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Student Professional Profiles

Nicholas Ader

Nicholas Ader

Marshall Scholar

NIH Cambridge Scholar

Mentors: Dr. Richard Youle (NINDS) & Dr. Wanda Kuzluski (Cambridge)

Degrees: Villanova University, B.S. Honors in Biology and Biochemistry, minor in History, 2015

Research Interests: Neurodegenerative Disease, Cell Imaging, Science Communication

With a myriad of treatments that simply extend life, Nicholas Ader's career is focused on research that can lead to a better quality of life. His current focus is neurodegenerative disease, specifically Parkinson’s Disease. As an NIH-Marshall Scholar, he is co-mentored by Dr. Richard Youle (NIH/NINDS) and Dr. Wanda Kuzluski (Cambridge/LMB) and studying how the membrane dynamics of mitochondria are altered in a Parkinson’s Disease state. He is also interested in scientific communication and outreach to the general public.

Nick graduated summa cum laude from Villanova University in 2015, with Bachelors of Science and Honors in Biochemistry and Biology and a Minor in History. A member of Phi Beta Kappa since his junior year, he also received The Leonardo da Vinci Medal, The Rosalind Franklin Medal, and The Lawrence G. Gallen O.S.A. Award for scientific excellence across disciplines and service to his community.

As an undergraduate, he had two major research focuses. Through the DAAD RISE program, he performed research in Lübeck, Germany at the Institute for Molecular Medicine. Under the instruction of Prof. Dr. Georg Sczakiel and Juliane Neubert, Nick investigated novel delivery mechanisms of RNAi-based therapeutics. This research was recently published in ChemBioChem. At Villanova, he worked in the biochemistry lab of Dr. Aimee Eggler, focusing on the transcription factor and master regulator of cell health, Nrf2. His first-author publication on this work has been accepted, with revisions, to Toxicology Letters. His achievements in undergraduate research were recognized through a 2014 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.

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Megan Ansbro

Megan Ansbro
NIH Gates-Cambridge Scholar
MD/PhD

Mentors: Dr. Tom Wellems (NIAID) & 
Dr. Marcus Lee (Cambridge)

Degrees: Denison University, B.S. in Biology, minor in Chemistry, 2009; Medical student at University of California - Irvine School of Medicine (in progress)

Research Interests: Genetics, Drug Resistance, Global Health, Pharmacology

Megan graduated summa cum laude from Denison University with a B.S in Biology and minor in Chemistry. As an undergraduate, she performed research in molecular biology and quickly became intrigued by the ways in which genetic changes can cause (and even promote) disease. She was awarded high honors for her senior research thesis analyzing the role of chromatin structure in DNA damage repair in the laboratory of Dr. Jeff Thompson.

After graduating, Megan received a Fulbright Scholarship to continue studying chromatin and epigenetics in Dr. Alexandra Lusser’s laboratory at Innsbruck Medical University in Innsbruck, Austria. Following this work, she received a postbaccalaureate research award to study in Dr. Stuart Yuspa’s lab in the section of Cancer Biology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute. These experiences continued to drive her interest in genetic determinants of disease and drug resistance, leading her to pursue a combined MD/PhD.

Megan has completed two years of medical school at the University of California, Irvine where she serves as a representative for UCI on a national level to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and has had an active role in student-run initiatives, both local and global. In 2014, she was awarded a travel grant to complete a research and ultrasound teaching project in Mwanza, Tanzania with nine fellow UCI medical students. This work solidified her passion for global health.

As an NIH-Gates Cambridge scholar, Megan is studying drug resistance in malaria under the mentorship of Dr. Tom Wellems (NIAID) and Dr. Hendrik van Veen (Cambridge). She knows her graduate studies will greatly enhance her understanding of the mechanisms of drug resistance and ability to harness this knowledge to advance treatment methods.

