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81 Search Results

Aaron Bernstein

Aaron Bernstein

Scholar Type:

NIH Gates Cambridge Scholar

Entry Year: 2019
Degrees:

B.S., Pennsylvania State University
MPhil, Epidemiology, University of Cambridge

Mentors:

Dr. Montserrat Garcia-Closas (NCI),
Dr. Jonas Almeida (NCI) and 
Prof. Paul Pharoah (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Machine learning-driven algorithms, Breast cancer 

Aaron Bernstein is passionate about oncology research. Throughout his undergraduate study at The Pennsylvania State University, he made a point of exploring the full spectrum of biomedical research, from basic gene regulation work to clinical studies of chemotherapeutic toxicity. While Aaron began in wet-bench molecular biology research, intending to work as close to the fundamental mechanisms of cancer as possible, he ultimately found that he preferred the more computational approaches of bioinformatics and biostatistics.

Aaron earned an MPhil in Epidemiology at University of Cambridge.  Under the supervision of Dr. Paul Pharoah and Dr. Serena Nik-Zainal, he completed a bioinformatics thesis on the association between germline risk-conferring variants and somatic mutational signatures in breast cancer. As both an NIH OxCam Scholar and a Gates Cambridge Scholar, Aaron will pursue PhD research on the development of machine learning-driven algorithms for identification and evaluation of breast cancer histology slides, under the supervision of Dr. Pharoah, as well as Dr. Montserrat Garcia-Closas and Dr. Jonas Almeida at the NCI.

Aaron’s ultimate goal is to become a physician-scientist with a specialty in oncology and a research focus on the application of machine-learning to patient genetics and histology. A PhD through the NIH OxCam program will aid Aaron in forming collaborations with international leaders in these topics, promoting the integration of his research directly into the clinic and helping inform patient treatment globally.

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Abigail Giles

Abigail Giles

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar

Entry Year: 2019
Degrees:

B.S. Cellular and Molecular Biology, Binghamton University, 2017

Mentors:

Dr. Robert Balaban (NHLBI) and
Prof. Mike Murphy (Cambridge) 

Research Interest:

Metabolism, Cellular energetics, Mitochondria

Abigail graduated from Binghamton University in May 2017 with Presidential Honors for academic excellence as a Binghamton University Scholar and a BS in Cellular and Molecular Biology. As an undergraduate, Abigail investigated the genetic basis of environment toxicant susceptibility in Drosophila melanogaster under the supervision of Dr. Anthony Fiumera with the support of an Undergraduate Research Award. At the conclusion of her junior year, she was selected to participate in the Biomedical Research Apprenticeship Program at Washington University in St. Louis where she characterized glycolytic substrate metabolism and serine biosynthesis in several Osteosarcomas under the supervision of Dr. Brian Van Tine. Here, she developed an interest in cellular metabolism, metabolic remodeling, and bioenergetics. Hoping to expand her background in these areas, Abigail was selected for an Intramural Research Training Award Postbaccalaureate Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health in June 2017. She joined the Lab of Cardiac Energetics where she investigated mitochondrial metabolism in the heart under the supervision of Dr. Robert Balaban. During this time, Abigail helped develop a novel method of transmural absorbance spectroscopy and differential, spectral analysis which enables investigators to monitor mitochondrial energetics at the molecular scale in an intact tissue. Abigail also employed these methodology to evaluate the effects of nitric oxide, a diverse signaling molecule, on mitochondria redox status and cardiac function. She will continue investigating mitochondrial function in cardiac physiology and pathophysiology as an NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholar under the supervision of Dr. Robert Balaban (NHLBI) and Dr. Mike Murphy (Mitochondrial Biology Unit, University of Cambridge).

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Adriano Bellotti

Adriano Bellotti

Scholar Type:

NIH Gates Cambridge Scholar

Entry Year: 2017
Degrees:

B.S. Biomedical Engineering, North Carolina State University, 2015
Medical student at University of North Carolina (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Dax Hoffman (NICHD) and
Prof. Timothy O'Leary (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Computational modeling, Neuroscience, Biomedical engineering

As an undergraduate at North Carolina State University, Adriano began to appreciate the pragmatic perspective and mathematical methods of research in biomedical engineering, and sought to apply this empirical approach to medicine. This lead him to pursue an MD-PhD dual-degree with the University of North Carolina in hopes of leading medical researchers in facilitating the translation of new treatments and technologies into the clinic. He is particularly interested in studying neurophysiology through computational modeling, specifically with regard to neuroplasticity in both a single neuron as well as across neuronal circuits. Gaining a basic mechanistic understanding of neuronal regulation has great implications for understanding and treating various neurological disorders and pathologies. The ideal solution to any illness, especially neurodegenerative diseases, involves input from all applicable fields, including basic science, clinical science, epidemiology, sociology, and psychology, among others. The OxCam Program in combination with the Gates Cambridge community promote collaboration across this wide range of disciplines, and Adriano hopes to apply his engineering background and clinical experiences to his graduate work and many future projects. With careful consideration of all these viewpoints, we can achieve our ultimate goal of providing the best possible patient care.

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Ai Phuong Tong

Ai Phuong Tong

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2020
Degrees:

B.A., Colby College, 2016
B.S., Columbia University, 2016
University of Washington School of Medicine (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Kareem Zaghloul (NINDS),
Prof. Peter Brown (Oxford) and
Prof. Mark Woolrich (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Brain networks, Complex systems, Information theory

As an undergraduate at Colby College, Ai Phuong performed laser experiments to study quantum states of atoms with Prof. Charles Conover in the Physics Department. She also performed microscopic studies on living organisms with Prof. Andrea Tilden in the Biology Department. To learn more about technologies to image complex systems, she enrolled into a dual-degree program with Columbia University where she studied Biomedical Engineering. With a specific interest in studying the brain, Ai Phuong investigated the role of anterior cingulate cortex neurons in pain processing with Dr. Jing Wang and Prof. Zhe (Sage) Chen at New York University. She then investigated the role of hypothalamic circuits in stress responses with Prof. Linda Buck at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Her studies and research interests evolved to center around the processing of information.

As a medical student at the University of Washington, Ai Phuong studied electrical brain signals at rest and examined the static white matter structure of the human brain with Drs. Jeffrey Ojemann and Andrew Ko. This motivated her interest in brain networks. She subsequently participated in the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program to investigate human brain networks during memory retrieval with Dr. Kareem Zaghloul. For her doctoral studies, she will work with Dr. Zaghloul at the NIH and with Dr. Peter Brown and Prof. Mark Woolrich at Oxford to probe how neural computations are performed across different brain networks in health and disease.

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Alex David Waldman

Alex Waldman

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2018
Degrees:

B.S. Honors Neurobiology and Spanish, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2016
Medical student at Emory University (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Michael Lenardo (NIAID) and 
Prof. Gabriele DeLuca (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Neuroimmunology, Genetics, Pharmacology

Alex Waldman graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May 2016 where he earned comprehensive honors degrees in both Neurobiology and Spanish, while simultaneously earning certificates in Global Health, European Studies, and Stem Cell Sciences. At the university, he immersed himself in a wide variety of extracurricular activities. As a member of the Biology Core Curriculum Outreach Ambassadors, Alex coordinated monthly bedside science outreach events at American Family Children's Hospital for patients employing the process of inquiry-based learning. Alex also studied abroad in Toledo, Spain where he participated in an immersion internship at the Hospital Nacional de Parapléjicos and learned artistic rehabilitation techniques. As a scientist in the Peter Ferrazzano laboratory, Alex investigated the age-dependent contribution of microglial neuroinflammation to the pathology of hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. His contributions were published in the Journal of Neuroimmunology following presentation at the Society for Neuroscience. Alex was also awarded a summer stem cell fellowship to work in Qiang Chang’s laboratory and investigate the pathophysiology of Rett Syndrome. His contributions were published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

During his preclinical training at Emory University School of Medicine, Alex was president of the Medical Spanish Interest Group where he helped organize the annual Hispanic Health Fair in Gwinnett County. In addition, he received grants from the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers and the Radiological Society of North America to stay connected to research and investigate the sexually dimorphic nature of multiple sclerosis utilizing biochemical and radiological approaches. 

As an NIH-Oxford Scholar, Alex will be mentored by Michael Lenardo and Gabriele De Luca. His project will investigate the genetic underpinnings of multiple sclerosis to better understand heterogeneity in pathogenesis and response to treatment. 

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Allison Meadows

Allison Meadows

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2017
Degrees:

B.A. Human Biology, University of Virginia, 2015
Medical student at Medical University at South Carolina (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Michael Sack (NHLBI) and
Prof. Jules Griffin (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Metabolomics, Lipidomics, Mitochondrial Biology

Allison graduated from the University of Virginia in 2015 with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Human Biology. As an Echols Scholar and College Science Scholar, she had the opportunity to design her own course of study in which she integrated her interests in scientific research, health policy, and bioethics. During this time, she pursued research in the lab of Dr. David Kashatus in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology of the University of Virginia School of Medicine. She studied mitochondrial dynamics and dysfunction, specifically applying her work to novel diagnostic and therapeutic techniques in pancreatic cancer. This work became the foundation for her undergraduate thesis, which received the honor of Highest Distinction upon completion. 

Allison also sought to broaden her research exposure through summer internship experiences. She studied T cell signaling in the Lab of Cellular and Molecular Biology at the National Cancer Institute for several consecutive summers, then studied cardiac adrenergic signaling in the lab headed by Dr. Peter Mohler at the Ohio State University’s Heart and Lung Research Institute. Her work on the role of PP2A in cardiac phosphatase signaling ultimately led to a publication in Science Signaling. 

While an undergraduate, Allison had the opportunity to work as a student member of the Bioethics Consult Service in the University of Virginia Hospital System, specifically focusing her interest on cases in the neonatal intensive care unit. This experience inspired her to pursue a career in academic medicine, merging her passion for research with her drive to care for others. She has since completed her preclinical medical education as a MSTP student at the Medical University of South Carolina, and will return for the clinical portion of her training after completion of her PhD.

As a NIH-Cambridge Scholar, Allison will divide her time between the Lab of Mitochondria and Metabolism at the NIH and the Metabolomics Group at the University of Cambridge. Using a systems-based approach, she plans to study the role of mitochondrial acetylation-dependent retrograde signaling in regulating lipid and cholesterol biology.

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Amelia Foss

Amelia Foss

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar

Entry Year: 2019
Degrees:

B.A. Molecular Biology, Princeton University
M.S. Innovative Medicine, Uppsala University / Heidelberg University

Mentors:

Dr. Michael Gottesman (NCI) and
Prof. Manav Pathania (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Cancer biology, Tumor microenvironment, Chromatin remodeling

Amelia’s interest in research was sparked at Princeton University, where she pursued a B.A. in molecular biology. Her studies culminated in her thesis project in the lab of Professor Elizabeth Gavis, during which she investigated translational regulation and RNA splicing events in Drosophila models. After graduating from her bachelors in 2016, Amelia was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to conduct research on chronic kidney disease at the Semmelweis Medical University in Hungary. Continuing her education, Amelia participated in an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree under full scholarship, which enabled her to study at a consortium of prestigious European universities, namely Heidelberg University and Uppsala University. In this International Master in Innovative Medicine (IMIM), she embarked on her study of cancers. Having investigated melanoma metastases in Heidelberg and glioblastoma at Uppsala, Amelia was inspired to continue cancer research into her PhD. As an NIH-OxCam scholar, Amelia will be investigating chromatin remodeling and the modulation of the tumor microenvironment in adult and childhood brain cancers.

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Anagha Krishnan

Anagha Krishnan

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar

Entry Year: 2020
Degrees:

B.S. Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2019

Mentors:

Dr. Grégoire Altan-Bonnet (NCI)
and Prof. Martin Miller (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Tumor heterogeneity, Tumor-immune microenvironment, Immunology

Anagha graduated with Highest Honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology as a Stamps President's Scholar in May 2019. As an undergraduate supervised by Dr. Krishnendu Roy, she developed three-dimensional microfluidic models to study the interactions between fibroblasts and stromal cells during lymphatic vasculature formation. She has also worked on projects at the University of North Texas and the University of Texas at Dallas; she developed phononic crystals for improved ultrasound imaging and ran a computational analysis of migraine drug targets, respectively. Her research has been recognized by several awards, including the MARS Generation 24 Under 24 Award, the Alfred H. Gibeling Research Award, and the Goldwater Scholarship (which she received as a high school senior at the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science). Following graduation, Anagha worked at Glympse Bio, where she assisted with assay development and animal testing for active protease sensors that noninvasively monitored patient response to immunotherapy.

In addition to her research interests, Anagha is extremely passionate about STEM education and outreach; as an undergraduate, she co-founded an organization that used computer science education to improve young womens’ self-efficacy. To further her interests in education, Anagha was awarded a Fulbright Grant in 2019 and served as a visiting lecturer at Uva Wellassa University in Sri Lanka.

For her thesis work, Anagha will be studying how intratumor heterogeneity affects immune response in a variety of cancers. She intends to attend medical school after the completion of her doctorate.

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Ramirez-Valdez

Andrei Ramirez-Valdez

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2017
Degrees:

B.A. Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge, 2015

Mentors:

Dr. Robert Seder (NIAID-VRC) and 
Prof. Benoit Van den Eynde (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Immunology, Cancer biology, Genetics

Andrei’s interest in a scientific career began in high school when he undertook a month-long research experience placement at the Department of Pathology at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Professor Jim Kaufman. Here, he contributed to the understanding of the tissue distribution of splice variants of BG0 in chickens. Following this positive experience in the lab, Andrei went to Jesus College at the University of Cambridge to study Natural Sciences. During his second year, he was awarded both the JRS Fincham Bursary by the Department of Genetics and the Sir Robbie Jennings Award by Jesus College to help fund a summer internship at the Technical University of Munich. During this internship, he worked on acquired drug resistance of colorectal cancer cells under the supervision of Professor Roland Rad. He then returned to University to complete his degree and opted to specialize in Genetics in his final year of studies. He graduated in 2015 with a First Class degree and shortly thereafter started working at the Francis Crick Institute in London where he spent 10 months. During this time, he became increasingly interested in cancer immunotherapy and applied to the NIH Post-Baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award program to work at the Vaccine Research Center with Dr. Robert Seder. Whilst at the NIH, he has been working to develop a novel personalized cancer vaccine platform. He aims to continue working in the field of cancer immunotherapy, with a specific focus on the interface between T cells and the tumor.

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Asmaysinh Gharia-small

Asmaysinh Gharia

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar

Entry Year: 2020
Degrees:

B.A., Molecular & Cell Biology,
University of California Berkeley, 2018

Mentors:

Dr. Iain Fraser (NIAID) and
Dr. George Malliaras (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Cellular immunotherapy, Microelectromechanical systems, Personalized medicine

As an undergraduate at the University of California Berkeley, Asmaysinh studied molecular biology with an emphasis in immunology. In addition to his coursework, he developed microfluidic interfaces for silicon photonic biosensors under the supervision of Professor Vladimir Stojanvoic in the department of electrical engineering and computer science. In particular, Asmaysinh engineered multilayer microfluidic packaging to overcome the unique challenges of interfacing with small footprint integrated circuit devices while allowing for photonic access. Upon graduating in 2018, Asmaysinh gained additional experience as a research and development engineer in the lab of Professor Mekhail Anwar at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) in the department of radiation oncology. Here he played diverse roles in microfabrication, bioconjugation chemistry, cell culture, and software development in a continued collaboration with electrical engineering groups at Berkeley with the ultimate goal of creating implantable diagnostic sensors for highly personalized cancer therapy.

In his graduate studies, Asmaysinh hopes to leverage advances in microelectronics and immunology to develop a platform to generate cellular therapies. He strives to commercialize such high efficiency platforms to reduce the cost of personalized immunotherapies and ensure their universal accessibility.

 

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Benjamin Lee

Benjamin Lee

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2020
Degrees:

A.B. Computer Science, Harvard University, 2020

Mentors:

Dr. Eugene Koonin (NLM) and
Prof. Peter Simmonds (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Virology, Computational biology, Infectious disease

Benjamin graduated from Harvard University with a degree in computer science in 2020. As an undergraduate, he focused extensively on research, with topics ranging from robotic chemical synthesis to nutritional science to biological defense. Beginning his sophomore year, Benjamin worked with collaborators at Indiana University and MIT to develop a robotic system capable of synthesizing peptides and peptoids. He continued this research as an undergraduate research fellow in the lab of George Church at Harvard Medical School during his junior year and remains the lead software developer of the project. Additionally, Benjamin developed software for the optimization of daily meal plans. For this work, he was given the Emerging Leader in Nutrition award by the American Society for Nutrition at their national convention.

Since his sophomore year, Benjamin has worked at Lab41, the machine learning research lab of In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the US Intelligence Community. There, he has focused on developing bioinformatic methods for determining the origin of outbreaks of infectious disease as well as identifying and attributing deliberate genetic engineering in pathogens from sequencing data. At In-Q-Tel, he has published four papers, all as first or sole author, and presented at several international conferences.

As an NIH Oxford scholar, Benjamin will be joining the labs of Dr. Eugene Koonin at NCBI and Prof. Peter Simmonds at Oxford. He intends to focus on metagnomics-based pathogen discovery and comparative genomics. Outside of academia, he enjoys contributing to open-source software development, listening to audiobooks, and experimenting with cooking.

