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Congratulations to Microbiology & Immunology graduate student Kara Eichelberger and her mentor Bill Goldman! Kara has been awarded a Dissertation Completion Fellowship from the UNC Graduate School. The award includes $18,000 towards her stipend, plus payment of tuition, fees, and health insurance costs.

Kara studies the initial events in development of pneumonic plague, a highly lethal disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Antibiotic treatment is successful against Y. pestis, but only if administered within the first 24 hours after symptoms arise. New information about the early stage of disease could aid development of better preventative or treatment strategies. Kara’s research has two parts: to identify the molecules that help Y. pestis attach to the host lung, and to determine how Y. pestis prevents host immune cells from attacking the bacteria. Kara expects to complete her Ph.D. within the coming year.

Microbiology & Immunology students have been remarkably successful in earning Dissertation Completion Fellowships from the UNC Graduate School, with a total of 14 such fellowships awarded in the past five years.