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Alain Agnememel, PhD

Alain Agnememel, PhD

Alain Agnememel is an immunologist interested in the development of vaccines, immunotherapeutic molecules, and diagnostic tools to detect and prevent infections caused by bacteria, parasites, and viruses. He joined the CVD in 2020, and his research focuses on the study of antibody responses elicited by vaccines to prevent Shigella dysentery, and in particular their mode of action at the mucosal surfaces.

Dr. Agnememel trained in Switzerland, at the University of Lausanne - Department of Biochemistry, where he acquired experience in chemical synthesis and purification of peptides vaccines against Malaria as well as in the study of immunogenicity and antigenicity of these molecules. He then worked at the Pasteur Institute in Paris engineering bacterial antigens, and in the development and validation of rapid diagnostic tools for the detection of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup X. He also worked at NEOMED LABS in Canada supporting a Meningitis vaccine Phase III clinical testing program for PATH and Serum Institute of India for which he has developed functional assays to assess the effectiveness of the vaccine against Neisseria meningitis serogroup A, C, W, X, Y. Primary Mentor: Dr. Pasetti.

Garima Bansal, PhD

Garima joined CVD as Postdoctoral Fellow in July 2021. Her research focuses on developing Live Attenuated Non-transmissible (LANT) Salmonella vaccines. She is interested in evaluating the LANT vaccines immunogenicity, and protective efficacy in mice. The overall goal is to develop vaccines against invasive non-typhoidal Salmonella (iNTS) disease.

Garima received a Master of Science in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University. She obtained Masters in Biochemistry and Molecular biology and PhD in Biology (Microbiology) from Howard University in Washinton DC. Her dissertation titled as “Phenotypic, molecular and whole genome sequence analysis of clinical isolates of A. baumannii from four Washington DC hospitals” focused on investigating clonality, virulence, and antibiotic resistance patterns of A. baumannii isolates. As a postdoctoral fellow at Uniformed Services University, she worked on understanding copper homeostasis mechanism in Acinetobacter baumannii to identify potential therapeutic targets. Primary mentor: Dr. Tennant


Megan Birkhold, MD

Megan is a general surgery resident currently in her dedicated research years. She has experience in clinical research and is working on typhoid intestinal perforation and typhoid vaccine research. Primary Mentor: Dr. Neuzil

Myeongjin Choi

Myeongjin Choi, DVM, PhD, DABT

Myeongjin is experienced in the preclinical development of a quadrivalent vaccine against Klebsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. She also designed various bacterial infection models in rodents to determine vaccine efficacy and assessed the immunogenicity of the vaccine in in vitro and in vivo. Primary Mentor: Dr. Cross


Emily Deichsel, PhD

Emily is an epidemiologist with experience in randomized control trial design and implementation as well as longitudinal data analysis. Her research focuses on pediatric gut health, growth, and survival among vulnerable populations. Primary Mentor: Dr. Kotloff

Meagan Deming, MD, PhD

Meagan Deming, MD, PhD

Meagan is a virologist with experience in coronaviruses, including antibody neutralization and vaccine characterization in a mouse model. She is also an adult infectious disease fellow, currently working on respiratory virus vaccines (coronaviruses and influenza) and improving vaccine responses for immunocompromised hosts.


Elizabeth Hammershaimb, MD

Elizabeth ("AD") is a board-certified pediatrician who completed a Master's degree in biotechnology with an emphasis on biodefense prior to attending medical school. She also has basic science research experience in Plasmodium falciparum, including evaluation of parasite-derived proteins expressed on the surface of human red blood cells and the human immune response to CpG vaccine adjuvants. Her clinical research interests include antimicrobial stewardship, vaccine development, global health, and outbreak preparedness and response. Primary Mentor: Dr. Laurens

Jose Lemme Dumit, PhD

Jose Lemme Dumit, PhD

Jose’s research areas of interests are mucosal immunology, immune mechanisms of response and vaccines and immune therapies to prevent enteric infections. He has expertise in the development and characterization of human ex vivo immune enteroid models. He has training in tissue culture, imaging techniques, flow cytometry technique, in vitro immune cells functional assays, and microbiology. Primary Mentor: Dr. Pasetti

Shamima Nasrin

Shamima Nasrin, PhD

Shamima is experienced in the development of live attenuated vaccines against nontyphoidal Salmonella. She has advanced training in Molecular Microbiology including modifying bacterial genomes for the generation of new vaccine strains. She also has training in bacterial pathogenesis and determining functionality of antibodies that are raised in response to oral vaccines in mouse model. Primary mentor: Dr. Tennant

Esther Ndungo

Esther Ndungo

Esther's main interest is in elucidating immune mechanisms following natural infection to inform the development or improvement of vaccines against enteric pathogens in vulnerable populations. She has expertise in anti-microbial functional analysis and molecular biology techniques and is training in genomic data analysis. Primary Mentor: Dr. Pasetti.


Susana Portillo, PhD

Susana joined the CVD as a Postdoctoral Fellow in July 2020. She will be focusing on maternal-infant immunity under the mentorship of Dr. Marcela Pasetti. Her work will include evaluating qualitative and functional aspects of immune responses to Tetanus, Diphtheria and acellular Pertussis (TdaP) in pregnant women as well as the impact of maternal immunity on infant immune responses to routine vaccines.

Susana received a BS in Microbiology and PhD in Biosciences from The University of Texas at El Paso. Her dissertation focused on the use of alpha-Gal-containing neoglycoproteins as biomarkers and vaccine candidates for Chagas disease and Leishmaniasis. She is interested in immunology, with an emphasis in vaccinology, in vulnerable populations.

Sri Ranganathan

Sridevi Ranganathan, PhD

Sri is a microbiologist and molecular biologist with experience studying host-pathogen interactions in highly infectious bacterial agents such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Shigella flexneri. She has advanced training studying DNA-protein interactions, using complex tissue culture models and to work in a BSL-3 environment. At the CVDGH, she is working on understanding Shigella pathogenesis in the human enteroid model. She aims to evaluate the usefulness of this model in preclinical testing of live attenuated vaccine strains. Primary Mentor: Dr. Barry

Girmay Desalegn Tarekegn, PhD

Girmay Desalegn Tarekegn, PhD

Girmay is an immunologist with good experience in immunological techniques, in vitro culture and immune functional assays. In addition, he completed a post-graduate vaccinology course at the Pasteur Institute. He has studied mucosal immunology and infectious diseases such as TB and HIV. Currently, Girmay is conducting a research on shigella vaccine and his area of interest is studying the immunogenicity and antigenicity of a novel Shigella Vaccine and its protection efficacy. Primary Mentor: Dr. Pasetti