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Boya Wang

Boya Wang

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2019
Degrees:

B.A. Chemistry, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, 2016
University of North Carolina School of Medicine (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Louis Staudt (NCI),
Prof. Nitzan Rosenfeld (Cambridge)
and Prof. Carlos Caldas (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Genomics, Bioinformatics, Cancer

Boya graduated with high honors from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill with a degree in Chemistry. While there, she conducted microbiology research with Dr. Matthew Wolfgang. She studied a Pseudomonas aeurginosa motility system that allows the bacteria to colonize patients with cystic fibrosis. This work was published in Journal of Biological Chemistry. Throughout undergraduate, Boya also led a nonprofit organization to establish a medical lab in Lawra, Ghana. After graduation, Boya worked in the lab of Dr. Camille Ehre at UNC. She used primary human epithelial cell models to investigate new compounds which break down mucus in patients with obstructive lung disease. This work was published in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. In total, Boya’s research experience motivated her to address questions with clinical relevance and learn bioinformatic skills applicable to a range of topics.

Subsequently, Boya completed two years of medical school at UNC. Her current research interest is in the translational application of cancer genomics. She will analyze circulating tumor DNA to monitor treatment response and tumor evolution. Outside of research, Boya enjoys running, traveling, and baking desserts for any occasion. Ultimately, Boya is thrilled to continue the journey of becoming physician scientist as a NIH Cambridge Scholar.

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Bridget Larman

Bridget Larman

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar

Entry Year: 2017
Degrees:

B.S. Chemistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2015

Mentors:

Dr. Ted Pierson (NIAID) and
Prof. Yorgo Modis (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Infectious disease, Virology, Immunology

Bridget was a Morehead-Cain Scholar and graduated with distinction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.S. in Chemistry and minors in Biology and Spanish. At UNC she worked for three years in the laboratory of Dr. Kevin Weeks as part of the Undergraduate Transcriptome Project. Bridget’s research focused on applying novel chemical probing techniques to investigate the three-dimensional structure of the satellite tobacco mosaic virus genome. Her work indicated that the structure of the RNA genome plays an important role in assembly of the viral particle. This culminated in a first author publication in Biochemistry which was selected as an ACS Editors’ Choice article. 
In addition, Bridget spent a summer working for Dr. William Messer at the Oregon Health and Science University. She explored the function of a distinctive RNA structure in the dengue virus genome. This sparked her interest in infectious disease and virology. The following summer she worked at PharmaMar, a biotechnology company in Spain, investigating the molecular mechanism of an antitumor drug.

After graduation, Bridget joined the laboratory of Dr. Richard Proia in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases as an NIH Postbaccalaureate Fellow. Her research focused on Sandhoff disease, a genetic lysosomal storage disease mainly affecting the brain. She used cerebral organoids generated from patient induced pluripotent stem cells to study the disease progression in a developing brain. 

As an NIH OxCam scholar, Bridget plans to investigate viral pathogenesis and host immune response.

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Byron Mui

Byron Mui

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2020
Degrees:

B.A. Integrative Biology,
University of California, Berkeley, 2015
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Pamela G. Robey (NIDCR),
Dr. Marc Ferrer (NCATS), and 
Prof. Kevin Chalut (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Stem cell biology, Regenerative medicine, Drug development

During his undergraduate career at UC Berkeley, Byron studied cataractogenesis and supported the development of gelatin microbead templated chambers in hydrogel as a platform to engineer lens organoids. The latter project inspired a fascination for biomimetic designs and their applications in modeling biological systems and in therapeutic development. At the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, he continued this area of research but with a focus on its connection to clinical therapies. He evaluated genipin cross-linked fibrin as an injectable, cell- and compound-delivering biomaterial to repair the intervertebral disc after herniation as a member of Dr. James Iatridis’s Spine Bioengineering Lab. He then joined the Medical Research Scholars Program under the supervision of Dr. Pamela G. Robey to explore human bone marrow stromal cells embedded in fibrin microbeads as a repair strategy for focal articular cartilage defects in animal models. These collective experiences have cultivated Byron’s passion for stem cell biology, and as a future MD/PhD, aspires to apply his research background to the development of regenerative therapies. 

Moving forward, Byron will study the biomechanical and chemical signaling pathways involved in skeletal modeling with the goal of developing novel treatment modalities for bone fractures. As a solar-powered individual, Byron plans to spend his free time biking and playing tennis. Additionally, in caring deeply about environmental sustainability, he aims to participate in organizations that support local farms and communities through green practices like composting.

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Charles (Chad) Coomer

Charles (Chad) Coomer

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2017
Degrees:

B.S. Biology and Chemistry, Western Kentucky University, 2014
M.Sc. in Infection and Immunity, University College London, 2015
Medical student at University of Kentucky (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Alex Compton (NCI) and 
Prof. Sergi Padilla-Parra (Oxford)

Research Interest:

HIV persistence, HIV reservoir, Virus-Host interaction

Charles “Chad” Coomer, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, graduated summa cum laude from the Honors College at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in 2014 as the Ogden Foundation Scholar with degrees in biology and chemistry and a minor in music. As a Goldwater Scholar, Chad completed an honors thesis to investigate the utility of bacterial viruses as a sustainable alternative to antibiotic treatment in the biofuel industry. While attending WKU, Chad developed an ambassadorial organization for the campus scholar development office, performed with the WKU Symphony as a violinist, which toured to China in the summer of 2013, and completed an internship and fellowship at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). While at the NCI, Chad addressed questions regarding HIV persistence and compartmentalization, using RT-SHIV-infected rhesus macaque and single genome sequencing. As a Fulbright Scholar, Chad organized outreach organizations designed to engage under-represented students in biomedical research, while completing an MSc in Infection and Immunity at University College London. While at UCL, he investigated Gag-mediated protease inhibitor resistance with Drs. Ravi Gupta and Katherine Sutherland utilizing genotypic and phenotypic analyses of patient-derived, non-subtype B Gag-Pro HIV clones. Upon completion of his MD and DPhil, Chad hopes to become a physician-scientist investigating the HIV reservoir, curative strategies, and pediatric infectious disease.

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Christian Lantz

Christian Lantz

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2021
Degrees:
Mentors:

Dr. Derek Narendra (NINDS) and
Prof. Matthew Wood (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Genetic disease

Corinne Donnay

Corinne Donnay

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2021
Degrees:
Mentors:

Dr. Daniel Reich (NINDS) and
Prof. Heidi Johansen-Berg (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Neuroscience, Cognitive & psychiatric disorders

Cristie Contreras

Cristina Contreras Burrola

Scholar Type: NIH Oxford Scholar MD/PhD
Entry Year: 2021
Degrees:

B.S. Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2017
Indiana University School of Medicine (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Rosandra Kaplan (NCI) and
Prof. Francesca Buffa (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Pediatric oncology, Tumor immunology, Tumor microenvironment and metastasis

I was born and raised in Chihuahua, Mexico before moving to the US as a freshman in high school. It was my love for the sciences that allowed me to overcome inherent cultural barriers and connect with others. I graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2017 with a B.S. in Biological Engineering. As an undergraduate, I joined Dr. Robert Langer’s lab and worked on the development of novel biodegradable scaffolds for tissue engineering. In addition, I designed microfluidic devices for both nanoparticle synthesis and tissue culture through two internships. My interest in medicine and clinical research was solidified after spending a summer investigating influenza in immunocompromised patients in the lab of Dr. Richard Webby at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

After graduating from MIT, I joined Dr. Sarah Tasian’s group at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) where I collaborated in multi-institutional precision medicine studies and investigated the use of novel targeted therapies. My work at CHOP opened my eyes to a career as a physician-scientist in hematology/oncology. Thereafter, I began my medical training at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Supported by the American Society of Hematology, I worked with Dr. Christopher Dvorak at the University of California, San Francisco investigating curative options in hematology. I then joined the NIH-Medical Research Scholars Program to expand my skills as a scientist and understand the mechanisms behind different targeted therapies. As part of Dr. Rosandra Kaplan’s lab, I have been characterizing the role of myeloid cells in solid tumor progression and metastasis.

Under the supervision of Dr. Rosandra Kaplan at the NCI and Prof. Francesca Buffa at Oxford, I will be continuing this work as an NIH-OxCam Scholar. My goal is to further our understanding of tumor immunology to identify new therapeutic targets in pediatric cancers.

I absolutely love to spend my free time being outdoors with my dog, Moss. Some of my favorite activities include hiking, camping, kayaking, and skiing. While outdoors, I also like to practice my amateur photography skills and compete against my friends’ iPhone cameras. Additionally, you can find me at the local pub trivia night being the best moral support on the team.

Since graduating college, I have continued to volunteer for Camp Kesem in an advisory role. This nationwide organization provides year-round support for children whose parents have been affected by cancer.

Dalton Hermans

Dalton Hermans

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2021
Degrees:

B.S. Molecular Biology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2017
University of Minnesota Medical School (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Robert Seder (NIAID) and 
Prof. John Marioni (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Immunology, Cancer biology, Transcriptomics

Dalton graduated with distinction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2017 with a degree in Molecular Biology and a certificate in Stem Cell Sciences. During undergraduate at Madison, Dalton worked for four years in the lab of Dr. Bikash Pattnaik where he helped develop a disease model of Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis using induced pluripotent stem cells derived from a patient born with the disorder. Dalton spent his undergraduate summers performing research as part of the Pediatric Oncology Education Program at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. He worked with Dr. Richard Webby and Dr. Paul Thomas, studying adaptive and innate immune responses to influenza virus infection.

After graduating from university in 2017, Dalton joined the lab of Dr. Warren Leonard in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute as a postbaccalaureate IRTA fellow. In Dr. Leonard’s lab, Dalton studied the ability of immune signaling molecules called cytokines to induce disparate metabolic states in CD8+ T cells and described how those metabolic alterations contribute to anti-tumor immunity. This work was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2020.

Dalton entered the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Minnesota Medical School in 2019 and completed two years of medical training before joining the Oxford/Cambridge Scholars program for his PhD. As an NIH-Cambridge scholar, Dalton is mentored by Dr. Robert Seder (NIAID) and John Marioni (Cambridge). His project focuses on the characterization of CD8+ T cells following vaccination with a novel cancer vaccine developed in the Seder lab.

After the completion of his MD and PhD degrees, Dalton aspires to train as a Pediatric Oncologist and work as a physician scientist at an academic medical center.

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Daniel Rosoff

Daniel Rosoff

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2020
Degrees:

A.B./Sc.B., Economics and Neuroscience, 
Brown University, 2016

Mentors:

Dr. Falk W. Lohoff (NIAAA) and
Prof. Michael V. Holmes (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Genetics and genomics, Neuroscience

Daniel graduated from Brown University with an A.B./Sc.B in Economics and Neuroscience.  While at Brown, he was a member of the varsity baseball team and researched the formation of Martian gullies in the Planetary Geosciences Group.  During a leave of absence from Brown, Daniel founded and was Executive Director of a 501c3 non-profit, TRB Baseball, which provided sports, training, college advising, and educational opportunities for inner-city youth in Durham, North Carolina.  Since graduation, he has been an NIH Post-baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award Fellow in the Section on Clinical Genomics and Experimental Therapeutics (CGET) at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), where his research has focused on leveraging population genetics to examine the causes and consequences of alcohol abuse and alcohol use disorder. 

His research at the NIAAA has resulted in seven co-authored publications and six first-author publications.   Daniel has also had the opportunity to present his work at conferences in the United Kingdom (Mendelian Randomization Conference, University of Bristol), and at the World Psychiatric Genomics Conference (Anaheim, California). As an NIH-OxCam Scholar, Daniel will use multi-omic and genetic approaches to examine how epigenetic and environmental risk factors impact disease risk. 

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David Cruz Walma

David Cruz Walma

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2019
Degrees:

B.S. Biomedical Engineering, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2015
University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Kenneth Yamada (NIDCR)
and Prof. Alex Bullock (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Cell and structural biology, Tissue engineering, Craniofacial embryogenesis and development

David is a DMD-DPhil student pursuing his dental degree at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Dentistry and DPhil at the University of Oxford.  He joined UAB’s Early Dental School Acceptance Program (EDSAP) as a first-year undergraduate student in 2011 and graduated Summa Cum Laude from UAB’s EDSAP, University Honors, and Biomedical Engineering Programs with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering in 2015.  Throughout his undergraduate and professional education, he trained in the Biomedical Engineering lab of Dr. Ho-Wook Jun developing novel bionanomatrix materials and partook in multiple clinical research trials.  With exposure to prominent clinical research teams caring for individuals with craniofacial diseases and disorders, three years of dental education further solidified his aim for an academic career investigating molecular mechanisms of craniofacial embryogenesis and development.

Intent on characterizing mechanisms driving these processes from a basic biology perspective, in 2018 he joined the lab of Dr. Kenneth Yamada in the NIDCR as an NIH Medical Research Scholars Program fellow.  In the Yamada lab, he analyzed basic cell signaling mechanisms and sought means of continuing to learn from some of the most notable scientists of the era.  These efforts brought him to his current position in the NIH-OxCam program as a student of Dr. Kenneth Yamada and Professor Alex Bullock investigating the functional and structural characteristics of proteins implicated in development and disease.  Upon completing the NIH-OxCam program, David will build on this basic science foundation through continued research and clinical training.  His goal is an academic career leading a team of clinicians and scientists who design and develop novel biomaterials that can regulate cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix interactions in clinical therapeutic applications.

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Emily Steffke

Emily Steffke

Scholar Type:

NIH Marshall Scholar

Entry Year: 2020
Degrees:
Mentors:

Dr. Masaki Terabe (NCI) and
Prof. Benoit Van Den Eynde (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Cancer biology, Glioblastoma, Vaccine development

Emily Beltran

Emily Beltran

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2021
Degrees:

B.S. Biological Sciences, The University of Chicago, 2017
Rush Medical School (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Claudia Kemper (NHLBI) and
Prof. Menna Clatworthy (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Tissue-specific immunology, Immunometabolism, Translational research

Emily’s interest in science started in high school through a research experience at the Illinois Institute of Technology where she studied blood flow dynamics in patients with renal disease. Her project was awarded a semifinalist prize in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology. Motivated by her high school work, she pursued several international science programs, including summer research at the Institut Pasteur in Paris and the Dr. Bessie F. Lawrence Summer Science Institute at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. Together, these experiences sparked a lasting interest in using research to understand complex biomedical questions.

Emily graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, specializing in immunology. As an undergrad, she worked in Cathy Nagler’s translational immunology lab studying the relationship between gut bacteria and food allergies and completed an honors thesis investigating the ability of high fiber diets to expand populations of barrier-strengthening gut bacteria that can prevent the development of food allergies. Her thesis work uncovered a specific fiber structure that was preferentially utilized by the microbiota to improve gut health, which has since been further developed for therapeutic use by a company started through the lab. Emily also took advanced graduate immunology and microbiology coursework. She became fascinated with the immune system and its immense power to maintain human health but also create havoc in disease.

After college, Emily did full-time research at the Rockefeller University in New York City. She worked in Jan Breslow’s metabolism and biochemistry lab studying immune chemotaxis-inducing peptides generated by activation of enzymes in the contact system, an enzyme cascade associated with blood coagulation and inflammation. She elucidated the signaling mechanism of the peptide and therapeutically targeted the pathway in various murine models of immune-mediated diseases. She presented her work at multiple national meetings and was directly involved in developing a clinically relevant, novel small molecular inhibitor for the enzyme of interest. 

Inspired by the powerful intersection of medicine and science, Emily applied to medical school, and she completed her preclinical years at Rush Medical College in Chicago. During this time, she was a student ambassador and member of the student curriculum committee. Upon joining the NIH Ox-Cam program, she will build on her previous research background and interest in immunology and study how immune crosstalk between the gut and brain is regulated by immunometabolic pathways. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career as a physician-scientist combining clinical work, translational immunology-focused research, and innovative therapeutic development.  Outside of the lab, she enjoys running, swimming, baking, and trying new restaurants.    

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Emily Kolyvas

Emily Kolyvas

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2018
Degrees:

B.S. Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 2014
Medical student at Medical College of Wisconsin (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Kathy Siebenlist (NCI) and 
Prof. Carlos Caldas (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Cancer biology, Tumor microenvironment, Drug resistance

Emily graduated with high distinction from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology. While there, she worked in the lab of Dr. Marni Boppart,  investigating the 7 integrin as a therapeutic target in the prevention of age-related maladaptive changes observed in skeletal muscle tissue. The findings of this research culminated in the completion of her undergraduate thesis. After graduation, Emily worked as an NIH Postbaccalaureate Fellow in Dr. Christine Alewine’s and Dr. Ira Pastan’s labs in the National Cancer Institute, studying the use of recombinant immunotoxin therapeutics to treat cancer. An area of focus during this time was elucidating the mechanism of the synergistic activity of a mesothelin targeted immunotoxin with taxanes in pancreatic cancer. She has since started her MD-PhD degree at the Medical College of Wisconsin. As a physician scientist, Emily hopes to translate new cancer therapeutics to the clinic.