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Brian Caffrey

Brian Caffrey
NIH University College Dublin Scholar
Wellcome Trust

Mentors: Dr. Sriram Subramaniam (NCI) & Prof. Kenneth Dawson (Dublin)

Degrees: University College Dublin, BSc. (Hons) in Chemistry, 2015

Research Interests: Cryo-Electron Microscopy, Biophysical Chemistry, Phage Display

Brian Caffrey entered University College Dublin, College of Science in 2010 and graduated with a first class BSc.(Hons) in Chemistry in 2015. During his time as an undergraduate student he worked as a peer mentor helping new entrants adjust to university life and received the UCD College of Science Special Recognition Gold Medal for this work. He also worked as a summer intern in organic and inorganic laboratories during his undergraduate degree. Before entering his final year in UCD, he spent 12 months as an intern in industry, where he worked on several chemical engineering projects. Brian is currently researching the molecular detail of nanoparticle constructs and their interactions with biological targets. He also has a keen interest in rugby, politics and literature.

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Erin Coonahan

Erin Coonahan
NIH Oxford Scholar

Mentors: Drs. Tom Wellems & Carole Long (NIAID), Prof. Maarten De Vos (Oxford), & Prof. Joel Tarning (Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit)

Degrees: Tufts University, B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, 2012

Research Interests: Global Health, Affordable Healthcare Technology, Point-of-care Diagnostics

Erin graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Tufts University in 2012. She worked in the lab of Dr. David Kaplan studying the properties of silk protein as a biomaterial and its ability to aid in the mammalian wound healing process. While at Tufts she helped lead a water access-based Engineers Without Borders project and spent a semester studying the public healthcare system in Chile.
Since graduation, she worked at a start-up focused on silk-based sustained release drug formulations and most recently at Diagnostics For All, a biotech non-profit developing low-cost paper-based diagnostics. In 2014, she was awarded a Whitaker Fellowship to work with Engineering World Health in the organization of a locally sustainable program to train hospital equipment technicians in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
As an NIH OxCam scholar, her research will focus on the development of a field-based assay to detect commonly used antimalarial drugs from finger stick blood samples. She has become passionate about the challenges associated with designing environmentally appropriate and feasible healthcare tools and increasing emphasis on end-user input and participation in the design of healthcare technology.

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Eric Dawson

Eric Dawson
NIH Cambridge Scholar

Mentors: Dr. Stephen Chanock (NCI) & Dr. Richard Durbin (Cambridge)

Degrees: University of Texas at Austin, B.S. Honors Biology, 2015

Research Interests: Computational Biology, Cancer, Genetics

Eric graduated from the University of Texas at Austin as a Dean's Honored Graduate in 2015. At UT he spent three years in the lab of Dr. Claus Wilke researching viral protein evolution and statistical analysis of cancer data. During this time he also worked for the Texas Advanced Computing Center developing and integrating applications for the iPlant computational science platform. Eric spent two summers working at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research in Toronto, Canada where he helped develop various computational tools as part of the Reactome team. Eric participated in UT's winning SC Student Cluster Challenge team in 2014 and led the team to an unprecedented third win in 2015. He has been awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (declined) and an NIH-Cambridge Trust Fellowship to fund his graduate studies. As an undergrad he received the Elizabeth Sherrell Endowed Fellowship and the Patricia B. Johnston Award for his research on the evolution of influenza hemaglutinin.

As an NIH-OxCam Scholar Eric will be working with Dr. Stephen Chanock to develop high-performance computational tools for detecting cancer susceptibility regions in the genome.

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Prateek Katti

Prateek Katti
NIH Oxford Scholar
MD/PhD

Mentors: Dr. Bradford Wood (CC) & Prof. Kathryn Wood (Oxford)

Degrees: Commonwealth Honors College, University of Massachusetts Amherst, B.S. in Chemical Engineering and B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Medical student at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (in progress)

Research Interests: Drug Delivery & Targeting, Medical Engineering

Prateek S. Katti is an MD/PhD student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). He finished his second year of medical school and will return to Chapel Hill to resume his clinical training upon completion of his PhD work. He grew up in Acton, Massachusetts and attended the Commonwealth Honors College of the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass). Within four years he earned B.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and was inducted into Tau Beta Pi. He graduated summa cum laude in both majors and completed his interdisciplinary honors thesis exploring the mechanical cues of breast cancer tumorigenesis under the direction of Dr. Alfred Crosby and Dr. Shelly Peyton. The work was recognized as one of the university’s ten best undergraduate dissertations, receiving an Honors Dean’s Award for Thesis Excellence.

