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2018 K-INBRE Symposium
Speaker Biographies


Jeffrey L. Bose, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas

Title: The fatty acid kinase of Staphylococcus aureus controls virulence

Jeff Bose is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Molecular Genetics and Immunology at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He received his PhD from the University of Georgia studying symbiotic host-microbe interactions. He transitioned to his work on the human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Nebraska Medical Center studying biofilms. His current work, primarily on MRSA isolates, started as a screen for novel regulatory factors controlling MRSA virulence factor production. His lab focuses on fatty acid metabolism in virulence as a potential host recognition signal. These studies are uncovering a previously uncharacterized enzyme in many bacteria and are dissecting the molecular mechanism linking fatty acid metabolism and skin infections.

Brandon DeKosky, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

Title: Decoding the Antibody Repertoire: High-Throughput Approaches to Study Immune Responses in Health and Disease

Brandon DeKosky, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas Departments of Chemical Engineering and Pharmaceutical Chemistry where his laboratory works to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of immune function. After performing a summer of wildly successful, exhilarating, all-natural organic and avant-garde undergraduate research in the lab of Doug Wright, Ph.D. at KUMC, Dr. DeKosky pursued doctoral research at The University of Texas at Austin where he invented the very first technology for sequencing the antibody proteins encoded by single B cells at a massive scale. Dr. DeKosky’s postdoctoral research at the NIH Vaccine Research Center, and recent work in the DeKosky lab, has incorporated high-throughput functional analyses in efforts to better understand immune responses to HIV infection and Ebola vaccines.

Rafael E. Luna, Ph.D.

Associate Dean in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Title: The Art of Scientific Storytelling

Rafael E. Luna is the Associate Dean in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, and the Director of the Pre-Health Program at Boston College. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA, and was one of six individuals selected from a nationwide competition to participate in the inaugural Biomedical Research Training Program at the NIH. During his senior year at Southern, he was named as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholar through Louisiana State University (LSU) and began molecular biology research, subsequently leading to his pursuit of a doctorate in Biological Sciences at LSU. Dr. Luna performed his post doctorate research at Harvard Medical School, which centered on elucidating the sequence of protein-protein interactions leading to the decoding of the initial start codons of messenger RNAs. In addition to doing biomedical research, he is also the CEO and Founder of Luna Scientific Storytelling, LLC, which promotes the communication of science in a narrative format. Dr. Luna is a dynamic speaker and has led lectures and workshops throughout the United States and Europe.

Douglas Marthaler, Ph.D.

Associate Professor,Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas

Title: Metagenomic sequencing and Pathogen Discovery using Next Generation Sequencing technology

Douglas Marthaler, PhD, is an Associate Professor at Kansas State University, with a joint position between the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, where he oversees the Molecular Next Generation Sequencing section, and the Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology, where his primary research focus is to understand the enteric virome of swine, and its interaction with the microbiome and host immunity. With over 10 years of experience in veterinary diagnostics, viral diversity, and phylogenetics, Dr. Marthaler has extensive knowledge of PCR development, Next Generation Sequencing, and viral evolution. He’s researched the co-infection and molecular evolution of swine Rotavirus A, B, C and H. Currently, his research has expanded to understanding the emergence, evolution and epidemiology of both enteric and respiratory viruses, including Picornaviridae, Picobirnavidae, Coronaviridae, and Arenaviridae. More specifically, his research team is now investigating the sequence variation in global Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus, Porcine Deltacoronavirus, and Senecavirus A to understand their emergence in the United States, and whole genome sequencing of Streptococcus suis isolates to determine virulence gene associated with pathogenesis.

Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado, Ph.D.

Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Kansas City, Missouri

Title: Stem cell population dynamics, tissue homeostasis and regeneration

AlvaradoAlejandro Sánchez Alvarado is an Investigator of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the Marine Biology Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA where he was Director of the Embryology course. He is also a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences USA, a recipient of a MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health and of the E.E. Just Medal for Scientific Achievement from the American Society for Cell Biology. Dr. Sánchez Alvarado’s current efforts are aimed at elucidating the molecular and cellular basis of animal regeneration using the free-living flatworm Schmidtea mediterranea as a research organism.

Santimukul Santra, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas

Title: Personalized nanomedicine: A new era of targeted cancer therapy

Santimukul Santra, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Pittsburg State University. He is a synthetic chemist and nanotechnologist and teaches organic chemistry, polymer chemistry and nanobiotechnology classes to the students from chemistry, biology, pharmacy and other disciplines. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Indian Institute of Technology (I.I.T.)-Bombay, India and was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA. His laboratory research is focused on the Nanotechnology-based pharmaceutical theranostics for the early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancers, neurodegenerative disorders and infectious diseases. He is the author of more than 20 high impact, peer reviewed journals, and contributed to more than 9 US Patents.

Yong Zeng, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

Title: Enabling Micro/NanoSystems for Precision Cancer Medicine

Yong Zeng currently is an Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas in the Department of Chemistry, the Bioengineering Graduate Program, and the KU Cancer Center. Working at the interface of chemistry and biology, a primary aim of his research is to develop new enabling tools for liquid biopsy-based cancer diagnosis and precision medicine. Dr. Zeng is also interested in translational research to move technology innovations from laboratory benchtop into clinical practices to facilitate the advance of human health. He received the J.R. & Inez Jay Award in 2014, and was named as prestigious Docking Family Faculty Scholar in 2017. His research has been supported by a number of grants from National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other funding agencies.