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Francisco Battiti

Scholar Type: NIH Oxford Scholar
Entry Year: 2020
Degrees:

B.S. in Specialized Chemistry, BSLAS in Physics

Mentors:

Dr. Amy Newman (NIDA) and 
Prof. Timothy Donohoe (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Organic chemistry, GPCR signaling, Neuroscience

Francisco Battiti, grew up in Honduras and moved to the USA shortly before beginning college. Francisco is immensely passionate about organic chemistry, where scientific determination and artistic spirit clash to form that he believes to be the most creative of all the sciences. 

Francisco is a big non-fiction reader, big time Liverpool FC fan, avid soccer/tennis player, and strong believer that staying in and watching TV is largely underrated.

Hallie Gaitsch

Hallie Gaitsch

Scholar Type: NIH Gates Cambridge Scholar
Entry Year: 2021
Degrees:

B.S., Yale University, 2019
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Daniel Reich (NINDS) and
Prof. Robin Franklin (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Multiple Sclerosis, Neuroimmunology, Molecular biomarkers

Hallie’s introduction to the world of scientific research began at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in her hometown of Batavia, Illinois. As a high school student, she worked for the Dark Energy Survey identifying strong gravitational lensing candidates in images taken by the Dark Energy Camera through visual and computer analysis. This extraordinary experience sparked her interest in pursuing a career in science. Hallie attended Yale College, graduating in 2019 with a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology with Distinction in the Major. During her undergraduate years, she worked as a research assistant in the lab of Dr. Amy Arnsten at the Yale School of Medicine, where she investigated pharmacologic interventions to treat negative symptoms of schizophrenia using rat models. In the summer of 2016, she was selected to participate in a Research Experience for Undergraduates at the University of Chicago Conte Center for Computational Neuropsychiatric Genomics where she used computer modeling to uncover hidden genetic and environmental correlations between traditionally distinct disease phenotypes. In the summer of 2017, she won a Thouron Scholarship to study in the Pembroke-King’s Programme at the University of Cambridge, during which time she completed a research supervision with Prof. Raymond Bujdoso focusing on the pathogenesis of proteinopathies and prion-related diseases. Her senior thesis at Yale was the culmination of three years of work in the lab of Dr. Erol Fikrig at the Yale School of Medicine investigating the role of the A. aegypti mosquito vector in Zika virus transmission, infection, and pathogenesis. 

Hallie joined the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine MSTP in 2019 and has since completed her first two years of medical school. In 2021, she was awarded a Gates-Cambridge Scholarship. As an NIH Gates Cambridge Scholar, Hallie will be undertaking a Ph.D. in Clinical Neurosciences. She aims to draw upon her experiences in wet lab and computational research to complete an interdisciplinary, co-mentored research project in the field of neuroimmunology and, specifically, multiple sclerosis (MS). MS affects millions of people worldwide and often has debilitating outcomes ranging from disrupted sensation and loss of ambulation to cognitive dysfunction and psychiatric problems. Hallie’s project will focus on identifying molecular biomarkers for remyelination using methylation patterns in cell-free DNA released from glial progenitor cells. Hallie hopes that her work will contribute to a greater understanding of this complex disease and provide the ability to quantify the level of myelin regeneration in the brain and spinal cord during clinical trials of remyelinating therapies.

As a future physician-scientist, Hallie aims to devote her career to investigating the processes that govern disease etiology and pathogenesis and applying this knowledge to patient care. After completion of her doctoral training, she plans to finish medical school and then apply to research-focused residency programs in either neurology or neurosurgery. Her goal is to work at an academic medical center dividing her time between clinical work, conducting translational research, and teaching

Outside of the lab, Hallie enjoys reading, writing, playing viola, watching movies, running, and traveling. Her remedies for tough days include drinking plenty of tea (English Breakfast or Earl Grey), diving into a good book, wandering an art museum, listening to Bach’s violin sonatas & partitas, hanging out with her cat, watching a murder mystery (preferably Agatha Christie), and spending as much time as possible among trees.

Hannah-Dada

Hannah Dada

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2020
Degrees:

B.A., University of Chicago 

Mentors:

Dr. John O’Shea (NIAMS) and
Prof. Mike Dustin (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Tumor immunology, Immunology, Cancer biology

Hannah developed an interest in research in high school where she was fortunate enough to have basic science exposure. She conducted breast cancer research on signaling pathways that were important to metastasis.  The lab focused on RAF kinase inhibitory protein (RKIP) signaling which functions as a metastasis suppressor by inhibiting cell migration, invasion, intravasation into blood or lymph vessels, and extravasation from circulatory vessels. These exciting projects unveiled how exciting science can be because she likened signaling to finding pieces of a puzzle.

Hannah remained in the same research lab during college. This allowed her to delve deeper into her passion for science to uncover more pieces to the puzzle in the RKIP signaling project.  From this experience she knew she wanted to further her knowledge in cancer research.  Consequently, a cancer project was her only criteria after graduation.  Luckily Hannah was able to work on a cancer project during my gap years. Her gap years also afforded her the opportunity to become exposed to Immunology and tumor immunology. She fell in love with this field during my time off. Hannah worked on resistance mechanisms to immunotherapy in melanoma, pancreatic cancer, and breast cancer and learned just how intriguing the human body is.  Hannah hopes to further her knowledge in immunology and discover novel ways the body’s best defense can perform its job in the fight against cancer.

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Duffy, Hannah

Hannah Duffy

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2021
Degrees:

B.S. Neuroscience, University of Delaware, 2019
M.S. Neuroscience, University of Delaware, 2020

Mentors:

Dr. Richard Proia (NIDDK) and
Prof. Frances Platt (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Neuroscience, Neurodegenerative disease, Genetics & epigenetics

Hannah graduated summa cum laude from the University of Delaware with a BS in neuroscience and a minor in biology. At UD, she received an honors degree with distinction and became a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Hannah discovered her passion for neuroscience at a university talk on the subject, which motivated her to change her major and explore research. She first got involved in research at university when she spent a summer working in Dr. Mark Stanton’s neurobiology lab. She later joined Dr. Tania Roth’s behavioral epigenetics lab where she completed a senior thesis. The Roth Lab aims to better understand epigenetic and behavioral changes induced by early-life adversity with the ultimate goal of reducing the negative effects of child maltreatment. Hannah remained at the University of Delaware to complete a master’s degree in neuroscience and continue her work with Dr. Roth. Her master’s thesis explored the complex relationship between changes in DNA methylation in blood and brain tissue following early-life adversity. Hannah will continue exploring neuroscience and genetics while working towards her PhD with an additional focus on pathology. As an NIH-OxCam Scholar, she will work with Dr. Richard Proia and Prof. Frances Platt to explore lysosomal dysfunction and neurodegenerative disease, with a particular focus on Gaucher Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.

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Hannah Mason

Hannah Mason

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2017
Degrees:

B.S. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology & B.A. Spanish,
University of Georgia, 2017
Medical student at Emory University (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Dorian McGavern (NINDS) and
Prof. Ole Paulsen (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Neuroinflammation, Neurodegeneration

Hannah first became interested in neurodegeneration when her high school lacrosse coach was diagnosed with ALS. Determined to learn more about his disease and others like it, Hannah joined the laboratory of Dr. Lohitash Karumbaiah at the University of Georgia’s Regenerative Bioscience Center during her freshman year. Her research investigated using chondroitin-sulfate glycosaminoglycan hydrogels containing neural stem cells to treat traumatic brain injuries in rats. During her time in Dr. Karumbaiah’s laboratory, Hannah presented her research at the World Stem Cell Summit and was named an honorable mention for the Barry Goldwater Scholarship in 2016. 

In the summer of 2015, Hannah was awarded the Oregon National Primate Research Center’s Summer Undergraduate Fellowship. She spent 10 weeks studying freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease under the mentorship of Dr. Fay Horak at the Balance Disorders Laboratory. While in Portland, she also spent time shadowing Dr. Donald Girard, leading her to the realization that she wanted to pursue a career as a physician-scientist. 

Hannah is excited to begin her graduate studies through the NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program under the guidance of Dr. Dorian McGavern. She will be investigating how neuroinflammatory responses post-traumatic brain injury affect plaque deposition and looks forward to learning more about how neuroinflammation affects neurodegeneration long-term. 

When she is not in the laboratory working with her mice, Hannah enjoys cooking, running, and spending time with her family. After finishing her graduate studies, she will attend medical school at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Henry Taylor

Henry Taylor

Scholar Type: NIH Gates Cambridge Scholar
Entry Year: 2021
Degrees:

B.S. Computational Biology, Duke University, 2018

Mentors:

Dr. Francis S. Collins (NHGRI), Dr. Joshua C. Denny (NHGRI), and 
Prof. John Danesh (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Human genetics & genomics, Common disease, Translational medicine

Henry graduated from Duke University magna cum laude with a degree in computational biology in 2018. Initially planning to study at the intersection of technology and conservation biology, he quickly developed a keen interest in utilizing computational models to investigate the underlying mechanisms of human disease. During his sophomore year, he worked with Dr. G. Allan Johnson at the Duke Center for In Vivo Microscopy building computational tools to visualize and analyze 3D computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans from mammalian brain atlases. Following his time in the Johnson lab, he joined the student-led Bass Connections: Enabling Precision Health and Medicine program and worked with Dr. Gregory A. Wray to investigate virulence of Burkholderia cenocepacia in Cystic Fibrosis patients. These experiences, among others, shaped his determination to pursue a career concentrated on connecting biology, mathematics, and computer science, with a focus on applications to human health.

After graduating from Duke, Henry worked as a software engineer in the DC area before joining the laboratory of Dr. Francis S. Collins at the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a postbaccalaureate IRTA fellow. At NIH, he studied the molecular underpinnings of diabetes using genetic and genomic techniques. Notably, one of Henry’s primary projects involved the largest genetic analysis of microRNA expression in human pancreatic islets to date and helped understand the molecular effects of genetic loci associated with diabetes. During his fellowship, he became acutely aware of the health inequities that persist worldwide and pursued training to prepare himself for a career focused on addressing systemic health inequities.

As an NIH Gates Cambridge Scholar, Henry aims to combine his interests in human disease and global health inequities to study the genetic basis of type 2 diabetes (T2D) across diverse ancestries. Ultimately, he hopes that his doctoral research will enhance the treatment and prevention of T2D for all people.

When he is not in the lab, Henry will use any excuse he can to be outdoors. As a result, unlike most people who choose to be remarkably skilled at a few activities, Henry is remarkably average at many activities. He particularly enjoys hiking, camping, traveling to new places, and daydreaming of his semester spent in New Zealand. During his time in Cambridge, Henry also hopes to become an avid football fan.

Sandra Mon

Hsu Hnin (Sandra) Mon

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2021
Degrees:

B.A. Molecular Biology, Colgate University, 2012
MSPH Global Disease Epidemiology and Control, 
Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, 2016

Mentors:

Dr. Thomas Quinn (NIAID) and 
Prof. Christophe Fraser (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Infectious disease epidemiology, Phylogenetics, Pathogen dynamics, Health & human rights

Born to a family of physicians in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma) and raised across Southeast Asia, Hsu Hnin (Sandra) Mon always harbored a curiosity for biomedicine in the context of shifting social, political, and geographical environments.

Sandra nurtured this curiosity further during her undergraduate days at Colgate University, where she majored in Molecular Biology, minored in Asian Studies, and explored the interdisciplinary linkages between diseases and the communities they impact. She conducted virology research under Dr. Geoffrey Holm, who introduced her to – and fostered her passion for – the field of infectious disease epidemiology.

After her Bachelor’s, Sandra pursued a research assistantship with Dr. Christopher Plowe at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, whose research on the molecular surveillance of artemisinin-resistant P. falciparum malaria expanded her professional ambitions into molecular epidemiology and pathogen genomics.

Sandra then completed a Master of Science in Public Health in Global Disease Epidemiology and Control in the Department of International Health at Johns Hopkins, where she focused on infectious disease epidemiology, humanitarian health, and implementation science. Following her Masters, she joined the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights (CPHHR) under the mentorship of Drs. Chris Beyrer and Andrea Wirtz. Her research portfolio with CPHHR includes an implementation science study assessing obstacles to and innovations in the HIV care continuum for men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women (TGW) in Myanmar; an NIH R01 evaluating the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among young MSM and TGW who sell or exchange sex in Thailand; a mixed methods epidemiologic assessment of violence and mortality following the 2017 genocidal campaign against the Rohingya; and most recently, a project documenting and evaluating attacks on healthcare resulting from the 2021 attempted military coup d’état in Myanmar. She also serves as a Commissioner on the International AIDS Society-Lancet Commission on Health and Human Rights.

Today, Sandra’s research interests revolve around infectious disease dynamics, phylogenetic analysis, and health & human rights policy. Through her NIH-OxCam research with Dr. Tom Quinn and Prof. Christophe Fraser, Sandra aims to identify epidemiologic (population- and network-level) and evolutionary (within-host) factors associated with HIV acquisition and pathogenesis. She also intends to apply a human rights lens to this research to understand the role of stigma and other social disparities in perpetuating transmission within identified networks. She hopes that this research will help optimize HIV phylodynamic models to better design effective HIV interventions for the most vulnerable populations.

Beyond her research and health & human rights work, Sandra enjoys cooking, doting on her cats and (pet) rats, and managing her dog’s Instagram.

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Hugo Ferreira Pontes

Hugo Ferreira Pontes

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar

Entry Year: 2020
Degrees:

B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Washington, 2020

Mentors:

Dr. Claudia Kemper (NHLBI) and
Prof. Christoph Hess (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Immunometabolism, Autoimmunity, Systems Biology

As an undergraduate at the University of Washington (UW), Hugo used nanotechnology to study pediatric neurologic disorders under the supervision of Dr. Elizabeth Nance. Hugo developed a tool to use polymeric nanoparticles and data science to characterize changes in the brain microenvironment in an in vivo pediatric model of neuroinflammation. As a result of their work, Hugo received the Washington Research Foundation Fellowship for two consecutive years, contributed to two publications, and presented their work at the steps of the U.S. Capitol at the 2019 Posters on the Hill event. In addition to their work at UW, Hugo gained additional experience in the lab of Dr. Michael Wilson at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Hugo’s research at UCSF aimed to develop a novel CAAR-T regulatory cell therapy for patients with paraneoplastic neurologic disorders, a rare autoimmune disorder affecting the brain.

Upon graduating, Hugo intends to pursue a career in academia to merge their interests of research in translational immunology and mentorship of students from diverse backgrounds. With a systems biology approach, Hugo hopes to understand how immunometabolic reprogramming of T cells during infection affects patients with autoimmune disorders.

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Jacob Gordon-small

Jacob Gordon

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar

Entry Year: 2020
Degrees:

B.S. Biology, Appalachian State University, 2018

Mentors:

Dr. Robin Stanley (NIEHS) and
Prof. Alan Warren (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Ribosome assembly, Ribosomopathies, Molecular machines

Jacob Gordon, a native of Stokes County, North Carolina, graduated with university and departmental honors from Appalachian State University in 2018 with a B.S. in Biology. He conducted undergraduate research in the laboratory of Dr. Chishimba N. Mowa for three years. This research investigated the hypothesis that mechanical forces of the growing fetus on the female cervix direct mechano-sensitive cell signaling (mechanotransduction) in cervix tissue remodeling during pregnancy. Jacob’s published undergraduate work showed that certain mechano-sensitive molecules involved in cytoskeletal organization, tissue remodeling, and cell proliferation are dynamically expressed in murine cervix epithelia as pregnancy advances from early to late stages. These three years were formative in Jacob’s passion for research discovery and exploration in the context of human health and disease.

Upon concluding his undergraduate education, Jacob joined the NIH laboratory of Dr. Robin E. Stanley at the NIEHS in Research Triangle Park, NC as a Post-baccalaureate Fellow. For two years, he learned to pursue an integrative experimental approach utilizing biochemistry, structural biophysics, and molecular/cell biology to study pre-ribosomal RNA processing enzymes involved in building the eukaryotic ribosome. He contributed to two published works that uncovered the subcellular spatial regulation and functional catalytic motif elements of an essential pre-ribosomal RNA processing complex in eukaryotes, RNase-PNK. It was during these two years that Jacob became interested in the molecular machines that construct the ribosome, along with the mysterious class of diseases (known as ribosomopathies) that are associated with aberrant ribosome assembly/function in humans.

As an NIH Cambridge Scholar, Jacob is continuing his work on human molecular machines involved in ribosome assembly in the lab of Dr. Stanley at NIEHS. His co-mentor will be Professor Alan J. Warren at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, where Jacob will begin to study structural and functional mechanisms of mutant enzyme machinery identified in specific ribosomopathies. Jacob plans to ultimately pursue a career in academic medicine.   

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James Anibal

James Anibal

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2021
Degrees:

B.S. Computer Science, Case Western Reserve University, 2020

Mentors:

Dr. Bradford Wood (NCI) and 
Prof. David Clifton (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Precision medicine, Deep learning, Signal Processing

James Anibal attended Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) from 2016-2020, earning a B.S. in Computer Science. After his second year at CWRU, James began his research career at the National Cancer Institute under the mentorship of Dr. Grégoire Altan-Bonnet. His projects involved (I) developing machine learning algorithms for single-cell data analysis and (II) developing natural language processing (NLP) methods for biomedical text mining. From this research, James has published in Science and Journal of Clinical Investigation.  He has also published a biomedical question-answering system on the Hugging Face NLP platform. In summer 2021, James worked as a research scientist at Afiniti, a multinational company aiming to improve business outcomes through AI-driven pairing of agents and customers.  

