The Molecular Microbiology and Immunology Department is an inclusive community of pioneers, which includes our accomplished faculty, ambitious students, dedicated staff, and an extensive alumni network spanning the globe. From scientists to researchers to professors, we invite you to connect with them.
from Osun State, Nigeria
From Memphis, Tennessee
Elgin is a current PhD student in the Pekosz lab. He currently studies virus-host interactions at the nasal barrier with specific interests in how viral proteins suppress and manipulate innate immune proteins. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, biking and landscape photography.
From Kolkata, India
After realizing her deep interest in immunology during her bachelors degree at the University of Illinois, Malika decided to pursue a PhD in MMI at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is greatly interested in studying host-pathogen interactions and their impact on disease pathology.
3rd Year (2021-2022)
5th year (2019-2020)
from Georgia, USA
Grant graduated from the University of Georgia in 2018 with a BS in Biology and worked in the field of parasitology as an undergrad. In the Pekosz Lab, he studies mitochondrial dynamics in host cells across the respiratory epithelium and how viruses like Influenza manipulate mitochondria upon invasion. Outside the lab, he enjoys listening to vintage vinyls, baking copious amounts of sourdough, and going for long runs along the Baltimore waterfront.
Antonio Cembellin Prieto
Immunology, Viral immunology
Antonio is a Ph.D. Candidate at UC Davis and Visiting Ph.D. Candidate in MMI. Originally from Spain, Antonio moved to the United States to pursue an undergraduate degree in Biotechnology at Indiana University thanks to a Full Tennis Scholarship. He is currently working in Professor Nicole Baumgarth's laboratory to identify leukocyte-derived acetylcholine's role in the immune response to Influenza A virus. He enjoys hiking, doing puzzles, reading, and scientific writing in his free time.
4th year (2021-2022)
From New York, New York
Kate is a PhD Candidate in the lab of MMI Assistant Professor Kim Davis. She completed her undergraduate studies at SUNY Geneseo where she majored in biology. She also played the flute and danced for fun! Kate likes studying microbes and their weird actions in response to different environments/stresses.
5th Year (2019-2020)
Patrick is from Pennsylvania and obtained his BS and PharmD at Duquesne University, where he studied interferon gamma signaling in a mouse model of neuronal virus infection in the lab of Dr. Lauren O'Donnell. In the Klein lab, Patrick is interested in using mouse models to understand how viral infections, such as Zika virus, Influenza A virus, and SARS-CoV2 infections, during pregnancy cause adverse maternal and fetal outcomes.
From New York, USA
Philip was studying biology and entomology as an undergraduate at Cornell University when COVID-19 hit, igniting his interest in infectious disease. He's since graduated and worked as a vector-biology technician (focus on Aedes spp. mosquitoes) before joining MMI, where he plans to shift his research focus to virology and viral immunology. Talk to him about bugs, viruses, music, and horror movies.
6th year (2018-2019)
from Lima, Peru
3rd year (2021-2022)
From Portland, Oregon
S. aureus Host-pathogen interactions
Parsa is born and raised in Portland, Oregon. He went to undergrad at UW Seattle. He loves being outdoors, particularly snowboarding, biking, and mountaineering and really enjoys playing pick-up sports ... although he considers himself aggressively mediocre at most of them. Big fan of politics/policy podcasts (Pod Save America and Hacks on Tap especially).
Stefano Garcia Castillo
from Trujillo, Peru
Malaria transmission - Plasmodium sporozoites
Stefano is originally from Peru! where he majored in biology. Since he was an undergrad, he worked on different projects focused disease ecology, specifically, in neotropical primates. For the past 3 years, he has been focusing on malaria in the Peruvian Amazon. He enjoys hiking in the Amazon rainforest, his favorite place on earth. He also enjoys playing videogames, reading LGTBQ books and playing volleyball.
Gracen graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio with a degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology and Public Health. During her time there she did research in laboratory of Dr. Tara C. Smith, examining rat microbiomes and screening for antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Now at the Bloomberg School of Public Health for her PhD, she enjoys hanging with her lab and friends, her cat Louis (Pasteur), and exploring Baltimore.
From New York
Peri graduated from the University of Rochester with a BA in Biology and minors in Health, Behavior, and Society and Computational Biology. Following her Bachelor's, she spent a year in Switzerland through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program developing an intestinal epithelial organoid model to study Salmonella. Now, she is excited to integrate a public health perspective into her research at BSPH. Outside of academia, she enjoys hiking, running, and good coffee.
