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Institute for Molecular Medicine & Infectious Disease News

Speaker Jeffrey Lapides presenting 'Identifying Predictive Patterns in  Microbiome and Genomic Data Using Discrete Classification Mathematics'

Dr. Lapides Presents Research on Discrete Classification Mathematics

August 28, 2019: Garth Ehrlich, PhD, hosted Jeffrey Lapides, PhD, at that day’s IMMID research seminar. Dr. Lapides presented his research, “Identifying Predictive Patterns in Microbiome and Genomic Data Using Discrete Classification Mathematics” at that day’s IMMID research seminar. Dr. Lapides, founder and managing director of Lapides Consulting, uses machine learning techniques, predictive analytics and visualization methods to support health care and other organizations seeking to advance how they manage and market.


Mobile game Malaria Invasion™ provides a close look at how the malaria parasite Plasmodium infects red blood cells, available now on iTunes App Store

Drexel University College of Medicine releases its second mobile game for infectious disease education

August 26, 2019: Malaria Invasion, the latest educational mobile game produced by the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease at Drexel University College of Medicine is available for free download from iTunes App Store for iPhone and iPad users, and in the Google Play Store for Android devices. The mobile game is intended to be a supplementary tool to teach university students, in particular graduate students and research trainees in infectious disease, about the molecular mechanisms of disease in malaria.

Malaria Invasion™ - the latest educational mobile game produced by the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease at Drexel University College of Medicine

Malaria is a life-threatening disease transmitted to humans by the bite of infected mosquitos. In Malaria Invasion, players zoom in to learn what happens after the mosquito bite and the Plasmodium parasite is released in to the bloodstream. Interactive game play and immersive exploration, reinforces learning of the science behind the complex sequence of molecular events that result in the invasion of red blood cells by Plasmodium. Plasmo the Invader, welcomes players and guides them through this crucial mission of the parasite's survival to achieve infection of the human body.

Malaria Invasion was designed and developed by an interdisciplinary team consisting of Dr. Mary Ann Comunale and Dr. Sandra Urdaneta-Hartmann, both faculty of the College of Medicine's Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the Institute, and John Harvey, a Drexel Co-op Student from the Game Art and Production program. The team consulted with Drs. Lawrence Bergman, Akhil Vaidya, and James Burns, malaria experts at Drexel. The project was funded by professional development funds granted by the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and a Research Co-Op grant from Drexel's Office of the Provost and the Steinbright Career Development Center. The game will be implemented in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology's graduate curriculum in the spring. “These games will enhance biomedical graduate education and stress the importance of research to prevent and treat diseases caused by these devastating human pathogens,” said Dr. Brian Wigdahl Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Director of the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease.

Malaria Invasion was awarded a Gold Medal in the 2019 International Serious Play Awards. It also received the Best Game Award at the International Society for Neglected Tropical Disease Festival hosted by Wellcome Trust London in 2019. Malaria Invasion follows the successful release of the Institute's first mobile game, CD4 Hunter™, which was awarded a Bronze medal in the 2018 International Serious Play Awards. Download Malaria Invasion for free from the iTunes and Google Play app stores. Follow updates about digital game-based learning and other research and educational initiatives on the Institute's Twitter and Instagram accounts, @Drexel_IMMID, #IMMID, #MalariaInvasion and #CD4Hunter.


What Makes Lyme Tick

August 2019: Lying inside a freezer in Drexel’s College of Medicine are 500 dead, mourned by no one. The deer ticks, dog ticks, lone star ticks and other tiny parasites in the diminutive morgue traveled from nearly every state in the country to reach this resting place. They arrived in baggies or cookie tins or what-have-you, scooped from meadows and forests by helpful volunteers responding to a “call for specimens” on Drexel’s website that was posted by Kayla Socarrás, a doctoral student studying microbiology and immunology. Each tick contains multitudes of smaller organisms — a grab-bag of the pathogenic bacteria that make tick bites so hazardous. Read more.


Malaria Invasion Receives Gold Medal

June 14, 2019: Congratulations to the Department of Microbiology & Immunology and the Institute for Molecular Medicine & Infectious Disease, whose game Malaria Invasion was awarded a gold medal by the 2019 International Serious Play Award program! Dr. Mary Ann Comunale, creative director, and Dr. Sandra Urdaneta-Hartmann, project director, will be traveling to the Serious Play Conference, where they will present game-based learning research and accept the award. John Harvey, a co-op student hired by the Institute and funded in part by the Steinbright Career Development Center, shares in the award as part of the game design team and game developer. John is currently a senior in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design program.


Kayla Socarras Presents at PA Lyme Resource Network

January 28, 2019: PhD candidate Kayla Socarras presented her research regarding Lyme disease at the PA Lyme Resource Network of Montgomery County. Kayla met with participants following the meeting to answer additional questions and talk more about her findings.

Kayla Socarras at PA Lyme Resource Network
Kayla Socarras (right) discussing her research with attendees at the PA Lyme Resource Network meeting.


Students Present at Discovery Day

October 23, 2018: Students in the Beld, Ma and Mell Labs, including graduate students Danielle Piazza, Haley Majer, Amanda Platt, Breanna Tyrell, Kristen Buenconsejo, Tucker Collins (mentored by Sandhya Kortagere) and medical student Nga Ying Eng, presented posters at Discovery Day in the Philadelphia Convention Center. Kristen Buenconsejo won a Junior Graduate Student Poster award for her poster, "The Significance of Secondary Metabolism on the Predatory Behavior of Myxococcus fulvus."

Discovery Day is an all-day annual event of intellectual pursuit and discovery, which is organized to celebrate the basic and clinical research accomplishments of the graduate, medical and undergraduate students, clinical research coordinators, postdoctoral fellows, and residents and fellows affiliated with the College of Medicine.

Danielle R. Piazza, PhD candidate in Molecular and Cell Biology and Genetics, presenting 'Dissecting Mechanisms of Variation of Genome Wide Transportation in Haemophilus influenzae,' 2018 Discovery Day
Danielle R. Piazza presenting "Dissecting Mechanisms of Variation of Genome Wide Transportation in Haemophilus influenzae" at Discovery Day
Kristen Buenconsejo with her award-winning poster, 'The Significance of Secondary Metabolism on the Predatory Behavior of Myxococcus fulvus'
Kristen Buenconsejo with her award-winning poster, "The Significance of Secondary Metabolism on the Predatory Behavior of Myxococcus fulvus" at Discovery Day

Donald J. Hall, PhD candidate, presenting 'JEKMag Tech: High Throughput Technology to Grow and Assess Bacterial Biofilm Sensitivity to New Drugs' at the 2108 ASM Conference

Donald Hall Presents at ASM Conference

October 7 – 11, 2018: Donald C. Hall Jr., PhD candidate in the Departments of Microbiology & Immunology and Chemistry, presented his poster entitled "JEKMag Tech: High Throughput Technology to Grow and Assess Bacterial Biofilm Sensitivity to New Drugs" at the 2018 American Society for Microbiology Conference on Biofilms in Washington, D.C.

The conference provided an interdisciplinary platform to discuss the latest biofilm research. Topics included the molecular basis and regulation of biofilm formation, biofilms in natural and industrial systems, diagnosis and study of clinically-relevant biofilms, and emerging technologies and their application to biofilms.


Yves Mone, PhD, speaking at the IMMID seminar in September

"Omics Studies in Ecological Interactions"

September 12, 2018: Garth Ehrlich, PhD, hosted his postdoctoral researcher, Yves Mone, PhD, at the IMMID research seminar. Dr. Mone joined the Ehrlich Lab after serving as a researcher at the Health Department of the French Institute for Development (IRD).

Dr. Mone's research focuses on the complexities of Lyme disease.


"Towards Translational Evolutionary Biology Using the Lens of Genomics"

On Wednesday, April 25, Joshua Chang Mell, PhD, hosted Vaughn Cooper, PhD, associate professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Medicine.

Dr. Cooper presented his research, entitled "Towards Translational Evolutionary Biology Using the Lens of Genomics." The primary goal of Dr. Cooper's lab is to understand how bacterial populations evolve and adapt to colonize hosts and cause disease.

Vaughn Cooper, PhD, presenting 'Towards Translational Evolutionary Biology Using the Lens of Genomics'


"Discovering the Dark Matter of Microbial Secondary Metabolism"

On Wednesday, February 21, Joris Beld, PhD, hosted Mohammad Seyedsayamdost, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry at Princeton University. Dr. Seyedsayamdost presented his research, entitled "Discovering the dark matter of microbial secondary metabolism." His current research focuses on triggering secondary metabolism in diverse bacteria and natural product discovery.


"The Cholera Bacterium: Human Pathogen and Bacterial Predator"

On Wednesday, February 14, Amy Ma, PhD, hosted Stefan Pukatzki, PhD, professor of immunology and microbiology at the University of Colorado's School of Medicine.

Dr. Pukatzki presented his research, entitled "The Cholera Bacterium: Human Pathogen and Bacterial Predator." His current research focuses on the molecular mechanisms that drive microbial pathogenesis.

Stefan Pukatzki, PhD, presenting 'The Cholera Bacterium: Human Pathogen and Bacterial Predator'


"Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Children with ASD: The Chicken, or the Egg?"

On Wednesday, January 17, Garth Ehrlich, PhD, hosted Steve Walker, PhD, associate professor, Department of Neuroscience, Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University's School of Medicine.

Dr. Walker presented his research, which focuses on using molecular tools, including whole-genome microarrays, to understand the biological basis for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), in a talk entitled "Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Children with ASD: The Chicken, or the Egg?"

Stephen Walker, PhD, presenting 'Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Children with ASD: The Chicken, or the Egg?'

 
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Students walking down the hall at the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease at Drexel University College of Medicine.