VI4 Spotlight

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

Graduate Student Spotlight: Ireti Eni-aganga

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July 22, 2021

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.

Faculty Spotlight: Matt Alexander, M.D., Ph.D.

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July 9, 2021

Dr. Alexander earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University and his M.D./Ph.D. from the University of Virginia School of Medicine. He's an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Molecular Physiology & Biophysics at Vanderbilt researching the role of adaptive immunity in the pathogenesis of hypertension and associated cardiovascular disease... Click Dr. Alexander's photo to continue reading.

Graduate Student Spotlight: Nicolas Gray Shealy

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June 29, 2021

Nicolas grew up in Columbia, SC and attended the College of Charleston. After graduating in 2018, he participated in a post-baccalaureate experience program (PREP) at the Medical University of South Carolina, working in the lab of Amy D. Bradshaw Ph.D. He came to Vanderbilt University in the fall of 2019 via Interdisciplinary Graduate Program and ultimately joined the lab of Mariana Byndloss D.V.M, Ph.D. His thesis project is centered around understanding the mechanisms bacterial pathogens use to take full advantage both of the human host and the gut microbiota. He is specifically looking into the metabolism of short-chain fatty acids and amino acids... Click the image on the left to continue reading.

Faculty Spotlight: Dawn C. Newcomb, Ph.D.

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June 9, 2021

Dr. Newcomb earned her undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University in 2002 and her Ph.D. from University of Michigan in 2007. She trained as a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. R. Stokes Peebles, Jr. M.D. laboratory at Vanderbilt University focusing on lung inflammation, viral infections, and T cell immune responses. In 2014, Dr. Newcomb started her laboratory at Vanderbilt to study how sex hormones regulate mechanisms of airway inflammation in asthma. Dr. Newcomb currently has 2 R01s to study these mechanisms...... Click Dr. Newcomb's photo to continue reading.

Graduate Student Spotlight: Jonathan Davies

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May 18, 2021

Jonathan is a graduate student in the Lars Plate lab. He chose the Plate lab because of the interdisciplinary proteomics and chemical biology approaches they were using to study viruses and because of the outstanding training environment Lars and group members provided. His project combines chemical biology tools with quantitative mass spectrometry methods to map host-virus interactomics with temporal resolution during infection, with the aim of identifying potential host factors as therapeutic targets to combat viral pathogenesis... Click the image on the left to continue reading.

Faculty Spotlight: Wenhan Zhu, Ph.D.

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May 8, 2021

Wenhan Zhu received his Ph.D. at Purdue University in Biological Sciences and is an Assistant Professor in Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology. In his lab, they focus on the metabolic interactions that dictate the changes or resilience of the microbiota. Insight into such interactions could enable precise manipulation of gut microbiota composition, thus restoring a balanced community in situ and improving host health. To precisely manipulate the microbiota, they use a multidisciplinary discovery pipeline that consists of next-generation sequencing, bacterial genetics and a mechanistic understanding of bacterial physiology in vivo. This pipeline allows them to discover druggable targets of the microbiota and translate the findings using high-throughput screening.... Click Dr. Zhu's photo to continue reading.

Graduate Student Spotlight: Melissa Wolf

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April 19, 2021

Melissa is a graduate student in the Program in Cancer Biology. She is part of the Kim Rathmell lab where she investigates the relationship between infiltrating immune cells and RCC tumor cells and the metabolic programs they employ to drive tumor progression and therapeutic resistance... Click the image on the left to continue reading.

Faculty Spotlight: Brian O. Bachmann, Ph.D.

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April 8, 2021

Brian Bachmann received his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University in 2000 and is a Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He is the Principal Investigator of the Laboratory for Biosynthetic Studies, a multidisciplinary group working on the construction and deconstruction of biosynthetic pathways and the discovery of their products. The broad goals of this group are to investigate how natural product biosynthetic enzymes evolve and to understand the design rules for their concatenation into efficient “total syntheses” of natural products... Click Dr. Bachmann's photo to continue reading.

Faculty Spotlight: Maureen Anne Gannon, Ph.D.

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March 23, 2021

Maureen Gannon grew up in Queens, New York. She received her B.S. in Biology from Molloy College in Rockville Centre, NY and her M.S. in Biology from Adelphi University in Garden City, NY. She received her Ph.D. in Cell Biology and Anatomy from Cornell University. Her thesis project, conducted in the lab of Dr. David Bader, examined cardiac organogenesis and the formation of the chambers of the heart in the developing embryo. Dr. Gannon pursued her postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Chris Wright at Vanderbilt University, where she studied genes that regulate embryonic pancreas development and expression of the insulin gene... Click Dr. Gannon's photo to continue reading.

Postdoc Spotlight: Karissa Cross, Ph.D.

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March 16, 2021

Karissa is a first-generation college student from Murphy, North Carolina. She started off her undergraduate journey at Young Harris College in north Georgia and then transferred to North Carolina State University to pursue her BS in microbiology. After graduating she then attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville to pursue her PhD in microbiology. During this time, she worked with Dr. Mircea Podar at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to develop methods to culture the yet-uncultured bacteria in the human oral cavity and investigate what changes bacteria undergo when transitioning to host-associated environments. In June of 2019, Karissa came to Vanderbilt University to pursue a postdoctoral position with Dr. Seth Bordenstein, and to continue her interests in studying microorganisms at the host-microbe interface using the Nasonia parasitoid wasp model system... Click the image on the left to continue reading