Francisco "Frankie" Hernández
from Puerto Rico
Frankie's interests include mycology (go fungi!) and metal acquisition during infection as well as vaccine development for arboviruses, especially those endemic in the Caribbean! Some of his favorite things to do include exploring the outdoors, especially rock climbing and biking! He especially enjoys meeting new people and trying new dishes (food!).
Fifth Year (2019-2020)
from chicago, illinois
Ella graduated from Cornell University with a major in entomology and minors in Health Policy and Infectious Disease Biology. During her time there she was a research assistant in the Harrington Lab studying mosquito mating biology. At the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health she joined the Lab of Arturo Casadevall and now researches the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans while continuing interdisciplinary projects on the structural biology of insect cuticle.
6th year (2018-2019)
from Taipei, Taiwan
Jenny is originally from Taipei, Taiwan. She pursued her undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in microbiology within Dr. David O'Connor's lab. She earned a master's in molecular microbiology and immunology at Johns Hopkins under the guidance of MMI Professor Sabra Klein. Jenny's research interest lies in understanding immune responses to viral pathogens and their vaccine-induced immunity. Beyond the lab, she enjoys baking, traveling, and exploring aesthetic restaurants.
from los angeles, CA
Emily studied mathematics and biology at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA, where she developed a love for studying microbes during a summer internship at JPL. She then worked in a malaria lab at Brown University before pursuing a PhD at Johns Hopkins in MMI. In her free time, she enjoys baking, ultimate frisbee, and finding new places to eat!
Beatriz is a Brazilian who grew up in the UK. She came to the U.S. for University with the initial mindset of pursuing medicine. Little did she know that she was going to fall in love with immunology and vaccinology because of the pandemic, and now she is pursuing her PhD to work in this field.
from Chennai, India
Aishwarya grew up in India and studied biotechnology during her undergrad at VIT. She came to the US for her master’s in biotechnology at Johns Hopkins. During her time there, she was a student researcher at the Lajoie Lab studying innate immune mechanisms of allergic asthma. Following graduation, she also worked as a research technician at the Dong lab with a focus on cancer immunology. She is deeply passionate about immunology, with her interests primarily focused on understanding the fundamental mechanisms of the immune system, and she is now pursuing her PhD in MMI. In her free time, Aishwarya enjoys baking, watching movies and TV shows, and solving escape room puzzles!
5th year (2019-2020)
from Wichita, Kansas
Alexis studied molecular biology in Missouri at William Jewell College. In her junior year of undergrad, she worked full-time at a Schistosome lab at the University of Wisconsin - Madison before spending the rest of the year studying at Oxford University. She is now making her way through the MMI PhD program while volunteering at the Maryland Science Center and with the Journal of Emerging Investigators.
Sebastian Mesones Mancilla
From California, born in Peru
Sebastian is a first-generation student originally from Peru. During the end of his bachelors studies, he developed an interest in research and decided to pursue a masters degree in Dr. Veronica Jimenez’s molecular parasitology lab where he found his love of trypanosomes.
From Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Lusajo grew up in Tanzania and came to the U.S. for undergrad. Upon completion of his Molecular Biology bachelors at Pomona College Saj went on to CZBiohub (San Francisco) to work on the Rapid Response team where he assisted international and domestic groups in employing metagenomics next generation sequencing for pathogen detection and surveillance. His interests are in leveraging genomics in mitigating infectious disease outbreaks through the one health approach.
5th Year (2019-2020)
from New Mexico, USA
Ben grew up in Los Alamos, New Mexico and went to UC Santa Barbara for undergrad, majoring in microbiology. He worked in Craig Montell’s lab at UCSB and studied mosquito sensory neurobiology before joining the MMI PhD program in 2019. He currently studies innate immune responses to SINV infection of the CNS. In his free time, Ben enjoys live music, cooking, and traveling.
4th year (2020-2020)
Republic of South Africa
CNS alphavirus infections
Lisa has a research background in bacteriophage therapy, Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections of the developing brain, PIM/FLT3 inhibition of acute lymphocytic leukemia in primary patient samples, etc., but thoroughly enjoys working with chikungunya virus and investigating its interactions with neural vs. neuronal cells.
Parasitology; Host-pathogen interactions
Karli was born and raised in Canton, Ohio. She attended Case Western Reserve University where she obtained a bachelor's degree in biology and a master's of public health with a concentration in global health. During her time at CWRU, she worked under Christopher King studying invasion mechanisms of P. vivax malaria. Broadly, she is interested in host-pathogen interactions and vaccine and drug development against infectious agents.
