HBCU-UP Scientific Seminar Lecture Series
Scientific Seminar Lecture Series
Dr. Selen Cremaschi
Scientific Seminar: How to Select the Right Machine Learning Technique for Modeling and Optimization
Bio - Dr. Cremaschi is B. Redd & Susan W. Redd Endowed Eminent Scholar Chair Professor, Graduate Program Chair, and Head of Cremaschi group in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Auburn University. Her research focuses on risk management, optimization, process synthesis, and planning under uncertainty. Her research group works at the intersection of operations research and chemical engineering, and develops systems analysis and decision support tools for complex systems, mainly focusing on the pharmaceutical and energy industry. She is a recipient of the NSF CAREER award (2011), Zelimir Schmidt Award for Outstanding Researcher (2013), Senior Research Award for Excellence (2021), and numerous other awards. She is a member of the 2018 Class of Influential Researchers selected by the Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research journal.
Dr. Sean M. Wu
Scientific Seminar: Understanding Cardiac Developmental and Regenerative Biology One Cell at a Time
Bio - Sean Wu is the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Scholar and Associate Director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute and Chief of Basic and Translational Research and Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. He completed bachelor of science degrees in biological sciences and mechanical engineering at Stanford University and his MD and PhD degrees at Duke University School of Medicine. He then completed a general cardiology fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and a research fellowship at the Boston Children’s Hospital prior to becoming an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. His research is dedicated to the identification of molecular mechanisms regulating heart development using genetically-targeted mice in vivo and pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiac cells in vitro. In addition, his lab employs bioengineering approaches to generate cardiac tissues for regenerate medicine applications. His lab has been supported by funding from the NIH/NHLBI, NIH Director’s New Innovator Awards, California Institutes for Regenerative Medicine, NIH Director Pioneer Award, the American Heart Association Established Investigator Award, NIH/NIGMS among others.
Dr. Elizabeth Lipke
Scientific Seminar: Engineered Tissue Microspheres for Regenerative Medicine and Disease Modeling Applications
Bio- Elizabeth Lipke is the Mary and John H. Sanders Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Auburn University. Dr. Lipke completed her graduate studies at Rice University followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Lipke’s research focuses on the use of cell-material interactions to create cellular microenvironments that guide tissue formation and direct cellular function. To advance cardiac regeneration, Dr. Lipke’s research group employs biomimetic materials to direct pluripotent stem cell differentiation and create 3D developing human engineered cardiac tissues; this platform for ontomimetic differentiation has been recently shown to also support in vitro cardiac tissue maturation, including T-tubule formation. For use in suspension-based cell production and injectable cell therapy, Dr. Lipke’s research group has established a platform for fabricating injectable, cell-laden hydrogel microspheres. In their cancer research, the Lipke lab has created spheroidal and microfluidic chip-based tissue-engineered tumor models that recapitulate key native tumor characteristics for improved drug testing. In recognition of her research, Dr. Lipke has received several national awards including a National Science Foundation CAREER award, a 3M Nontenured Faculty Award, and an American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant. In addition to the recognition of her research accomplishments, Dr. Lipke has received awards for teaching and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students.
Dr. Lily Cheung
Scientific Seminar: Combining Chemical Engineering, Biosensors, and Cheminformatics to Study Transporters
Bio- Lily Cheung is an Assistant Professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Dr. Cheung started her research career at Rutgers University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2008. She then earned her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University in 2013. Under Stanislav Shvartsman, she characterized gene regulatory networks using a combination of molecular biology, genetics, and reaction-diffusion modeling. During her postdoctoral training with Wolf Frommer at the Carnegie Institution for Science, she designed biomolecular sensors to quantify sugar transport in plants. Her current interests include using high-throughput quantitative techniques and mathematical modeling to advance our understanding of how metabolic and gene regulatory networks interact to control plant growth. Dr. Cheung is the recipient of an NSF NPGI Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biology, an NSF CAREER Award, and a Human Frontier Science Program Early Career Award.