Beyond research, James is passionate about improving access to STEM education. As an instructor for FAES@NIH, he designed multiple courses/workshops focusing on computer programming and machine learning. He also partnered with OITE to design a Python programming course for summer interns at NIH. Finally, James founded EAST, an organization of scientists and educators with the shared goal of creating STEM opportunities for underserved groups, particularly incarcerated individuals. EAST partners with outreach organizations and technology companies to make these resources available for a national audience. 

For his graduate studies, James plans to develop scalable deep learning methods for noisy data from devices such as wearables, sensors, and smartphones. His research will be applied in two primary areas: (I) personalized healthcare for low-resource settings and (II) minimally invasive surgical procedures.  He also plans to develop multimodal analysis methods to learn detailed insights from increasingly diverse data. Upon graduation from Oxford, James plans to build accessible, cost-effective systems for precision oncology.

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Jasmine Mack

Jasmine Mack

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar

Entry Year: 2021
Degrees:

B.S. Biology, Psychology, Linguistics, Emory University, 2014
MPH Maternal and Child Health, Boston University, 2016
MS Biostatistics, University of Michigan, 2021

Mentors:

Dr. Alison Motsinger-Reif (NIEHS) and
Prof. Gordon Smith (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Statistical genetics & genomics, Genetic & environmental epidemiology, Biostatistics & computational Biology

Jasmine graduated from Emory University with a B.S. in Biology and Psychology/Linguistics. As an undergraduate, she worked at the Clinical Virology Research Laboratory under the supervision of Dr. Colleen Kraft, learning the microbiological and immunological components of clinical and public health research.

Inspired by her lab experience, Jasmine attended Boston University to pursue a Master of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health and Biostatistics, where she developed a passion for integrating public health and statistics. During this time, she was a Maternal and Child Health Research Fellow working with Dr. Emily Rothman as an interventionist for adolescent dating violence perpetrators in the pediatric emergency department at Boston Medical Center. Jasmine also interned at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health performing the analytics of perinatal periods of risk for feto-infant mortality under the leadership of Dr. Hafsatou Diop.

After graduating with a degree in public health, Jasmine worked as a research statistician at the University of Florida Department of Epidemiology under Dr. Linda Cottler. She had the opportunity to lead a data team and mentor students, focusing on community engagement research needs in Florida.  She transitioned to the Department of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics where she supported data analytics for pediatrics research under Dr. Matthew Gurka. A number of publications were produced during this time.

Jasmine’s interests further developed in perinatal epidemiology and statistical genetics. She was selected as a NHGRI T32 predoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan, gaining a Master of Science in Biostatistics. As a fellow, she focused on genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of preterm birth and preeclampsia with Dr. Bhramar Mukherjee. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, research shifted to racial and ethnic disparities related to COVID-19 illness severity. She also explored methods of trans-ethnic GWAS of cardiometabolic traits in UK Biobank with Dr. Jean Morrison to increase ancestrally diverse participants represented in genetic studies. Following graduation, Jasmine was selected for an internship with Janssen/Johnson & Johnson focusing on modeling COVID-19 exposure during pregnancy.

Jasmine’s varied experiences in academia and industry as a biostatistician have fueled her desire to pursue a PhD to address health inequity. As an NIH Cambridge Scholar, her PhD research will delve into methods development in statistical genetics with focus on gene-environment interactions. Her work will be applied in maternal health research, exploring genetic and environmental contributions to adverse pregnancy outcomes across diverse populations.

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Jialil Zhang

Jiali Zhang

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2020
Degrees:

B.S. Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University

Mentors:

Dr. Kareem Zaghloul (NINDS)
and Prof. Tim Behrens (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Cognitive neuroscience, Artificial intelligence, Functional neurology

Jiali graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University in December 2019. Her interest in Computational Cognitive Neuroscience took shape over several diverse research experiences throughout her undergraduate career.

While participating in a rigorous biochemistry program at the University of Oxford her sophomore year, what began as a final project evolved into a cross-continental study of diabetes, stroke, and the development of dementia under the supervision Dr. Gina Hadley. This work cumulated in a couple of systematic reviews and prompted her long-term interest in applying research to functional neurological diseases. While at Oxford, Jiali was an executive board member of the Oxford AI Society, where she discovered her interest in the intersection of artificial and natural intelligence. Upon returning to Hopkins, she founded and chaired the Johns Hopkins AI Society, generating interdisciplinary discussion regarding AI applications in research, healthcare, and other industries among students and faculty. As a junior, she explored the use of AI in stroke research at the Brain Behavior Learning and Animation Lab, where she built a powerful computer to implement a deep learning algorithm that accurately tracks hand joint positions to study post-stroke rehabilitation. That following summer, she interned in Dr. Chris Baker’s Lab at the NIMH, where she studied human visual perception using artificial neural networks. This project earned the Provost’s Undergraduate Research Award, allowing her to continue it throughout her senior year at Hopkins.

As an NIH-Oxford Scholar, Jiali aims to use computational modeling and a combination of intracranial and neuroimaging brain data to explore how humans harness sparse information and previous experiences to efficiently navigate new environments. She plans to attend medical school after completing her D.Phil. to combine her research with clinical practice as a physician-scientist. She hopes to conduct research that will further our understanding of natural intelligence and improve AI technology, while pushing the frontier of AI in medicine in translating her research to better diagnose and treat functional neurological disorders.

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Jocelyne Rivera

Jocelyne Rivera

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2021
Degrees:

B.S. Biomedical Engineering, University of Arizona, 2021

Mentors:

Dr. Bradford Wood (NCI) and 
Prof. Eleanor Stride (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Immunotherapy, Targeted delivery systems, Translational cancer research

Jocelyne Rivera was born and raised in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. Jocelyne’s concern in global health disparities arose from my experience at age 17, when representatives of her high school in Mexico encouraged her to assist American physicians who were providing free medical services in a small municipality near her hometown. Assisting these doctors as an English/Spanish translator in a small town was an indelible experience that opened her eyes to the unmet medical needs of the Third World.

In 2016, she came to the United States to pursue college education. She started her journey at Pima Community College (PCC) and then transferred to the University of Arizona (UA) to major in Biomedical Engineering (BME). During her sophomore year at UA, she joined the BME laboratory of Dr. Philipp Gutruf to develop a wearable flexible biosensor that monitors the patient’s blood pressure and glucose levels, allowing for clinical decision-making at home, and thus reducing frequency of clinic visits. Jocelyne applied for and was selected as a trainee in Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC), a prestigious undergraduate research training program for underrepresented students funded by NIH. As a MARC trainee, she chose to work in the Biomaterials laboratory of Dr. Minkyu Kim. Jocelyne’s work in Dr. Kim’s lab involved the innovation of drug delivery systems that can be translated into the clinic to target and treat cardiovascular disease. Though she was accepted to a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at Johns Hopkins University for the summer of 2020, the pandemic made it impossible for her to gain in-person research experience. Fortunately, Jocelyne was able to apply for and was awarded a position in the Multi-Scale Systems Bioengineering “virtual” NSF REU program at the University of Virginia. To investigate the impact of network defects present in hydrogels, she innovated an agent-based model that measures mechanical properties of hydrogels based on crosslinking efficiency and rate of polymer network formation using an agent-based modeling software. Although the summer research program at UVA was completed, she initiated an interdisciplinary collaborative project between the laboratories of Drs. Kim and Peirce-Cottler.

Jocelyne graduated Summa Cum Laude from University of Arizona BS in Biomedical Engineering in May 2021. As an NIH-Oxford Scholar, Jocelyne intends to accelerate the development of accessible diagnostics, treatments, and cures for the most devastating diseases facing humanity.

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John Shannon

John Shannon

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar

Entry Year: 2018
Degrees:

B.S. Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, 2016

Mentors:

Dr. Heather Hickman (NIAID)
and Prof. Geoff Smith (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Immunology, Virology, Vaccinology

John graduated from the Honors Program at Colorado State University (CSU) in 2016 with a degree in Biomedical Sciences.  While at CSU, John worked three years in the laboratory of Dr. Claire Huang at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Colorado. His research focused on the study of candidate vaccines against dengue and West Nile viruses. He also performed research at CSU for a year in the laboratory of Dr. Rushika Perera examining dengue virus pathogenesis.

In addition, John spent a summer with Dr. James Crowe at the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center exploring nanodisc technologies as a therapeutic for respiratory syncytial virus infection. The following three summers he investigated antiviral immunity against influenza in humans in the lab of Dr. Paul Thomas at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. His work helped identify a novel genetic marker that detects patients at elevated risk for severe and potentially fatal influenza infections. 

Following graduation, John joined the laboratory of Dr. Heather Hickman in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as an NIH Postbaccalaureate Fellow. He developed a viral infection model of the oral mucosa to examine similarities and differences between the cutaneous and mucosal immune response following poxvirus infection. 

As an NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholar, John plans to explore immune mechanisms controlling or exacerbating viral infections. Upon completion of the Ox-Cam program, he aims for an academic career combining basic and translational research in viral immunology. 

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John Hancock

John Hancock

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2021
Degrees:

B.S., Brigham Young University, 2015
University of Utah Medical School (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Mark Gilbert (NCI) and
Prof. Richard Mair (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Brain tumors, Translational immunology, Neuroscience

John’s interest in biomedical research started in a high school biology class. The idea that complex processes such as DNA replication could be happening in cells that were invisible to the naked eye captivated his attention. This excitement continued to build while completing a degree in physiology and developmental biology in college and working in the immunology lab of Scott Weber, PhD at Brigham Young University. After graduating with honors, John spent a year and a half in the same lab working as a research staff and lab technician studying T cell receptor biology and T cell metabolism. His projects included using molecular biology to engineer high-affinity T cell receptors, flow cytometry to construct T cell chimeric antigen receptors, and the Seahorse bioenergetics machine to analyze the effect of metabolic protein knockouts on the mouse immune system. These efforts led to a publication in Frontiers in Immunology. Each of these projects had application within the field of cancer immunology and inspired continued study of the interactions between solid tumors and immune cells.

He then matriculated into medical school at the University of Utah with the desire to develop a more global picture of medicine and disease. After completing three years of medical school, he refined his clinical interest to neurosurgery, in part because of the wealth of research that has yet to be accomplished within the field of neuroscience. During this time, he also helped Norman Taylor, MD, PhD, transition his lab from Harvard University to his new facility at the University of Utah Department of Anesthesiology. The experience gave unique insight into building a new lab. The Taylor group focused on using optogenetics to study pain pathways in the brain, which solidified John’s path towards the neurological sciences.

In 2020 John was accepted into the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program and joined the lab of Mark Gilbert, MD at the National Cancer Institute. Considering his previous experiences with cancer immunology and interest in the neurosciences, the Gilbert lab’s translational immunology work developing immunotherapy approaches for glioblastoma was an excellent fit. What engaged John throughout his time at the NIH was the challenge of glioblastoma and he published a review on the subject in Frontiers in Oncology.

Moving forward, John’s goal is to become a surgeon-scientist as an academic neurosurgeon. He chose to work with Richard Mair, MD, PhD who is a brain tumor neurosurgeon at the University of Cambridge. His PhD project will study the interactions between glioblastoma, immune cells, and neurons to enhance understanding of the pathophysiology of the disease and identify novel treatments for brain tumor patients.

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Jonathan Liang

Jonathan Liang

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2017
Degrees:

B.S. Molecular Biophysics and M.S. in Biochemistry, Yale University, 2013
MPhil Computational Biology, University of Cambridge, 2014
Medical student at Yale School of Medicine (In Progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Iain Fraser (NIAID) and
Prof. Clare Bryant (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Innate immunity, Inflammation, Oxidative stress

Jonathan graduated summa cum laude from Yale University in 2013 with a joint B.S./M.S. degree in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry. His interest in immunity and systems biology began years earlier, though, when in his final year of high school he worked in the lab of Dr. O'Shea (NIH/NIAMS), helping to understand gene expression changes that drive helper T cell differentiation.

While at Yale, Jonathan explored diverse areas of molecular biology. He joined the laboratory of Dr. Ronald Breaker to study riboswitches, bacterial RNA structures that act as sensors of small molecules and, over two years, discovered and characterized a new riboswitch class. He also spent a summer at the Broad Institute's Cancer Program, implementing an algorithm to identify gene expression "signatures" in cancer cells related to mutation of the oncogene K-RAS. In part due to this research, he was recognized as a Goldwater Scholar in 2012.

After graduating, Jonathan spent a year as a Churchill Scholar in the Computational Biology MPhil course at the University of Cambridge, gaining further experience with computational methods and their applications in the study of genome regulation. He then returned to Yale to begin clinical training, developing a particular interest in pediatrics.

As an NIH-Cambridge Scholar, Jonathan will return to his first interest in immunology, investigating the molecular machinery that allows macrophages to respond to inflammatory stimuli by producing cytokines. He is particularly interested in studying the role of macrophages in responding to non-traditional inflammatory stimuli, such as intracellular pathogens and metabolic dysregulation.

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Jyothi Purushotham

Jyothi Purushotham

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2017
Degrees:

B.S. Molecular Genetics, University of Rochester, 2013
MSc International Health & Tropical Medicine, University of Oxford, 2017

Mentors:

Dr. Vincent Munster (NIAID-RML)
and Prof. Sarah Gilbert (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Infectious disease, Vaccine development, Immunology 

In 2013, Jyothi graduated summa cum laude from the University of Rochester with a BS in Molecular Genetics and a minor in Anthropology. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to conduct research at the L V Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India. In partnership with Dr. Virender Sangwan and Dr. Indumathi Mariappan, she developed a protocol to apply mesenchymal stem cells from the corneal limbal stroma towards the treatment of ocular surface injuries and corneal scarring. Jyothi’s efforts resulted in two co-authored publications, and the protocol is undergoing testing in a phase II clinical trial. 

Subsequently, Jyothi joined a population health research team led by Dr. Rajeev Ramchandran at the University of Rochester. There, she created a web-based educational tool that offered personalized diabetes-management recommendations to members of the low-income community. Jyothi also designed and led a pilot study to measure health behavior change amongst users. 

Integrating her passion for biology and global health, Jyothi began studies towards an MSc in International Health & Tropical Medicine at the University of Oxford in 2015, through a Clarendon Scholarship. Jyothi’s dissertation research—carried out under the mentorship of Dr. Sarah Gilbert—focused on enhancing the large-scale production capacity of the Modified Vaccinia Ankara viral vaccine vector for clinical use, using recombination-mediated genetic engineering to create mutants with improved yield, growth characteristics, and immunogenicity. 

Jyothi hopes to continue investigating safe and efficacious vaccine approaches against infectious diseases endemic to low-resource settings as a doctoral student and in the long term.

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Katherine Masih

Katherine Masih

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2019
Degrees:

B.S. Biology, University of Miami, 2015
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (In progress)
University of Miami, M.S., Genomic Medicine (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Javed Khan (NCI) and 
Prof. Richard Gilbertson (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Cancer genomics, Tumor heterogeneity and evolution, Resistance mechanisms

Katherine graduated with honors from the University of Miami in 2015 with a B.S. in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Religious Studies, where she was a student in the Advanced Program for Integrated Science and Math (PRISM), an interdisciplinary, research focused program for top STEM students. As an undergraduate, she worked with Dr. Athula Wikramanayake, investigating the role and localization of Wnt signaling components during early embryonic development. She spent two summers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Dr. Charles Mullighan’s laboratory, where she examined genomic alterations in acute erythroid leukemia, a rare blood cancer with a dismal outcome. This experience ignited her passion for understanding mechanisms underlying malignancies and solidified her drive to become a physician-scientist.

Katherine matriculated at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine concurrently pursuing a M.D. and M.S. in Genomic Medicine. She continued to be fascinated by the genetic underpinnings of human disease and worked with Dr. Mustafa Tekin and Dr. Maria Figueroa studying, respectively, autosomal recessive etiologies of intellectual disability and epigenetic changes in the bone marrow leading to malignancy. After completing her third year, she was selected for a Doris Duke Charitable Foundation funded position in the NIH’s Medical Research Scholars Program, during which she worked with Dr. Javed Khan, elucidating resistance mechanisms to CD19 CAR T cell therapy in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

For her thesis work, Katherine will be researching under the tutelage of Dr. Javed Khan and Prof. Richard Gilbertson using high throughput omic analyses to understand clonal evolution, immune microenvironment, and treatment resistance in pediatric malignancies. After completing her graduate and medical schooling, she will pursue clinical training in pediatric hematology-oncology. She hopes to utilize genomics to gain insight into the mechanisms driving these tumors and translate these discoveries into novel therapeutic strategies for children with cancer.

