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

Hernandez receives 2019 Seema S. Sonnad Emerging Leader in Managed Care Research Award

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VALDOSTA DAILY TIMES - "As an exemplary leader in the field of managed care, Dr. Hernandez sincerely represents the values that the Seema S. Sonnad Emerging Leader in Managed Care Research award was founded on," said Mike Hennessy Jr., president and CEO of MJH Life Sciences, parent company of the presenting body, the American Journal of Managed Care. The award was named in honor of Sonnad, who served as a mentor to many young researchers and was... 

Identical twin kidney transplants warrant gene sequencing, Jorgensen says

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MEDICAL EXPRESS - Researchers including Dana Jorgensen (EPI '14) found that kidney transplants between identical twins have high success rates, but also high rates of immunosuppressant use. About half of patients were on immunosuppresant drugs a year after transplant, but survival rates were about the same regardless. "Once you confirm that the organ donor and recipient are identical, that's really a best-case scenario," said Jorgensen. "It's al... 

Ferrar continues to work with FracTracker, driven by the prioritization of public health

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VOYAGE LA - "We fill a unique role. FracTracker Alliance studies, maps, and communicates the risks of oil and gas development to protect our planet and support the renewable energy transformation. We support groups across the United States, addressing pressing extraction-related concerns with a lens toward health effects and exposure risks on communities from oil and gas development," said Kyle Ferrar (EOH '10) about FracTracker, an organization... 

Arnold named one of Pittsburgh Magazine's 40 under 40

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PITTSBURGH MAGAZINE - The Center for Disease Control estimates that 130 people die in this country every day from opioid-related drug overdoses. As the executive director of Prevention Point Pittsburgh, Aaron Arnold (BCHS '13) is working to change that. In addition to offering a needle exchange program and STI testing, Prevention Point provides opioid users with free naloxone access and training, as well as other services. It is, quite literally... 

Kingsley ties rise in STD rates at Pitt with public health

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THE PITT NEWS - Nearly 2.4 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were reported in the United States in 2018 - the highest cumulative number ever recorded, according to a recent report by the CDC. Pitt's numbers are on par with national averages. "My professional opinion is that this represents a failure of our public health system," said IDM's Lawrence Kingsley. "We haven't been able to control many sexually transmitted diseases wh... 

Hollander finds doctors who get gifts from opioid makers more likely to prescribe large amounts, study finds

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THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER - While several previous studies have focused on the relationship between pharmaceutical promotions and doctors' prescribing habits, this new study from lead author Mara Hollander (HPM '20) focuses on how those payments affect physicians across specialties. "There's definitely some behavioral science and social science literature that indicates that providers may perceive themselves immune to bias from gift giving - we ... 

Fabisiak among public health experts that flunk report tying PA air quality improvements to gas drilling

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DESMOG BLOG - “They indicate that the Clean Air Act works,” said EOH's James Fabisiak, director of the Center for Healthy Environments and Communities, referring to the pollution reductions starting in 1990 shown in CEA’s report. “Air improved by setting stricter ambient air quality standards, continuing and enhanced enforcement, and increased control technologies to meet the mandated need to reduce pollution (auto fuel efficiency standards, cle... 

Jarlenski receives 2019 John D. Thompson Prize for Young Investigators

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Congratulations to Marian Jarlenski for being named the recipient of the 2019 John D. Thompson Prize for Young Investigators. Jarlenski was presented with this award at the AUPHA Annual Meeting in New Orleans in June. This award is used to recognize young faculty who have received their PhD within the past six years for their contributions to the research literature in the field of health services.   

El Khoudary, Thurston recognized by North American Menopause Society

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EPI's Samar El Khoudary was elected as a new NAMS board member and also received a poster prize for work presented during the meeting. El Khoudary is also faculty at the Clinical and Translational Science Institute. EPI's Rebecca Thurston was elected 2019-20 President of NAMS. Thurston is also faculty in psychiatry and psychology. Congratulations!   

Baumann's latest documentary examines transgender identities and reproductive health

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WESA-FM -- A documentary about a local transgender musician’s reproductive health offers a new way to think about public health research: through the visual medium of film. Produced by Pitt Public Health postdoctoral associate Sara Baumann  (BCHS '19), the film focuses on Jude Benedict, who identifies as trans-masculine genderqueer (someone whose gender was assigned female at birth, and often expresses themselves in a masculine way, but does not... 

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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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