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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

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


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.

Emily Smith, PhD

Emily obtained her PhD in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology from University of Maryland Baltimore and performed her dissertation work in the lab of Dr. Eileen Barry in the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health (CVD). Smith’s dissertation focused on how Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) used specific surface-expressed adhesins during pathogenesis using the human enteroid model. Smith is continuing my research in Dr. Barry's lab studying enteric bacterial pathogenesis in the human enteroid model as a postdoctoral research fellow with the goal to contribute to ETEC and Shigella vaccine development. Smith is also very passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in the STEM field and making science accessible for all. Smith currently serves on the Executive Board of the Association of Women in Science (AWIS) Greater Baltimore chapter. In her free time, she likes to enjoy the outdoors by going camping and hiking, eating lots of ice cream from Bmore Licks, and cuddle with her three cats at home!

Leah Sukri, MD

Leah is a general surgery resident at the University of Maryland Medical Center who has joined the CVD as a research fellow in July 2022. Her research will focus on typhoid under the mentorship of Dr. Kathleen Neuzil. Leah is particularly interested in understanding the prevalence and pathophysiology of typhoid intestinal perforation. She hopes that her research will help facilitate the distribution of typhoid vaccines in areas with a high prevalence of typhoid. 

Leah is from Maryland and graduated with a dual BS in Psychology and Neurobiology & Physiology from the University of Maryland, College Park. She received her MD from the University of Maryland Medical School. 

Chitradevi Sekar Tamilselvi, PhD

Chitradevi is a post-doctoral fellow expertise in studying immunogenicity and protective efficacy of recombinant vaccines against Shigella and other enteric pathogens. She has hands on experience in performing serological functional assays (SBA and OPKA) to measure the Shigella-specific antibodies in human samples, immunology and microbiology assays. She has also successfully cloned, expressed and purified various Shigella virulence proteins which will be used for the development of novel Shigella vaccines. Primary Mentor: Dr. Pasetti.

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