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Keitra Thompson

Keitra Thompson

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2021
Degrees:

B.A., Emory University, 2013
BSN, Johns Hopkins University, 2014
MSN, John Hopkins University, 2017
DNP, Johns Hopkins University, 2019
MHS, Yale University, 2021

Mentors:

Dr. Tiffany Powell-Wiley (NHLBI)
and Dr. Jane Hirst (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Maternal and reproductive health disparities, Translational science, Community-engaged research

Keitra developed a passion for community-engaged research during her undergraduate matriculation at Emory University, graduating with a high honors from the Department of Anthropology with a co-minor in Women’s Studies and Global Health. She then pursued advanced studies in nursing at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing to gain a deeper understanding of the biopsychosocial predictors of health and necessary interventions of care. Throughout nursing school Keitra served as the project coordinator for research studies focused on community and faith-based interventions to reduce the incidence of HIV in urban African American communities and as student doula to support childbearing families in Baltimore, MD. Her Doctorate of Nursing Practice capstone project focused on increasing accessing to trauma-informed family planning and reproductive health services for women with substance use disorders. She was chosen as part of the 2018 inaugural cohort of  “Emerging Scholars in Family Planning” by the Society of Family Planning for her capstone project and also named a “120 under 40” leader in Family Planning by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Prior to beginning the NIH OxCam Scholars Program, Keitra completed the highly selective National Clinician Scholars Program as a post-doctoral fellow and VA Scholar at Yale School of Medicine. During the two year program, she had the fortune of advancing her knowledge of health services research and served as the PI of multiple studies utilizing mixed method data collection, primary and secondary data analysis, and program evaluation.  As a dually board-certified family and psychiatric nurse practitioner Keitra provides primary health care services to patients across the life span in community health settings. She ultimately strives to combine her clinical insights with research to address health disparities across the lifespan in local and global contexts.

As an NIH OxCam Scholar, Keitra plans to explore geospatial and cardiometabolic indicators of women’s health across the lifespan in community and global settings in relation to maternal health outcomes using tenets of mHealth, translational science, epidemiology, and reproductive justice. She ultimately hopes to contribute to an understanding of disparities in maternal morbidity and mortality amongst marginalized populations in the U.S. and abroad and develop effective interventions that advance and protect the health of women and children in under-resourced communities.

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Kelsey Lowman

Kelsey Lowman

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar

Entry Year: 2021
Degrees:

B.S. Microbiology, University of Alabama, 2017
M.S. Biology, University of Alabama, 2018

Mentors:

Dr. Leah Katzelnick (NIAID) and 
Prof. Jonathan Heeney (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Viral immunology, Cell biology, Emerging infectious diseases

Kelsey is originally from the metro-Atlanta area, where the presence of the CDC acted as a constant, peripheral reminder for the importance of disease research throughout her childhood. For her undergraduate education, she attended the University of Alabama (UA). Hoping to better understand disease research, she joined Dr. Laura Reed’s population genetics lab during her freshman year. The lab’s research focused on the genetic and environmental interactions that underlie metabolic diseases, and her early work there centered around the interactions that exist between diet and genotype. By the end of her sophomore year, she knew she wanted to pursue disease research for her career. In pursuit of that, she joined UA’s Accelerated Master’s Program and began her thesis research. Over the next 2.5 years, Kelsey worked to complete her undergraduate degree alongside her thesis research project to graduate from the University of Alabama with her B.S in Microbiology and her M.S. in Biology. Her thesis work focused on establishing a method and protocol for exercising fruit flies in the lab, which enabled her to study how exercise, diet, sex, and genotype interact together to influence the variation in metabolic disease states seen across populations. Towards the end of her master’s, Kelsey realized that while she loved disease research, the diseases she was most passionate about were infectious ones.

After graduation, Kelsey started a position as a Research Assistant in Dr. Olaf Kutsch’s lab at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) with the goal of transitioning into infectious disease research. The main research focus of the lab was to uncover molecular mechanisms of HIV-1 latency, but often work branched into a variety of other topics. Kelsey’s primary work centered around exploring the role of the tetraspanin CD151 in cancer and T-cell biology, but she was also actively involved in research concerning HIV reactivation and SARS-CoV-2 infection. Her work at UAB introduced her to a variety of immune diseases and pathogens, which solidified her choice to pursue infection disease research. This led her join the NIH OxCam Program for her PhD training. As an NIH-Cambridge scholar, under the co-mentorship of Dr. Leah Katzelnick (NIAID) at the NIH and Dr. Jonathan Heeney in the Department of Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge, Kelsey will explore the importance of re-exposure in maintaining enduring, protective immunity to dengue infection. Upon graduation, Kelsey hopes to continue to pursue a career in viral immunology research and one day establish her own lab researching the interplay between viruses and host immunity. 

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Kritika Singh

Kritika Singh

Scholar Type:

NIH Rhodes Scholar

Entry Year: 2020
Degrees:

B.S. Bioengineering,
Northeastern University, 2020

Mentors:

Dr. John Schiller (NCI), Prof. Eleanor Stride (Oxford),
Prof. Udo Oppermann (Oxford), and Dr. Ralph Mazitschek (Harvard)

Research Interest:

Chemical biology, Bioengineering, Immuno-oncology

Kritika’s passion for biomedical research started in high school during an internship at Acetylon Pharmaceuticals where she worked on epigenetics and malaria. This drove Kritika to pursue additional research experiences at the Wirth Lab at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and the Long Lab at the NIAID. Her research experiences in high school also inspired her to found a non-profit, Malaria Free World, which engages in national and international peer-to-peer education on infectious diseases.
 
In 2020, Kritika graduated summa cum laude from Northeastern University BS in Bioengineering and a minor in chemistry. She attended Northeastern as a University Scholar, member of the Honors Department, and a Presidential Scholar. She furthered her passional for translational research and spent 4 years in the lab of Ralph Mazitschek at Massachusetts General Hospital working on malaria, epigenetics, and platform development. Throughout undergrad, she also developed her passion for connecting the bench and the bedside by shadowing physician-scientist, Dr. Ken Anderson at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. At Northeastern, she founded the Northeastern University Global Health Initiative (NUGHI) which organizes and develops novel content for an annual, international and interdisciplinary student-led global health conference while connecting students, faculty, and experts.
 
A recipient of the Rhodes, Truman, and Goldwater Scholarships, Kritika understands that science alone will not eradicate disease. She aims to integrate biomedical research, clinical practice, and global health policy in her career and is excited to pursue her PhD at the intersection of bioengineering, chemical biology, and immuno-oncology. Her goal is to develop technologies and therapies that can be widely adapted in high- and low-resource settings.

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Lauren Wedekind

Lauren Wedekind

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2018
Degrees:

B.A. Human Biology, Stanford University, 2016
MSc Public Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 2017

Mentors:

Dr. Robert Hanson (NIDDK), 
Prof. Mark McCarthy (Oxford)
and Prof. Anubha Mahajan (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Genetics & epigenetics, Genomics, Cardiometabolic health

Lauren's high school research on gestational diabetes with mentor Dr. Louiza Belkacemi sparked her enduring interest in the global epidemic of cardiometabolic diseases. Especially committed to deepening understandings of diabetes across diverse populations, she has co-authored articles on gene expression, genetic associations and health outcomes, and served in community health advocacy. Upon Lauren's graduation in 2016, Stanford recognized her with the Deans' Award for Academic Achievement and John W. Lyons Award for Service, for her contributions to the university and broader communities. 

During her public health training, Lauren orchestrated a jointly-mentored thesis investigating gene-environment interactions in a 200,000-person cohort within UK Biobank, with respect to diabetes status. She planned and executed the study with the mentorship of London-based health equity researcher Dr. Rohini Mathur, and Oxford-based diabetes genetics and genomics researchers Dr. Anubha Mahajan and Professor Mark McCarthy. Lauren then worked as an Intramural Research Trainee with Dr. Robert Hanson at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center-based NIDDK Branch, investigating genetic associations with physiological traits in Southwestern Native American patients. She is grateful to continue her diabetes research with a team of mentors also dedicated to the interface of genetics, epigenetics, genomics and population health.

These learning opportunities--motivated by longtime interests in cardiometabolic health and science communication--have deepened Lauren's commitment to promoting bench-to-bedside medicine across diverse populations. In the coming years, she looks forward to investigating how genetic and environmental diversity jointly influence cardiometabolic disease etiology, to ultimately shape prevention and treatment strategies.

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Lawrence Wang

Lawrence Wang

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2018
Degrees:

B.A. Chemistry, Haverford College, 2014
Medical student at University of California, San Diego (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Bob Seder (NIAID-VRC)
and Prof. Simon Draper (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Infectious diseases, Immunology, Vaccine development

Lawrence first appreciated the noxious synergy between poverty and pathogens in a class on public health at Haverford College, which kindled his aspiration to become a physician and address health inequalities. Lawrence completed his undergraduate research thesis in the lab of Dr. Iruka Okeke at Haverford, studying virulence factors and antimicrobial peptides produced by diarrheagenic E. coli. He also helped develop diagnostic assays to detect drug resistance mutations in Hepatitis C virus with Dr. Adele McCormick during a semester abroad at University College London. After college, Lawrence completed a post-baccalaureate fellowship in the lab of Dr. Mark Connors at the National Institutes of Health, where he studied the cytotoxic T cell response to HIV infection in vaccine recipients and in rare patients whose immune systems can control HIV. Lawrence continued his research efforts as a medical student at UC San Diego, where he studied malaria genetics in the lab of Dr. Elizabeth Winzeler and the spatial epidemiology of antimalarial drug distribution in Uganda with Dr. Ross Boyce. Lawrence’s mentors and role models have inspired him to further refine his aspirations to becoming a physician-scientist who develops vaccines for infectious diseases. As an OxCam scholar, Lawrence plans to work on malaria vaccine development under the tutelage of Dr. Robert Seder at the NIH Vaccine Research Center and Dr. Simon Draper at Oxford’s Jenner Institute.

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Madeline Epping

Madeline Epping

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2018
Degrees:

B.A. Biology, Carleton College, 2013
Medical student at University of Minnesota (In progress) 

Mentors:

Dr. Pam Schwartzberg (NIAID),
Prof. Ken Smith (Cambridge)
and Prof. Paul Lyons (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Immunology, Cell signaling, Genetics

Madeline graduated with Distinction and Honors from Carleton College with a B.A. in Biology. During this time, she explored the molecular basis of sexually dimorphic coloration and behavioral traits in lizards under the supervision of Dr. Matt Rand and completed her Senior Integrative Exercise on cellular stress response in type 2 diabetes with Dr. John Tymoczko, for which she was awarded Distinction. 

Long interested in medicine, she sought to gain exposure to translational research and spent three years as a post-baccalaureate IRTA fellow in the lab of Dr. Charles Venditti at the National Human Genome Research Institute. There, she studied the pathophysiology underlying methylmalonic acidemia, an inborn error of metabolism, as well as developed novel biomarkers and gene therapies for the disorder. 

This time at the NIH cemented her desire to pursue a career as a physician scientist and she chose to join the University of Minnesota Medical Scientist Training Program, where she has completed her preclinical coursework at this time. Her scientific interests now focus on cellular processes and signaling within the context of immunologically-mediated disorders. As an NIH Cambridge Scholar, she will investigate the role of CD8+ T cell signatures in clinical outcomes of primary immunodeficiencies and T cell exhaustion. 

Beyond the lab, she desires to use medicine and healthcare systems as tools to promote social justice, particularly within the framework of global health. She completed a NIH Academy Fellowship, focusing on health disparities in the DC area, and a Walter H. Judd International Graduate & Professional Fellowship examining pediatric infectious disease management in low-resource settings within Uganda.

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Mario Shammas

Mario Shammas

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2019
Degrees:

B.S. Neuroscience, University of Michigan, 2016
Medical student at University of Chicago (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Derek Narendra (NINDS) and 
Prof. Patrick Chinnery (Cambridge) 

Research Interest:

Neurodegeneration, Mitochondria, Genetics

Born in Iraq and raised in Oman, Mario developed a love for science during his time at Al-Ibdaa International School in Muscat. He came to America at the age of fifteen, and at Henry Ford II High School he promised his AP Government teacher – who had Parkinson’s – that he would cure the disease. To that end, he studied neuroscience at the University of Michigan Honors College. In 2014, Mario joined the lab of Prof. Robert Kennedy and worked with Dr. Omar Mabrouk to understand changes in brain chemistry during Parkinson’s disease treatments. Using in vivo microdialysis followed by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and mass spectrometry (MS), he helped characterize changes in the levels of over 25 different neurotransmitters and molecules following L-DOPA administration or deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the brains of rats subjected to 6-hydroxydopamine lesions (a model for Parkinson’s). The following year, under the supervision of Prof. Alexander Zestos, he worked on his honors thesis showing a neuroprotective effect of sodium benzoate with lower levels of L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia in the 6-hydroxydopamine rat model.

During his last year at the University of Michigan, Mario designed and taught a short course offered to freshmen in the Honors College. The course examined the mystery and wonder of neurological diseases and discussed recent advances in neuroscience that have led to better treatments. Mario graduated magna cum laude from the University of Michigan in 2016. Later that year, through the International Program for the Advancement of Neurotechnology (IPAN), Mario studied multi-sensory integration with Dr. Malte Bieler in the lab of Prof. Ileana Hanganu-Opatz at the Centre for Molecular Neurobiology in Hamburg, Germany. There, he helped show that anatomical connections exist between visual and tactile pathways in the brain, and that the somatosensory cortex is involved in integrating tactile as well as visual information.

In 2017, Mario began his medical studies at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He completed two years of medical school and is now working with Dr. Derek Narendra (NINDS) and Prof. Patrick Chinnery (Mitochondrial Biology Unit) to understand the mechanism by which mutations in the proteins CHCHD2 and CHCHD10 lead to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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Marya Sabir

Marya Sabir

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2019
Degrees:

B.S. Honors Biochemistry, Arizona State University, 2015

Mentors:

Dr. William A. Gahl (NHGRI) and 
Prof. Frances M. Platt (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Rare diseases, Genetics/genomics, Neurodegeneration

Marya graduated from Arizona State University with a B.S. in biochemistry. As a rising freshman, she became involved in hypothesis-driven research in Dr. Peter Jurutka’s molecular endocrinology laboratory. Her main focus was to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying putative vitamin D-vitamin D receptor signaling modulators, in addition to using in vitro techniques to demonstrate the influence of vitamin D in serotonin biosynthesis, reuptake, and catabolism. Next, she was extended a summer internship opportunity in Dr. David Azorsa’s pediatric cancer laboratory as a TGen Helios Scholar. The specific aim of her investigation was to examine the application of high-throughput functional screening as an assay platform for the efficient and rapid analysis of drug sensitivities and resistance in a panel of Ewing's sarcoma lines.

After graduating, she was accepted as an Ivy Neurological Science Scholar at TGen in Dr. Michael Berens’ and Dr. Nhan Tran’s CNS Tumor laboratory studying mechanisms of glioblastoma invasion. Then, to become more involved at the intersection of healthcare and education, as an AmeriCorps VISTA at a public, safety-net hospital, she served as a health literacy educator for at-risk, justice-involved populations. At the hospital, she also frequently observed in the Emergency Department leading to a collaboration with Dr. Murtaza Akhter in which she was able to conduct clinical research in the form of retrospective chart reviews. Finally, she was a NIH postbac IRTA fellow in Dr. Sonja Scholz’s laboratory investigating the genetic etiology of atypical parkinsonism syndromes. She has worked on several, large international whole-genome sequencing studies. Further, during her time as an IRTA, she was also selected as a NIH Academy Fellow.

As an OxCam scholar and student in the Undiagnosed Diseases Program, she hopes to meaningfully contribute to improving diagnosis and treatment options for patients suffering with rare diseases, with a specific focus on neurodegenerative conditions. She plans on attending medical school after completion of her doctoral studies.

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Matthew Mulé

Matthew Mulé

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2018
Degrees:

B.S. Biology, Tufts University, 2014
Medical student at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. John Tsang (NIAID) and 
Prof. Ken Smith (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Computational systems biology, Immunology

Matt is an MD-PhD student in UNC Chapel Hill’s Medical Scientist Training Program. Prior to medical school, Matt worked at NIH under the mentorship of Dr. Christopher Hourigan to develop biomarkers of residual disease and immunotherapy response for Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). He would publish his main project (PMID: 27544285) which involved residual disease detection in the setting of autologous bone marrow transplantation. Matt went on to translate this research into the clinic by developing a PCR-based diagnostic test which served as the endpoint of a clinical trial at NIH.

Matt graduated cum laude from Tufts University in 2014, earning Highest Thesis Honors for two years of work in Dr. Andrew Camilli’s lab. He traces his interest in immunology to time spent in the Camilli lab working with a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Mara Shainheit. Together they would reveal mechanisms by which pneumococcus evades host immunity by regulating its anti-phagocytic capsule (PMID: 26111465). He also researched Actinomyces with Dr. Lori Bergeron at New England College (PMID: 26685151). He was awarded the Nathan T. Gantcher Scholarship and an INBRE Fellowship as an undergraduate and was awarded the University Cancer Research Fund Scholarship from UNC in 2017. Matt is focused on understanding the dynamics of human immunopathology by integrating time series data across different omic platforms to build diagnostic tools and understand the biology behind clinical outcomes in autoimmune disease, infection and cancer. 

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Matthew Berns

Matthew Berns

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2021
Degrees:

B.S. Biology & Geology, University of Cincinnati, 2015
Medical Student at Ohio University (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. William J. Pavan (NHGRI),
Prof. Pedro Moura Alves (Oxford),
and Prof. Colin Goding (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Genetics, Developmental biology, Cancer biology

Matthew is from Westerville, OH, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2015. As an undergraduate he conducted research in the lab of Dr. Bruce Jayne. His research focused on the interaction of arboreal snakes with their environment, where it was shown that body shape and surface features (e.g. roughness and incline) have immense impact on modality and speed of locomotion across species.