The summer before his senior year of college, Prateek was competitively selected and awarded a scholarship to work under Dr. Anil Rustgi at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania (UPenn). This internship, UPenn Gastroenterology’s Undergraduate Student Scholars Program, ultimately developed into a yearlong project post-graduation in order to further explore the oncogenic role of IMP-1 in the colon through in vitro assays and mouse models.

Prateek has thoroughly enjoyed his pre-clinical course work at UNC. He was an NIH Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) trainee and received one of university’s four Cancer Research Fund Scholarships. He is thrilled to begin his PhD training through the NIH’s Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program. His current interests lie in developing clinically relevant approaches to exploit pathophysiological dysregulation to facilitate spatiotemporal control of therapy to improve outcomes.

 

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Samuel Katz

Samuel Katz
NIH Cambridge Scholar

Mentors: Dr. Iain Fraser (NIAID) & Prof. Clare Bryant (Cambridge)

Degrees: SUNY Stony Brook, B.Sc. in Biochemistry, 2013

Research Interests: Immunology, Systems Biology

Sam first observed the deciphering power of molecular biology when he got to shadow a number of scientists while pursuing his GED diploma in 2008. After a year of working besides scientists Sam enrolled at Stony Brook University and began his formal education in the sciences.

In 2012 Sam joined the research group of Dr. Bethany Moore at the University of Michigan. As a summer research fellow Sam studied the phenomenon of patients experiencing increased vulnerability to infection following a bone marrow transplant. Using a mouse model, Sam observed how alveolar macrophages, immune cells found in the lungs, use a variety of receptors for the recognition of different bacteria and how the expression levels of these receptors are differentially altered following a bone marrow transplantation.

In 2013 Sam went to Germany on a Fulbright Scholarship to work with Dr. Baris Tursun at the Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology. With the Tursun group Sam used a genome wide screen to study the genetic and molecular processes that keep mature cells in their distinct differentiated states making them unresponsive to reprogramming and conversion and whether that process could be manipulated to enable the regenerative use of mature cells.

In his doctoral work Sam is working on elucidating the signaling mechanism of the TLR4 pathway as it responds to a microbial challenge. The TLR4 pathway is amongst the most crucial singling pathways in the innate immune system and has been shown to have clinical significance in the cases of sepsis and endotoxin tolerance. Combining approaches in molecular and systems biology, Sam is using a synergistic approach to dissect and reconstruct this complex pathway. Insights from these studies could elucidate the intricacy and architecture of the TLR4 pathway and serve as a model for the systemic elucidation of complex networks in human biology.

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Joseph Hiram McAbee

Joseph Hiram McAbee
NIH Gates-Cambridge Scholar
MD/PhD

Mentors: Dr. Philip Tofilon (NCI) & Dr. Colin Watts (Cambridge)

Degrees: Wofford College, B.S. in Biology with concentration in Neuroscience, 2012; Medical student at Wake Forest School of Medicine (in progress)

Research Interests: Neuro-oncology, Neuro-immunology, Pediatric Neurology/Neurosurgery

After growing up in Woodruff, South Carolina, Joseph attended Wofford College where he obtained a B.S. in Biology with a Concentration in Neuroscience in 2012. As the 2010 Pauletta and Denzel Washington Family Gifted Scholar in Neurosciences Undergraduate Awardee, Joseph worked with Dr. Wheeler and Dr. Black in the Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai to study the effects of enzymatic desialylation of CD8 T cells on binding and activation. The following summer, as a Wofford Papadopolous Scholar, he worked with Dr. Banati at the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Research Institute to examine microglia development and trafficking in zebrafish.

