IDM Student Stories

In the Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, students are making an impact in all areas of public health. Here are a few profiles and some of the latest news about our students.

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IDM Student News

PA Governor's Proclamation - LGBTQ History Month, October 2019

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Governor Tom Wolf's proclamation encouraging all Pennsylvanians to recognize the need for increased advocacy and improved public policy as we continue to work toward true liberty and justice for all. On display in the Commons with Acceptance Journeys Pittsburgh through November 1.   

Over 700 doctors were paid more than a million dollars by drug and medical device companies, Gellad responds

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PROPUBLICA - HPM's Walid Gellad said it is quite striking how much money doctors were earning from other activities aside from patient care. More than 2,500 physicians received at least half a million dollars from drug makers and medical device companies in the past five years alone. And that doesn’t include money for research or royalties from inventions. More than 700 of those doctors received at least $1 million.  

Brent’s findings help high school kids look out for one another

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THE LACONIA DAILY SUN - We know that human compassion, connection, and kindness can make a difference for someone experiencing emotional distress. Studies now show that mental illness and its consequences affect 25 percent of the U.S. population. Of those, 50 percent develop mental illness by age 14, 75 percent by age 24. The fastest growing rate of suicide is in children age 10 to 14, said EPI’s David Brent, who has studied adolescent suicide s... 

Christopher talks to ASHG TV about Genetics Education and Engagement Fellowship

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ASHG TV - Dyanna Christopher (HUGEN) talks about helping health care workers respond to patients that have had or want genetic testing as well as working in low income areas and with low-literacy populations on education and reducing the stigma around genetics and genomics. "They are really supportive in helping you find your niche and figure out the things you're passionate about."  

Events celebrating LGBTQ History Month

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Acceptance Journeys Pittsburgh exhibit, Cycle Series film screening and panel, and a special lecture from PA Secretary of Health Rachel Levine on Issues in LGBT Health.   

Meet HPM alumna Cassandra Leighton

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Cassandra Leighton (HPM '19) is a health services solutions analyst at AmeriHealth Caritas. Headquartered in Philadelphia, AmeriHealth Caritas is a managed care organization, serving over 5.1 million Medicaid, Medicare, and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) members across 11 states. In her role on the corporate analytics team, Leighton supports internal evaluation, participates in the new market entry process, and identifies new strateg... 

Koenig presents at Midwest Virology Meeting

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Zachary Koenig (IDM '20) was selected for an oral presentation at the Midwest Virology Symposium held at Ohio State University October 11-13. The title of his talk was "Type III Interferon Control of Rift Valley Fever Virus Infection at Epithelial Cell Barriers." Koenig also won a student travel award to attend the conference.   

Cancer-related beliefs and perceptions in Appalachia: findings from 3 states

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JOURNAL OF RURAL HEALTH - Vanderpool RC, Huang B, Deng Y, Bear TM, Chen Q, Johnson MF, Paskett ED, Robertson LB, Young GS, Lachan R. found variations in cancer beliefs were observed across the 3 states’ Appalachian populations. Interventions should be tailored to specific communities to improve cancer knowledge and beliefs and, ultimately, prevention and screening behaviors.  

The role of accountability in batterers intervention programs and community response to intimate partner violence

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JOURNAL OF FAMILY VIOLENCE - Pallatino C, Morrison P, Miller E, Burke J, Cluss P, Fleming R, Hawker L, George D, Bicehouse T, Chang J. found that in order to have a sustainable impact on IPV perpetration, stakeholders across the Social Ecological Model will need to utilize crucial intervention periods using a standardized response to improve outcomes for IPV survivors, perpetrators, families and communities.   