Scientific Seminar Lecture Series
Dr. Bapi Pahar
Scientific Seminar: Study of Mucosal Immunopathogenesis and SARS-CoV-2 Receptor Expression in HIV Infection using a Rhesus Macaque Model
Bio- Bapi Pahar is an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Tulane University School of Medicine. He contributes to the mission of the TNPRC by being involved in education and training activities with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. His research interests focus on the understanding infectious disease pathogenesis (including SIV/HIV, Tuberculosis, Measles, Lyme Disease, West Nile and Herpes Simplex virus), specifically in studying the role of T and B cell responses in the early phase of infection and in the preclinical development of vaccines using macaque model. He has a broad background in cellular and humoral immunology, virology and has over 18 years of experience with adult and infant macaque models. As a postdoctoral fellow in University of California-Davis and then Tulane, he carried out several infectious disease pathogenesis and vaccine studies that provided important information towards understanding the mechanism of the disease induced cellular dysfunction and their role in modulating cellular and humoral immune responses. He has received several NIH grants and served as a principal investigator/Co-Investigator/Project manager in several NIH funded projects. He has published more than 60 peer-reviewed scientific articles. Dr. Pahar has extensive educational and hands-on-research experience with numerous techniques for vaccine and drug discovery while excelling in team-oriented environments that expect a high level of dedication and project management. Dr. Pahar possesses a passion for research and data manipulation along with strong critical thinking and project development skills.
Dr. Tesfaye Belay
Scientific Seminar: Cold Water-Induced Stress and Chlamydia Genital Infection in a Mouse Model
Bio- Tesfaye Belay is Professor of Biology at Bluefield State College School of Arts & Sciences.
Research in Dr. Belay’s laboratory focuses on the understanding of the effects and mechanism(s) by which stress alters immune responses and subsequently leads to increased intensity of genital infection in a mouse model. His lab has explored that cold-induced stress increases intensity of chlamydia genital infection and modulates i) the distribution pattern of immune cells in the different regions of the genital tract; ii) histopathology; and, iii) chlamydia-induced infertility in the mouse model. Currently, his research team are attempting to elucidate the mechanism(s) by which the stress hormone, norepinephrine, modulates the immune system. Thus, understanding the interaction between stress, the immune system and infection is significant for the management of chlamydia genital infection in humans.
As Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Belay has received significant funding support from the West Virginia-IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE), WV-Space Grant Consortium (WVSGC) and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund/Department of Energy (DOE). In his lab, Dr. Belay has trained over 30 students during the academic year and summer sessions. Through WVINBRE and the Health Science Technology Academy (HSTA) program, he has trained 9 undergraduates and high school students in biomedical research. Dr. Belay has also extended providing research training opportunities to McNair Scholars of Concord University students.
Dr. Rajnish Sahu
Scientific Seminar: Immunogenicity and Protective Efficacy of Chlamydial Nano-Encapsulated Vaccine in Mice
Bio- Rajnish Sahu is a Post-doctoral researcher with expertise in animal handling, infectious disease studies, drug and vaccine development, and immunological and molecular techniques. He started his career at Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow, India, in 2004 as a project research assistant, where he worked on murine malaria models, antimalarial drug screening. In 2007, he joined the National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR), University of Mississippi, as a visiting scholar and worked on improving the pre-clinical screening of natural and synthesized novel compounds against malaria. In 2015, he earned his Ph.D. in Microbiology at Alabama State University (ASU). His doctoral research focused on Chlamydia nanovaccine formulation development assessment of immunogenicity and protective efficacy against chlamydial challenge infection in mice. He has developed nanovaccine formulations using PLGA [poly(D, L-lactic-co-glycolide) (85:15)] encapsulating recombinant major outer membrane protein (rMOMP) of Chlamydia and PLA-PEG (poly(lactic acid)-poly(ethylene glycol)) encapsulating recombinant M278 peptide from MOMP. The nanovaccine candidates have shown the potential to induce cellular and humoral responses, and reduced bacterial load in immunized mice after chlamydial genital tract challenge. He has also worked on the formulation using PLA-PEG nanoparticles encapsulating IL-10 and studied the mechanisms involved in regulating the inflammatory responses in vitro with macrophages. Dr. Sahu is currently a Post-doctoral research scientist in the Center for NanoBiotechnology Research (CNBR) at ASU, where he is exploring the different sizes of nanoparticles (nanovaccine) immunization routes involvement in inducing protective immunity against chlamydial challenge in mice.
