MOB Alumni – Where are they now?
|<– MOB students in 1995 at work in IMB:
|Dr. Jeffrey Priest (1988 graduate, Dr. Robley Light lab) has been at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta since 1995, first in the Division of Parasitic Diseases, then in the Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases. He works to identify parasite surface antigens that are targeted by the human immune system to help develop tests for the detection of infection and for use in epidemiological surveys. As part of the Neglected Tropical Disease Multiplex Assay Development Group, with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Priest and the group conduct serologic antibody surveys for malaria, schistosomiasis, and soil transmitted helminthes in several countries in Eastern Africa. Pictured to the right is Dr. Priest on a recent trip to the Kenya Medical Research Institute.|
|Dr. Randal Ketchem (1995 graduate, Dr. Tim Cross lab) is currently a Scientific Director in Biologics within Therapeutic Discovery at Amgen, located at the Seattle campus. He leads the Protein and Antibody Optimization group, which is primarily responsible for protein-based therapeutic design, engineering and optimization. This level of engagement on early research and therapeutic development allows Dr. Ketchem to collaborate across many disciplines, from discovery and early lead development to therapeutic development across multiple biological disciplines to manufacturability assessment and even into the clinic. His work has resulted in multiple publications and patents, all with the ultimate goal to treat and cure grievous illness.|
|Dr. Ari Kassardjian (2012 graduate, Dr. Myra Hurt lab) joined the HEALX (PhD to MD Program) at Tulane University in January 2013. He finished the basic science curriculum in March 2014 and has begun the clinical rotation portion of the curriculum. Dr. Kassardjian expects to graduate with his MD in May of 2016 and hopes to match to a surgical residency.|
Dr. Linda Nicholson (1990 graduate, Dr. Tim Cross lab) is Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Cornell University. Her research involves the application of multidimensional NMR spectroscopy to investigate the structure and dynamics of proteins in different functional states. The Nicholson lab focuses on key proteins that have been shown to play important roles in biological processes such as cell cycle control, cell signaling, protein degradation, organelle localization, protein folding and stability, bacterial infection/virulence, etc. Many of these proteins are implicated in disease processes such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, AIDS, and cancer.
|Dr. Priya D. Subramony (1997 graduate, Dr. Stuart E. Dryer lab) is a Senior Patent Agent working with the Intellectual Property group of ThermoFisher Scientifics’ Life Science Solutions Group (previously Life Technologies Corporation) in Austin, Texas, since 2010. Prior to that, she worked as a Patent Agent with several law firms in Austin, including Baker Botts LLP, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, and Arnold While & Durkee LLP, and a startup biotech company Nanoscience Diagnostics. She has extensive experience in U.S. and international patent prosecution, freedom to operate analysis (FTO), patent landscape analysis, and strategic IP planning to develop client/in-house IP portfolios. She has prepared and prosecuted patent applications in areas of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, biochemistry, neurobiology, molecular biology, immunology, nanotechnology, medical and surgical devices, mechanical devices, oil drilling technology, railway technology, and various devices for military applications. Immediately after her Ph.D., Dr. Subramony was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Texas, Austin, doing research on physiological properties of alternatively spliced and tissue-specific calcium-activated potassium channels in transgenic Drosophila neurons and muscle cells. Other than work, she enjoys traveling and hiking with her husband Shiva Akkihal, son Kartik (who is a big FSU football fan) and daughter Gita Anjali.|
|Dr. Anthony Nicholls (1988 graduate, Dr. William Rhodes lab) began in 1997 developing his company OpenEye Scientific Software www.eyesopen.com. He started in Santa Fe, New Mexico to provide scientific software to the pharmaceutical industry with which to accurately model new chemical entities. The company now employs over 40 people, mostly PhDs, working in Santa Fe, Boston, Tokyo and Cologne, Germany. Following his graduation from the MOB Program, Dr. Nicholls was a postdoc at Columbia University. He still considers his years as an MOB graduate student to be the happiest of his life.The photo on the left was taken recently at OpenEye. The photo on the right shows Dr. Nicholls in 1988 as an “honorary member” of Dr. Michael Kasha’s group (he’s the one with the sign “Theorist” hanging from his neck).|
|Dr. Pradeep Sengupta (1980 graduate, Dr. Michael Kasha lab) retired as Senior Professor of Biophysics, from the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata (previously known as Calcutta) in 2011, and continued there until recently on an emeritus position. Recently he has joined the University of Calcutta as an Emeritus Fellow, and continues to be active in research and education. Professor Sengupta’s research focus has been on Biomolecular Spectroscopy emphasizing biophysical, and of late, biomedically relevant applications. His early research on the electronic spectroscopy of plant flavonols (with Dr. Kasha) led to the seminal discovery of excited state proton transfer (ESPT) in such molecules, which, for the first time, explained the origin of their unusual luminescence properties. His subsequent studies on the vibrational spectroscopy of polypeptides (with Prof. S. Krimm, Univ. of Michigan, USA) involving Raman, IR and normal mode analyses, revealed the role of side chain structure on main chain vibrational modes, resolved earlier discrepancies between Raman and X-ray findings, and provided other fundamental insights relating to polypeptide/protein conformations. Recent studies revealed that flavonoids exhibit significant protective (antioxidant and antihemolytic) effects in RBC membranes, which crucially depend on their locations (inferred from fluorescence studies) in the membrane matrix. Dr. Sengupta’s latest research suggests the prospect of plant flavonols as quadruplex DNA ligands, implying their use as novel cancer therapeutics. Such findings have attracted remarkable attention and triggered a surge of research activities around the world.|
|Following his graduation in 2004 from one of the top universities in China, the University of Science and Technology of China, with dual bachelor’s degrees in Biological Science and Computer Science, Dr. Bo Liang (2009 graduate, Dr. Hong Li lab) came to the MOB program to explore the structural biology of RNA and proteins. After receiving his doctorate he moved to Harvard Medical School where he works under the supervision of Prof. Stephen C. Harrison and Prof. Sean Whelan.
In 2014, his work centers on the structural studies of Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) using negative stain EM, crystallography, and cryo-EM. VSV is the model system of negative-stand RNA virus family, which includes a wide variety of human and animal pathogens, such as Measles, Rabies, and Ebola, which has caused a severe epidemic outbreak in Africa. The VSV polymerase is the multifunctional machinery that contains all enzymatic activities necessary for RNA synthesis, namely nucleotide polymerization, cap addition, cap methylation and polyadenylation, catalyzing both replication and transcription of virus-specific RNA. Therefore, it is interesting to study the three dimension structure in order to appreciate the mechanism of this single protein coordinates and accomplishes such complex and multiple functions. At the end, the structure studies would facilitate the rational design of anti-viral therapies targeting viral gene expression.