Trainees

The Tri-Institutional MMPTP has been highly successful in recruiting outstanding trainees. To date, 42 trainees have completed the program: 32 at Duke, 5 at UNC-CH, 3 at NCSU, 1 at both UNC and NCSU and 1 at both Duke and NCSU. Of these past trainees, 13 are faculty members at research universities, five are governmental scientists, two are academic research associates, 12 are in industry, five are pursuing further training and the remainder are in research-related careers including scientific communications and non-tenure track academic lab administration. Notably, three of our trainees have received K22 awards (Nielsen, Idnurm and Fortwendel). The following lists each trainee with his or her period of support, mentor, and current position.

Summary of Trainees (August 2020)

Current Trainees

Nasie Constantino, PhD
Period of Support: 8/2018 – Present
Mentor: Ralph Dean, PhD
Venue: NCSU
MMPTP Grant Years: 15-17

Asiya Gusa, PhD
Period of Support: 8/2018 – Present
Mentor: Sue Jinks-Robertson, PhD
Venue: Duke
MMPTP Grant Years: 15-17

Ben Woods, PhD
Period of Support: 10/2019 – Present
Mentor: Amy Gladfelter, PhD
Venue: UNC-CH
MMPTP Grant Year: 16

Marhiah Montoya, PhD
Period of Support: 06/2020 – Present
Mentor: John Perfect, MD
Venue: Duke
MMPTP Grant Year: 16

Blake Commer, PhD
Period of Support: 08/2020 – Present
Mentor: Caroline Laplante, PhD
Venue: NCSU
MMPTP Grant Year: 17

Catherine Denning-Jannace, PhD
Period of Support: 08/2020 – Present
Mentor: Katherine Franz, PhD
Venue: Duke
MMPTP Grant Year: 17

Past Trainees

Amy J. Powell, PhD
Period of Support: 05/2004 – 10/2007
Mentor: Ralph Dean, PhD
Venue: NCSU
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Three
Current Position: Genome Scientist, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM

Robert A. Cramer, Jr., PhD
Period of Support: 06/2004 – 05/2007
Mentor: William J. Steinbach, MD / John R. Perfect, MD
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Seven
Current Position: Professor of Microbiology and Immunology; Dartmouth School of Medicine; Hanover, NH

Brian Smith, MD, MPH, MHS
Period of Support: 07/2004 – 06/2006
Mentor: John Perfect, MD
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Seven
Current Position: Samuel L. Katz Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics, Duke University Medical Center; Durham, NC

Kirsten Nielsen, PhD
Period of Support: 07/2005 – 07/2006
Mentor: Joseph Heitman, MD, PhD
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Nine
Current Position: Associate Professor of Microbiology; University of Minnesota School of Medicine; Minneapolis, MN

Michael S. Price, PhD
Period of Support: 04/2005 – 04/2008
Mentor: J. Andrew Alspaugh, MD
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Three
Current Position: Associate Professor; Biology, Liberty University; Lynchburg, VA

Crystal Icenhour, PhD
Period of Support: 07/2005 – 07/2006
Mentor: John Perfect, MD
Venue: Duke
Current Position: CEO, Aperiomics, Inc., Ashburn, VA

Xiaorong Lin, PhD
Period of Support: 01/2006 – 12/2007
Mentor: Joseph Heitman, MD, PhD
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Nine
Current Position:  Gene E. Michaels Professor in Medical Mycology; University of Georgia; Athens, GA

Kimberly R. Bartsch, PhD
Period of Support: 05/2006 – 06/2008
Mentor: Vytas Bankaitis, PhD
Venue: UNC-CH
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Six
Current Position: Instructor, Natural Sciences, Trident Technical College, SC

Alexander Idnurm, PhD
Period of Support: 02/2007 – 09/2007
Mentor: Joseph Heitman, MD, PhD
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Six
Current Position: Associate Professor, University of Melbourne, Australia

Marianela Rodriguez-Carres, PhD
Period of Support I: 05/2007 – 12/2008
Mentor: Joseph Heitman, MD, PhD
Venue: Duke
Period of Support II: 01/2009 – 05/2010
Mentors: Marc Cubeta, PhD / Rytas Vilgalys, PhD
Venue: NCSU / Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Five
Current Position: Scientist; BASF Corporation; Research Triangle Park, NC

Kathleen Miglia, PhD
Period of Support: 06/2007 – 06/2010
Mentor: Thomas Mitchell, PhD
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Four
Current Position: Laboratory Administrator; Department of Biology; Duke University; Durham, NC

Jennifer Tenor, PhD
Period of Support: 06/2007 – 06/2010
Mentor: John Perfect, PhD
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Two
Current Position: Assistant Professor in Medicine (Infectious Diseases); Duke University Medical Center; Durham, NC