Upon graduation from Wofford, Joseph enrolled in the MD program at Wake Forest School of Medicine. After participating in the Pediatric Oncology Education program at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital where he worked in the Department of Pediatric Neurosurgery with Dr. Boop and Dr. Klimo, he developed a strong interest in neuro-oncology research. As an NIH Gates-Cambridge Scholar, Joseph will work with Dr. Colin Watts (Cambridge) and Dr. Philip Tofilon (NCI) to study the clonal dynamics of treatment resistance and tumor progression in glioblastoma, the most malignant form of brain cancer. He will apply evolutionary genomics in an attempt to delineate key actionable mutations for eventual drug targeting.

Joseph will return to Wake Forest for his final year of medical school after completing his PhD. He hopes to establish a career in pediatric neurology or neurosurgery and plans to be a physician-scientist committed to providing improved outcomes for brain tumor patients throughout the world.

 

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Ryan Barlow Patterson

Ryan Barlow Patterson
NIH Oxford Scholar

Mentors: Dr. Craig Blackstone (NINDS) & Prof. Richard Wade-Martins (Oxford)

Degrees: Johns Hopkins University, B.S. in Neuroscience and B.S. in Molecular & Cellular Biology; minor in Spanish for the Professions, 2015

Research Interests: Neurodegeneration, Stem Cells, Cortical Plasticity

Ryan Patterson spent his undergraduate career researching cross modal plasticity in the lab of Dr. Hey-Kyoung Lee. His focuses in her lab were primarily image/data analysis and biochemical assays of receptor concentrations. During his time in Dr. Lee's lab, Ryan was also honored as a 2014 recipient of the Goldwater Scholarship. He also has extensive experience teaching science after working as an Introductory Chemistry Lab TA for 2 years. In his graduate studies, he intends to transition into researching neurodegeneration with an emphasis on Alzhemier's. He intends to research the pathogenesis of the disease with the goal of one day being able to develop a treatment for the disease.

Publications:
Petrus E, Rodriguez G, Patterson R, Connor B, Kanold P, Lee HK (2015) "Vision loss shifts the balance of feedforward and intracortical circuits in opposite directions in mouse primary auditory and visual cortices." J Neurosci (Accepted for publication)

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Gianmarco Raddi

Gianmarco Raddi
NIH Cambridge Scholar
MD/PhD

Mentors: Dr. Carolina Barillas-Mury (NIAID) & Dr. Oliver Billker (Cambridge)

Degrees: Rice University, B.S. in Biocehmistry and Cell Biology and B.A. in Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations, 2011; Medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA (in progress)

Research Interests: Tropical diseases, vaccine and drug development, space medicine

Gianmarco hails from Italy, where he lived until he was 20 years old. He graduated from Rice University with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, and – fittingly – a B.A. in Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations. While in his senior year of college Gianmarco strived to determine the high-resolution crystal structure of the Influenza A nucleoprotein RNA complex through X-Ray Crystallography. In 2011, he explored the morphological and environment-sensing structures of Leptospira interrogans (Leptospirosis) and Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease) with Dr. Jun Liu at UT-Houston Medical School, research that was featured in two papers in the Journal of Bacteriology.

After graduating from college Gianmarco joined the laboratory of Dr. Levine as an HHMI researcher in Dallas to uncover the molecular pathways through which Herpes Simplex Virus can inhibit autophagic cellular defenses to cause disease in humans. One year later Gianmarco moved to the laboratory of Dr. Geschwind at UCLA to conduct research on the pharmacological induction of autophagy in the context of human tauopathies. Finally, Gianmarco joined the MD/PhD program of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA with a Medical Scientist Training Program Fellowship. There he coordinated the Mobile Clinic Project and Student-Run Homeless Clinics at UCLA and helped manage care for over 2,500 homeless patients. He was awarded the UCLA Charles E. Young Humanitarian Award, as well as the medical school’s Community Service Award for his efforts. In addition, Gianmarco founded the Infectious Diseases Interest Group of UCLA, and was honored with the Infectious Diseases Society of America Medical Scholar Award to conduct a cohort study of the impact of influenza vaccination on the homeless communities of Los Angeles.