After college, Matthew pursued further research in the lab of Dr. James Wells at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He studied neural crest biology in the context of enteric nervous system formation of the murine and human foregut. He developed a passion for the neural crest, or so called “4th germ layer”, which is a remarkable embryonic cell type that gives rise to a vast array of terminally differentiated cells and tissues – including chondrocytes, bone, neurons, Schwann cells, chromaffin cells of the adrenal medulla, and melanocytes.

As a medical student at Ohio University, Matthew sought out further research experience through the NIH Medical Research Scholars Program. He joined the lab of Dr. William J. Pavan, with whom he will continue his doctoral studies along with Drs. Pedro Moura Alves and Colin Goding at Oxford. His work will focus on the factors regulating melanin production and how aberrations in these pathways can lead to and/or exacerbate the course of melanoma. Upon completion of his doctoral studies, Matthew plans to become a pediatric geneticist with a focus on rare disease medicine. He aims to model neurocristopathies with the goal of developing novel clinical treatment modalities.

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Mehdi Seif Hamouda

Mehdi Seif Hamouda

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar

Entry Year: 2018
Degrees:

B.S. Biomedical Engineering, North Carolina State University, 2016

Mentors:

Dr. Clare Waterman (NHLBI) and 
Prof. Kevin Chalut (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Stem cell biology, Biophysics, Tissue engineering

Mehdi graduated Summa Cum Laude from North Carolina State University with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Physics. His lifelong concern of the negative health effects that astronauts face during space flight burgeoned into a fascination of how forces affect cell development and function. As an undergraduate, Mehdi joined Dr. Elizabeth Loboa’s Cell Mechanics Laboratory at NCSU and investigated the mechanosensitivity of human adipose derived stem cells. Specifically, Mehdi worked on identifying the primary cilia to be a critical sensor that detects mechanical and electrical signals which direct adult stem cell differentiation. From this experience, Mehdi co-authored on two publications and won several undergraduate research awards.

After graduating from NCSU, Mehdi received the NIH Intramural Research Training Award and joined Dr. Daniel Douek’s Human Immunology lab at the Vaccine Research Center. Here, Mehdi contributed to developing a novel microfluidic based system with the goal of enabling the high throughput sorting of the latent reservoir of HIV. 

After his year long experience at the VRC, Mehdi won the Whitaker International Fellowship which funded a year of research in Dr. Kevin Chalut’s Stem Cell Biophysics lab at the University of Cambridge, Stem Cell Institute. Here, Mehdi is investigating the role of forces in directing embryonic stem cell differentiation, specificity focusing on the mechanosensitivity of the nucleus. 

Mehdi is driven to strengthen the understanding of how forces affect cell behavior, in hopes to gain insight of relevant disease states such as Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy and progeria or health concerns such as the rapid tissue degeneration of astronauts in microgravity. Mehdi also hopes to gain better control of stem cell differentiation to ultimately develop novel tissue engineering and stem cell based therapy. 

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Michael Metrick

Michael Metrick

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2017
Degrees:

B.S. Chemistry and Biotechnology,
James Madison University, 2013
Medical student at University of Illinois - Chicago (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Byron Caughey (NIAID-RML) and
Prof. Michele Vendruscolo (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Neurodegeneration, Protein misfolding, Biophysics

Michael began his research career as a junior wandering into the lab of Gina MacDonald at James Madison University. What initially began as a means of filling out a requirement to graduate with honors quickly evolved into curiosity about the fundamentals of how proteins fold and misfold. He and Gina were interested in a simple question, how the enigmatic Hofmeister series of anions and cations affects the folding and misfolding of model proteins myoglobin and lysozyme, and what makes the protein RecA adopt an inverse Hofmeister stabilization profile. To investigate this, they used many biophysical and spectroscopic techniques focused around thermal unfolding of the proteins in various salt environments.

Upon graduating and completing my thesis, Michael was awarded the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence in Chemistry, the Excellence in Biotechnology Award, the Margaret A. Gordon Memorial Scholarship, and the Frank A. Palocsay Award in Undergraduate Chemistry Research. His time at JMU prepared him for a brief postbaccalaureate IRTA in Peter Schuck’s lab at NIBIB where I studied protein-protein interactions with analytical ultracentrifugation. Outside of academics and studying, he’s an avid reader of political news, local concert-goer, chicago-explorer, runner, and swimmer.

As an NIH Cambridge scholar, he plans to explore mechanisms prion disease propagation and how the physiological microenvironment interacts with misfolded aggregates in the brain.

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Michael Fernandopulle

Michael Fernandopulle

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2016
Degrees:

Sc.B. Chemical Biology, Brown University, 2014
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Michael Ward (NINDS) and
Prof. Peter St George-Hyslop (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Epigenetics, Developmental biology, Neuroscience

Michael was born and raised in Oak Park, IL, and attended college at Brown University, where he graduated magna cum laude in Chemical Biology. He pursued his first research experience as an HHMI scholar studying pollen tube development in the laboratories of Dr. Alison DeLong and Dr. Mark Johnson. As a Royce Fellow, he worked with Dr. Jason Sello to decipher the role of the bacterial Pup-proteasome system in the secondary metabolism of Streptomyces, producers of two-thirds of all clinically used antibiotics. This work was featured in The Journal of Bacteriology. Outside of the laboratory, he worked to promote science education through Brown Science Prep, a weekly enrichment program for Rhode Island high school students. He also served as a screenwriter for the Brown SciToons project, an initiative designed to improve scientific literacy through animated videos on topics of public interest. 

After graduation, Michael matriculated to the MSTP at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. There, he transitioned to stem cell epigenetics, working with Dr. Ali Shilatifard to identify new epigenetic regulators of pluripotency, and Dr. Evangelos Kiskinis to develop genetic reporters for neuronal differentiation from iPSCs. He also taught health lessons to detainees at the county jail, and administered a medical internship program for high school students.

For his doctoral research, Michael aims to investigate the basic phenomenon of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, while exploring its translational implications in selective neurodegeneration. Ultimately, he hopes to pursue neurology as a physician-scientist, contributing to both novel basic insights and direct patient care.

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Mihael Cudic

Mihael Cudic

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2018
Degrees:

B.S. Electrical Engineering, University of Florida, 2018

Mentors:

Dr. Jeff Diamond (NINDS) 
and Prof. Alison Noble (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Neuroscience, Artificial intelligence, Computer vision

As an undergraduate at the University of Florida (UF), Mihael studied differential mathematical modeling for two summers at the University of Cambridge, UK under the supervision of Professor Christopher Gilligan, CBE. His research in Professor Gilligan’s group involved developing statistical models for coffee leaf rust and A. flavus spread in hopes of mitigating their harmful effects. In addition to his engineering coursework at UF, he volunteered in the Computational NeuroEngineering Laboratory led by Professor Jose Principe. Under his supervision, Mihael incorporated focus of attention to better solve visual question answering tasks and developed a recurrent kernel machine for small-sample image classification. Mihael gained additional experience in machine learning while interning in Dr. Stephen Nuske’s group at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) during his final summer. Mihael's research at CMU aimed to correlate image data of in-situ Sorghum bicolor plants to their respective genotype for the first time, allowing for rapid genotype prediction. Through all his research experiences, he contributed to 7 publications, 5 of which he is the first author, and received recognition from UF through the University Scholars Program and the U.S. government through the Barry Goldwater Scholarship. He also received recognition as UF’s Outstanding 4-year Scholar for his academic and extracurricular achievements.

Upon graduating, he intends to apply for a faculty position at an academic institution to teach and conduct research in the AI field. By combining both mathematics and biology, Mihael strives to use advanced computational techniques to better understand the transfer and encoding of information in the brain.

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Neha Wali

Neha Wali

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2020
Degrees:

B.S. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2018
Long School of Medicine, University of Texas Health San Antonio (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Curtis Harris (NCI)
and Prof. Xin Lu (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Tumor immunology, Immunotherapy, Cancer genomics

After Neha graduated from high school and partook in initial scientific research, she pursued additional laboratory experiences as an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). In research rotations at the National Cancer Institute, UMBC, and at the Johns Hopkins University, Neha engaged in a range of projects that examined tumor immunology and cancer genomics in the context of immunotherapy clinical efficacy, which further strengthened her passion for these fields. Neha realized that a dual-degree program would therefore be the best option to weld her strong interests in science and medicine. After she graduated summa cum laude from UMBC, Neha was selected in the South Texas Medical Scientist Training Program in San Antonio as an M.D./Ph.D. student. After she completed her second year of medical school, Neha was accepted into the OxCam program. In her graduate studies between the NCI and Oxford, Neha will now elucidate the implications of p53 isoforms on immune cells and immunotherapy in esophageal cancer.

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Nicholas Pasternack

Nicholas Pasternack

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2019
Degrees:

B.S. Psychology, University of Florida, 2016
MSc Neuroscience, University of Oxford, 2017
VCU School of Medicine (in progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Avindra Nath (NINDS) and
Prof. Ole Paulsen (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Neuroscience, Neurodegeneration, Neurovirology

Nick first decided to pursue medicine and neuroscience when he was a high school student in Sarasota, Florida. He attended a lecture at his local hospital where a neurosurgeon demonstrated how deep brain stimulation (DBS) was used to treat a Parkinson’s disease (PD) patient. Witnessing the instantaneous cessation of the patient’s resting tremor upon activation of the stimulator left a lasting impression on Nick and convinced him to pursue medicine and neuroscience research as an undergraduate at the University of Florida (UF) Honors Program. The summer before his first year at UF, Nick secured a research position at the McKnight Brain Institute (MBI) at UF. Nick worked with Dr. Florian Siebzehnrubl and Dr. Loic Deleyrolle in the Department of Neurosurgery where he studied glioblastoma, the most common and lethal form of brain cancer. Nick’s research on glioblastoma developed into his senior thesis project where he demonstrated that glioblastoma cells expressing the transcription factor Zeb1 preferentially form a compartment of glioblastoma cells that rebound from radiation therapy. Nick’s thesis project unanimously received Highest Honors by his Thesis Committee, and he graduated Summa Cum Laude from UF. After graduating from UF, Nick was selected to be a Frost Scholar to complete his MSc in neuroscience at Exeter College, University of Oxford. During this time, Nick completed two theses: for the first, Nick worked with Dr. Tommas Ellender in the Department of Pharmacology and uncovered the importance of a specific neural progenitor cell in determining the neural circuitry of the basal ganglia, a brain region involved in motor function. For the second, Nick worked with Prof. Stephanie Cragg in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics and determined that deficits in dopamine neurotransmission could be seen more than a year before motor impairments and cell death in a mouse model of PD.

Nick’s long term career goal is to become a physician-scientist specializing in treating patients with neurodegenerative diseases in the clinic and developing novel treatments to stop the process of neurodegeneration in the lab. Towards this goal, Nick has completed his second year of medical school at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine and is looking forward to starting his PhD at the University of Cambridge as an NIH Cambridge Trust Scholar. The focus of his thesis project will be on understanding virally-mediated origins of neurodegeneration in an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) mouse model.

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Nicole Mihelson

Nicole Mihelson

Scholar Type:

NIH Rhodes Scholar

Entry Year: 2017
Degrees:

B.S. Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University, 2016

Mentors:

Dr. Dorian McGavern (NINDS) and
Prof. Fiona Powrie (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Cancer biology, Immuno-oncology, Virotherapy

Nicole Mihelson graduated from Johns Hopkins University in December 2016 with a degree in Neuroscience. She attended Hopkins on the Hodson Trust Merit Scholarship. In her first year, she sought out research opportunities with Dr. John Laterra, the co-director of the Johns Hopkins Brain Cancer Program. Under his mentorship, Nicole researched the cellular networks that drive the expression of stem cell-like phenotypes in Glioblastoma multiforme. In addition, Nicole sought out opportunities to train under public health scientist, Dr. Sara Johnson, researching the social determinants of maternal mental well-being and child health outcomes. This work on both fronts led to several research awards, national presentations and peer-reviewed journal publications. Outside of her research, Nicole volunteered extensively in the Baltimore community, focusing specifically on STEM and health education in public elementary schools. In addition, Nicole chaired the largest student-run organization at Hopkins, the Milton S. Eisenhower Speaker Symposium. In this role, she showcased some of today’s most challenging perspectives and sparked campus-wide debates around issues at the forefront of the nation’s conscience. In her junior year, Nicole was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and named a Goldwater Scholar. Subsequently, she was recognized as a Marshall Scholar-Elect and Rhodes Scholar to pursue doctoral studies at the University of Oxford. Since graduating from Johns Hopkins, Nicole has worked at Bridgewater Associates, a global macroeconomic hedge fund, and Vida Ventures, a Boston-based venture capital firm focused on breakthrough companies in the life sciences. Upon completion of her DPhil, Nicole plans to attend medical school. Ultimately, she aims to lead a laboratory at an academic hospital and develop effective therapeutics for neurological cancers that both extend life expectancy and improve patients’ quality of life.

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Olive Jung

Olive Jung

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2019
Degrees:

B.A. Chemistry, Northwestern University, 2015
Case Western Reserve University (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Marc Ferrer (NCATS), Prof. Frances Platt (Oxford),
and Prof. Eleanor Stride (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Microfluidics, Blood-brain barrier, Neurology

Olive first came to love science and research when she was tasked with running a thin-layered chromatography (TLC) for dissolved acetaminophen as part of a high school project. The then-fascination she developed with medicinal chemistry led her to working with Dr. Richard B. Silverman at Northwestern University, where she was given an independent research project that would continue on for the remainder of her undergraduate career. The project involved designing and synthesizing a transition-state inhibitor of the mevalonate pathway in Streptococcus pneumoniae, a pathogen responsible for pneumonia, meningitis and otitis media in humans.  After receiving her BA in chemistry, Olive went on to work with Dr. Ellen Sidransky and Dr. Juan Marugan, under the supervision of Dr. Wendy Westbroek and Dr. Sam Patnaik at NHGRI and NCATS, in order to evaluate chaperone molecules for Gaucher disease by developing novel molecular probes for high throughput (HTS) assays. The work was a CRADA involving NHGRI, NCATS and Merck as the results from the project would help not only the Gaucher patients, but also Parkinson patients, as Dr. Sidransky had previously shown that there was a genetic link between Gaucher and Parkinson disease. Olive genuinely enjoyed the challenges and the opportunities such a collaboration gave her, and the experience encouraged her to apply to NIH-OxCam to continue the kind of joint, interdisciplinary research that was only possible at the program. She will now be working with Dr. Marc Ferrer at NCATS and Dr. Eleanor Stride at University of Oxford to construct a microfluidics-based platform for the human blood-brain barrier and characterize the model with various parameters such as confocal microscopy, ultrasound, in hopes that the platform can then be developed into a viable HTS tool.

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Rachel Smith

Rachel Smith

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar

Entry Year: 2021
Degrees:

B.S. Neuroscience, The College of William & Mary, 2019

Mentors:

Drs. Francis McMahon and Armin Raznahan (NIMH) and
Profs. Petra Vertes and Edward Bullmore (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Computational psychiatry, Neuroimaging, Transcriptomics

Rachel’s passion for computational neuroscience research began as an undergraduate at the College of William & Mary, where she engaged in both wet and dry lab research. She was awarded two fellowships to work with Dr. Lisa Landino, whose biochemistry research investigates the role of oxidative damage to proteins in neurodegeneration. After three years, Rachel’s work culminated in her honors thesis. In addition to this research, she worked in Dr. Greg Conradi-Smith’s computational biology lab to study neural networks involved in breathing. During this time, Rachel became excited about the power of using computational methods to address questions that are ethically or technically constrained in wet labs. As an undergraduate student, she spent her summers in Morocco and Palestine learning Arabic, teaching English, and interning at a women’s empowerment agency. These experiences heightened her desire to work with scientists from communities that are historically underrepresented in Western science to address issues that disproportionately affect those populations. In 2019, Rachel graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a B.S. in neuroscience and a minor (and dual passion) in Arabic language and literature.

Upon completing her undergraduate education, Rachel joined the vascular physiology lab of Dr. Hans Ackerman as a post-baccalaureate fellow at the Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research at the NIH. Throughout her two years in the lab, Rachel engaged in a diverse set of research projects using a wide variety of methodologies, ranging from time-resolved fluorescence and immunological techniques at the bench to transcriptomic and time series signal analyses on the computer. During the 2020 pandemic, she contributed to her lab’s COVID-19 research project. With Dr. Ackerman’s support, her work resulted in several first- and co-authored publications, as well as numerous posters and invited talks. During this time, Rachel also earned a certificate in data science through Johns Hopkins University.

As an NIH-Cambridge Scholar, Rachel plans to use transcriptomics and neuroimaging to study the role of early life stress and trauma in increasing vulnerability to psychiatric disorders in adulthood. After graduation, she hopes to focus her research on the psychiatric impact of the chronic trauma experienced by oppressed peoples. Outside of lab, Rachel is a competitive ultramarathon runner who enjoys lifting, being outdoors, and spending time with dogs.

