About the Training Program
The Infectious Disease & Basic Microbiological Mechanisms Training Program is dedicated to the training and career development of infectious disease fellows and of PhD postdoctoral fellows interested in pursuing careers as physician-scientists or scientists in infectious disease research.
John Albin, MD, PhD
Under the mentorship of Bradley Pentelute, PhD, at MIT, Dr. Albin is using chemical approaches to develop peptide-based antibiotics, including antibody-bactericide conjugates for the modulation of known antimicrobial agents and synthetic evolution of peptides for the derivation of novel antimicrobial peptides. In this work, he is specifically targeting Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an opportunistic pathogen that commonly affects immunocompromised hosts, including those with cystic fibrosis and neutropenia.
Patricia Grace, PhD
Under the co-mentorship of Drs. Galit Alter and Sarah Fortune, Dr. Grace is combing human and mouse immunological approaches to understand the role of antibodies from different disease states in the control of M. tuberculosis infection. Using a mouse model of M. tuberculosis infection, she is testing whether human antibodies from different tuberculosis disease states can confer control of M. tuberculosis growth and/or protection against disease pathology.
Bobby Brooke Herrera, PhD
Under the mentorship of Jonathan Abraham, MD, PhD, at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Herrera is investigating the molecular characterization of Ebola virus antibody responses during asymptomatic infection.
Jacob Lemieux, MD, PhD
Under the mentorship of Dr. Pardis Sabeti, Dr. Lemieux plans to perform genomic and pathogenesis investigations of the human parasites Babesia spp. His work focuses on improving in vitro cultivation techniques, establishing model systems for studying Babesia biology, identifying mechanisms of drug susceptibility and drug resistance in Babesia, and identifying parasite-mediated mechanisms of chronic Babesia infection.
Alaina Ritter, MD
Working with Jason Harris, MD, and Ana Weil, MD, Dr. Ritter is investigating the impact of gut microbiota on the innate immune response during Vibrio cholerae infection. Preliminary data from the Harris lab identified several anaerobic bacteria associated with protection from V. cholerae. Dr. Ritter is assessing the impact of these bacteria on the immune response to V. cholerae.
Fabian Rivera-Chavez, PhD
Under the mentorship of Dr. John Mekalanos, Dr. Rivera-Chavez is investigating the role of complement resistance by Vibrio cholera and other intestinal pathogens during colonization of the intestine.
Pritha Sen, MD
Under the mentorship of Joseph El Khoury, MD at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Sen is investigating how cytomegalovirus infection of immunocompromised hosts alters the host response to other pathogens. Specifically, she plans to focus on evaluating how macrophage and monocyte effector functions important to host defense against pathogens are altered by cytomegalovirus infection.
Swalpa Udit, MD, PhD
Under the mentorship of Dr. Isaac Chiu, Dr. Udit plans to investigate the role of nociceptor sensory neurons in host response to influenza pneumonia. Using a murine model with genetic ablation of nociceptors, Dr. Udit plans to determine the role of pulmonary nocireceptor neurons in host defense and the inflammatory response in influenza infection.