VI4 Spotlight

VI4 Spotlight is where you can find the latest news and happenings at the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology, and Inflammation. 

Spotlight: Tegy J. Vadakkan, Ph.D.

Dr. Tegy Vadakkan received his PhD from the University of Houston, Texas and completed postdoctoral training at Baylor College of Medicine. Before coming to Vanderbilt in January of 2022, Tegy was a lead research technologist at the Boston Children's Hospital at Harvard Medical School... Click the image on the left to continue reading.

Trainee Spotlight: Kelsey Pilewski & Andrea Shiakolas

Kelsey Pilewski, Ph.D. and Andrea Shiakolas, Ph.D. are part of the Ivelin Georgiev Lab at Vanderbilt Vaccine Center. Originally from upstate New York, Kelsey received her undergraduate degrees in Biochemistry and French from the University at Buffalo in 2016. Kelsey joined the Georgiev Lab in 2017 to complete her thesis research investigating the discovery and characterization of antibody and vaccine candidates against a number of pathogens. She received her PhD from Vanderbilt University in March 2022 and joined the lab as a postdoctoral fellow shortly after, where she is now working to expand the discovery capabilities of LIBRA-seq. Outside of lab, Kelsey can be found hiking or baking. Andrea Shiakolas is a postdoctoral fellow in the Georgiev laboratory. She completed her PhD at Vanderbilt in the Georgiev laboratory in 2022. Her research focuses on developing and applying antibody discovery technologies (LIBRA-seq) against a variety of viral pathogens, including HIV, influenza, and SARS-CoV-2. She is originally from Dallas, Texas and obtained her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt in 2015. She also worked at the Vaccine Research Center in Dr. John Mascola’s group at the NIH studying the antibody/virus co-evolution in the context of HIV. Outside of the lab, she loves playing with her puppy Doug, drinking wine, and going hiking... Click the image on the left to continue reading.

Postdoc Spotlight: Seth Zost, Ph.D.

Seth graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2013 with a B.A. in Biochemistry and History and a M.S. in Chemistry. Following graduation, Seth joined the lab of Dr. Scott Hensley at the University of Pennsylvania and studied human antibody responses to influenza A viruses and the viral evasion of pre-existing immunity. Seth defended his PhD in 2018. In the lab, Seth is continuing to study antibody responses against respiratory viruses with special interests in defining conserved sites on viral proteins that are targeted by human antibodies and identifying how prior exposure shapes human antibody responses against viruses like influenza and SARS-CoV-2....Click the image on the left to continue reading.

Faculty Spotlight: Jane F. Ferguson, Ph.D.

Dr. Ferguson completed a BA in Human Genetics at Trinity College Dublin, and a PhD in Nutrigenomics at University College Dublin, Ireland, before moving to Philadelphia for postdoctoral training in Cardiovascular Genomics at the University of Pennsylvania. She moved to Nashville to join the faculty at Vanderbilt in October 2014... Click Dr. Ferguson's photo to continue reading.

Faculty Spotlight: Anna Patrick, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Patrick earned her Master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, and her M.D./Ph.D. from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She's an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Rheumatology at Vanderbilt where her work focuses on identifying and characterizing pathogenic molecular pathways in juvenile idiopathic arthritis and pediatric autoimmune disease.... Click Dr. Patrick's photo to continue reading.

Trainee Spotlight: Lillian J. Brady, Ph.D. & Kirsty Erickson

Lillian Brady, Ph.D. and Kirsty Erickson are part of the Erin Calipari Lab at Vanderbilt University in the Department of Pharmacology. Lillian obtained her PhD from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in the Department of Neurobiology. While at UAB, Lillian worked with Dr. Lynn Dobrunz where she studied the role of the dopamine system in the modulation and regulation of inhibitory synaptic transmission and neural circuit function within the hippocampus. Lillian joined Vanderbilt University as an Academic Pathways Postdoctoral Research Fellow in May of 2017 where her research interests include understanding the synaptic physiology, circuit function, and molecular mechanisms that underlie different types of learning behavior. Kirsty graduated from the University of South Dakota in 2016 with a BS in Medical Biology, during which time she studied the role of Ubiquilin-1 in learning and memory. Kirsty came to Vanderbilt in 2017 as a research assistant in the Neul lab, where she investigated the pathogenesis of Rett Syndrome. Now, she joins the Calipari Lab as a graduate student interested in terminal dopamine dynamics that render susceptibility to stimulant use disorder... Click the image on the left to continue reading.

Postdoc Spotlight: Heather Caslin, Ph.D.

Heather Caslin is a postdoctoral researcher in the Alyssa Hasty lab at Vanderbilt University in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics. She received her Ph.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University. She studies how macrophages and mast cells contribute to weight cycling accelerated metabolic disease. Heather is also passionate about teaching, mentorship, and outreach, and she has worked with the Collaborative for STEM Outreach and Education at Vanderbilt University, has volunteered with the organization Black in Immuno, and does science communication via Instagram!... Click the image on the left to continue reading.

Postdoc Spotlight: Chris Peritore-Galve, Ph.D.

Chris Peritore-Galve is a postdoctoral researcher in the Borden Lacy Lab at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology. He received his PhD from Cornell University. His work is on understanding the role of Clostridioides difficile toxins during infection. Chris also serves on the VI4 DEI Committee.... Click the image on the left to continue reading.

Faculty Spotlight: Chandravanu Dash, Ph.D.

Dr. Dash is a faculty member in the Meharry Medical College Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research (CAHDR) and the Department of Biochemistry, Cancer Biology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience. His research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of HIV-1 infection and probing the effects of drugs of abuse on HIV pathogenesis.

Graduate Student Spotlight: Ireti Eni-aganga

Ireti Eni-aganga received her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Arizona State University in 2014. She's currently a PhD candidate at Meharry Medical College in the laboratory of Dr. Jui Pandhare. Her work is part of the Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research (CAHDR)... Click the image on the left to continue reading.