James grew up in Rochester, NY and graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Biotechnology from SUNY Upstate Medical University in 2011. James spent the next two years as a research technician at the University of Rochester Medical Center in the laboratory of Dr. James Palis, where he studied hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell biology. To escape the brutal NY winters, James moved to Atlanta, GA in 2013 to a pursue a PhD at Emory University in Immunology. At Emory, James worked in the laboratory of Dr. Mehul Suthar, where his research focused on understanding the mechanisms used by pathogenic flavivirus (West Nile virus, Zika virus) to antagonize the human immune response. James received his PhD from Emory in July of 2017, publishing first author papers in both Cell Host Microbe and PLOS Pathogens. Currently, James is a postdoctoral fellow with an interest in developing synthetic biomarkers to monitor cancer immunotherapy. Outside of the lab, James enjoys cooking, eating great food, and spending time outdoors.
Yun Min “Danny” Chang joins LSI as a graduate student co-advised with Dr. Rafi Ahmed at Emory.
Danny was born in Seoul, South Korea and immigrated to the US at the age of 9. He grew up in Tarpon Springs, FL and graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Chemistry at the University of Florida. As a University and HHMI Scholar, he worked in Dr. Weihong Tan’s lab developing artificial-aptamer lipid receptors for cellular modification. He was later awarded the Pasteur-HHMI fellowship which allowed him to work at the Pasteur Institute in France. There, he worked under Dr. Oleg Melnyk to develop novel selenium-based linkers that facilitate native chemical ligation of peptides. For his senior year, he was awarded the prestigious HHMI EXROP and the HHMI Capstone fellowships to work with Dr. Stuart Schreiber at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. There he studied genomic biomarkers for rapamycin sensitivity in cancer cell lines and the efficacy of decitabine combination therapy in ovarian cancer. His undergraduate research studies culminated in 5 peer-reviewed publications. In recognition of his accomplishments, he was appointed as a J. Wayne Reitz Scholar and inducted into the UF Hall of Fame. After graduation, he worked as a post-baccalaureate fellow in Dr. William Gahl’s lab at the NIH where he helped discover and characterize the mutation in the LAMA1 gene underlying the Poretti-Boltshauser Syndrome. This finding was later published on the cover of Journal of Medical Genetics. Currently, he is an MD/PhD student studying Immunology at Emory. He is jointly advised by Dr. Rafi Ahmed, director of the Emory Vaccine Center, developing novel therapies to modulate the differentiation of effector, memory, and exhausted T cells in the context of human cancers. Danny loves to travel, attend music festivals/concerts, and play golf in his free time. Go Gators!
The Laboratory of Synthetic Immunity welcomes Oliva as a lab tech. Olivia is from Madison, Alabama, and went to school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (go Blazers!). She graduated in April 2016 summa cum laude with a B.S. in molecular biology and a minor in chemistry. As an undergraduate, Olivia worked in Dr. Nicole Riddle’s epigenetics lab where she studied the role of the heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) family in Drosophila melanogaster. She also worked for a summer internship in Dr. William Dynan’s lab at Emory University where she studied a novel DNA repair factor, called NONO, and its potential function as a biomarker for melanoma cancer. Currently, Olivia is the lab technician and assists the students with their various projects. In her free time, Olivia likes watching Netflix, reading books, and hanging out with friends, especially if they have pets.
Quoc grew up halfway around the world in Saigon, Vietnam. Due to his love for computer games, he studied Computer Science at the University of Science for two years before his family immigrated to the US and settled in North Carolina. Quoc then transferred to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he graduated with highest honors and highest distinction with a B.S. in Chemistry. There he worked in Dr. Qi Zhang’s lab and studied the dynamics of hammerhead ribozymes using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), showing that a lowly populated state is essential for their catalytic activity. For his research, Quoc was awarded the HHMI Future Scientists and Clinicians Fellowship, the Jason Altom Memorial Award for Undergraduate Research, and the Chancellor’s Venable Medal for Excellence in Chemistry. Currently, Quoc is a graduate student in BME where his research is focused on the broader applications of synthetic biomarkers for cancer and disease diagnosis. Quoc likes to spend his free time playing video games, watching sports, and traveling. He is a die-hard fan of the Tar Heels and the Red Devils.