Peter V. Decker, PhD
Period of Support: 11/2007 – 10/2010
Mentor: Arno Greenleaf, PhD
Venue: Duke
Current Position: Managing Editor; Editing Services; American Journal Experts, a Research Square company; Durham, NC

Maria Sambade, PhD
Period of Support: 11/2007 – 2/2008
Mentor: Joseph Heitman, MD, PhD
Venue: Duke
Current Position: Research Associate, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, UNC, Chapel Hill, NC

Jarrod Fortwendel, PhD
Period of Support: 04/2008 – 04/2011
Mentor: William Steinbach, MD
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Eleven
Current Position: Associate Professor, Department of Clinical Pharmacy, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN

Joshua Burgess, PhD
Period of Support: 02/2009 – 05/2011
Mentor: William Goldman, PhD
Venue: UNC-CH
Current Position: Senior Manager, Scientific Research, Illumina, Madison, WI

Ryan Georgiana, PhD
Period of Support: 12/2009 – 08/2011
Mentor: John McCusker, PhD
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Two
Current Position: Senior Scientist, Genomatica, San Diego, CA

Soo Chan Lee, PhD
Period of Support: 03/2010 – 02/2013
Mentor: Joseph Heitman, MD, PhD
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Ten
Current Position: Assistant Professor; University of Texas, San Antonio

William Franck, PhD
Period of Support: 06/2010 – 05/2013
Mentor: Ralph Dean, PhD
Venue: NCSU
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Five
Current Position: Research Scientist, Montana State University, Eastern Agricultural Research Center, Sidney, MT

Min Ni, PhD
Period of Support: 02/2011 – 05/2011
Mentor: Joseph Heitman, MD, PhD
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Two
Current Position: Manager of NGS Core Lab, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Tarrytown, NY

Ryoko Oono, PhD
Period of Support: 04/2011 – 12/2013
Mentor: Francois Lutzoni, PhD
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: One
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Ecology Evolution & Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara

Richard Festa, PhD
Period of Support: 08/2011 – 07/2012
Mentor: Dennis Thiele, PhD
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Three
Current Position: Senior Scientist, Irvine Scientific, Irvine, CA

Jennifer Horan Saullo, MD, PharmD
Period of Support: 08/2011 – 07/2012
Mentor: Barbara Alexander Lodge, MD
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Three
Current Position: Assistant Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases); Duke University Medical Center; Durham, NC

Wenjun Li, MD, PhD
Period of Support: 04/2012 – 05/2012
Mentor: Joseph Heitman, MD, PhD
Venue: Duke
Current Position: Microbial Genome Curator, ComputerCraft/NCBI, NIH, Bethesda, MD

Jelena Catania, MD
Period of Support: 08/2012 – 07/2013
Mentor: Barbara Alexander, MD / Aimee Zass, MD, MHS
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Two
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine/Infectious Disease, University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Orlando, FL

Pooja Strope, PhD
Period of Support: 08/2012 – 08/17/2015
Mentor: Fred Dietrich, PhD / John McCusker, PhD
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Three
Current Position: Fungal RefSeq Curator, NCBI

Xuying Wang, PhD
Period of Support: 08/2012 – 03/2013
Mentor: Joseph Heitman, MD, PhD
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Three
Current Position: Regulatory Project Manager; GlaxoSmithKline, Collegetown, PA

Laura Okagaki-Vraspir, PhD
Period of Support: 09/2012 – 11/2015
Mentors: William Goldman, PhD/ Ralph Dean, PhD
Venue: UNC-CH and NCSU
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Four
Current Position: Technical Writer, Medtronic, Moundsview, MN

Kevin Roach, PhD
Period of Support: 02/2013 – 06/16/2015
Mentor: Joseph Heitman, MD, PhD
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Three
Current Position: Director of Global Market Insights, Seattle Genetics

Wei Song, MD, PhD
Period of Support: 08/2013 – 07/2014
Mentor: Thomas Petes, PhD
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Two
Current Position: Scientist, LabCorp, Research Triangle Park, NC

Stephanie Nay, PhD
Period of Support: 07/2013 – 11/30/2014
Mentor: Sue Jinks-Robertson, PhD
Venue: Duke
Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow; University of Wisconsin

Chelsea Boyd, PhD
Period of Support: 4/2014 – 3/2016
Mentor: William Goldman, PhD
Venue: UNC-CH
Current Position: Scientific Review Officer at NIAID/NIH

Jonathan Williams, PhD
Period of Support: 5/2015 – 6/2018
Mentor: Sue Jinks-Robertson, PhD
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Three
Current Position: Technical Director, Research & Development, LabCorp, Burlington, NC

Stacey Maskarinec, MD, PhD
Period of Support: 8/2015 – 5/2018
Mentor: Vance Fowler, MD, PhD
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: Seven
Current Position: Faculty, Department of Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Duke University Medical Center