A systematic review of health outcomes associated with provision of representative payee services

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PSYCHIATRIC SERVICES - Kinsky S, Creasy S, Hawk M find that representative payee services are largely beneficial or neutral in terms of health and behavior outcomes. Negative findings mainly involved the client-payee relationship. Given that more than five million individuals have a representative payee, assessing the impact of these services with more rigorous research designs is worthwhile  

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IDM Student Profiles

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Meet Kelsey Simon (IDM '20), Dean's Scholar 

Meet Kelsey Simon (IDM '20), Dean's Scholar

With a keen interest in biology and medicine since childhood, Kelsey Simon (IDM '20) planned to pursue a graduate degree in the hard sciences until a course requirement got her thinking about working at a population level. "I … really wanted a career where I could put all of these things together: ... (02/20/2019)
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Celebrate 70: DeLucia presents cholesterol regulation of HIV-1 trans infection and HIV-1 disease progression (VIDEO) 

Celebrate 70: DeLucia presents cholesterol regulation of HIV-1 trans infection and HIV-1 disease progression (VIDEO)

Doctoral candidate, DIANA DeLUCIA (IDM '19), presented some of her dissertation research on how the cholesterol levels in immune cells might be impacting HIV infection and disease progression to AIDS. It was found that antigen-presenting cells in nonprogressors have lower cholesterol levels which i... (04/19/2018)
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Meet Joanna Shaw (IDM ’18), Dean’s Scholar 

Meet Joanna Shaw (IDM ’18), Dean’s Scholar

Unsure of whether to pursue an MD, a PhD, or both, incoming Dean's Scholar JOANNA SHAW chose Pitt Public Health's Department of Infections Diseases and Microbiology to further develop her research and lab skills while she solidifies her research and career plans... (10/06/2016)
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Rodriguez serves on raccoon oral rabies vaccination team 

Rodriguez serves on raccoon oral rabies vaccination team

As a participant in the Allegheny County Health Department’s Pittsburgh Summer Institute (ACHD PSI), Samantha Rodriguez (IDM) helped to plan, execute, and review the county’s Raccoon Oral Rabies Vaccination (ORV) Program, as well as assisted with ORV distribution. (09/08/2016)
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Lowery conducts West Nile Virus surveillance with ACHD 

Lowery conducts West Nile Virus surveillance with ACHD

Joel Lowery (IDM ’17) assisted the ACHD in conducting its annual surveillance of West Nile Virus (WNV) in order to make informed decisions on vector control related to mosquitoes. In addition to WNV, the team monitored Aedes albopictus , a possible mosquito vector for the Zika virus. Lowery was ... (09/07/2016)
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Recent Publications

Inefficient HIV-1 trans infection of CD4+ T cells by macrophages from HIV-1 nonprogressors is associated with altered membrane cholesterol and DC-SIGN 

Inefficient HIV-1 trans infection of CD4+ T cells by macrophages from HIV-1 nonprogressors is associated with altered membrane cholesterol and DC-SIGN

JOURNAL OF VIROLOGY - Delucia, Rinaldo, Rappocciolo demonstrate that the use of SIMV to decrease macrophage-mediated virus transfer should be considered for future HIV therapeutic development.  (05/18/2018)

Widespread virus replication in alveoli drives acute respiratory distress syndrome in aerosolized H5N1 influenza infection of macaques 

Widespread virus replication in alveoli drives acute respiratory distress syndrome in aerosolized H5N1 influenza infection of macaques

JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY - Wonderlich, Swan, Bissel, Hartman, Carney, O'Malley, Obadan, Santos, Walker, Sturgeon, Frye, Maiello, Scanga, Bowling, Duangkhae, Wiley, Flynn, Wang, Cole, Reed, Barratt-Boyes establish a new nonhuman primate disease model for evaluation of vaccine and therapeutic approaches... (02/14/2018)

IDM Student Videos

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Celebrate 70: DeLucia presents cholesterol regulation of HIV-1 trans infection and HIV-1 disease progression (VIDEO) 

Celebrate 70: DeLucia presents cholesterol regulation of HIV-1 trans infection and HIV-1 disease progression (VIDEO)

Doctoral candidate, DIANA DeLUCIA (IDM '19), presented some of her dissertation research on how the cholesterol levels in immune cells might be impacting HIV infection and disease progression to AIDS. It was found that antigen-presenting cells in nonprogressors have lower cholesterol levels which i... (04/19/2018)
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