigen presentation

2011
Sharron Manuel – Website
Advisor: Pooja Jain/Brian Wigdahl
Thesis: Dynamics of dendritic cells and T cells in HTLV-1 associated oncogenesis and neurimflammation: Implications in immunomodulatory therapies and diagnostic tools

2011
Angela Richardson – LinkedIn
Advisor: Libby Blankenhorn
Thesis: Genetic determinants of susceptibility to herpes simplex virus encephalitis in the murine host

2010
Praveen Balabaskaran Nina – LinkedIn
Advisor: Akhil Vaidya
Thesis: Investigation of the unusual ATP synthase complexes in the alveolates Tetrahymena thermaphila and Plasmodium falciparum.

2010
Priyanka Duttagupta – LinkedIn
Advisor: Peter Katsikis
Thesis: The cellular and signaling requirement of effector CD8+T cells during influenza A virus infection.

2010
Luna Li – LinkedIn
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl
Thesis: Functional properties of patient-derived human immunodeficiency virus type 1 long terminal repeat and the transactivator protein Tat

2010
Danielle Loughlin
Advisor: Carol Artlett
Thesis: A story of the ACEs: Regulation of dermal fibroblast signaling by the precursor of advanced glycation end products 3-deoxyglucosone

2010
Karissa Lozenski – LinkedIn
Advisor: Fred Krebs
Thesis: Use of the murine model of cervicovaginal toxicity to examine factors that adversely affect epithelial integrity and inflammation following microbicide application.

2010
Mitali Purohit – LinkedIn
Advisor: Rick Rest
Thesis: Anthrax sporulation, the role of proteases in anthrolysin O expression, and interactions of a novel immunomodulator with cells of the innate immune system.

2010
Saifur Rahman – LinkedIn
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl/Pooja Jain
Thesis: Evaluating the role of dendritic cells in host immune response during human T cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infection using a transgenic mouse model system.

2010
Viraj Sanghvi – LinkedIn
Advisor: Laura Steel
Thesis: Interactions between HIV-1 and host cell RNAi pathways and the characterization of a conditional promoter for use in RNAi-based anti-HIV-1 therapeutics.

2010
Jessica Kennedy Weidner – LinkedIn
Advisor: Ju-Tao Guo
Thesis: Modes of action of two newly identified interferon-induced antiviral proteins, IFITM3 and GBP5, against vesicular stomatitis virus infection.

2010
Meghan Wynosky-Dolfi – LinkedIn
Advisor: Rick Rest
Thesis: Characterization of receptor interactions with ALO and activation of signaling pathways.

2009
Anupam Banerjee – LinkedIn
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl
Thesis: Modulation of HIV-1 replication by μ-opiod and cAMP pathways in human bone marrow progenitor cells

2009
Mariana Bernui – LinkedIn
Advisor: Rick Rest
Thesis: The effects of antioxidants on the interaction of bacillus anthracis with phagocytes

2009
Hui Nie – LinkedIn
Advisor: Bill Bergman
Thesis: Finding the link from a surface adhesion in to the actin motor for Plasmodium merozoite invasion

2009
Marissa Panicella-Migaleddi – LinkedIn
Advisor: Bill Bergman
Non-thesis master's degree

2009
Patricia Petritus – LinkedIn
Advisor: James Burns
Thesis: Analysis of vaccine- and infection-induced immune responses contributing to suppression of blood-stage malaria in the Plasmodium yoelii rodent model

2009
Vanessa Pirrone – LinkedIn
Advisor: Fred Krebs
Thesis: Poly(styrene-alt-maleic acid) (PSMA) as an inhibitor of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection and as a partner in safe and effective combination microbicides

2009
Shriya Raj – LinkedIn
Advisor: Thomas Edlind
Thesis: Mechanisms of antifungal drug resistance in Candida species

2009
Swati Thorat – LinkedIn
Advisor: James Burns
Thesis: Plasmodium yoelii orthologue of macrophage migration inhibitory factor alters the course of blood stage malaria infection

