Congratulations to M&I 2013-2014 Graduates! (Part 3 of 3)

Christopher Packey (Sartor lab) is currently a Gastroenterology and Hepatology Clinical Fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. His dissertation title was “Disruption of complex enteric microbial communities and their mutualistic functions with the host contributes to the severity of common intestinal disorders and serves as a promising therapeutic target.”

Lydia Roberts (Frelinger lab) completed her PhD work in 2013. Her dissertation work focused on pulmonary infection by the gram-negative pathogen, Francisella tularensis. Her research demonstrated that the immune response initiated by bacteria mutated in the clpb gene provoked an effective, long lived immune response, a result of altered cytokine response in the primary infected cell the lung, the alveolar macrophage. She has now moved to the NIAID Rocky Mountain Lab and is working with Dr. Katy Bosio.

Reid Roberts (Ting lab) successfully defended his dissertation in May 2013. Reid's research, conducted in collaboration with Dr. Joseph DeSimone in the Department of Chemistry, focused on the use of nanoparticles as a delivery system for therapeutic reagents. His work showed that a particular type of nanoparticle is immunologically inert and thus ideally suited for drug delivery. He further showed that the primary cell type that takes up these molecules in culture and in animals are macrophage-monocytic cells. He has returned to medical school as a part of his M.D./Ph.D. training.

Victoria Sepulveda (Goldman lab) defended her dissertation in December 2013. Vicky started her graduate work at Washington University, and she joined the M&I scientific community when Bill moved his lab to UNC. Vicky's doctoral research was focused on gene regulation and strain-specific variation in the fungal pathogen Histoplasma capsulatum. She is continuing some of these studies while starting new fungal pathogenesis work during a postdoctoral fellowship in the Goldman lab.

Erin Steinbach (Plevy lab) graduated in 2013 and is finishing up her MD/PhD program at UNC. Her dissertation title was “Macrophage Phosphoinositide 3-kinase p110δ Regulates Intestinal Homeostasis by Directing Adaptive Immunity and Enhancing Microbial Clearance.”

Christa Sturdevant (Swanstrom lab) completed her thesis work in January 2014. Christa's research focused on the nature of HIV-1 in the CNS early after infection. She studied virus in the blood and CSF of infants infected vertically, and in adults after sexual transmission. She is currently carrying out research as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. David Montefiori at Duke University studying the humoral response to HIV-1 infection and vaccination.

Yang Zhou (de Silva lab) completed his PhD in August 2013. Yang studied mechanisms by which human antibodies neutralize dengue viruses. He discovered that the maturation state of dengue virus particles altered the ability of antibodies to neutralize the virus. Yang has joined Boehringer Ingelheim in China as a staff scientist.