ID IGEP cohorts
Tackling infectious disease: Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program announces its inaugural cohort
As the pandemic continues to send ripples throughout the world, it has become abundantly clear that there is no one protocol or discipline that can solve all the medical, economic, psychological, and social issues that have been spurred by COVID-19. To effectively address issues related to infectious diseases, the world needs greater scientific collaboration and ingenuity.
The Infectious Disease Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program (ID IGEP) offers graduate students the opportunity to get involved in remarkably diverse research approaches and topics, such as SARS-COV-2 vaccines, antiviral therapies, and tick-borne diseases.
The ID IGEP, based in the Center for Emerging, Zoonotic, and Arthropod-borne Pathogens (CeZAP), will welcome its second cohort this fall, which is composed of nine impressive students from diverse backgrounds and with extensive research experience. The cohort will be working within a cohesive, vibrant learning environment that values multiple viewpoints, exposes them to cutting-edge transdisciplinary research, and realizes the Virginia Tech motto of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) in the form of service to society through focus on real-world infectious disease problems.
“The idea is that these students are going to have a very broad exposure to the field of infectious disease from multiple perspectives, including not just the traditional sciences but the humanities perspectives as well,” said Ann Stevens, a professor of biological sciences in the College of Science and the co-director of the ID IGEP. READ MORE>>
First ID IGEP cohort class
Caitlin is excited to further develop her love of research and apply her molecular biology background in the laboratories of Dr. Luo and Dr. Li as a Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences PhD student.
Caitlin Armstrong holds a BS in Animal Science from Cornell University, where she graduated cum laude with distinction in research for her honors thesis in equine genetics. While at Cornell, she worked in three different research laboratories on projects ranging from humpback whale communication and conservation to equine genetics. After graduation, she gained several years of industry experience in molecular diagnostics while also co-managing an equine boarding barn at Callithea Farm. From 2014-2018, she gained additional research experience in the Laminitis Laboratory at PennVet - New Bolton Center. Most recently, she served as the Equine Biobank Manager in the Equine Pharmacology Laboratory, also at New Bolton Center
Marcel Shams Eddin
"It was always my interest during my undergraduate and graduate studies to learn more about infectious diseases and search deeply about the causative agents of those diseases. I enjoy studying the field I am most passionate about and will strive to discover new treatments, vaccines, and diagnostic strategies for various resistant infectious pathogens.
I am from Lebanon. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences, and a Master of Science degree in Microbiology and Immunology focusing on Virology, from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon
"I am very passionate about infectious disease and drug discovery. This intense passion stems from the need to better understand the mechanisms through which notorious pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2, the causal agent of COVID-19, cause infection. My interest in drug discovery is inspired by the urgent need to develop novel, effective therapeutic options against emerging and re-emerging infections."
Mr Abdullahi Temitope Jamiu is a citizen of Nigeria. He is very fascinated by the microbial world. As such, he obtained his Bachelor's degree in Microbiology from Al-Hikmah University, Nigeria. He has also recently completed his Master's degree in Microbiology at the University of the Free State, South Africa. He will start a PhD degree in Infectious Disease at Virginia Tech this fall.
Jason D'wayne Pough II
"My interest in the IDGEP program stems from a mixture of microbiology and immunology with a lifelong enthusiasm of zoology and animal sciences. I plan to spend my time at Virginia Tech under this program in an attempt to combine my interest, so I may find an area of study that I truly enjoy an can make a career and future out of."
My name is Jason D'wayne Pough II and I was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. After later moving to Richmond, Virginia, I attended Hampden-Sydney College at Farmville, in 2015 and graduated with a B.S. in Biology in 2019. During my time at Hampden-Sydney I was recruited by my biology department to pursue a research topic of my choosing. I researched the Tardigrade gene DSUP which allows the organisms to survive high levels of radiation. My research focused on using comet assay's to experiment on how effective the gene prevented radiation damage to plasmids. Along with my peers, I attended an ASBMB conference, in Orlando, Florida in 2019, and presented my work to other professors and students from across the country.
"My interest in infectious diseases stems from my love of microbiology and passion for understanding host/vector interactions. I am interested in gaining more knowledge on the various microbial communities that cause disease within the human population."
Mychala Snead is from Dover, DE. She received a BS in Biology from Stevenson University In Owings Mills, MD. She went on to complete a Masters in Clinical Microbiology from George Washington University. Mychala’s hobbies include cooking, walking, and taking care of her pets
Morgen aspires to pursue graduate research aimed at understanding the chemical interactions between disease-vectors, humans, and their environments. Her long-term career goals are to continue research in the field of zoonotic disease and human disease-vector interactions. More specifically, she aims to find a career exploring the vast number of ecological, genetic, and physical factors that contribute to host-pathogen interactions.
Morgen obtained a Master's degree in Biochemistry at Virginia Tech in 2021 with focus on the effects of habitat and plant chemical ecology on mosquito behavior. Under the supervision of both Dr. Clement Vinauger and Dr. Chloe Lahondere from the Department of Biochemistry, she performed field mosquito trapping and laboratory chemical analysis to better understand mosquito survival and biting behaviors. Morgen obtained her Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and a Minor in Chemistry and Medicine in Society in 2019 also at Virginia Tech. During her undergraduate studies, she participated in undergraduate research investigating olfactory rhythms in mosquitoes in the Vinauger lab, and served as a laboratory technician caring for both mosquitoes in the Vinauger and Lahondere Labs as well as a mouse care technician in the Phillips laboratory. Before moving to Blacksburg, Virginia to attend Virginia Tech, Morgen grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Throughout these experiences, she developed a strong interest in organic chemistry and vector-borne disease research in which she plans to pursue a doctoral degree