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Ryan Prestil

Ryan Prestil

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar

Entry Year: 2016
Degrees:

B.S. Neurobiology and Mathematics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2016

Mentors:

Dr. Kenneth Fischbeck (NINDS) and
Prof. David Rubinsztein (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Neurodegeneration, Stem cell modeling, Gene editing

Ryan Prestil earned a B.S. with Honors in Research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May 2016, where he majored in Neurobiology and Mathematics. In 2013, Ryan joined the lab of Prof. Krishanu Saha in the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery as a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow. Over the next three years, he worked to understand the role of the physical environment in stem cell differentiation and reprogramming, and he developed biomaterial platforms to improve CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing workflows. In recognition for his work, Ryan was awarded the Hilldale Research Fellowship in 2014. Ryan also worked in the lab of Dr. Detlev Arendt at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory during the summer of 2015, funded by a Promega International Internship Scholarship and a Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grant. In the lab, Ryan investigated the role of key neurodevelopmental genes in the Platynereis dumerilii annelid model in order to better understand the evolutionary origins of the central nervous system. 

As an OxCam scholar jointly funded by the NIH and the Cambridge International Trust, Ryan will develop human stem cell models of neural tissue in order to study the molecular mechanisms underpinning the onset and progression of neurodegenerative diseases. Many of these diseases share common pathological features, including aberrant protein aggregation, impaired RNA metabolism, and dysfunctional mitochondrial quality control. However, it remains unknown which molecular and genetic pathways link these phenotypes and how different cell types interact to yield tissue-specific neuronal death.

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Sahba Seddighi

Sahba Seddighi

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2020
Degrees:

B.A. Neuroscience, University of Tennessee, 2016
MPhil Epidemiology, University of Cambridge, 2018
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Michael Ward (NINDS) and 
Prof. Cornelia van Duijn (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Neurodegeneration, Molecular & genetic epidemiology, Functional genomics

Sahba graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tennessee in 2016, with a BA in neuroscience. She pursued her first research experience through the NIH Summer Internship Program, during which she studied the innate immune response in multiple sclerosis. As an Amgen Scholar, Sahba spent the next summer working on a novel therapy for Alzheimer’s disease in the laboratory of Dr. Frank Longo at Stanford University. Intrigued by the possibility of uncovering targets for early intervention, she then continued this line of work at the Cajal Institute in Spain for a semester. At UT, she also spent three years in the Cooper Lab, completing and defending an honors thesis on brain and behavioral adaptations throughout the lifespan. Her undergraduate research received awards at numerous scientific conferences and was published in Physiology and Behavior and Behavioral Neuroscience. She also received the Chancellor’s Extraordinary Professional Promise Award and was named Class of 2016 Torchbearer in recognition of her academic achievements and contributions to the university and local community.

After graduating, Sahba studied Alzheimer's disease as an IRTA Fellow in Dr. Madhav Thambisetty’s group at the NIH National Institute on Aging. This year-long fellowship culminated in four publications, including two as first author. With a growing interest in population-based research on dementia, Sahba was then awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to pursue an MPhil in epidemiology at the University of Cambridge. Her MPhil dissertation demonstrated a causal, genetic link between Alzheimer’s disease and cancer and was published in Scientific Reports.

Sahba joined the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine MSTP in 2018 and has since completed the first two years of medical school. During this time, she also served on the Alzheimer’s Congressional Team to advocate for patient-centered legislation and increased research funding from the federal government. As an NIH-Oxford student, Sahba plans to leverage insights from large-scale, epidemiological studies to guide basic science investigations into the pre-symptomatic stages of neurodegenerative disorders. Ultimately, she hopes to pursue a career as a physician-scientist dedicated to reimagining care for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

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Samantha Lish

Samantha Lish

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2020
Degrees:

B.A. Physics and Art, Macaulay Honors College CUNY

Mentors:

Dr. Alexander Cartagena-Rivera (NIBIB)
and Prof. Ramin Golestanian (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Biomedical optics, Mathematics, Theoretical biophysics

Samantha is a graduate of the Macaulay Honors Program at Hunter College of the City University of New York, where she received a degree with a double major in Physics and Studio Art, and a minor in Mathematics. During her undergraduate career, Samantha was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa International Academic Honor Society, received the Gillet Memorial Prize for excellence in Physics, the John P. McNulty Research Award for Leadership in Math and Science, and the Toulmin Healthcare Merit Scholarship, which supported her work in Biophotonics. Samantha believes that in order to problem-solve, it is helpful to call upon influences from many different fields. In addition to being a scientific thinker, she is an artist, which gives her an added appreciation for the beauty of mathematics and characteristic patterns of disease in image processing and 3D modeling. Her research has focused on developing computational and optical tools to guide medical diagnostics. Samantha spent four years as a research assistant at The Rockefeller University analyzing microscopic properties of tissue, applying feature engineering and machine learning techniques to characterize disease patterns for quantifiable metrics, and developing 3D-bioprinting assays. At Hunter’s Biomedical Photonics lab, Samantha spearheaded a project to extract diagnostic value from differences in cancer fractal geometric parameters. She applied these image processing and laser physics techniques as a part of the Harvard-MIT Wellman Center for Photomedicine, where she investigated the biocompatibility of integrating intracellular micro-resonators into a spheroid cancer model and developed a quantitative approach to track and tag these laser particles. As an NIH OxCam Scholar, in partnership with the NIBIB at the NIH and the Department of Theoretical Physics at Oxford University, Samantha will utilize the formalism of mathematics, mechanobiology, and quantum mechanics to uncover emergent geometrical properties that arise from the unique spatial distribution and collective migration of organotypic cells. Upon graduation hopes to pursue an academic research career and become a professor at the university level.

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Samika Kumar

Samika Kumar

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar

Entry Year: 2019
Degrees:

B.A. Cognitive Science,
University of California, Berkeley, 2017

Mentors:

Dr. Peter Bandettini (NIMH) and 
Prof. Tristan Bekinschtein (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Neuroimaging, Mental health

Samika Kumar graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2017 as a Regents' and Chancellor's Scholar with a degree in Cognitive Science. Her interest in sleep research began in high school when she interned at Dr. Seiji Nishino's lab at Stanford University to study the practicality of using the piezoelectric system to detect cataplexy-like behavior in mice. In her undergrad, she examined the effects of regional GABA on the auditory resting-state network at Dr. Fumiko Hoeft's lab at the University of California, San Francisco, and she studied how pharmacological manipulations of sleep influence emotion regulation at Dr. Sophie Schwartz's lab at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. After graduation, Samika joined Dr. Matthew Walker's lab in Berkeley, where she explored the potential of transcranial electrical brain stimulation to enhance sleep quality.

In her doctoral work, Samika aims to investigate how specific memories are processed during sleep and other states of consciousness, and she intends to extend this work into clinical applications, as well as mental health awareness and advocacy, in the future.

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Sara Saheb Kashaf

Sara Saheb Kashaf

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2019
Degrees:

Carnegie Mellon University, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford

Mentors:

Dr. Julie Segre (NHGRI) and
Prof. Rob Finn (Cambridge) 

Research Interest:

Bioinformatics, Microbiome

Through her studies and research experiences, Sara has used computational techniques to understand phenomena from the nano-scale all the way to the population level. Sara first discovered her passion for computational approaches during her undergraduate studies in chemical engineering and biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. She completed her honors research project at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center where she used computational modelling to investigate the relationship between the neuromuscular junction structure and function. Her passion for quantitative approaches led her to pursue an MPhil in Advanced Chemical Engineering from the University of Cambridge where she used metabolic modeling to find novel drug targets against the pathogen Clostridium difficile. She subsequently joined the Khademhosseini lab where she was able to combine experimental and computational techniques to understand the effect of a nanoparticle formulation on mesenchymal stem cell differentiation. During her Master’s in International Health and Tropical Medicine at the University of Oxford, she used computational modeling to assess the impact of a public health intervention. She is currently pursuing an MD/PhD at the University of Chicago and the NIH where she will use computational approaches to better understand the skin microbiome.

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Sean Corcoran

Sean Corcoran

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2019
Degrees:

B.S. Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2016 
Medical student at Boston University School of Medicine (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Louis Staudt (NCI) and 
Prof. Daniel Hodson (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Cancer biology, Metabolism, Inflammation

Sean graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2016 with a B.S. in Biology. During his time at MIT, he spent 4 years in the lab of Rudolf Jaenisch, participating in projects involving neurological disease modeling. Over the course of his undergraduate career, the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing revolution started and his main project became developing a system to create double strand breaks in mitochondrial DNA in order to create new tools for the greater scientific community to study mitochondrial biology.

After graduating, Sean went to work at CRISPR Therapeutics for a year. At CRISPR, he was a Research Associate in Hematology, and his team focused on making cures for Beta Thalassemia and Sickle Cell Disease. The work that he did at CRISPR Therapeutics is now in clinical trials in the US and Europe. Sean then moved on to start his MD/PhD at the Boston University School of Medicine. His love for cancer biology, which he found in a class he took his senior year of college based on the famous Hanahan and Weinberg review “The Hallmarks of Cancer,” led him to pursue his introduction to clinical medicine course in an oncology clinic. The educational experience in class combined with his clinical experience with patients opened his eyes to the complexities of cancer treatment and how much there still was to know about emerging hallmarks of cancer.

With this in mind, Sean chose to do his PhD in the field of Cancer Biology, and decided to join the labs of Louis Staudt at the NCI and Daniel Hodson at the University of Cambridge. In the Staudt and Hodson labs, Sean will work on aspects of Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma. As a future physician scientist, Sean hopes to bring his love for patient care and research together to create cures for serious diseases.

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Sooraj Achar

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2020
Degrees:

B.S. Biochemistry, University of Virginia

Mentors:

Dr. Gregoire Altan-Bonnet (NCI)
and Prof. Mike Dustin (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Immunology, Computational and systems biology, Cancer Biology

As an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, Sooraj performed computational biology research under the supervision of Professor Cameron Mura. His research in Professor Mura’s group involved using molecular dynamics simulations to gain a better understanding of the kinetics of protein-RNA binding interactions in bacterial RNA chaperones. He also conducted research at the NIDDK with Dr. Caroline Philpott, where he analyzed the interaction dynamics of two cytosolic mammalian iron chaperones using immunoprecipitation assays and molecular docking. Upon graduation, Sooraj joined the laboratory of Dr. Gregoire Altan-Bonnet at the NCI as an NIH post baccalaureate fellow, where his project focused on deconvolving the effects of the quality (TCR binding affinity) and quantity (surface density) of an antigen on T cell activation. During the course of this research project, Sooraj developed and optimized a robotic platform and data processing pipeline to allow for high time resolution measurements of many aspects of T cell activation dynamics. In his doctoral research project, he aims to combine these robotics-based temporal measurements with microscopy-based spatial measurements of immune cell activation to gain a holistic understanding of how T cell activation is governed by antigen quality. His eventual goal is to apply these techniques to analyze CAR-T cell activation to produce more robust pre-clinical metrics for assessing immunotherapy efficacy.

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Stephanie Williams

Stephanie Williams

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2020
Degrees:

B.S. Microbiology, Virginia Tech, 2017

Mentors:

Dr. Jeffery Taubenberger (NIAID)
and Prof. Ervin Fodor (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Emerging viral diseases, Pathogenesis, Evolution

Stephanie’s research experiences have been a blend of microbiology and virology. While in the lab of Dr. Ann Stevens at Virginia Tech, she worked to characterize the unique genome and metabolic capabilities of an emerging bacterial strain of Vibrio parahaemolyticus that causes Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) in shrimp which has significant impacts on the aquaculture industry where it’s endemic. Additional to her academic research experience, Stephanie had the opportunity to conduct research with BEI Resources at American Type Culture Collection located in Manassas, VA to develop a safe and immunogenic Virus-Like Particle (VLP)-based vaccine against Zika virus as a part of their internship program. Upon graduating from Virginia Tech in 2017, Stephanie remained on campus as lab technician in the lab of Dr. Jonathan Auguste to study and develop vaccines for variety of vector-borne viruses such as Mayaro, Chikungunya, and Zika viruses. Since 2018, Stephanie has been a member of the Viral Pathogenesis and Evolution Section run by Dr. Jeffery Taubenberger at the National Institutes of Health studying influenza and SARS-CoV-2. Stephanie’s research uses a combination of molecular virology, animal models, and bioinformatics to characterize the hemagglutinin (HA) pathogenicity of the 1918 Pandemic and Classical Swine influenza A viruses. Using the data from this study, the lab aims to uncover answers behind the virulence of the 1918 influenza virus. In her years of research, she has generated four publications, of which she has one first authorship. Stephanie has been recognized by Virginia Tech’s Department of Biological Sciences for her research efforts and was inducted into the university’s Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Sigma chapters for being a dedicated and well-rounded researcher in the biological sciences.

Stephanie plans to follow her passion for emerging and re-emerging viral diseases upon graduation and seek out research opportunities to study their evolution and pathogenesis. She hopes that her future endeavors could be useful in developing better preventative measures, treatments, and overall lessen the burden of emerging viral diseases on global health.

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Stephen Gadomski

Stephen Gadomski

Scholar Type:

NIH Gates Cambridge Scholar

Entry Year: 2019
Degrees:

B.S. Exercise Science, University of Scranton, 2015
Medical student at Medical University of South Carolina (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Pamela Robey (NIDCR),
Prof. Simón Méndez-Ferrer (Cambridge)
and Prof. Andrew McCaskie (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Stem cell biology, Regenerative medicine

Stephen Gadomski, a native of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, graduated from the University of Scranton with a B.S. in Exercise Science.  As an undergraduate, Stephen examined the ability of L-citrulline and watermelon juice to improve exercise performance in college-aged subjects with Dr. Paul Cutrufello.  Continuing work with human subjects during a summer research fellowship, Stephen began to assess range of motion and postural adaptations in powerlifters. 

After graduation, Stephen joined the laboratory of Dr. Jonathan Keller at the National Cancer Institute and began to study the intrinsic and extrinsic regulation of hematopoietic stem cell quiescence as an NIH Postbaccalaureate Fellow.  This research lead him to pursue an MD/PhD degree at the Medical University of South Carolina with the goal of studying stem cell and regenerative mechanisms that can be used to understand and treat human disease.

As an NIH-Gates Cambridge Scholar, Stephen plans to study the mechanisms that regulate skeletal stem cell differentiation into chondrocytes and osteoblasts in hopes to gain insight on the pathophysiology and treatment of skeletal disease.  Outside of the lab, Stephen plans to compete in the sport of powerlifting and to partner with healthcare teams to provide medical services to the poor and underserved.

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Castellano

Steven Castellano

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2017
Degrees:

B.A. in Biophysics, Columbia University, 2013
Medical student at Duke University (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. José Faraldo Gomez (NHLBI) and 
Prof. Hendrik van Veen (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Biophysics, Thermodynamics, Immunology

Steven graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in Biophysics and Mathematics. While at Columbia, he worked in the Yang Lab studying the structure of Transient Receptor Potential channels, a class of ion channels in the brain. He also mentored underclassmen and wrote policies as the Academic Affairs Representative that created an honor code for the university and addressed mental health issues impacting students. His dedication to the student body was recognized by the Alumni Achievement Award, given to the member of the graduating class "judged to be most outstanding for qualities of mind, character, and service to the college." He since worked in antibody design at Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, where he engineered antibodies with pH-dependent binding properties, and subsequently started an MD-PhD at Duke University. Steven hopes to use his experiences during the program to make connections between diverse fields.

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Stewart Humble

Stewart Humble

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2016
Degrees:

B.S. Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University, 2012
Medical student at LSU Health Sciences Center-New Orleans (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Michael Ward (NINDS) and
Dr. Richard Wade-Martins (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Neuroscience, Neurodegenerative diseases, Gene therapy

Stewart graduated from Louisiana State University in May 2012 while earning a university medal, summa cum laude with College Honors, Upper Division Honors Distinction, and recognition as a Distinguished Communicator. He was a Rhodes scholarship finalist in fall 2012, and now attends medical school at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans.
Under the direction of Dr. Kevin M. Smith, Humble’s undergraduate work at LSU attempted to combat cancer by analyzing porphyrin molecules that naturally accumulate within malignant tissues. His Upper Division Honors thesis, “Synthesis and Cellular Investigations of the 13^1-Lysyl Derivative of Chlorin e6,” explored the development of novel photosensitizers for applications in photodynamic therapy, or PDT cancer treatments.

Stewart’s post-bachelor work consisted of two projects in Grenoble, France via a partnership between LSU, Grenoble INP, and Université Joseph Fourier. He first worked with the iGEM Grenoble-EMSE-LSU Team in 2013 to develop an automated system that controlled key parameters within a bacterial colony, including cell density and intracellular protein concentration. The project utilized light-activated optogenetic promoters, a genetic algorithm, and the genetically encoded photosensitizer KillerRed. This system gave his team the ability to produce ROS, enabling control of bacterial cell populations without any direct human contact.

Following his iGEM experience, he pursued a second internship in Grenoble with the Néel Institiute, LMGP, and G2E Lab. The main goal of his project was to utilize micro-magnetic flux sources for medical diagnosis via protein capture and detection. By combining biological and material sciences research with immunological methods and physical processes, his research aimed to streamline the current approach to clinically relevant applications such as viral recognition, disease detection, or other medical diagnoses. 

Stewart believes that pursuing an MD/PhD through the NIH OxCam program will allow him to gain expertise in both the basic sciences and clinical medicine, offering the opportunity to enhance his experiences serving local communities and combating local and global health issues such as inherited genetic and neurological disorders.