2009
Kristen Weaver – LinkedIn
Advisor: James Burns
Thesis: Comparative immunogenicity and efficacy studies in a rodent model of a subunit blood-stage malaria vaccine formulated with adjuvants suitable for use in humans

2008
Christie Deneve Bucks
Advisor: Peter Katsikis
Thesis: CD8+ T cells: From Autoimmunity to antigen induced exhaustion

2008
Yujie Liu – LinkedIn
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl
Thesis: Impact of a downstream C/EBP site on HIV-1 gene expression and pathogenesis

2008
Heather Painter – LinkedIn
Advisor: Akhil Vaidya
Thesis: The Role of the Mitochondria in the Life and Death of Plasmodium falciparum

2008
Devanshi Pandya
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl
Thesis: Study of the regulation of the human T cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) promoter formatted in the context of chromatin in T cells and monocytes

2008
Nina Thakkar Rivera – LinkedIn
Advisor: Fred Krebs
Thesis: Mechanism of action studies defining the activity of the biguanide-based, human immunodeficiency virus type 1 co-receptor inhibitor NB325

2007
Aikaterina Alexaki – LinkedIn
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl
Thesis: Modeling bone marrow progenitor cell differentiation and susceptibility to HIV-1 infection

2007
Elise Mosser – LinkedIn
Advisor: Rick Rest
Thesis: The bacillus anthracis toxin anthrolysin O modulates human macrophage and neutrophil function

2006
John-Paul Vermitsky – LinkedIn
Advisor: Thomas Edlind
Thesis: Molecular Basis for Azole Resistance in C. glabrata

2005
Annie Borowski – LinkedIn
Advisor: Peter Katsikis
Thesis: The role of CD28 costimulation in the reaction of memory CD8+ T cells

2005
Mathanraj Packiam – LinkedIn
Advisor: Rick Rest
Thesis: Differential expression and regulation of lipooligosacharide specific sialyltransferase in pathogenic neisseria

2005
Qifang Shi
Advisor: James Burns
Thesis: Characterization of merozoite surface protein-8 and evaluation of it's potential as a blood-stage malaria vaccine candidate

2004
Christian Grant – LinkedIn
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl (Penn State)
Thesis: Analysis of cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating human T cell leukemia virus type 1 viral gene expression in cells of the monocyte/macrophage lineage

2004
Kate Mostoller – LinkedIn
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl (Penn State)
Thesis: Secretion and extracellular function of the human T cell leukemia virus trans-activator protein Tax

2004
Michael Nonnemacher – LinkedIn
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl (Penn State)
Thesis: Comparative analysis of lentiviral LTR structure and function

2004
Jason Stumhofer – Website
Advisor: Akhil Vaidya
Thesis: Characterization of a functional DNA repair enzyme from Plasmodium falciparum that displays gycolyase and AP-lyase activity

2003
Ross Albert – LinkedIn
Advisor: Libby Blankenhorn
Thesis: Signaling through serotonin 1B and 2C receptors on lymphocytes is essential for T cell activation and proliferation

2003
Timothy Alefantis – LinkedIn
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl (Penn State)
Thesis: Analysis of amino acid signals within the human T cell leukemia virus type 1 transactivator protein Tax that control nuclear export, cytoplasmic intracellular localization, and secretion

2003
Tricia Burdo – LinkedIn
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl (Penn State)
Thesis: Cellular and viral factors involved in HIV-1-associated neurologic disease

2003
Bradley Catalone – LinkedIn
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl (Penn State)
Thesis: Model systems for the preclinical evaluation of topical vaginal microbicides

2003
Devrim Eren – LinkedIn
Advisor: Akhil Vaidya Plasmodium falciparum Enzymes Involved in Redox Balancing of Thesis: Nicotinamide Nucleotides

