Emory Hosts 4th Annual Southeastern Immunology Symposium

Zachary Ende

Originally published November 23, 2015

What started out as a lovely Saturday morning at the start of an Atlanta summer quickly disintegrated into a discussion about lungs infected with both the influenza virus and the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae by Dr. Martha Alexander-Miller from Wake Forest University. But since this was an immunology symposium, the audience loved it. The Department of Microbiology and Immunology hosted the 4th annual Southeastern Immunology Symposium at the Emory University School of Medicine this past June 13th and 14th. I was in attendance as a PhD candidate presenting a poster on HIV transmission.

Emory researchers made up about half of the talks and poster presentations. Other universities with representatives presenting included Duke, UAB, Vanderbilt, UNC, UGA, Georgia Tech, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, Georgia Regents, UCSF, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest. The CDC, GeoVax, Inc. and St. Jude Children’s Hospital also participated.

The keynote addresses were well received. Dr. Wayne Yokoyama from Washington University described interesting data on tissue resident NK cells. Dr. Jeffrey Bluestone from the University of California, San Francisco presented on Tregs and their potential clinical value in autoimmunity. Dr. Olivera Finn discussed cancer vaccines currently in the clinic during end stage cancer and beyond.

The sponsors set up booths to sell new products either for the sake of making money or advancing scientific endeavors—not mutually exclusive—while the organizing committee received praise for the selection of scientific and alimentary delights. For example, Ryan Martinez, an Emory MD/PhD student in the Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis Program, discussed how precursor and expanded CD4 T cell frequency for a given antigen specificity has been underestimated by the field. Also, for example, the salmon was good.

The symposium culminated with the new director of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Dr. Paul Johnson, discussing lessons learned from an attenuated SIV strain that protects macaques from reinfection. In the end, collaborations were made, post-doctoral interviews secured for graduate students, and immunology learned by all—just for the price of a $35 registration fee and a summer weekend.

GDBBS Awards Banquet 2015 Winners

Originally published November 23, 2015

Faculty Mentor Award 

Malu Tansey, PhD

Graduate Career Award 

Constance Harrell Shreckengost

Outreach/Community Service Award

Annie McPherson

Student Mentor Award 

Annie McPherson

Graduate Career Teaching Award

Scott Wilkinson


Student Teaching Award 

Kameryn McCarty Butler

Program Scholars of the Year 

Biochemistry, Cell, and Developmental Biology: Emily Kuiper

Cancer Biology: Jason Conage-Pough

Genetics and Molecular Biology: Shannon Torres

Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis: Anna Kersh

Microbiology and Molecular Genetics: Charlene Wang

Molecular Systems Pharmacology: Nicole Brown

Neuroscience: Lauren DePoy

Population Biology, Ecology, and Evolution: Chloe Robbins

DSAC Symposium 2015 Award Winners

Originally published November 23, 2015

Oral Presentations

1st Place

-Michael Christopher, GMB

2nd Place

-Megan Allen, BCDB
-Alessandra Salgueiro, CB

3rd Place

-Constance Harrell Schreckengost, NS
-Laura Hudson, IMP


Poster Presentations

1st Place

-Nicole Brown, MSP 

2nd Place

-Nicholas Deputy, NHS
-Jessica Konen/Scott Wilkinson, CB
-Kameryn McCarty, GMB

3rd Place

-Kristin Limpose, CB
-David Pinelli, IMP
-Erica Bizzell, MMG
-K-T Nawrocki, MMG
-Will Hudson, MSP



Image Contest

1st Place- Julia Omotade, BCDB

1st Place- Julia Omotade, BCDB

2nd Place- Amanda York BCDB

2nd Place- Amanda York BCDB

3rd Place- Chelsea Ruppersburg, BCDB

3rd Place- Chelsea Ruppersburg, BCDB

Three Questions: Distinguished Alumna Elisabeth Binder

Alessandra Salgueiro

Originally published November 23, 2015

Why did you choose Emory GDBBS for your graduate training?

I was actually on a Fulbright Scholarship so I was given a list of graduate schools for which I was eligible. Emory was not originally on my radar coming from Austria but I knew I wanted to study neuroscience and they had a spot for me. It actually worked out very well. Emory was at the forefront of translational neuroscience research, which, as it turns out, is exactly where I wanted to be.

How did your GDBBS experience prepare you for your career?

During my time at Emory I developed a professional network of collaborators that I still use to this day. In fact, my visit here serves two purposes as it allows me to meet with collaborators in the psychology and neuroscience departments as well as participate in the GDBBS Distinguished Alumni Award process.

What advice would you give to current GDBBS students?

I would recommend that students really build their network while they are in graduate school. Throughout your time here you are able to make connections at both the faculty and student level. Take these contacts with you and you’ll find it easier to form collaborations and develop your own laboratory down the road.

STEM Symposium 2015 Award Winners

Originally published November 23, 2015

Oral Presentations

1. Courtney Edwards, Hampton University
2. Sharon Owino, Morehouse School of Medicine

Graduate Student Posters

1. Hajar Jafferji, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)
2. Melody Wright, Drexel University College of Medicine
3. Carla Thompson, Cleveland State University/Cleveland Clinic

Undergraduate Student Posters

1. Rusheel Guduru, University of Texas, Austin
2. Lindsey Hildebrand, Temple University
2. Tina Ndam, University of Maryland Eastern Shore
3. Jasmine Finnie, Virginia State University
3. German Vargas, Tufts University
3. Heleni Ramirez, California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo