Spring Edition 2018
Dr. Grayson with Carver Fellows following our End of Year Celebration
Welcome to the Spring, 2018, edition of VT Prime!
We have been busy and have plenty of exciting news from our community.We hope you find this newsletter both informative and insightful about our alumni and current trainees as well as our environment and network. As in the past several years, we are starting out the Spring at MAPRS 2018 (Host:Duke Biocore/IMSD), then saying goodbye to PREP Scholars and to our IMSD graduates.  
In this edition: Profile of Dr. Booker (IMSD alum, current Postdoc at Emory University and soon to be Assistant professor, tenure track, at the University of Missouri); Alumni and Current Trainee News, Words of Wisdom from Departing PREP Scholars; In "Where are they now?" segment, we feature PREP alum Dr. Phil George. As always, we invite you to visit our Facebook page and at the PREP Website
Next edition: MAPRS 2018 (profiles of our Distinguished MAPRS Alums); profile of PREP16 and IMSD11 cohorts (our incoming scholars).
Profile: Dr. Jordan Booker
(he is one of 55 PhDs earned by PREP and IMSD alumni)
Jordan is a native of Virginia, who obtained all his degrees from VT where he had a wonderful career. His extracurricular activities included being on VT's vaunted Marching Band, the Marching Virginians.
Dr. Booker during his IMSD days.
In addition to IMSD, Dr. Booker also received a SREB fellowship as a PhD student. We previously profiled him in our Spring 2015  edition of VT PRIME.
Before Jordan starts his new job we asked him to reflect and offer wisdom to current and future trainees
..Read More.... 
PREP15 is "moving out": what a year they had! All of them received multiple offers, received travel awards to attend conferences/meetings in places  they had never like San Jose, Cleveland, DC, and Atlanta.
The scholars were as diverse as their demographics and they pursued research experiences in very diverse disciplines. They were our first cohort to participate in a June start, a boot camp, and to pursue mini lab rotations before choosing a research lab for the PREP year. Below, we provide a final profile (see our Summer 2017 newsletter for a detailed profile) of our "awesome foursome" and what their "advise" is for the incoming PREP and IMSD scholars:
Dominique will be pursuing her PhD at UNC, Chapel Hill, starting this Fall in the molecular biosciences. After pursuing lab rotations with Drs. Iuliana Lazar and Kathleen Alexander, she spent the year with Dr. Caroline Leeth pursuing research  and other experiences in animal immunology. Among the wonderful "coolness" she brought to us from Morgan State is being a dancer and dance instructor. For her PREP year, 
she set herself three goals: develop additional research skills in immunology, take graduate level courses, and become more proficient in skills needed to succeed in graduate school (including grant writing and scientific presentation).....Read More....
Hagar is heading to Columbia  University in the Fall to pursue a PhD in biomedical Engineering. She came to us from Lafayette College after completing her BS in 2017. After rotations in the labs of Drs. VandeVorrd and Rajagopalan, she joined Dr. Aaron Goldstein's lab and pursued research experiences in tissue engineering. Hagar attended and presented at several conferences including the 2017 MedTech Conference in San Jose, CA, the Advanced Bio-manufacturing Symposium at UVA, the 2017 BioCore Conference at Duke University and at the Society of Biomaterials Conference in Atlanta, GA,  Read More....
Tasmine is "moving out" to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor to start graduate studies.  In our opinion, she was the glue for the cohort because she led many of her cohort's networking activities as well as the social interactions with the IMSD10, their peers. After rotations with Drs. Cimini and Hawley, Tasmine settled in Dr. Jake Tu's lab for some training in malaria genomics. During her PREP year, she received travel awards for conferences in Cleveland and Washington DC and also attended college previews at Georgia Tech and Clemson.  Her career interest continues to be in genetics/genomics of infectious diseases  Read more..