Dr. Sameer Joshi
Scientific Seminar: Microfluidics – Based Production of Internally Supported Liposomes
Bio-Sameer Joshi holds a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics/Drug Delivery (Aston University, UK), M. Res. Pharmaceutical Analysis (Nottingham Trent University, UK), M. S. Analytical Bioscience (University of Huddersfield, UK), and a B. Pharmacy, (Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, India). He holds both academic and industrial research experience. Dr. Joshi’s research involves formulation development for age-appropriate pediatric and geriatric populations. The research is based on the use of novel drug delivery systems (NDDS) such as liposomes, niosomes, polymeric nanoparticles, and biomaterial-based hydrogels that can enhance the acceptability of the formulations by providing extended stability, taste masking, and easy administration. The research also involves extemporaneous formulation development that helps prepare medicines by compounding ingredients when no commercial forms are available due to age factors. Dr. Joshi’s research also explores the use of NDDS in the prophylaxis and treatment of viral and bacterial infections. Dr. Joshi has consistently received awards and scholarships for his research engagement. He has over 10 publications and has presented his research at over 20 scientific conferences. He's a reviewer for many scientific journals, conferences, and distinguished panels. Dr. Johsi is currently a Post-doctoral research scientist in the Center for NanoBiotechnology Research (CNBR) at ASU.
Scientific Seminar Lecture Series
Dr. Abebayehu N. Yilma
Scientific Seminar: SARS-COV-2 Vaccine Development and Public Trust and Vaccine
Bio-Abebayehu N. Yilma (PhD, MPH) received his PhD on Microbiology from Alabama State University in 2013. His passion for infectious disease and public health landed him at New York University for his Master of Public Health (MPH) degree. For his MP, Dr. Yilma specialized in global health and his MPH research was conducted in Central African on Malaria case management. Dr. Yilma has extensive research experience in the life science field and public health and has published his research in high impact scientific journals. From 2016-2020, Dr. Yilma worked for USAID funded projects with Johns Hopkins University for a project in Ethiopia as regional social and behavioral change communication program director. In addition to managing the implementation of the project, Dr. Yilma was also involved in advising the regional health bureau and Minister of Health of Ethiopia on infectious disease matters and assisting two leading universities (Jimma and Addis Ababa) in Ethiopia with their health education program. At these two universities, Dr. Yilma taught Global Health, Globalization and Health Behavior and Genetics and Health Behaviors courses to MPH and PhD students and mentored MPH students. From March 2020 to May 2021, Dr. Yilma was an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Cavalla International University and taught core public health courses including Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Global Health, Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Disease and mentored Master of Public Health students on capstone project. Dr. Yilma is an Adjunct position at York College City University of New York teaching human biology and disease focus courses to pre health major students. Dr. Yilma research interest focuses on understanding and addressing human behavior-infectious diseases relationship challenges both in developed and developing countries and for his research Dr. Yilma uses the epidemiological triangle (host, agent and environment) model to guide his research.
Dr. Swapnil Bawage
Scientific Seminar: Novel Approaches to Combat Pathogenic Respiratory Viruses
Bio- Swapnil Bawage is an Associate Academic Research Scientist at Emory University developing mRNA based CRISPR-Cas therapeutics. Dr. Bawage completed his Master’s in Biotechnology from Nagpur University, India. He completed his doctoral degree at Alabama State University (ASU) in Microbiology in the Center for NanoBiotechnology Research (CNBR). His doctoral research involved understanding the innate immune response of gold nanoparticles against Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)infection. He conducted Postdoctoral research on Breast cancer at the University of Alabama at in Birmingham. Later, Dr. Bawage joined Georgia Institute of Technology as a Research Scientist developing mRNA- based antiviral therapeutics against RSV and Influenza virus. He is continuing his antiviral research using mRNA-based modalities and lipid nanoparticle delivery platform in vivo model systems at Emory University.
