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Education / Immunology Training Grant / Trainees / Current Trainee Bios

 

Current Trainee Bios

Cassandra Houser

  • Education: B.S. Loyola University Maryland, M.S. University of Rochester
  • Lab: Paige Lawrence
  • T32 association: Trainee since 2020
  • Research Interests:  I am interested in deciphering how exposure to environmental contaminants that activate the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) impacts humoral immunity to respiratory viruses, such as influenza. My project focuses of a special type of CD4+ T cell, T follicular helper (Tfh) cells, and aims to determine how AhR activation effects Tfh cells on the cellular and molecular level.
  • Best Immune cell/favorite factor:  CD4+ T cells
  • Fun fact:  I have walked The Great Wall of China and have seen The Terracotta Army.

Taylor Uccello

  • Education: B.S. Stonehill College, M.S. University of Rochester
  • Lab: Scott Gerber
  • T32 association: Trainee since 2020
  • Research Interests:  I am interested in exploring factors that mediate the anti-tumor immune response against colorectal cancer. Specifically, my project has two main aspects. We aim to elucidate why a subset of cancer patients treated with radiotherapy respond to treatment while others do not, by utilizing an orthotopic murine model of rectal cancer and a clinically relevant Short Course Radiation Therapy treatment. The second aim is to determine what effect radiation therapy plays on intratumoral nerves as these sympathetic nerves have been shown to be immunosuppressive. Further understanding how radiation therapy mediates the anti-tumor immune response may contribute to how physicians treat patients with rectal cancer in the clinic.
  • Best Immune cell/favorite factor:  CD8 T cells
  • Fun fact:  I spent a semester in Copenhagen, Denmark studying biotechnology and drug design.

Mary Moran, M.S.

  • Education: B.S. College of the Holy Cross, M.S. Univ. Rochester, MPH Univ. Rochester (in progress)
  • Lab: Lisa Beck
  • T32 association: Trainee since 2021
  • Research Interests:  My research project is focused on identifying S. aureus virulence factors that alter epithelial skin cells to make them more susceptible to viral infection and aims at understanding the mechanisms behind this action. This is an important question in the context of atopic dermatitis, in which patients are highly colonized with S. aureus and are uniquely susceptible to serious viral skin infections. 
  • Favorite immune factor:  My favorite immune factor is the complement system. Even though I have never done any research related to complement I loved learning about it as an undergrad and it was the first lesson that made me really interested in immunology. 
  • Fun fact: I love sailing on Lake George with my family and our dog.

Andrew Martin, M.S.

  • Education: B.S. Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. MS. University of Rochester
  • Lab: Felix Yarovinsky
  • T32 association: Trainee since September 2020
  • Research Interests: I’m interested in the role of the cytokine interferon gamma (IFN-g) in mediating myeloid cell immunity to intracellular pathogens. I am currently studying the interplay between IFN-g and tissue resident macrophages during infections with the model intracellular parasite, Toxoplasma gondii.
  • Favorite immune cell: I’m a Myeloid maniac and Interferon Gamma groupie
  • Fun fact: I have a vast collection of “Hawaiian shirts” which I wear daily
  • Beyond the lab: Swimming, hiking, waterpolo, kendo, cooking, boardgames, long walks through the cold room

Chantelle Lehone White, B.S.

  • Education: B.S. University of Rochester
  • Lab: Andrea Sant
  • T32 association: Trainee since September 2020
  • Research Interests: I am interested in the influence of intrinsic and extrinsic pathogen associated factors on the development of subsequent CD4 T cell mediated immune responses to vaccination and infection. Using both seasonal and pandemic influenza and coronaviruses, I am currently studying the impact of viral replication, antigenic burden, variable viral virulence factors and post-translational antigen modifications upon the subsequent activation, composition and functional potential of the CD4 T cell compartment.
  • Favorite immune cell: Th1 and Tfh cells
  • Fun fact: I am a huge musical theatre enthusiast and part time wedding singer.