MMI Students in the News
Rachisan Dijake, a graduate student (Sanchita Bhatnagar lab), won first place in the 29th Annual Cancer Research Symposium hosted by the UC Davis Health Comprehensive Cancer Center held on October 5 – 6, 2023. She competed against over 50 poster presenters representing their research and won best poster award.
- 1st Place – Rachisan Djiake Tihagam (Friday 20); "A Trim37 Risk Variant rs57141087 Contributes to Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Onset and Progression in African American Women"
- 2nd Place – Amanda Allen (Thursday 19); "The Impact of a Perioperative Nutrition Protocol in Reducing Hospital Acquired Malnutrition in Patients with Esophageal Cancer"
- 3rd Place – Noemi Castro (Thursday 15); "Chemically Optimizing Amiloride to Generate Highly Effective Derivatives that Selectively Target Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Stem Cells"
Congratulations to Ms. Ramatoulaye (“Rama”) Ouattara, a Ph.D. student in the Immunology Graduate Group, who has been awarded an NIH/NIAID Diversity Supplement to support her graduate studies in the Shacklett Lab. Her research focuses on the role of Cytomegalovirus (CMV) in immune dysfunction within the context of chronic HIV infection.
Julia Mouat, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Integrative Genetics and Genomics Graduate Group (Janine LaSalle lab), won second place in the UC Grad Slam competition held on May 5, 2023 at the LinkedIn Headquarters in San Francisco. She competed against nine other graduate students representing each of the other universities in the University of California system.
“I really enjoyed participating in Grad Slam, particularly in meeting the contestants from other UC campuses and staying in San Francisco,” she said. “I was happy to win second place, because I felt that all the three-minute speeches were excellent—really engaging and performed well.”
Ning Chin, Ph.D. graduate, Integrative Pathobiology Graduate Group, Dennis Hartigan-O’Connor Lab
New research from scientists at UC Davis Health provides clues for how friendly bacteria in the gut — probiotics — may help eradicate bacterial pathogens like Salmonella by competing with them for needed resources.
The study, published in Cell Host & Microbe, shows that the availability of needed nutrients alone doesn’t define where bacteria — including pathogens like Salmonella — can survive and thrive in the gut.
“These insights provide a better understanding of the nutritional basis of intestinal colonization and can help inform efforts to develop probiotics to combat infection,” said Megan Liou, a Ph.D. candidate in the Bäumler Lab at UC Davis and the first author of the study.
CONGRATULATIONS NIH F30 Award Recipients Katti Horng-Crakes, Annica Stull-Lane and Lillian Zhang, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology
Katti Horng-Crakes, Annica Stull-Lane and Lillian Zhang
CONGRATULATIONS to Vladimir E Diaz-Ochoa
He has been awarded a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, Davis.
The UC Davis Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program offers postdoctoral research fellowships and faculty mentoring to outstanding scholars in all fields whose research, teaching, and service will contribute to the diversity and equal opportunity at the University of California. Vladimir is a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Renee Tsolis.
CONGRATULATIONS to Katti Crakes
She is the 2020 winner of the Max Kleiber Graduate Research Prize.
This prize is awarded to the Ph.D. candidate who best represents the characteristics and high standards of scholastics and professional ethics that guided Professor Kleiber’s career. Katti is a graduate student (GGIP) in the laboratory of Dr. Satya Dandekar.
Meet the volunteer team of medical students helping Sacramento’s homeless amid coronavirus
Annica Stull-Lane is one the medical students who is working with homeless community in Sacramento.
“Since Annica Stull-Lane, a fifth-year M.D./Ph.D. student at UC Davis, started going out to camps along the American River, she’s noticed how many people are smokers. She also noticed how many have COPD and other pre-existing respiratory conditions that could make them vulnerable to contracting the coronavirus.
The virus is most dangerous for the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. A January 2019 count estimated 5,570 homeless people were living in the county, mostly sleeping outdoors and mostly in the city of Sacramento. About 20 percent of those sleeping outdoors were over age 55. Of those over age 55, 66 percent reported a mental or physical impairment.
Coronavirus prevention for homeless
Stull-Lane’s team have only so far met one woman with symptoms that could be the virus - a woman who was over the age of 60 with a cough - but she’s worried there will be more.
“We’re worried that if a case does pop up here where people are closer together, it could be pretty severe,” Stull-Lane said. “What’s really important right now is prevention and education.”
To help with prevention, Stull-Lane and the other students have been handing out masks and hand sanitizer.
