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Assistant Scientist

Contact Info

615 N. Wolfe Street, Room E2402

Research Interests

Immunology; vaccines; MIP3alpha; CCL20; cancer vaccine; therapeutic vaccine; mycobacterium tuberculosis; SARS-CoV2; Interferon alpha; vaccine immunology; teaching; pedagogy; RelTb; DNA vaccine; RNA vaccine;
Experiences & Accomplishments
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
University of Georgia
University of Georgia
I am currently an early-career Research Associate (Non-Tenure Faculty, less than 6 years) at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the MMI department. Trained in molecular microbiology and immunology, I have developed a keen interest in the development of augmented vaccines that target antigen to immature dendritic cells in order to achieve more robust immunity. Specifically, my dissertation studied the effects and immunological mechanisms of a novel anti-cancer vaccine platform in a mouse cancer model. This platform fused the chemokine Macrophage Inflammatory Protein 3-alpha (MIP3a) to melanoma associated antigen(s) of interest. MIP3a targets the antigen to immature dendritic cells via interaction with its receptor CCR6. In addition to the cancer model, my interests have broadened to include infectious disease models such as SARS-CoV-2 and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTb). I have been collaborating with Petros Karakousis in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine for a few years working on a vaccine fusing MIP3a to Rel from MTb. Rel is a primary mediator of the stringent response pathway, necessary for MTb dormancy. We have shown that combining a DNA vaccine to Rel during isoniazid treatment greatly enhances the efficacy of the therapy. Fusing MIP3a to Rel has been shown recently to further reduce MTb burden in the mouse challenge model.
Honors & Awards
2017-2018: Towson University Collaborative Teaching Fellow
2017: Postdoctoral Retreat Oral Presentation, Johns Hopkins Postdoctoral Association
2017: Scholar-in-Training Award, American Association of Cancer Research
2016-2017: American Society for Microbiology Teaching Fellow
2015: Delta Omega Scholar, Delta Omega, Alpha Chapter
2015-2016: Gordis Teaching Fellow, Johns Hopkins University
2013: Bliss Fellowship, MMI Department
2012: Dr. Harry J Lawler Award Fund, MMI Department
2008: Phi Beta Kappa Inductee, Phi Beta Kappa
2008: CURO Scholar, Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities at the University of Georgia
2008: Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award, University of Georgia
Select Publications
The following publications give an indication of the breadth of research that I am involved in.
  • Gordy, J.T., Luo, K., Kapoor, A., Kim, E.S., Ayeh, S.K., Karakousis, P.C., and R.B. Markham. Treatment with an immature dendritic cell-targeting vaccine supplemented with IFN-a and an inhibitor of DNA methylation markedly enhances survival in a murine melanoma model. Cancer Immunol Immunother (2020). 69(4): 569-580.
  • Chuang, Y.M., Dutta, N.K., Gordy, J.T., Pinn, M.L., Markham, R.B., Hung, C.F., and P. Karakousis. Antibiotic treatment shapes the antigenic environment during chronic TB infection, offering novel targets for therapeutic vaccination. Frontiers Immunology (2020)
  • Gordy JT, Luo K, Francica B, Drake C, and R.B. Markham. Anti-IL-10 mediated enhancement of anti-tumor efficacy of a dendritic-cell targeting MIP3alpha-gp100 vaccine in the B16F10 mouse melanoma model is dependent on type I interferons. Journal of Immunotherapy (2018) 41(4): 181-189. doi: 10.1097/CJI.0000000000000212
  • Gordy JT, Luo K, Zhang H, Biragyn A, Markham RB. Fusion of the dendritic cell-targeting chemokine MIP3a to melanoma antigen Gp100 in a therapeutic DNA vaccine significantly enhances immunogenicity and survival in a mouse melanoma model. J Immunother Cancer. (2016);4:96. PubMed PMID: 28018602; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5168589
  • Luo, K., Gordy, J.T., Zavala, F., and R.B. Markham. A chemokine-fusion vaccine targeting immature dendritic cells elicits elevated antibody responses to malaria sporozoites in infant macaques. Scientific Reports (2021). 11:1220.