Anna Loksztejn, PhD
Period of Support: 12/2014 – 8/2017
Mentor: Kenichi Yokoyama, PhD
Venue: Duke
Number of MMPTP-Supported Publications: One
Current Position: Research Associate Sr; Retinal Ophthalmology, Duke Eye Center, Durham, NC

Keats Shwab, PhD
Period of Support: 9/2015 – 8/2018
Mentor: William Steinbach, MD, PhD
Venue: Duke
Current Position: Postdoctoral Associate, Duke University Medical Center

Aaron Smith, PhD
Period of Support: 10/2015 – 9/2018
Mentor: Dennis Thiele, PhD
Venue: Duke
Current Position: Postdoctoral Associate, George Mason University and US Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC

Erica Washington, PhD
Period of Support: 10/2015 – 3/2019
Mentor: Richard Brennan, PhD
Venue: Duke
Current Position: Postdoctoral Associate, Duke University Medical Center

Colin Maxwell
Period of Support: 10/2017 – 2/2019
Mentor: Daniel Matute, PhD
Venue: UNC-CH
Current Position: Scientist, Zymergen, Inc., Emeryville, CA

Megan Cullen, PhD
Period of Support: 8/2018 – 06/2019
Mentor: Marc Cubeta, PhD
Venue: NCSU
Current Position: Veterinary Ophthalmology Intern, Kansas State University

Grant Jones, PhD
Period of Support: 8/2018 – 04/2020
Mentor: William Goldman, PhD
Venue: UNC-CH
Current Position: Scientist, BioAgilytix, Durham, NC

José Vargas-Muñiz, PhD
Period of Support: 8/2017 – 07/2020
Mentor: Amy Gladfelter, PhD
Venue: UNC-CH
MMPTP Grant Years: 14-16
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

MMPTP Fellows Meetings

Smaller Eukaryotes Meeting (2nd Thursday of each month, unless noted)

Currently held 5:15-6:15 PM via Zoom

Meetings start at 5:45 PM at the NC Biotechnology Center, which is convenient to Duke and most readily reached via Highway 147 to the T.W. Alexander Dr. exit. The NC Biotech Center is just around the corner as you exit the highway (take a right turn off the exit ramp, then a left turn at the first stop light, and the NC Biotech Center is the building on your right, 15 T. W. Alexander Dr., RTP.  In addition to two stellar talks, dinner is provided.

 Organizers: Shelby Priest, shelby.priest@duke.edu; Nicole Stantial, nicole.stantial@duke.edu; and Ben Woods, ben.woods@unc.edu)

September 17th, 2020*
October 8th, 2020
November 12th, 2020
December 10th, 2020
January 14th, 2021
February 11th, 2021
March 11th, 2021
April 8th, 2021

DUMRU Meetings (4th Monday of each month)

Currently held 12-1:30 PM via Zoom

Duke University Mycology Research Unit (DUMRU) meets once a month for 60 to 90 minutes over lunch time for a presentation of work in progress by either a Tri-I MMPTP fellow or faculty mentor. This provides a forum to bring the group together in a small group format, generally ~12 to 20 attending, to discuss work in progress. All Tri-I MMPTP fellows are required to attend all DUMRU meetings, and to present in this forum on a regular basis. They are encouraged to involve their faculty mentor to attend to hear their presentation and the questions and follow up discussions. They are also encouraged to alert their Research Advisory Committee (RAC) members to attend as well.

Organizer: Melissa Palmer, melissa.sykes@duke.edu

September 28th, 2020
October 26th, 2020
November 23rd, 2020
December 28th, 2020
January 25th, 2021
February 22nd, 2021
March 22nd, 2021
April 26th, 2021
May 24th, 2021

EPIC Meetings (last Friday of each month)

Currently held 10:30-11:30 AM via Zoom

The Eukaryotic Pathogens Investigators Club (EPIC) is a monthly, student-organized meeting that brings together scientists that focus on eukaryotic pathogens from multiple departments at Duke University, including Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Biology, Immunology, Biochemistry, Infectious Diseases, and Pediatrics. Meetings occur on the last Friday of each month from 10:30 – 11:30 am in MSRB 001 and feature two speakers, primarily students or post-docs, giving informal work-in-progress style presentations with questions and discussions highly encouraged.

Organizers: Shelby Priest, shelby.priest@duke.edu and Mike Hoy, michael.hoy@duke.edu

September 18th, 2020
October 23rd, 2020
November 20th, 2020
December 18th, 2020
January 22nd, 2021
February 19th, 2021
March 19th, 2021
April 23rd, 2021

Sign up for the EPIC email list through this link: https://lists.duhs.duke.edu/mailman/listinfo/epic-seminar-series