They’ve also been clearing up misconceptions about the virus. Stull-Lane recently met a woman who thought the virus could be spread the same way as HIV, she said, while Lowry has met homeless people who thought they could contract it from the soil. They explained how the virus is contracted from respiratory droplets and emphasized the importance of washing hands and social distancing.
Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) F30 Predoctoral Fellowship
The Medical Microbiology and Immunology Department at UC Davis would like to congratulate student, Katti Horng, on receiving the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Services Award (NRSA) F30 Predoctoral Fellowship. She is the second student at UC Davis and the first student at the School of Veterinary Medicine to have been awarded this prestigious award. The purpose of the Kirschstein-NRSA, dual-doctoral degree, predoctoral fellowship (F30) is to enhance the integrated research and clinical training of promising predoctoral students, who are matriculated in a combined M.D./Ph.D. or other dual-doctoral degree training program (e.g. D.O./Ph.D., D.D.S./Ph.D., Au.D./Ph.D., D.V.M./Ph.D.), and who intend careers as physician/clinician-scientists. The NIH support will fund 3 years of her D.V.M./Ph.D. training at UC Davis. Katti is a graduate student in the Graduate Group of Integrative Pathobiology, where she plays an active role in representing the graduate student body at UC Davis. As a budding clinician scientist, her Ph.D. work in the laboratory of Dr. Satya Dandekar is focused on understanding how the gastrointestinal tract is targeted during HIV infection and developing novel strategies to repair gut damage alongside anti-retroviral therapies. She has given presentations at national (Merial-NIH, dual-degree colloquiums) as well as international meetings (FASEB, Keystone). When Katti is not engaged in science, she can be found outdoors with her fiance and 2 furry children exploring the 58 national parks in America.
Immune system and gastrointestinal deregulation linked with autism
Dr. Paul Ashwood's lab has a new publication in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. The first author of the paper was Destanie Rose, a graduate student in the laboratory of Paul Ashwood.
Their research has found that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have reduced immune system regulation, as well as shifts in their gut microbiota. The immune deregulation appears to facilitate increased inflammation and may be linked to the gastrointestinal issues so often experienced by children with ASD.
New publication has been highlighted in the Journal of Immunology
Dr. Barbara Shacklett's lab has a new publication in the Journal of Immunology that was selected by the journal for a special feature. The first author of the paper was Brenna Kiniry, Ph.D., a recent graduate of the Microbiology Graduate Group from Dr. Shacklett’s lab.
The articles highlighted in the Journal of Immunology are considered to be among the top 10% of articles published in the journal.
Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) F30 Predoctoral Fellowship
Lillian Zhang, an M.D./Ph.D. candidate in the lab of Dr. Andreas Bäumler has been awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) F30 Predoctoral Fellowship. Lillian is the first student in the history of UC Davis to have been awarded this prestigious fellowship.
The purpose of the Kirschstein-NRSA, dual-doctoral degree, predoctoral fellowship (F30) is to enhance the integrated research and clinical training of promising predoctoral students, who are matriculated in a combined M.D./Ph.D. or other dual-doctoral degree training program, and who intend careers as physician/clinician-scientists.
UC Davis MIND Institute researchers have shown in a mouse model that an elevated maternal immune response changes the epigenetic landscape in offspring’s microglia, immune cells found in the brain and spinal cord. These changes affect genes associated with immune signaling and neural development, some of which have been implicated in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The study was published online in the journal Glia.
“The genes we identified that had differences in methylation and changes in expression showed an overlap or enrichment for genes that had been identified as genetic risk factors for autism, as well as genes that were differentially expressed in autism human brain samples,” said Annie Vogel Ciernia, Autism Research Training Program (ARTP) fellow, senior postdoctoral researcher in the LaSalle lab at UC Davis and first author on the paper.
Outstanding Senior in the Global Disease Biology major
Don Nguyen, an undergraduate researcher from Dr. Satya Dandekar's lab, has been named "Outstanding Senior in the Global Disease Biology major". This award recognizes students' contributions to the intellectual environment of their department, through involvement in research or classroom discussion, leadership in student groups committed to the advancement of learning, or other intellectual pursuits with faculty and fellow students.
The Global Disease Biology academic major at UC Davis uses an integrated, One Health-based approach to advance student understanding of the concept(s) of disease, the societal and personal impacts of past, present and future diseases, and the science behind disease discoveries, causes, evolution, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. This major is offered by College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and is partnered with School of Medicine and School of Veterinary Medicine.