Scientific Seminar: Innate Immune Activation of Glial Cells: Lessons to be Learnt from an Intracellular Bacterium
Bio-Guillermo Giambartolomei is Principal Researcher of the Argentine Council of Science (CONICET) and Vice Director of the Immunology, Genetics and Metabolism Institute (University of Buenos Aires-CONICET)
and Chief of the Bacterial Immnopathogeny Laboratory at the same institute. He is also Assistant Professor of Immunology at the School of Medicine, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He completed
his Master degree in Biochemistry and his Ph. D. in the School of Pharmacy and Biochemistry at the University of Buenos Aires. He then completed his postdoctoral studies in Immunology and bacteriology in the Department of Microbiology at the Tulane Primate Center, Tulane University. His research is dedicated to the identification of bacterial determinants of immunopathology through the activation of innate immune mechanisms. In addition, his lab investigates immune evasion mechanisms developed by intracellular bacteria, in particular, the ones of the Brucella genus. He has served president of the Argentine Society of Immunology (2014). His lab has been supported by funding from several Argentinian Scientific Agencies. His lab has very active scientific collaboration with research groups from Brazil and the USA.
Dr. Pooja Tiwari
Scientific Seminar: mRNA Therapeutics: A Novel Approach against Viral Infectious Diseases
Bio-Pooja Tiwari is the Associate Research scientist at the Emory National Primate Research Center of Emory University. She completed the bachelor and Master of science degrees in Biotechnology from Nagpur University, India, and her PhD degree in Microbiology at Alabama State University (ASU) in the Center for NanoBiotechnology Research (CNBR). Dr. Tiwari’s current research is dedicated to identifying methods to develop broad-spectrum anti-viral therapies using nanobiotechnology, mRNA and CRISPR based approaches. She is one of the early scientists working on mRNA-based vaccines and therapeutics. Her research garnered multi-million fundings from DARPA, and other federal and non-profit organizations for her postdoc labs. In her current role at Emory, Pooja is developing mRNA-based vaccines against viral pathogens including HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and HCV (Hepatitis C virus).
Dr. Frankie D. Heyward
Scientific Seminar: Leveraging Integrated Transcriptomic and Epigenomic Profiles to Identify Novel Transcriptional Pathways Regulating Food Intake
Bio- Frankie Heyward earned his doctorate in Neurobiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in 2015. He is currently carrying out his postdoctoral research fellow training in the lab of Dr. Evan Rosen -Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and at Harvard Medical School, where he is investigating a small population of AgRP hunger neurons in the hypothalamus that coordinate homeostatic changes in appetite associated with fluctuations in food availability and leptin signaling. Dr. Heyward's research employs a combination of low-input cell-type specific, and single-cell, genome-wide assessments of gene expression, epigenetic modifications, chromatin accessibility, and transcription factor DNA binding dynamics, as well as mouse genetic and epigenome engineering tools, in vitro and in vivo assessments of transcription factor activation, and animal behavioral assessments. He has recently uncovered AgRP neuron-expressed IRF3 as a key transcriptional effector of the hunger-suppressing effects of leptin. In addition to conducting research, Frankie yearns to make the biomedical sciences more inclusive. Promoting diversity, equity and inclusion within biomedical science drove him to become the founding chair of the Harvard Medical School Black Postdoctoral Association and founder and president of the National Black Postdoctoral Association. He is also a member of the Harvard Medical School Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, and co-director of the Nutrition and Obesity Research Center of Harvard Associate Member Committee. Dr. Heyward's recent accolades include an American Heart Association postdoctoral fellowship (2018), a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Postdoctoral Enrichment Program fellowship (2018), an American Diabetes Association Minority Postdoctoral fellowship (2018), a Nutrition and Obesity Research Center of Harvard Pilot and Feasibility (P&F) Grant for under-represented minorities (2019 and 2021), a Brain and Behavior Research Foundation Young Investigator award (2020).
Scientific Seminar Lecture Series
Dr. Kelvin M. Jones
Scientific Seminar: Polymeric Nanomaterials for Drug Delivery and Cell Transplantation
Bio- Kelvin M. Jones II is an Integrative Bioscience PhD Fellow and recent graduate of Tuskegee University. He completed his bachelor of science degree in Chemistry with a minor in Mathematics at Alabama State University (ASU). Dr. Jones attributes his success to foundational support and training received in the HBCU-UP and the NIGMS-RISE programs at ASU. His research is dedicated to the Identification of Morphologically-similar Epithelial to Mesenchymal Breast Cancer Cells and Fibroblasts Utilizing Phage Display Mechanisms.
