MIC PDA Members

MIC PDA Members

MIC PDA Members - Short Descriptions

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Nekeithia S. Wade, Ph.D., Erickson Lab - nsw6b@virginia.edu

Research Description: Plasma cells are terminally differentiated B cells which provide humoral protection through the secretion of antibodies. While antibody production is normally beneficial in the clearance of pathogens, this process can become deleterious in autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). I study the role of a protein called B cell Maturation Antigen (BCMA) in the regulation of plasma cell differentiation and the development of autoantibodies.
Sanja Arandjelovic, PhD - Ravichandran Lab
Asja Smirnov, PhD - Criss Lab
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F. Heath Damron, Ph.D. Hewlett Lab -- fhd3x@virginia.edu

MIC-PDA travel award winner in 2013

My research focuses on Burkholderia cenocepacia and how it uses signal transduction for survival.  B. cenocepacia survives in many niches of the environment as well as in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients.  Signal transduction systems relay information from the environment to elicit a response.  In particular, I am interested in the post-translational events that activate the RpoE-like alternative sigma factor EcfA.  I wish to identify and characterize the genes and proteins that modulate the activity of EcfA, as well as determine the impact of these on the virulence for the organism.

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Mariette Barbier, PhD, ATCC and Hewlett Lab --  mb6ce@virginia.edu

MIC-PDA travel award winner in 2013

My current research focuses on adapting several protein labeling systems for their use in prokaryotes using a novel protein fusion system. This research will allow the expression of highly versatile tagged proteins that could be used in numerous applications, including basic research and clinical diagnostics. I am also focusing on the creation of promoter fusion vectors that will allow the study of gene expression in in vivomodels of infection.

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Richard Juneau, PhD, Criss Lab -- raj7q@virginia.edu

Richard received his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from Wake Forest University in 2011, where he studied neutrophil extracellular trap production in Haemophilusinfluenzae infections.  As a postdoctoral fellow in the Criss lab, he is studying selected bacterial gene products that contribute to N. gonorrhoeae survival after human neutrophil challenge

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Yulia Koryakina, PhD, Gioeli Lab - yk6u@virginia.edu

Yulia is studying how the cell cycle regulates AR phosphorylation and transcriptional activity.

MIC-PDA travel award winner in 2012

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Thomas Ellison, PhD, Kedes Lab -- tje3x@virginia.edu

Utilizes molecular analysis techniques to study the initial interactions of Kaposi's Sarcoma-associated Herpesvirus with newly infected cells, with a focus on infection of primary human tonsillar cells.

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Kunj Pathak, PhD, Engel Lab - kbp9c@virginia.edu

Originally a veterinarian, Kunj received his Ph.D. from University of Kentucky in December 2011. There he used yeast as a model host to understand the roles of cellular proteins, viral RNA and viral replication proteins in the replication of tombusvirus a model positive strand RNA virus. As a postdoc, his research focuses on exploiting yeast to discover new antivirals against Dengue virus

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Monika Sharma, PhD, Engel Lab - ms9ef@virginia.edu

The main area of my Ph.D. research was "How host factors are co-opted by the RNA viruses?" I used yeast as a surrogate host to understand the mechanisms by which cellular proteins affect tombusvirus replication. I discovered proteins involved in phospholipid and sterol pathways playing a critical role in replication as well as RNA recombination of tombusvirus. In Engel's lab since July 2012, I am using yeast to discover antivirals against dengue virus. To this end, I am expressing mosquito proteins in yeast and screening a small compound against them.

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Nekeithia S. Wade, Ph.D., Erickson Lab - nsw6b@virginia.edu

Research Description: Plasma cells are terminally differentiated B cells which provide humoral protection through the secretion of antibodies. While antibody production is normally beneficial in the clearance of pathogens, this process can become deleterious in autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). I study the role of a protein called B cell Maturation Antigen (BCMA) in the regulation of plasma cell differentiation and the development of autoantibodies.

Bor.jpg Yeou-Cherng Bor, PhD - HamRek Lab - ycb3a@virginia.edu