As an NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholar, Gianmarco plans to utilize single cell fluidics and transcriptomic analysis of the Anopheles mosquito hemocytes to characterize their role in the immunity against Plasmodium species – the causative agents of malaria. He hopes to leverage this knowledge into translatable medical action and to combine basic and translational approaches with clinical and molecular epidemiological efforts to develop novel treatments and vaccines.

 

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Paul Kirk Reardon

Paul Kirk Reardon
NIH Oxford Scholar
MD/PhD

Mentors: Dr. Armin Raznahan (NIMH) & Dr. Caleb Webber (Oxford)

Degrees: Harvard College, A.B. in Philosophy; minor in Russian Language and Literature, 2007; Medical student at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons (in progress)

Research Interests: Neurodevelopment, Genomics, Psychiatry

Paul “Kirk” Reardon graduated from Harvard College with an AB in Philosophy and a citation in Russian. Prior to medical school, Kirk worked in publishing as a researcher and writer. In the process of writing an article on homelessness, he became motivated to pursue medicine full time. Along the way, he started a student group to provide volunteer positions in mental health clinics that care for the homeless and underinsured, and a health screening service for undocumented workers in West Harlem through a local church.

During his time at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, Kirk combined his focus on service with research. While helping to run a student-staffed clinic for the homeless, he won the Gold Humanism in Medicine Research Award to implement a behavioral health program there at the College and track its outcomes with an electronic health record system at the clinic. Kirk was also exposed to basic research at Columbia through work in Joshua Gordon’s laboratory, studying the electrophysiology of working memory in mouse models of schizophrenia.

Kirk’s service work and his basic science experience spurred him to focus increasingly on the neurodevelopmental aspects of psychiatric disease. To gain experience in this field he won a fellowship to join a laboratory at the NIH through the Medical Scholars Research Program. He worked for the past year with Dr. Armin Raznahan on subcortical morphometrics in sex chromosome aneuploidies. Kirk presented his findings at the Society of Biological Psychiatry and the Organization for Human Brain Mapping.

His goal is to describe the developmental trajectories of the brain in neurogenetic disorders and in health to construct a more robust framework for evaluating, treating, and preventing psychiatric disease.

 

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Nathan Richoz

Nathan Richoz
NIH Cambridge Scholar
Wellcome Trust

Mentors: Dr. Richard Siegel (NIAMS) & Dr. Menna Clatworthy (Cambridge)

Degrees: University Lyon I, B.S. in Genetics and Cell Biology (Minor in Immunology), M.S. in Immunology (Minor in Genetics and Cell Biology), 2014

Research Interests: Immunology, TNF, Nephrology

Nathan graduated from the Universite Lyon I with a Masters with honors in Immunology in 2014. During his Masters, he developed an interest in autoimmune diseases and inflammation doing research in Cambridge with Dr. Marion Espeli on the control of the germinal center reaction by the inhibitory Fc gamma Receptor IIB at CIMR and with Dr. Menna Clatworthy on the identification or Innate Lymphoid Cells in the mouse urinary tract at MRC-LMB.
After graduating, Nathan worked for a year at the Babraham Institute as a Flow Cytometry technician to master the technique while applying for the Wellcome Trust-NIH program, which he was awarded in January 2015. During his time as a technician, he also looked into ways to improve the cell sorting efficiency and presented his work to the Cambridge Flow Cytometry Community.

He also took part in the Cambridge Science Festival as member of the Babraham Institute and helped explaining the importance of scientific research to a broad non-scientific audience.

As a Wellcome Trust-NIH Scholar, Nathan will investigate the role of the TL1A-DR3 axis in immune complex-mediated autoimmune disease using Flow Cytometry and microscopy analysis of systemic lupus erythematosus-prone mice.

