Medical Microbiology and Immunology

2018 News and Awards

Chen Blade
Toledo Blade Article - published 12/3/2018

2018 S Chakravarty

Dean's Update
October 15, 2018

Congratulations to Gayatri Subramanian, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the laboratory of Dr. Saurabh Chattopadhyay in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, who received a scholarship award of $1,500 from the UT Health Science Campus Retirees Scholarship Fund for her scientific productivity and community service.

Ms. Subramanian has recently published her work on how the host defends against the respiratory virus infection using the innate immune responses by the interferon system in a prestigious journal PLOS Pathogens. She has also been involved in the Council of Biomedical Sciences Graduate Students (CBGS), in the roles of a representative, secretary and the president in the last three years.  

Welcome Pam!

October 11, 2018

Medical Microbiology & Immunology welcome's our newest addition.
Pam DeWalt is the new Assistant to the Chairperson for Dr. Z. Kevin Pan.

LC 2018
September 6, 2018

2018 Lab Coat Ceremony


Pan Chair Sept 2018


August 2018
Congratulations Dr. Chattopadhyay!

H Dolin

August 6, 2018
Congratulations Hallie Dolin!
Hallie is a M.D./ Ph.D. student in the Biomedical Science Program.
Hallie's article was published this month in the Blade titled, "Laboratory work points to progress against sepsis".


July 30, 2018
Congratulations Joshua Breidenbach of the Stepkowski Lab who successfully defended his Master's thesis titled, "The Development of a Novel Model for Chronic Renal Allograft Rejection".
Future Plans:

Joshua plans to continue his education in the Biomedical Sciences field (Haller Lab), where he will study the effects of Lake Eerie-derived microcystin-LR via the inhalation route.

Good Luck Joshua!



July 26, 2018

Congratulations Vassili Bletsos of the Stepkowski Lab who successfully defended his Master's thesis titled, "The Role of CD40 Signaling in Chronic Renal Allograft Rejection in a Hypertensive Rat Model".

Future Plans:
This fall, Vassili will be starting a post- baccalaureate certificate program at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to prepare to apply to dental school in the following application cycle.

Good Luck Vassili!



 Dean’s Awards for Teaching Excellence

Basic Science Teaching Award:
Zhixing Kevin Pan, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor/Interim Chair, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology

 Recognition of emeritus faculty

Dorothea Sawicki, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita
Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology

Recognition for service
10 Years

Stanislaw Stepkowski, D.V.M., Ph.D., D.Sc.

June 4, 2018

Congratulations Caroline Lambert (Wooten Lab) on the first Bioinformatics/Proteomics and Genomics track article in the Blade titled, “UT researchers use 'in silico' approach to study disease”.

 2018 Commencement
May 25, 2018
2018 College of Medicine and Life Sciences 47th Commencement Exercises


 Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences
Adam Blatt, Ph.D.
Medical Microbiology & Immunology
Advisor: Viviana Ferreira, D.V.M. Ph.D.


Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences
Dulat Bekbolsynov, Ph.D.
Medical Microbiology & Immunology
Advisor: Stanislaw Stepkowski, Ph.D.


Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences
Vassili Bletsos, M.S.B.S.
Medical Microbiology & Immunology
Advisor: Stanislaw Stepkowski, Ph.D.


Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences
Joshua Breidenbach, M.S.B.S.
Medical Microbiology & Immunology
Advisor: Stanislaw Stepkowski, Ph.D.


Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences
Alison, Thees, M.S.B.S.
Medical Microbiology & Immunology
Advisor: Jason Huntley, Ph.D.



Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences
Caroline Lambert, M.S.B.S.
Bioinformatics and Proteomics/Genomics
Advisor: R. Mark Wooten, Ph.D.

 2018 Grads
Congratulations to our recent 2018 MMI graduates!

(L-R) Dulat Bekbolsynov (Stepkowski Lab) , Vassili Bletsos (Stepkowski Lab), Alison Thees (Huntley Lab),
Joshua Breidenbach (Stepkowski Lab), Caroline Lambert (Wooten Lab)

 The Class of 2018 Graduation Awards Ceremony will be Thursday, May 24 at 3:00 pm.
The ceremony will be held in the Grand Ballroom at UTMC Radisson.

Graduate Student Awards:

Doctor of Medicine/Doctor of Philosophy
in Biomedical Sciences Program
Outstanding Student
Adam Blatt
(Ferreira Lab)

Master of Science in Biomedical Science –
Medical Sciences Basic Science Tracks
Outstanding Student
Alison Thees
(Huntley Lab)

Congratulations Adam & Alison!!!!

May 24, 2018
Congratulations Brian Youseff of the Taylor Lab who successfully defended his dissertation titled, "The Role of Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor-Associated Factor 6 (TRAF6) in Tick-Borne Flavivirus Infection".

Future Plans:
Brian plans on completing his final year of medical school and applying to residency programs in the specialty of family medicine.

Good Luck Brian! 

