T32 Alumni

<< Back to Current T32 Fellows

Marie Mooney, Ph.D.

Funding supported by T32 grant, 2018-2020
Research: My research focuses on identifying variants in the genome of individuals with developmental disorders. I use computational and mathematical modeling to identify potential interactions between variants that influence the expression and severity of the disease. We verify that these predictions are valid in disease models ranging from cultured cells to genetically modified zebrafish or mice, and then do another round of prediction to identify potential therapeutic interventions, which we can evaluate in the same disease models. Every time we make a prediction, we rely on a lot of assumptions about which biological signals will give us a meaningful result. We know that current approaches are not sufficient to capture all of the biology because sequencing and prediction only identifies disease-driving variation in a subset of patients, or poorly defines the set of phenotypes we observe. Part of the goal is to better understand the functional implications of alterations in individual genomic architectures so that we can make better prediction models.

Bill Hankey, Ph.D.

Funding supported by T32 grant, 2018-2020
Research: My research is focused on identifying how normal prostate and prostate cancer cells respond to drugs such as sildenafil (Viagra) and predicting how these drugs might impact patients who are undergoing treatment for prostate cancer or are at risk for developing prostate cancer. This field of study stood out to me because it offered the opportunity to learn more about the genetic basis of cancer in a lab that is at the cutting edge of genomic technologies. These technologies allow researchers to look at thousands of genetic differences between healthy cells and diseased cells and to rapidly identify genetic characteristics that protect patients as well as characteristics that increase their risk. This process provides clues about where to look for the next breakthroughs to improve patient care.

Cory Stingl, M.D.

Funding supported by T32 Grant, 2017 -2019
Research: My research is on a group of conditions called the juvenile idiopathic inflammatory myopathies. They are a rare group of autoimmune conditions that affect predominantly the muscles in children but very frequently affect the skin and less frequently other organ systems like the lungs. Compared to other children with autoimmune disease, such as juvenile idiopathic arthritis, they tend to have slower response to treatment, more problems from their condition, and more side effects from exposure to protracted treatment courses with steroids. Our goal is to study whether findings on exams, standard blood tests, autoantibody profiles, and gene expression profiles coupled with machine learning can identify clinically meaningful subgroups that help predict, amongst other things, response to treatment.
Current Position: Pediatric Rheumatologist, Duke Medical Center

Carolyn Baloh, M.D.

Funding supported by T32 Grant, 2017 -2019
Research: My research is entitled “Novel genetic models of common variable immune deficiency (CVID).” CVID is the most common immunodeficiency comprising 30% of all immunodeficiencies. The disease is associated with significant morbidity as patients are prone to recurrent infections, autoimmune disease, and malignancy. The morbidities can also place patients at higher risk of death. To date, we have identified only 10 percent of all genetic mutations associated with this disease. I am working on a project that will involve identifying further genetic defects and then creating mouse models of the defects to better characterize the disease and novel therapies.
Current Position: Advanced Researach Fellow, Duke University

L. Gayani Tillekeratne

Funding supported by the K Award, 2017-2019
Research: I received a career development award through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) to study the epidemiology of acute respiratory tract infections among patients hospitalized in Sri Lanka. As part of this work, I will be evaluating the performance of host gene expression signatures developed by the CAGPM team to distinguish viral versus bacterial respiratory tract infections. I will determine how well these signatures perform in the Sri Lankan setting, refine the signatures, and validate them along with host biomarkers such as procalcitonin in a prospective cohort of patients with acute respiratory tract infections.