Van's plans are still fluid as she is still entertaining offers from Hopkins and Harvard  for additional experiences as a research technician or MS. SHe came to us from the University of Florida after completing a BA in anthropology: so she did need a PREP. After lab rotations in  Drs. Alexei Morozov and Jungmeen Kim, she settled in the lab of Dr. Bryan Lewis for her PREP research experience. 
Among her experiences at VT including being on on intramural rugby team, Van was quoted in a recent VT News  article about research in their group on the opiod crisis.
Guest Speakers in our Spring Biweekly forum: PREP and IMSD alumni, and others, stopped by to talk about "What you can do with your PhD," or "life in graduate school," or "my journey in science."
Byron Hayes, IMSD prebac Alum (Dr. Boris Vinatzer's lab) and currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Pathology at Duke, stopped by to offer some tips about being a "black male in a research intensive PhD program." Byron was one of our most successful prebac trainees who was featured as a standout in the Virginia Tech 2014 graduating class in the VT News. At Duke, Byron  has advanced to candidacy and thus in a position to offer our PREP scholars and first year IMSD tips on surviving the early years in grad school.
The MAOP alum caught up with the current MAOP director, Dr. Jody Thompson Marshall at a networking dinner during his visit.
C. Alicia TraughberPREP10(Isis Kanevsky) and MAOP (Daniel Capelluto), currently a PhD candidate in the Molecular Medicine program at The Cleveland Clinic/ Case Western Reserve University, stopped by to offer some wisdom to the PREP15 and our community.  Among her experiences is being a recipient of the prestigious NIH Graduate Fellowship, the F31.
Alicia with IMSD scholars and her host Tasmine. 
Dr. Marietou Paye, PREP 8 (Webster Santos) was our guest speaker for The End of Year Celebration. She came to PREP from Middlebury College then went to Georgia Tech for her graduate studies after a year at Virginia Tech.In addition to her reflections bout her journey in science, she also described "what you can do with your PhD" at the CDC Foundation, where she currently works . Read more...
Dr. Paye with her PREP mentor's current trainees; IMSD scholars Jose, Ashley and Chris. 
As a guest of the Biochemistry department, Dr. Patricia Johnson from UCLA stopped by to reflect on her "Scientific Journey" in academia. 
Dr. Scott V. Edwards,who was the guest for the MLK day speaker in the Biological Sciences department showed up one early morning for breakfast to hang out with PREP scholars; "be a good reader, if you want to be a good writer," he told Hagar Kenawy and the rest of the scholars! 
 In April VT alumni, Drs. Marquea King and Bill Clemons stopped by to reflect on their "Scientific Journeys."  Dr. King also told trainees "what they can do with their PhD at the EPA."
Dr. Clemons with IMSD and PREP scholars after a networking dinner.
Dr King with PREP Scholars and PREP13 alum, Herbert, currently in the Vet School who is heading to Chile for a summer internship. 
 Current Trainee and Alumni news from our 2018 Winter 
Our trainees defended, attended conferences, passed examinations, and presented at our Ted-like talks we call "IMSD and PREP Palooza." Photos and videos can be found at our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/vtprep.hokies.1 
Recent PhD completions:
Rudra Seedarnee: New York Medical College, Immunology
- My-Thanh Vo Beedle: Washington St. Univ., Molecular Bio. 
-Jasmine Williams: University of Pittsburgh, Psychology
-Adwoa Baah-Dwomoh: Virginia Tech, 

Recent position change:
-Dr. Alicia Feagins, CDC Foundation
-Ms. Jacqueline Lamar, Merck
Other news: PREP alum, Dr. Brandy Huderson (Mike Akers)  Assistant professor at UDC, was a panelist at the US News & World Report's Conference of "Artificial Intelligence and STEM: How to Prepare a Diverse & Qualified Workforce?"
Exams Passed
Trevin (IMSD) passed his preliminary exams; 
Jose Santiago (IMSD 9, Santos) and Chanelle Brown (PREP 12, Richard Gandour) both passed their preliminary exams.
Degrees Completed
Alexis (IMSD 6, Van Dyke) completed her PhD in Engineering Science and Mechanics. Dr. Trent has accepted a position at Newry.
Derek (IMSD, Roseanne Foti
) completed his MS and is on his way to PhD candidacy.
Awards received/won
Ben Okyere received "The Award of Excellence for Graduate Student Presentation." at the Central Virginia Chapter of Society for Neuroscience conference
Where Are They Now ?
Dr. Philip George (PREP5, Igor Sharakhov, and VT PhD): his dissertation research focused on understanding "the mechanisms and dynamics of genome organization and evaluation in malaria mosquitoes." As a research scientist in the US Army, Phil has had varying and interesting experiences. This is really consistent with his character as a scientist because during his PhD years, he spent several months in France to do some parts of his research. 

Colleagues, friends and family gathered on May 3rd to celebrate the End of the Year! Pictures can be found at our Facebook page
Books/Podcasts we think you will like
Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, by Daniel Goleman; This book encourages the development of leadership skills through emotional strength. 

Upcoming Meetings/ Internship/Career Opportunities

- MAPRS 2018
- ABRCMS 2018 
- Spectrum Fair Oct. 9, 2018
- Careers in Science Oct. 10, 2018 
6th Annual Emory STEM Research and Career Symposium

Copyright © *2018* PREP/IMSD, All rights reserved. This edition was edited with help from Eni Ramaj and Victoria Mukuni.

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Virginia Tech
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Our web addresses:
IMSDhttp://www.imsd.apsc.vt.edu/PREPhttp://www.prep.apsc.vt.edu/; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vtprep.hokies.1

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