2003
Alfred Kim – LinkedIn
Advisor: Peter Katsikis
Thesis: The role of CD40 in dendritic cell induced CD8+ T cell responses

2003
Janine Knight – LinkedIn
Advisor: Bill Bergman
Thesis: The Regulation of Pho81p, a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

2003
Kim Metera – LinkedIn
Advisor: Bill Bergman
Thesis: Characterization of the YLR190w Gene Product in the Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae

2003
Shane Quiterio – LinkedIn
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl (Penn State)
Thesis: Modeling HIV-1 infection of bone marrow progenitor cells: Implications for HIV-1 CNS disease

2003
Jeffrey Shannon – LinkedIn
Advisor: Rick Rest
Thesis: Characterization of Anthrolysin O, the Baccillus anthracis cholesterol-dependent cytolysin

2002
Eric Scott Halstead – Website
Advisor: Peter Katsikis
Thesis: Modulating CD8+ T Cell Responses in Vivo

2002
Kerrianne Mello
Advisor: Bill Bergman
Thesis: Characterization of proteins that interact with the amino-termius of the plasmodium merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP-1)

2001
Brian Cocca – LinkedIn
Advisor: Marko Radic
Thesis: Structural basis for autoantibody recognition of phosphatidylserine-Beta2 glycoprotein 1 and apoptotic cells.

2001
John Leander Po – LinkedIn
Advisor: Donna Murasko
Thesis: Age-associated changes in influenza A virus-specific CD8+ lymphocyte response in C57BL/6 mice

2000
Mohamed Elrafaei – Website
Advisor: Donna Murasko
Thesis: The effect of aging on the immune response again E55+ murine leukemia retrovirus infection

2000
Karl Henry – LinkedIn
Advisor: Thomas Edlind
Thesis: Molecular basis for tolerance to sterol biosynthesis inhibitors in Candida species and Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

2000
John McAllister – Website
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl (Penn State)
Thesis: Cell type-and differentiation-specific gene regulation and viral replication: Implications for HIV-1 disease pathogenesis

2000
Scott Millhouse – LinkedIn
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl (Penn State)
Thesis: Biochemical and functional analysis of the herpes simplex virus type 1 latency-associated transcript promoter

2000
Heather Ross
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl (Penn State)
Thesis: Impact of LTR sequence variation and C/EBP factors on HIV-1 gene expression in cells of the monocytic lineage: Implications for HIV-1 CNS disease

2000
Naomi Vishnupad – LinkedIn
Advisor: Libby Blankenhorn
Thesis: Factors that contribute to resistance and susceptibility to EAE in the rat.

2000
Jing Yao – Website
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl (Penn State)
Thesis: Physical and functional interface of CREB-1, SP1, and Tax with the HTLV-1 LTR

1999
Dawn Maria Shell – LinkedIn
Advisor: Rick Rest
Thesis: Physical and immunologic characterization of neisserial sialyltransferases; the role of PIII (Rmp) in gonococcal adhesion and invasion.

1999
John Williams – Website
Advisor: Rick Rest
Thesis: Using the yeast two-hybrid system to identify human epithelial cell proteins that bind gonococcal opa proteins.

1998
Melissa Bourque-Philion – LinkedIn
Advisor: Libby Blankenhorn
Thesis: Characterization of the EAE-resistant LER rat T cell response following immunization for EAE

1998
Jessica Jenulis
Advisor: Edward Schulman
Thesis: Release of Chemokines from Human Lung and Human Mast Cells

1998
Rocio Marchese – LinkedIn
Advisor: Rick Rest/Blank
Thesis: Immunogenetic Studies on the Mechanisms of Host Resistance against Experimental Vaginal Candidiasis

1998
Anne Marie Martin – LinkedIn
Advisor: Libby Blankenhorn
Thesis: The genetics of autoimmunity in the rat: The search for non-MHC-linked genes