DulatMay 14, 2018
Congratulations Dulat Bekbolsynov of the Stepkowski Lab who successfully defended his dissertation titled, " A New Concept of Immunogenicity to Calculate the Risk Stratification for Kidney Transplantation".
Future Plans:
Make a difference for kidney transplant candidates and recipients.
Take care to preserve my transplant for longer.

Good Luck Dulat!


 NAR cover
May 4, 2018

Congratulations Dr. Robert Blumenthal on your third cover article!
Dr. Blumenthal's Nucleic Acids Research article, "Role for first zinc finger of WT1 in DNA sequence specificity: Denys-Drash syndrome-associated WT1 mutant in ZF1 enhances affinity for a subset of WT1 binding sites" was recently published.

April 2018
The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an exercise that develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills and supports the development of research students' capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes in a language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience.
Apurva Lad (Kennedy/Haller Lab), Gayatri Subramanian (Chattopadhyay Lab) and Claire Meikle (Worth Lab)  were finalists in the inaugural 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition in April. Hosted by the College of Graduate Studies.
Congratulations to Claire Meikle winning FIRST PLACE!


Congratulations to Muhammed Saad Moledina!
Saad has been selected to present his work, "Intravital Microscopy Reveals that Innate, Not Adaptive, Immune Responses are Primarily Responsible for Controlling Borrelia Burgdorferi during Acute and Persistent Lyme Disease" at the 15th International Conference on Lyme Borreliosis and Other Tick-Borne Diseases in Atlanta, Georgia.


April 20, 2018

Congratulations to Alison Thees of Huntley Lab who successfully defended her master’s thesis, “Identification and Characterization of Lake Erie Bacteria that Degrade the Microcystin Toxin MC-LR”.



2018 GRF
March 15-16,  2018

The University of Toledo Council of Biomedical Graduate Students sponsored the 2018 Graduate Research Forum and award competition for all graduate students in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences and the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Both the oral and poster sessions were judged for scientific excellence and presentation through two rounds of judging. Finalists and awardees for the oral and poster presentation included graduate students.




Congratulations Claire and Saad!

Saad and Claire were recognized for their oral and poster presentations:


Oral Presentation:

Saad Moledina             (Second Prize, Wooten Lab)


Poster Presentation:

Claire Meikle                   (Finalist, Worth Lab)


March 2018

Adam Blatt, MD/PhD graduates this May.
Adam has matched with Duke for his pediatrics residency!!
Congratulations Adam!!!!

February 20 -23, 2018

Congratulations Dr. Jyl Matson! Dr. Matson has been invited to present at the Annual Joint Panel Conference on Cholera and Other Bacterial Enteric Infections. The US-Japan Annual Joint Panel Conference on Cholera and Other Bacterial Enteric Infections, now in its 53rd year, is an international forum for scientific exchange and collaboration. This meeting has been held almost every year since 1965, hosted alternatively by the Japanese and U.S. Panels. Many of the most significant advances in field have been presented first at US-Japan conferences.


February 2018
Congratulations Dr. Mark Wooten! Dr. Wooten served on two studies this month:
American Heart Association study section (National), Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis, reviewer, February 2018
NIH/NIAID study section, Topics in Infectious Diseases (IDM-X), ad hoc reviewer, February 2018


PLOS Pathogens accepted a manuscript entitled  "A new mechanism of interferon's antiviral action: induction of autophagy, essential for paramyxovirus replication, is inhibited by the interferon stimulated gene, TDRD7,"  Authors included Gayatri Subramanian (MMIM PhD student), Teodora Kuzmanovic, Ying Zhang, Cara Beate Peter (MMIM PhD Student), Manoj Veleeparambil, Ritu Chakravarti (Dept. of Surgery), Ganes C. Sen and Saurabh Chattopadhyay (Dept. of Medical Microbiology & Immunology). 

2018 ASM
Congratulations to Briana Zellner & Irum Syed!
Briana Zellner was one of 16 national and international students whose research was selected for an oral presentation at the 2018 American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Biothreats Conference, to be held February 11-14, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland.  In addition to presenting her research in front of over 800 scientists, Briana also will receive a travel award to help defray travel costs.
Irum Syed was chosen to present her research poster titled, "The Identification of a Factor H-Binding Protein in Burkholderia", at the 2018 American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Biothreats Conference


Congratulations Dr. Huntley on your new grant with Ohio Sea Grant/Ohio Department of Higher Education!
Dr. Huntley will be to continuing his microcystin biofilter studies which addresses the algal bloom affecting water in our region.


January 21 -26, 2018
Congratulations to Saad Moledina! Saad will be awarded a travel grant to attend the 2018 Gordon Research Seminar in Ventura, CA. His abstract was selected for an oral presentation.


January 17, 2018
Briana Zellner congratulations on receiving a GSA Graduate Research Award for the 2017-2018 Academic Year.
The funds are for research titled, "Characterization of a Novel Francisella tularensis Virulence Factor: FTL1678".

January 2018

Congratulations Dr. Travis Taylor!
Dr. Taylor has been awarded $25,000 from Lyme Disease Association for "Restrictions of Tick-Borne Flavivirus Infection ion the Natural Host".

Last Updated: 7/15/24