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NameEmailPhD ProgramResearch InterestPublications
Dorofi, Sidra

EMAIL

PHD PROGRAM

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bacteriology, Evolutionary Biology, Pathogenesis & Infection, Virology

“I am interested in anything and everything microbiology, although I prefer bacteriology over virology. I’m particularly curious about the relationships microbes form with each other, their hosts, the environment at large, and the evolution of these complex symbioses.”

Conrad, Shayla

EMAIL

PHD PROGRAM

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cancer Biology, Immunology, Virology

“I am interested in the adaptive immune system in the context of viral infections and cancer. I want to investigate the fundamental biology of the adaptive immune response in these diseases and how we can leverage this knowledge to develop curative strategies. “

Chicz, Taras

EMAIL

PHD PROGRAM

RESEARCH INTEREST
Immunology, Pathogenesis & Infection, Virology

“I am interested in studying host-pathogen interactions that underlie infectious disease state and recovery. To that end, viral pathology, immunovirology, and drug discovery are all research fields that I intend to pursue during graduate studies. The questions I would like to understand are what specific mechanisms viruses use in order to infect, replicate, and most importantly evade immunosuppression, and how we might be able to develop an immune response capable of countering such mechanisms. Ultimately, I hope my research will be able to uncover novel therapeutic strategies able to protect or cure against viruses.”

Cano, Patricio

EMAIL

PHD PROGRAM

RESEARCH INTEREST
Pharmacology, Stem Cells, Virology

“I am interested in developing personalized therapeutics, including those related to utilizing pharmacogenomics, antivirals, and/or immunotherapies. I hope to utilize my background in microbiology and immunology to drive myself forward and shape the way I approach these interests.”

Schrank, Travis

EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Pathobiology & Translational Science

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bioinformatics, Biophysics, Cancer Biology, Cancer Signaling & Biochemistry, Chemical Biology, Computational Biology, Evolutionary Biology, Genetics, Genomics, Molecular Biology, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease, Translational Medicine, Virology

I am a surgeon-scientist specialized in head and neck cancers. My goal is to address translationalquestions with genomic data and bioinformatic methods, as well as benchtop experimentation. My clinical practice as a head and neck cancer surgeon also influences my research by helping me seek solutions to problems that will directly inform gaps in the current treatment protocols.

I have developed a strong interest in HPV genomics as well as HPV/host genome integrations, as these factors are intrinsically related to transcriptional diversity and patient outcomes in HPV-associated head and neck cancers. Our work has helped to demonstrate that a novel mechanism of HPV-mediated oncogenesis requiring NF-kB activation is present in nearly 50% of oropharyngeal tumors. In this vein, we are aggressively investigating the cellular interplay between the NF-kB pathway and persistent HPV infection, tumor radiation response, NRF2 signaling, and more.

Another outgrowth of this work has been investigating APOBEC3B and its non-canonical roles in regulating transcription. Our preliminary work has demonstrated that APOBEC3B has surprisingly strong transcriptional effects in HPV+ HNSCC cells and may promote oncogenesis and tumor maintenance by suppressing the innate immune response and influencing the HPV viral lifecycle.

Our group also have a strong interest in translational genomic studies. Our group is working to develop methods that will make gene expression-based biomarkers more successful in the clinic, as well as studying many aspects of genomic alterations that contribute to the development of squamous cell carcinomas.

Chung, Kay
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Cell Biology & Physiology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bioinformatics, Cancer Biology, Cancer Immunology, Cancer Signaling & Biochemistry, Chemical Biology, Computational Biology, Gene Therapy, Immunology, Molecular Biology, Signal Transduction, Systems Biology, Translational Medicine, Virology

The Chung lab is engineering immune cells, particularly T cells, to achieve maximum therapeutic efficacy at the right place and timing. We explore the crossroads of synthetic biology, immunology, and cancer biology. Particularly, we are employing protein engineering, next-gen sequencing, CRISPR screening, and bioinformatics to achieve our objectives:

(1) Combinatorial recipes of transcription factors for T cell programming.

(2) Technologies for temporal regulation and/or rewiring of tumor and immune signal activation (chemokine, nuclear, inhibitor receptors).

(3) Synthetic oncolytic virus for engineering tumor-T cell crosstalk.

Bartelt, Luther
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Microbiology & Immunology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Antibiotics/Antivirals, Bacteriology, Immunology, Metabolism, Microbiome, Model Organisms, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease, Translational Medicine, Virology

Our lab performs translational investigations of nutritional and microbiota determinants of host-pathogen interactions. We use gnotobiotic techniques (eg. germ free) mice to investigate complex microbe-microbe interactions in the context of host malnutrition, a common but poorly understood global health problem. Specific pathogens we model include Giardia (a ubiquitous parasite with unclear mechanisms of pathogenesis) and other intestinal parasites and multi drug resistant Enterobacterales (eg. Klebsiella). We work with several collaborators to translate findings in experimental models to outcomes in human cohorts. Emerging projects include determinants of host immune responses to mucosal viral infections and vaccines (eg. Polio and SARS-CoV-2).

Sheahan, Tim
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Microbiology & Immunology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Drug Discovery, Pathogenesis & Infection, Virology

Dr. Sheahan is an expert virologist with a primary appointment in the Department of Epidemiology in the Gillings School of Global Public Health and a secondary appointment in Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine. His research is focused on understanding emerging viral diseases and developing new means to stop them with a current focus on coronavirus and hepacivirus.

Ferris, Marty
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Genetics & Molecular Biology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, Genetics, Genomics, Immunology, Pathogenesis & Infection, Systems Biology, Virology

In the Ferris lab, we use genetically diverse mouse strains to better understand the role of genetic variation in immune responses to a variety of insults. We then study these variants mechanistically. We also develop genetic and genomic datasets and resources to better identify genetic features associated with these immunological differences.

Baxter, Tori
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Pathobiology & Translational Science

RESEARCH INTEREST
Immunology, Pathogenesis & Infection, Pathology, Translational Medicine, Virology

My research aims to understand the pathogenesis and host immune response to emerging and re-emerging viral infections, including encephalitic alphaviruses such as chikungunya virus and respiratory coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV-2. Other areas of interest include examination of genetic and environmental factors that influence the response to infection and disease outcome, evaluation of vaccines and novel therapeutics against emerging viruses, and development and optimization of animal models of infectious disease.