Dr. Abebayehu N. Yilma
Scientific Seminar: Coronavirus, pathogenesis and immune responses
Bio- Abebayehu N. Yilma (PhD, MPH) received his PhD on Microbiology from Alabama State University in 2013. His passion for infectious disease and public health landed him at New York University for his Master of Public Health (MPH) degree. For his MPH Dr. Yilma specialized in global health and his MPH research was conducted in Central African on Malaria case management. Dr. Yilma has extensive research experience in the life science field and public health and published his research in high impact scientific journals. From 2016-2020, Dr. Yilma worked for USAID funded projects with Johns Hopkins University for a project in Ethiopia as regional social and behavioral change communication program director. In addition to managing the implementation of the project, Dr. Yilma was also involved in advising the regional health bureau and Minister of Health of Ethiopia on infectious disease matters and assisting two leading universities (Jimma and Addis Ababa) in Ethiopia with their health education program. Dr. Yilma was an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Cavalla International University and taught core public health courses including Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Global Health, Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Disease and mentored Master of Public Health students on capstone project. Dr. Yilma is an Adjunct position at York College City University of New York teaching human biology and disease focus courses to pre health major students. Dr. Yilma research interest focuses on understanding and addressing human behavior-infectious diseases relationship challenges both in developed and developing countries and for his research Dr. Yilma uses the epidemiological triangle (host, agent and environment) model to guide his research.
Topic: Salmonella spp. and Listeria monocytogenes – The Most Important Pathogens in Foods
Bio-Omar Oyarzabal is an Associate Professor with the University of Vermont Extension and the HACCP Coordinator for the State of Vermont USDA and Editor in Chief, Microbial Risk Analysis for Elsevier. Dr. Oyarzabal’s Ph.D. is in Microbiology/Poultry Science from Auburn University. He is widely published in peer reviewed journals including and industry publications such as Food Safety News, Food Safety Tech and Food Online. Dr. Oyarzabal holds many food safety certificates through the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) including Processing Authority, Seafood HACCP Lead Instructor, Sanitation Control Procedures (fish, fish products), Foreign Supplier Verification Program Lead Instructor, Sprout Safety Alliance Lead Instructor.
Dr. Dennis Hess (Seminar Cancelled-Due to COVID)
Scientific Seminar: Surface Modification to Control Wetting and Adhesion of Aqueous Solutions
Bio-Dennis Hess is the Thomas C. DeLoach, Jr. Chair and former director of Georgia Tech’s NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) for New Electronic Materials. Dr. Hess’s research interests are in thin film science and technology, surface and interface modification and characterization, microelectronics processing and electronic materials. His group focuses on the establishment of fundamental structure-property relationships and their connection to chemical process sequences used in the fabrication of novel films, electronic materials, devices, and nanostructures. Control of the surface properties of materials such as dielectrics, semiconductors, metals, and paper or paper board by film deposition or surface modification allows the design of such surfaces for a variety of applications in microelectronics, packaging, sensors, microfluidics, and separation processes. The Hess group often uses glow discharges or plasmas for the deposition, etching, and polymerization of thin films or for the modification of surfaces. For example, plasma-deposited fluorocarbon films are being used to generate superhydrophobic paper and cellulose surfaces for self-cleaning and microfluidic applications. The design of novel, low temperature plasma etching processes for the nano-scale patterning of copper films for advanced integrated circuit fabrication is also of interest. Surface cleaning and modification for control of material properties using a variety of liquid and vapor phase approaches are being investigated. His group also uses liquids at atmospheric and elevated pressures for environmentally benign surface cleaning and modification. In particular, they are designing solution-based methods for the modification of cellulose/paper, polymers, and metals to control liquid droplet wetting, adhesion, and absorption. These studies are applied to integrated circuit processing sequences, packaging, and water/oil separation.