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Taylor Farley

Taylor Farley

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2018
Degrees:

B.S. Microbiology, Colorado State University, 2015

Mentors:

Dr. Yasmine Belkaid (NIAID)
and Prof. Fiona Powrie (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Immunology, Microbiome

Taylor first realized she was interested in a career in research while volunteering at a veterinary hospital in high school. Although the experience was intended to reinforce her desire to be a veterinarian, she found the diagnostic tests and bench work to be the most intriguing parts of the job, pushing her to pursue a degree in Microbiology from Colorado State University (CSU). 

Following a brief summer internship at AstraZeneca, Taylor became captivated by the field of Immunology and joined the lab of Dr. Mark Zabel in the Prion Research Center at CSU. There, she studied the function of a complement regulatory protein, factor H, in prion pathogenesis and helped identify factor H as a novel soluble prion receptor that may influence prion strain selection. 

After graduating magna cum laude from CSU in 2015, Taylor joined the Post-baccalaureate program at the NIH under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Siegel of NIAMS. In the Siegel lab, she investigated the role of a Tumor Necrosis Factor superfamily receptor, DR3, and its ligand, TL1A, in multiple models of autoimmune disease. While at the NIH, she became fascinated by the field of Microbiome research. As an NIH-Oxford scholar, Taylor will study non-classical immune responses to the microbiome in steady state and inflammation.  

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Teddy Cai

Teddy Cai

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar

Entry Year: 2019
Degrees:

B.S. Chemical Engineering & Biomedical Engineering, 
Carnegie Mellon University, 2019

Mentors:

Dr. Peter Basser (NICHD)
and Prof. Karla Miller (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Diffusion-weighted MRI, Neuroimaging, Machine learning 

Teddy graduated with University and College honors from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. Early in his undergraduate studies, Teddy became interested in applying engineering principles to brain research. To broaden his exposure and develop an interdisciplinary skill set before graduate school, Teddy sought research experiences in disparate areas of brain research.

Teddy eventually completed research projects in clinical psychology (Prof. Theodore Cooper, University of Texas at El Paso; Prof. Kasey Creswell, CMU), neurobiology (Dr. Kausik Si, Stowers Institute for Medical Research), neural engineering (Prof. Pulkit Grover, CMU), and diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (Dr. Peter Basser, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development). Project topics ranged from psychographics in Hispanic smokers to prion-like proteins in the Drosophila brain. Of the fields he had gained exposure to, Teddy found diffusion-weighted MRI to be the most compelling. The central idea of diffusion-based imaging, that tissue features can be noninvasively probed by looking at the movement of water in and around the tissue, resonated with him. Teddy's diverse technical background and burgeoning passion for the field enabled success; during his summer internship in Dr. Basser's lab, Teddy completed a project on rapid diffusion exchange imaging that resulted in a first-author publication. For his potential in research and continued commitment to teaching, Teddy was awarded a 2019 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (award declined).

Teddy is now returning to Dr. Basser's group as an NIH-Oxford scholar and aims to continue developing novel diffusion MR image acquisition and analysis methods for neurological applications. Interested also in the increasingly data-driven insights in medical imaging, Teddy will be co-mentored by Prof. Karla Miller of Oxford's Wellcome Center for Integrative Neuroimaging, whose group plays a central role in the ongoing, 100,000 subject UK Biobank project. 

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Victoria Avanzato

Victoria Avanzato

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2017
Degrees:

B.S. Immunology and Infectious Diseases and B.S. in Toxicology,
Pennsylvania State University, 2015
Emory University School of Medicine (In progress)

 

 

Mentors:

Dr. Vincent Munster (NIAID-RML) and
Prof. Thomas Bowden (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Virology, Emerging pathogens, Tropical medicine

Vicky graduated with highest distinction and honors from The Pennsylvania State University, Schreyer Honors College, earning dual degrees in Immunology and Infectious Disease, and Toxicology, with a minor in French Horn Performance. She worked in the lab of Dr. Girish Kirimanjeswara, where she completed her honors thesis. Her research tested small molecule inhibitors of the trans translation pathway used by Francisella tularensis and evaluated virulence factors in a mutant strain as a potential for a vaccine lead. Vicky spent a summer working with Dr. Kah Whye Peng at the Mayo Clinic evaluating oncolytic virus therapy against endometrial cancer. The following summer, she worked with Dr. Nikos Vasilakis at the University of Texas Medical Branch characterizing the immune response to dengue fever and optimizing detection techniques. Additionally, she coauthored four publications and presented two posters at the American Society for Microbiology Annual Meeting.

As an undergraduate, Vicky traveled to Panama, Ghana, and Nicaragua with the Global Medical Brigades. These trips fueled her interest in global health and tropical medicine, leading her to pursue a medical degree at Emory University School of Medicine. At Emory, Vicky served as the president for Emory Health Against Human Trafficking (EHAHT) and led a trip to Thailand to volunteer at a children’s shelter and build relations with local hospitals.

Outside the classroom, Vicky is very passionate about playing the French horn and performed with multiple ensembles at PSU, as well as the orchestra at Emory. 

As a clinician scientist, she hopes to research emerging viral pathogens, particularly understanding the factors that lead to cross species transmission and drivers of human outbreaks. Clinically, she wants to combine her research interests with the treatment of infectious diseases, specializing in tropical medicine and global health.

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Will Snyder

Will Snyder

Scholar Type:

NIH Gates Cambridge Scholar

Entry Year: 2021
Degrees:

B.S. Neuroscience, Bucknell University, 2021

Mentors:

Dr. Armin Raznahan (NIMH) and
Prof. Ed Bullmore (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Neuroimaging, Psychiatry, Genetics & transcriptomics

Will graduated summa cum laude from Bucknell University in 2021 with a B.S. in Neuroscience. He started developing neuroimaging methods in high school, examining large, publicly available autism fMRI datasets. During his first year at Bucknell, Will began training with Dr. Vanessa Troiani’s neuroimaging lab at the Geisinger-Bucknell Autism and Developmental Medicine Institute. Captivated by the potential of mathematics to advance brain mapping, he spent his four years with the lab creating tools to describe brain structure and function using graph theory and statistics. He focused on the orbitofrontal cortex, automating methods to help study how certain brain folding patterns confer risk for multiple psychiatric disorders. Continuing his study of autism spectrum disorders, he created a novel meta-analysis to evaluate the relationship between atypical brain function and symptoms.

Through several internships, Will gained further appreciation for how imaging methods can capture the intricacies of the brain. With Dr. Soohyun Lee at the NIMH, he helped automate large-scale calcium imaging of mouse neurons. With Dr. Lucina Uddin at the University of Miami, he led a large study of human salience network brain dynamics across the life span. With Dr. Jurgen Dukart at the Forschungszentrum Julich, he explored how drugs impact the correspondence between signals in simultaneously collected EEG and fMRI. His experiences led him to be awarded a Goldwater scholarship, to be offered an NSF graduate fellowship, and to publish three first-authored publications.

As an NIH Gates Cambridge scholar, he will work with Prof. Ed Bullmore at Cambridge and Dr. Armin Raznahan’s at the NIMH to explore relationships between brain networks and cortical folding. Will hopes to contribute to the growing field of precision medicine, advancing treatments for disorders based on markers in the brain.

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Yasemin Cole

Scholar Type:

NIH Gates Cambridge Scholar

Entry Year: 2020
Degrees:

B.S. Biology, University of North Carolina, 2016
M.Sc. Genomic Medicine, Imperial College London, 2017
University of North Carolina School of Medicine (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Zhengping Zhuang (NCI) and
Dr. Eamonn Maher (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Cancer genomics, Metabolism, Bioinformatics

Yasemin Cole was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Her scientific curiosity was sparked in high school after her same-aged cousin was diagnosed with medulloblastoma. This experience motivated her to pursue clinical experiences and a research internship with Dr. Aziz Sancar’s circadian rhythms of DNA repair laboratory, at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine (UNC SOM), over multiple summers.

She subsequently studied biology and medical anthropology at UNC at Chapel Hill. Yasemin joined Dr. Anton Jetton’s lab at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences as an IRTA fellow with the Summer Internship Program. She worked with Dr. Gary ZeRuth over two summers to investigate Glis3 regulation and the role of Glis3 on the transdifferentiation of pancreatic exocrine cells as a therapeutic option for type I diabetes. She likewise flourished in the lab of Dr. Jeannette Cook, where her studies culminated in her senior honors thesis on the regulation of the cell cycle protein Cdt1 by phosphorylation. Her aforementioned research experiences were published in PLOS ONE and MBoC. Concurrent to her research work, she found a deep connection between scientific advancement and medical progress. This led her to design and teach a course offered to UNC undergraduates called “The Past, Present, and Future of Medicine,” which covered a range of topics from Fleming’s penicillin discovery to the human genome project. She was awarded a Student Undergraduate Teaching Award for her teaching excellence and creation of a dynamic learning environment.

After graduating in 2016 with Highest Distinction and Honors, she decided to follow her interest in personalized medicine by completing a Master of Science in Genomic Medicine at Imperial College London. With the Dean’s Master’s Scholarship, she completed foundational genomic coursework and joined the lab of Professor Anne Bowcock at the National Heart and Lung Institute. There, she completed her master’s thesis on the genomics of uveal melanoma tumorigenesis. The specific aims of her investigation were to evaluate the sequence of genomic events leading to tumor development utilizing Sanger sequencing and FISH. After studying phenotype aware approaches to whole-exome sequencing in the laboratory of Dr. Jonathan Berg at UNC SOM, she began her MD/PhD studies at the same institution with the long term goal of becoming a physician-scientist.

In total, her research experiences motivated her to study the genomic and molecular mechanisms of cancer with the goal of applying this knowledge into translational precision medicine diagnostics and therapeutics. After completing basic medical science coursework and multiple clinical electives, she is now working with Dr. Zhengping Zhuang (NCI) and Professor Eamonn Maher (Department of Medical Genetics). As an NIH Gates Cambridge Scholar, she plans to study the genomic and metabolic underpinnings of the neuroendocrine tumors paragangliomas, pheochromocytomas, and gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Outside of research, she is deeply committed to refugee health, genetics outreach, and mentorship.

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Yasmin Mann

Yasmin Mann

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2021
Degrees:

B.S. Biology & Neuroscience, University of Delaware, 2020

Mentors:

Dr. Naomi Taylor (NCI), Dr. John Glod (NCI), 
and Prof. Hashem Koohy (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Cancer biology, Immunology, Metabolism

Yasmin graduated summa cum laude from the University of Delaware with an Honors Bachelor of Science Degree in biology and neuroscience with a minor in biochemistry. Her passion for research comes from her love of biology and drive to help others. Yasmin’s first research experience was during the summer of 2017 at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children through the Nemours Summer Undergraduate Research Program. There she worked under the supervision of Dr. Zhengyu Ma to investigate whether tuning the binding affinity of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells could improve tumor targeting. This was done by creating 3 anti-human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) CAR constructs that varied in binding affinity using site-directed mutagenesis. Yasmin’s next summer was spent at the Fox Chase Cancer Center as a University of Delaware-Fox Chase Cancer Center research fellow. As a student of Dr. Erica Golemis, she examined the effects of anti-cancer drugs on primary cilia-associated platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRα) signaling using western blotting and immunofluorescence microscopy. The poster created from this work won her 1st place in the poster presentation competition during the Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences at the University of Maryland Baltimore County in 2018. Yasmin also began working with Dr. Carlton Cooper, Dr. Randall Duncan, and Dr. Kenneth van Golen at the University of Delaware in September 2017 to explore the racial disparity in prostate cancer metastasis to bone. This led to a 3-year project, including a summer internship through the University of Delaware Summer Scholars Program, and resulted in the completion of a senior thesis on the effects of oxidative stress on human bone marrow endothelial cells and metastatic prostate cancer adhesion. These research experiences led her to become a 2019 Barry Goldwater Scholar and earn the University of Delaware Biological Sciences Academic Excellence and Halsey McPhee Awards. She is also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.

Yasmin decided to take a gap year after graduating to pursue her interests in science advocacy and education. As a volunteer with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, she helped prepare written reports and a poster on the unique challenges young-onset cancer patients face. She also did volunteer work with local organization, FAME Inc., to help provide resources and support for underrepresented K-12 students so they can pursue college STEM degrees. Yasmin found herself back at the University of Delaware as a teaching assistant for the university’s graduate-level cancer biology class. She also continued to work with Dr. Carlton Cooper and his collaborator at Delaware State University, Dr. Alberta Aryee, to evaluate the cytotoxic effects of Prunus africana extracts on prostate cancer. They plan to publish this work in August.

For her thesis work, Yasmin will be studying CAR T cell activity in response to varying metabolic tumor microenvironments in the context of medullary thyroid cancer. In addition to volunteering and teaching, Yasmin also enjoys baking, playing soccer and watching movies. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in academia where she can continue to conduct groundbreaking research, advocate for equality and science policy, and mentor the next generation of scientists.

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Yifan Zhou

Yifan Zhou

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar

Entry Year: 2018
Degrees:

B.S. Biology and Psychology, University of Wisconsin Madison, 2014
M.S. Integrated Immunology, University of Oxford, 2017

Mentors:

Dr. Cindy Dunbar (NHLBI) and
Dr. George Vassiliou (Cambridge)

Research Interest: N/A

Yifan graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison in 2014 with a B.S. in biology and psychology. He firstly developed an interest in science he shadowed in Dr. Stephen Ekker’s Lab at the Mayo Clinic. He worked on validating a transposon-based gene screening tool in zebrafish to study stress response. Yifan continued his research career throughout college at Dr. Craig Kent’s vascular surgery Lab studying restenosis. His effort resulted in the development of a novel perivascular sheath drug delivery system for restenosis patients, as well as the advancement in the understanding of TGF-Smad3-mediated pathogenesis in restenosis. He also worked at Dr. Paul Sondel’s immunotherapy Lab evaluating the efficacy of the cytokine-conjugated antibody therapy in pediatric neuroblastoma patients. After graduation, Yifan joined Dr. Karen Usdin’s Lab at the NIDDK as a postbac fellow studying the genetic pathogenesis process of Fragile X Syndrome (FXS). His work demonstrated a potential selective advantage of the FXS-patient-derived stem cells with methylated Fragile X Mental Retardation Gene 1, which could explain the transgenerational anticipation occurring in FXS families. Furthermore, he also developed a cost-effective semi-quantitative methylation assay that could be applied in prenatal genetic testing for FXS. He published these results in two first-author manuscripts. Most recently, Yifan completed a master’s degree in Immunology at the University of Oxford. he has been studying multiple sclerosis animal models and developing blood biomarkers using NMR-based metabolomics.  As a NIH OxCam scholar, Yifan plans to investigate haematopoiesis using single cell analysis platform at transcriptome and epigenome levels.  

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Zinan Zhang

Zinan Zhang

Scholar Type:

NIH Cambridge Scholar MD/PhD

Entry Year: 2017
Degrees:

A.B. Chemistry, Princeton University, 2014
Medical student at Harvard Medical School (In progress)

Mentors:

Dr. Michael Lenardo (NIAID) and
Prof. Ken Smith (Cambridge)

Research Interest:

Immunology, Cancer biology, Neurodegeneration

Zinan is a MD-PhD student at Harvard Medical School and will complete his medical degree upon completion of his PhD. He graduated summa cum laude in Chemistry with certificates in Neuroscience and Global Health and Health Policy from Princeton University. His thesis: “Modulation of Quorum Sensing and Pyocyanin in Pseudomonas aeruginosa” was a culmination of three years of research in Dr. Martin Semmelhack’s, Dr. Frederick Hughson’s, and Dr. Bonnie Bassler’s labs. Based on his thesis and exceptional performance in organic chemistry, he was awarded the Everett S. Wallis Prize in Organic Chemistry. During his college years, he also received various scholarships to do organocatalysis research at the University of Edinburgh and optogenetics research at the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich. His research has been published in ACS Chemical Neuroscience and Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. To bridge his synthetic chemistry and biomedical interests, he spent the year after college learning electrophysiology and x-ray crystallography of membrane proteins at NIH and doing cancer drug discovery at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. 

He is excited about the future of chemical biology and aspires to be a physician-scientist working on developing novel therapeutics to combat neurodegeneration or cancer.

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Zoe Wong

Zoë Wong

Scholar Type:

NIH Oxford Scholar

Entry Year: 2021
Degrees:

B.S. Biology and Psychology, University of Oregon, 2018

Mentors:

Dr. Chris Hourigan (NHLBI) and
Prof. Chris O’Callaghan (Oxford)

Research Interest:

Immunology, Cancer biology, Genomics

Zoë first developed her interest in scientific research under the direction of Dr. Owen McCarty in Oregon Health and Sciences University’s Biomedical Engineering department. Her work focused on quantifying an ex vivo model of occlusive thrombus formation, which she presented at the International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis (Amsterdam, 2013). As an undergraduate, Zoë conducted four years of research in Dr. Karen Guillemin’s lab in the University of Oregon’s Institute of Molecular Biology. She studied host-microbe interactions in the Drosophila midgut, which formed the basis for her Honors Thesis. After graduating, Zoë joined Dr. Beth Kozel’s Vascular and Matrix Genetics lab at the NIH (NHLBI). She studied patients with atypical deletions of Williams Syndrome and characterized their clinical features.

Zoë will complete her DPhil training under the mentorship of Dr. Chris Hourigan (NIH) and Prof. Chris O’Callaghan (Oxford). Her project will probe graft-versus- leukemia effects found in AML patients that undergo allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation, with the ultimate goal of improving treatment outcomes for AML patients.  

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