2017 Deans Fellows

The Dean's Fellows are selected based on their academic and research accomplishments at the Sackler School.  Four students entering year three of PhD study are selected each year.

2017-2018 Dean's Fellow Recipients


Alyssa Fasicano, Immunology, Joan Mecsas, PhD, Adviser


My research involves studying the interactions between Yersinia pseudotuberculosis and intestinal host cells by using 2D and 3D in vitro models of the intestine. I am particularly interested in understanding how Yersinia adhesin proteins bind to the intestinal epithelium to determine how Yersinia establishes an infection and causes damage to the gut. I am also interested in the role that neutrophils play during infection and the role that Yersinia Yop proteins play in thwarting an immune response.


Judi Hollander, CMDB, Li Zeng, PhD, Adviser



Osteoarthritis is a major degenerative joint disease involving the loss of cartilage matrix. I am study signaling pathways that regulate osteoarthritis and cartilage formation during development.



Minagi Ozawa, Neuroscience, Leon Reijmers, PhD, Adviser


 Neuronal activity induced by our sensory and cognitive experiences stimulates changes in synaptic connections, and thereby the neural circuitry. Such activity-dependent plasticity is thought to form the cellular basis of how memories are encoded in the brain. Protein synthesis is critically involved in synaptic plasticity but the role, particularly of synthesis that occurs locally in dendrites, in enabling plasticity is not fully understood. I am investigating the activity-dependent changes in mRNA translation and protein synthesis that occur locally in dendrites during synaptic plasticity and memory formation.


Jay Ngwenyama, Immunology, Pilar Alcaide, PhD, Adviser



I am investigating the adaptive immune mechanisms regulating CD4 T cell-mediated pathology in the development of heart failure (HF). I am using transverse aortic constriction (TAC), a well-established experimental model of nonischemic HF, to investigate the mechanisms driving the ensuing CD4 T cell response and understand the role of CD4 T cells in mediating adverse cardiac remodeling.

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