Fellowships and Publications

Fellowships and Awards:  Many MBTP trainees receive other fellowshp support or awards during their graduate training. In the last three years, 11 of the 24 (46%) students who received T32 support and completed their PhDs or are still in training also earned a total of 17 other awards.  Some examples of the awards are:

  • Dean’s Doctoral Fellowship
  • Dissertation Completion Grant
  • GAANN Computational Science
  • GEM Fellowship
  • Glaxo-Smith-Kline Fellowship
  • Graduate Merit Award
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
  • Provost Doctoral Recruiting Fellowship
  • University Graduate Fellowship

Publications: Trainees who have completed their PhD degree published 1 to 14 papers on their dissertation research, with an average of 3.8 publications per student.  Trainees were first authors on an average of 2.3 papers.  A bibliography for NIH T32 GM008776 can be found HERE

Number of Publications per Pre-Doctoral Trainee:


Elizabeth Hecht PhD Candidate, Chemistry:Characterization and control of surfactant-mediated Norovirus interactions.Abstract: Understanding of the colloidal interactions of Norovirus particles in aqueous medium could provide insights on the origins of the notorious stability and infectivity of these widespread viral agents. We characterized the effects of solution pH and surfactant type and concentration on the aggregation, dispersion, and disassembly of Norovirus virus-like particles (VLPs) using dynamic light scattering, electrophoretic light scattering, and transmission electron microscopy. Owing to net negative surface charge of the VLPs at neutral pH, low concentrations of cationic surfactant tend to aggregate the VLPs, whereas low concentrations of anionic surfactant tend to disperse the particles. Increasing the concentration of these surfactants beyond their critical micelle concentration leads to virus capsid disassembly and breakdown of aggregates. Non-ionic surfactants, however, had little effect on virus interactions and likely stabilized them additionally in suspension. The data were interpreted on the basis of simple models for surfactant binding and re-charging of the virus capsid. We used zeta potential data to characterize virus surface charge and interpret the mechanisms behind these demonstrated surfactant-virus interactions. The fundamental understanding and control of these interactions will aid in practical formulations for virus inactivation and removal from contaminated surfaces. PMID: 26378627  

Ryan Leenay, PhD Candidate, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering: Identifying and Visualizing Functional PAM Diversity across CRISPR-Cas Systems.Abstract:  Three sequence lineages of MHC class I genes have been described in zebrafish (Danio rerio): U, Z, and L. The U lineage genes encoded on zebrafish chromosome 19 are predicted to provide the classical function of antigen presentation. This MHC class I locus displays significant haplotypic variation and is the only MHC class I locus in zebrafish that shares conserved synteny with the core mammalian MHC. Here, we describe two MHC class I U lineage genes, mhc1ula and mhc1uma, that map to chromosome 22. Unlike the U lineage proteins encoded on chromosome 19, Ula and Uma likely play a nonclassical role as they lack conservation of key peptide binding residues, display limited polymorphic variation, and exhibit tissue-specific expression. We also describe a null haplotype at this chromosome 22 locus in which the mhc1ula and mhc1uma genes are absent due to a ~30 kb deletion with no other MHC class I sequences present. Functional and non-functional transcripts of mhc1ula and mhc1uma were identified; however, mhc1uma transcripts were often not amplified or amplified at low levels from individuals possessing an apparently bona fide gene. These distinct U lineage genes may be restricted to the superorder Ostariophysi as similar sequences only could be identified from the blind cavefish (Astyanax mexicanus), fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas), goldfish (Carassius auratus), and grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella).  PMID: 26254596