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Ioannis Sarigiannidis

Ioannis Sarigiannidis
NIH UCL Scholar
Wellcome Trust

Mentors: Dr. Christian Grillon (NIMH) & 
Prof. Jonathan Roiser (UCL)

Degrees: BSc in Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (2012); MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL (2013); MPhil in Psychology, University of Cambridge (2014)

Research Interests: Psychology, Neuroscience, Neuroimaging, Psychiatry

Ioannis (Yannis) graduated with a BSc in Biology from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki achieving the highest marks on the course. During this time, he spent a year in Paris, working in the laboratory of Professor Stanislas Dehaene on perceptual decision-making using EEG and MEG. He then obtained an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience (UCL) and an MPhil in Psychology (University of Cambridge), focusing on higher cognitive functions, including economic decision-making and working memory. During his Wellcome Trust-NIH funded PhD, he will investigate the neurocomputational mechanisms of anxiety. He also maintains an interest in poetry, having published his own poems in literary magazines, as well as translations of English and French contemporary poets in Greek.

 

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Jakob Seidlitz

Jakob Seidlitz
NIH Cambridge Scholar

Mentors: Dr. Armin Raznahan (NIMH) & Prof. Ed Bullmore (Cambridge)

Degrees: University of Rochester, B.S. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences, 2013

Research Interests: Neuroscience, Psychiatry, Neuroimaging

Jakob graduated with honors from the University of Rochester in 2013 with a B.S. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. During his undergraduate summers, he conducted research as a SEAP-CQL scholar at the Naval Medical Research Center under the supervision of Drs. Anke Scultetus and Rania Tarboush. At the NMRC, using intravital microscopy, his main goal was to assess viable adjuvant therapeutics to counteract the vasoactive effects of HBOC-201, an in-field treatment for hemorrhagic shock and traumatic brain injury. Following Jakob's junior year, he spent time in Dr. Duje Tadin's lab in the Center for Visual Science at Rochester investigating audiovisual effects on depth perception using a 3D psychophysics paradigm.

Currently, as a Post-Baccalaureate IRTA fellow with Dr. Leslie Ungerleider’s, Jakob is studying the connectivity of the macaque amygdala using concurrent electrical microstimulation and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and examined how these connectivity patterns overlap with defined regions that respond to various visual stimuli (e.g. faces, objects, places). Additionally, in Dr. Susan Swedo's group, Jakob has continued research he performed after his freshman year on Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections (PANDAS). These experiences have led to numerous local and national poster presentations and three co-authored publications, with two more in preparation.

As an NIH Cambridge scholar Jakob will be co-mentored by Dr. Armin Raznahan at NIMH and Dr. Ed Bullmore at Cambridge, where he will use structural MRI (and fMRI) to examine the typical neurobiological trajectories of various cortical and subcortical brain structures from childhood through adolescence.

 

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Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith
NIH University College Dublin Scholar
Wellcome Trust

Mentors: Dr. Anand Swaroop (NEI) & Dr. Breandán Kennedy (Dublin)

Degrees: University College Dublin, B. Sc. (Hons) in Pharmacology, 2014

Research Interests: Neurodegeneration, Pharmacology & Drug Discovery, Genetics

Andrew graduated from University College Dublin, Ireland with a first class honours degree in Pharmacology. Andrew graduated first in his class, and was the recipient of the UCD Pharmacology Medal, and the Roddy Monks Medal. Andrew is currently pursuing postgraduate research sponsored by the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology in the Ocular Pharmacology and Genetics Group in UCD, run by Dr. Breandán Kennedy. Here, his research focuses on the discovery of novel anti-angiogenic compounds using Zebrafish as a model organism, focusing in particular on the efficacy of drug combinations, and drug synergy. Andrew is a highly motivated researcher, and has developed a keen interest in ocular pharmacology and genetics, which he has enacted upon by pursuing postgraduate research in the field as part of the Wellcome Trust and National Institutes of Health PhD Studentship.

As Wellcome Trust – NIH scholar, he will be working on the identification of novel factors involved in cone photoreceptor development, function, and survival, with an aim to identify small molecule compounds to potentially treat blinding conditions.

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Lynda Truong

Lynda Truong
NIH Oxford Scholar

Mentors: Dr. Adrian Ferré-D’Amaré (NHLBI) & Dr. Tom Brown (Oxford)

Degrees: University of Alabama, B.S. in Biochemistry, minors in Mathematics and Computer Science, 2015

Research Interests: Nucleic Acids Chemistry, RNA biology

Lynda graduated summa cum laude from The University of Alabama with an American Chemical Society (ACS) certified B.S. in Biochemistry and minors in Mathematics and Computer Science. She attended The University of Alabama on a full scholarship and was a member of the university’s Computer-Based Honors Program, a nationally-recognized undergraduate research program. Lynda began research as a freshman with Dr. Stephen Woski, where she synthesized several hemibiquinones as candidates for molecular diodes. After spending a summer conducting research in riboswitch engineering with Dr. Ming Chen Hammond at the University of California, Berkeley as an Amgen Scholar, she developed an interest in RNA and Chemical Biology.

In 2013, Lynda began an independent nucleic acids chemistry project in the Woski lab to synthesize and assess a series of cyanocarbazole derivatives as universal base candidates. She was named a Goldwater Scholar for this research as a junior, and she received the American Institute of Chemists Student Award and the ACS Division of Organic Chemistry Student Award during her senior year. Lynda intends to pursue a career in Chemical Biology in academia and eventually hopes to manage her own research lab.

As an NIH Oxford Scholar, she plans to study the effects of unnatural nucleic acids in RNA aptamers through a collaboration with Dr. Adrian Ferré-D’Amaré at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in the NIH and Dr. Tom Brown at the University of Oxford.

 

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Jessica Walls

Jessica Walls
NIH Trinity College Dublin Scholar

Wellcome Trust

Mentors: Dr. Daniel McVicar (NCI) & 
Dr. David Finlay (Trinity College Dublin)

Degrees: Trinity College Dublin, B.A. (Mod.) Biochemistry, 2015

Research Interests: Metabolism, Cancer, Innate Immunity

Jessica graduated with a degree in Biochemistry from Trinity College Dublin in 2015. She graduated top of her class and was awarded a Trinity College gold medal, which was granted by the university board in recognition of exceptional merit at degree examinations. During her studies Jessica developed a strong interest in Immunology which coupled with a passion for cellular metabolism led her to the emerging field of immunometabolism. Recent advances in the field have elucidated that immune cell metabolism and function are integrally linked and Jessica is interested in deciphering the molecular mechanisms behind this, specifically in Natural Killer cells. Jessica’s main Ph.D focus is on the role of the glycolytic enzyme Pyruvate Kinase M2 in Natural Killer cell metabolism and function. In 2015, Jessica obtained a Wellcome Trust – NIH Ph.D Studentship to pursue research in this area. Jessica is currently working in collaboration with Dr. David Finlay and Dr. Clair Gardiner at Trinity College Dublin, and with Dr. Daniel McVicar at the National Cancer Institute, NIH.

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Audrey Winkelsas

Audrey Winkelsas
NIH Oxford Scholar

Mentors: Dr. Kenneth Fischbeck (NINDS) & Prof. Matthew Wood (Oxford)

Degrees: University of Miami, B.S. in Biochemistry, minors in Biology, Chemisty, Journalism, and History, 2015

Research Interests: Genetics, RNA Biology, Neurodegenerative Diseases

Audrey Winkelsas graduated summa cum laude from the University of Miami in 2015 with a B.S. in Biochemistry. The George W. Jenkins Scholarship funded her undergraduate education. At the University of Miami, Audrey was in the Advanced Program for Integrated Science and Math (PRISM), a two-year interdisciplinary program for students interested in research and medicine. As a sophomore, she joined Dr. Christine Thomas’ lab at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis where she worked on a project with long-term aims of reducing muscle atrophy following spinal cord injury. Audrey spent the summer of 2014 in the lab of Dr. Matthew Disney at The Scripps Research Institute on a National Science Foundation funded Research Experience for Undergraduates. In the Disney lab, she contributed to a computational approach called Inforna that provides an efficient method of designing small molecules to target RNA. She presented this work both at an internal poster session and at the twentieth annual meeting of the RNA Society. Audrey’s academic achievements earned her induction into Phi Beta Kappa, an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and the David G. Anderson Prize, presented annually to an outstanding graduating senior in biochemistry.

As an NIH Oxford scholar, Audrey will investigate molecular mechanisms in the pathogenesis of spinal muscular atrophy.

 

 

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