1998
Paul Artur Plett – LinkedIn
Advisor: Donna Murasko
Thesis: Age-related decrease in murine natural killer cell activity after interferon-a/b stimulation

1997
Erica Bernstein – LinkedIn
Advisor: Donna Murasko
Thesis: The role of cell-mediated immunity after influenza vaccination of healthy elderly individuals

1997
Ana Gabrea-Todor – LinkedIn
Advisor: Libby Blankenhorn
Thesis: Analysis of the high nitric oxide and high eosinophil phenotypes in the brown Norway rat

1997
Mark Glaum – Website
Advisor: Edward Schulman
Thesis: Expression and modulation of asthma-related cytokines by human lung mast cells

1997
Yang Kang
Advisor: Carole Long
Thesis: The 19-kDa Carboxyl-Terminal Region of Merozoite Surface Protein-1 as a Vaccine Candidate against Malaria

1997
John Langell – LinkedIn
Advisor: Libby Blankenhorn
Thesis: Suppression of α1,3-galactosyl epitopes on mammalian cells

1997
Denise LaTemple – LinkedIn
Advisor: Uri Galili
Thesis: Enhancement of tumor vaccine immunogenicity by the nature anti-gal antibody

1996
Maria Cristina Cruz – LinkedIn
Advisor: Thomas Edlind
Thesis: Molecular basis for benzimidazole susceptibility and resistance in the opportunistic yeasts Cryptococcus neoformans and Candida albicans

1996
Janine Ferguson
Advisor: Rick Rest
Thesis: Regulation of gonococcal sialyltransferase activity by in vivo signals and substrates

1996
Fred Krebs – LinkedIn
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl
Thesis: Lymphoid and neuroglial ATF/CREB factors interact physically and functionally with the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 long terminal repeat

1996
Joseph Kutza – LinkedIn
Advisor: Donna Murasko
Thesis: The effect of aging on human natural killer and lymphokine activated killer cell activity

1996
Xiao He – LinkedIn
Advisor: Donna Murasko
Thesis: Response of murine splenocytes to staphylococcal enterotoxin b in vitro: Effects of aging and cytokines

1996
Timothy Henion – LinkedIn
Advisor: Uri Galili
Thesis: Primate α1,3-galactosyltransferase: Structure-function analysis and application for the enhancement of vaccine immunogenicity

1996
David McGee – LinkedIn
Advisor: Rick Rest
Thesis: Molecular analysis of the regulation of expression of gonococcal and meningococcal sialyltransferase gene(s)

1996
Yvette Murley-Henry – LinkedIn
Advisor: John LiPuma
Thesis: Cloning and characterization of the haemocin locus of haemophilus influenzae and assessment of its role in virulence

1996
Le Wang – LinkedIn
Advisor: Uri Galili
Thesis: Anti-Gal immunoglobulin genes

1996
Norman Waters – LinkedIn
Advisor: Bill Bergman
Thesis: Identification of multiple substances of the Pho85 cyclin dependent protein kinase as key regulators of acid phosphatase expression and glycogen metabolism in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae

1995
Joseph Kenny – LinkedIn
Advisor: Brian Wigdahl (Penn State)
Thesis: An analysis of the cell type-specific transcriptional regulation of the herpes simplex virus type 1 latency-associated transcript promoter

1995
Christina Nevel-McGarvey – LinkedIn
Advisor: Alan Hudson
Thesis: Changes in the mitochondrial genetic system in rabbit urinary bladder after partial outlet obstruction

1994
Maribeth Tillmann – LinkedIn
Mentor: Brian Wigdahl (Penn State)
Thesis: A biochemical and functional analysis of the human T cell lymphotropic virus type 1 long terminal repeat region

1991
Charles Kunsch – LinkedIn
Advisor: Advisor: Brian Wigdahl (Penn State)
Thesis: Analysis of human immunodeficiency virus type-1 infection of the developing human nervous system

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