Luke Kazmierski

Luke is a rising second year veterinary student at PennVet and is spending the summer of 2021 in the lab as an NIH/Boehringer Ingelheim (NIH-BI) Summer Research fellow. His project focuses on evaluating functional properties of bile acid-producing clostridia.

Leah Soderman

Leah completed her veterinary degree at Kansas State University and is currently an internal medicine resident at PennVet. Although Leah spends the majority of her time in the clinic, she will be working periodically in the lab to develop a residency research project focused on using portable QPCR technology (Biomeme, Inc.) to develop assays for measuring gut dysbiosis in client-owned dogs.

Ann Blevins

Ann completed her Ph.D. and postdoc in the laboratory of Danielle Bassett at UPenn, where she used network theory to address questions in cognitive neuroscience. Ann’s role on the team is to advance data analysis and visualization methods for our microbiomeDB project, and she works closely with the larger VEuPathDB team that is our partner in this effort.

Qianxuan She

Qianxuan completed his first of three rotations in the lab and is a member of the Microbiology, Virology and Parasitology (MVP) Graduate group. Qianxuan’s project focused on a bile acid-prodcing commensal, Clostridium hiranonis, which we initially identified as an important factor in modulating GI disease. Due to COVID, Qianxuan has worked virtually to annotate a recently completed genome of C. hiranonis, while exploring published and unpublished shotgun metagenomic datasets to better understand this organism.

Seble Negatu

Seble spent the Summer of 2020 ‘in the lab’ (virutally, due to COVID) doing a rotation. She is a member of the Immunology Graduate Group (IGG), and her project focused on using bioinformatic tools to analyze single cell RNA sequencing data (scRNA-seq) from 3-dimensional cultures of intestinal epithelial cells in order to understand how these cells might be better poised to response to infection or inflammation.

Lydia Mendoza

Lydia spent the Spring of 2020 doing a virutal rotation in the lab during the earliest (and scariest!) phase of the COVID19 pandemic. She is a member of the Microbiology, Virology and Parasitology (MVP) Graduate group. Her rotation was mostly devoted to learning the computationoal methods and principles of RNA-seq.

Cleo Fan

Cleo was enrolled in the Masters of Biotechnology program at UPenn. As part of the molecular biology track within this program, Cleo did her independent study in the lab working with some of the bacterial isolates from our canine IBD study to try to set-up in vitro systems to study microbe-microbe interactions between bile acid producers and pathobionts. Unfortunately, this work was cut short by the COVID19 pandemic, but Cleo still finished her independent study virtually.

Alyssa Gonzalez

Alyssa is new to the lab and is interested in learning more about laboratory approaches to studying host-microbe interactions

Eman Gomaa

Eman spent time in the lab when she was a senior at the University of the Sciences Philadelphia (USP), and spent the Spring semester of 2020 working in the lab on an independent study project. Eman was new to bench research and spent her time getting acquainted with fundamental techniques in molecular microbiology. Unfortunately, this work was cut short by the COVID19 pandemic, and Eman was accepted into a Postbac program at WashU.

Olivia Pilling

Olivia is a PhD student in the lab and is a member of the Microbiology, Virology and Parasitology (MVP) Graduate group. Olivia’s project is focused on the development of Selective Whole Genome Amplification (SWGA) to study the skin-dwelling parasite, Leishmania braziliensis. She will test whether specially designed primer sets are capable of selectively amplifying L. braziliensis DNA even in the presence of substantial human DNA contamination. If successful, this would constitute a breakthrough for the leishmania research field that would allow researchers to amplify whole L. braziliensis genomes directly from patient material to carry out population genetic studies of this important pathogen, without the need to culture or enrich parasites.


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