Congratulations to M&I 2012-2013 Graduates!

Twelve M&I graduate students completed their PhD work during this past academic year. Below is a short summary of the doctoral work and current activities/plans:

Aadra Bhatt completed her PhD in May 2013 in Blossom Damania’s lab, working on Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesviral cancers with an emphasis on signaling and metabolism. She will perform a short postdoctoral fellowship in the Damania laboratory before pursuing an advanced degree in medicine.

Cristine Campos completed her dissertation in Peggy Cotter's lab in March 2013, and her research was on autotransporter protein-mediated pathogenesis in Burkholderia pseudomallei. Cristine is currently applying for post-doctoral research positions. 

Kimberly Coggan completed her Ph.D. in December 2012. Her research in Matt Wolfgang’s laboratory focused on the intricate regulation of type IV pilus biogenesis genes in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Kimberly is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Novan Therapeutics.

Rukie de Alwis completed her PhD in May 2013. In Aravinda de Silva’s lab, she studied how human antibodies interact with dengue virus to enhance or neutralize infection. Rukie discovered a novel class of neutralizing antibodies that bind complex epitopes which are only expressed on intact virus particles. She is currently interviewing for postdoctoral positions.

Meghan Feltcher defended her dissertation in April 2013. Meghan's research was conducted in the laboratory of Miriam Braunstein and focused on understanding the mechanistic basis of the SecA2 protein export pathway of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Meghan will soon start a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Sarah Grant and Jeffery Dangl at UNC.

LeShara Fulton completed her PhD in April 2013 in Jon Serody’s lab, working on the biology of graft-versus-host disease as a complication of allogeneic bone marrow or stem cell transplantation. She will perform a brief postdoctoral fellowship in the Serody laboratory prior to pursuing an advanced degree in a health care-related field. 

Bronwyn (Bonnie) Gunn completed her thesis work January 2013 in Mark Heise’s laboratory, where she studied how alphavirus interactions with the host mannose binding lectin pathway affect virus-induced arthritis. She is currently performing her postdoctoral work with Dr. Galit Alter at Harvard University.

Mark Johnson completed his dissertation in December 2012. His work, carried out in Roland Tisch's laboratory, focused on the development of adenovirus-associated vectors for the purpose of genetically modifying pancreatic beta cells in vivo and suppressing the autoimmune response of type 1 diabetes.

Flor Evangelista Montoya completed her PhD in December 2012 in Zhi Liu’s lab. She studied the role of IgG autoantibodies and functional interactions with desmosomal proteins in endemic pemphigus. She is currently a Visiting Professor at the National University of Trujillo, Peru.

Crystal (CJ) Neely completed her PhD in February 2013. Working in the laboratory of Bruce Cairns and Rob Maile, CJ investigated the cellular mechanisms of immune dysfunction after burn injury. CJ is now a postdoctoral fellow with Peter Murray at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, investigating macrophage responses to infection and other acute and chronic diseases. 

Christopher Noel completed his dissertation research in Peggy Cotter's lab in November 2012, studying the mechanism of two-partner secretion in Bordetella pertussis. Chris is currently applying for postdoctoral research positions.

Amy Wollish completed her dissertation in June 2012. She worked in Mark Heise’s laboratory, where she studied innate immune sensing mechanisms that protect from virus-induced encephalitis. She is currently performing her postdoctoral research with Joanne Kurtzberg and Andrew Balber at Duke University.