Luciana Ribeiro Dinis
from Portugal/Mozambique, born in Costa Rica
Biochemical pathways of the Plasmodium apicoplast and mitochondria
Luciana is originally from Mozambique but grew up in 5 different countries! She completed her undergrad studies in biomedical sciences at Maastricht University, in the Netherlands, and after took a gap year where she spent 6 months in Costa Rica and 6 months in Mozambique, working on Malaria research. She then went on to pursue her ScM degree in MMI and remained in the department for her PhD studies. Beyond science, she is an advocate for well-being and promoting a work-life balance in academia. In her free time, you can find her doing yoga, going on walks or reading.
4th year (2020-2021)
from Prague, Czech Republic
Kat did her undergrad at the University of Manitoba in Canada. In Andrea Cox's lab, she studies vaccine-induced immune responses in populations underrepresented in clinical trials, including pediatric solid organ transplant recipients and people who inject drugs. Outside of the lab she enjoys hiking, biking and reading.
4th year (2020-2021)
from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
Abeer is working on antimalarial mechanisms of action and drug resistance mechanisms in P. falciparum. Prior to this she did her ScM in the same lab working on hemozoin kinetics. She did her undergrad at Northeastern after which she worked in Cambridge, MA for a few years in the cancer space before coming to Hopkins. Abeer is originally from Massachusetts which means she is a wicked crazy Boston sports fan!
4th year (2020-2021)
from Sierra Leone
from Seattle, USA
Jamie grew up in Seattle, Washington and then attended Willamette University in Salem, Oregon for undergrad. She majored in biology and minored in chemistry and anthropology. She was also on the cross country and track teams in college and continues to enjoy running.
Fifth year (2019-2020)
FROM Montreal, Canada
T cell immunology
Georgia graduated from McGill University (Montreal) with a major in microbiology and immunology and a minor in philosophy. As an undergraduate, she studied oral vaccines to enteric pathogens. As a PhD student at Johns Hopkins, she studies T cell responses to viral infections. Her thesis work focuses on understanding CD8+ T cells in the context of Hepatitis C Virus clearance and reinfection.
4th Year (2020-2021)
Nico studied French and biochemistry as an undergrad before working for the state of Florida as an analytical chemist for two years. Now that he is in the Pekosz lab he researches circulating strains of H1N1 to better understand viral evolution and the interaction between antigenicity and viral fitness. Outside of science, he loves reading (currently into Chinese history books), yoga, and nature!
Yuwei (Sabrina) Tang
Sabrina completed her undergraduate degree in pathobiology and immunology at the University of Toronto. In her spare time, she enjoys reading mystery novels (big fan of Agatha Christie!) and watching horror movies. She is currently on a one-year deferral, using this time to be with her family before embarking on the MMI PhD program next August.
Yee was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. When he does have free time he enjoys taking naps and eating pastries.
From New York
Annie is originally from New York and did her undergraduate degree there as well, in microbiology and infectious disease biology at Cornell University. She then went to NIAID's Vaccine Research Center (VRC) where she worked on coronavirus vaccine development for two years. And now she is here in the MMI PhD program! In her free time, she really enjoys listening to & finding new music! Please call her Annie, not Anne!
From London, UK
Camille grew up in London and did her undergraduate degree at the University of Edinburgh. Camille is now working to characterize SARS-CoV-2 variants appearing in persistently infected immunocompromised patients. When not pipetting, she enjoys pretty much any outdoor activity, reading, swimming and drinking Earl Grey tea.
Sukmin (Steve) Yoon
From South Korea
Having lived in Vietnam for most of his life, Steve is highly interested in studying viral immunolgy. He graduated from UCLA in 2018 with a B.S and also completed his ScM in the MMI department in 2022 where he conducted his thesis work with Professor Andrew Pekosz assessing early SARS-CoV-2 evolution. Currently he studies measles virus pathogensis and immunology in the Griffin lab. Outside of research, he enjoys watching and playing soccer and golf.
from Boston, Massachusetts
Yonatan was born in Boston and graduated from Brandeis University with a B.S. in biology and a minor in chemistry. After graduating he spent two years as a research technician in the laboratory of Galit Alter at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard where he investigated the impact of antibody-dependent effector functions on immunity and protection in the context of malaria and SARS-CoV2. In his free time Yonatan loves to play basketball and also enjoys hiking.