Past IMSD Graduate Fellows

Morgan Barham

Morgan Barham (Cohort 1)

BS, Biology, St. Augustine’s University, 2012. Morgan entered the Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis (IMP) graduate program in 2013. She was a Kelman scholar in the summer research program at North Carolina State University. Morgan comes to Emory from a post-baccalaureate research-training program at the University of Kansas. There, she studied protein complexes involved in T cell proliferation and differentiation. Morgan has chosen Dr. Cheryl L. Day’s lab to complete her dissertation work.


brianaBriana Brown (Cohort 2)

BS. Briana entered the Cancer Biology (CB) Program in 2014. She grew up in Katy, Texas and graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a BS in Biology in May 2012. After graduation she spent two years working for a medical cost management company in Duluth, Georgia. Her previous research experience includes interning at the US Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory validating field test kits for synthetic cathinones. Additionally, as an undergraduate, she interned at a urology clinic working with prostate cancer clinical trials. It was this work with prostate cancer that sparked her initial interest in cancer research. Briana is interested in studying signaling pathways and targeted drug therapy. 

Jessica CoatesJessica Coates (Cohort 1)

BS, Biology, Spelman College, 2013. Jessica entered the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MMG) graduate program in 2013. In addition to her research at Spelman on pesticide use and crop yield, she participated in summer research programs at the University of Pittsburgh (genetic diversity of the monkeypox virus) and the University of Texas (immune gene expression, inheritance and the environment). Jessica has chosen Dr. Minsu Kim’s lab to complete her dissertation work.

SianaSi'Ana Coggins (Cohort 3)

BS. Si'Ana obtained her BS from the University of Arizona in Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology in May 2015. While at U of A she studied under Dr. Thomas Doetshman, investigating microsatellite instability in colorectal cancer as it relates to 5-fluorouracil’s adverse effects—a project on which she wrote her senior and honors thesis. During a summer internship at MIT, she conducted research in Dr. Roger Kamm’s lab studying macrophage polarization and its effect on cancer cell migration. She entered the Biochemistry, Cell, and Developmental Biology (BCDB) Program in August 2015 and is interested in investigating infectious diseases or host-pathogen relationships from a biochemical standpoint.

ShaqShaquille Edwards (Cohort 2)

BS, is from St. Michael, Barbados and graduated from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York in 2014, with a degree in Neuroscience and Behavior. During the summer of 2013, he participated in a summer research fellowship at the University of Vermont working in Dr. Sayamwong Hammack’s stress lab. There, he focused on the neuropeptide PACAP and its effects on stress behavior in rats as well as the role that estrogen played on these effects. Shaquille joined Emory in the Fall of 2014 as a graduate student in the Neuroscience and Animal Behavior program (Psychology Department), working in Dr. Donna Maney’s Bird Brain Lab looking at how the brain integrates photoperiodic cues to time reproduction in wild songbirds.

BijeanBijean Ford (Cohort 2)

BS, UNC Charlotte. Bijean worked for 2 years at Wil Research toxicology lab in Hillsborough, NC, followed by a position at Merck's vaccine manufacturing facility in Durham, NC. After almost a year of experience there, he was presented with an opportunity to participate in Emory's post-baccalaureate program during the summer of 2013, for a year-long duration. After this invaluable experience, Bijean was accepted into Emory's IMP program. He has chosen Dr. Rama Amara’s lab to complete his dissertation work.

ByronByron Gardner (Cohort 2)

BS. Byron graduated with a BS in Biology from Marist College in 2012, where he gained experience in molecular genetics, field biology, and digital microscopy. After graduation he continued research, worked in a grant office, and did freelance graphic design and music production. He joined the Emory PREP program in 2013 and started work in Dr. Larry Young’s lab to define polymorphisms in the oxytocin and vasopressin 1a receptor genes in chimpanzees. Byron is now in the Neuroscience Graduate Program with a primary interest in the evolution of complex social behaviors.

crystalCrystal Grant (Cohort 2)

BA, from Cornell University in May 2013 in Biological Sciences. She completed an undergraduate honors thesis in Drosophila population genetics while at Cornell, then spent a gap year doing leukemia research in humans and a mouse model at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. She is interested in studying epigenetics and chronic disease in humans. Crystal joined Emory in 2014 as a graduate student of the Genetics and Molecular Biology (GMB) Program.

edEduardo Gigante (Cohort 3)

BS (Psychobiology SUNY Binghamton, 2010); MS (Behavioral Neuroscience SUNY Binghamton, 2012). Eduardo is a first year graduate student in the Neuroscience program. Prior to matriculating to Emory, he was a post baccalaureate research fellow at the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Baltimore, MD, for three years. His past research focused on using optogenetics to identify and stimulate neural pathways in brain areas implicated in drug and food addiction. Eduardo is currently interested in better understanding the biological mechanisms inside of a neuron and is rotating in labs with a focus in biomolecular and developmental neuroscience.

DoraDora Guzman (Cohort 1)

BA, Neuroscience and Psychology, Smith College, 2005; MS, Biology, Georgia State University, 2009. Dora entered the Neuroscience (NS) program in 2012. Before joining the program, Dora worked for three years at Yerkes National Primate Research Center Field Station. Dora has chosen Dr. Mar Sanchez’s laboratory for her dissertation research, which will focus on the neurobiology of early life stress in rhesus monkeys.

ravenRaven Hardy (Cohort 3)

BS in Biology & a minor in math from Spelman College. She entered the Neuroscience Graduate Program in 2015. She then attended graduate school at The Scripps Research Institute, where she studied neurodegenerative disorders with a focus on elucidating the relationship between the prion protein (PRP) & the amyloid precursor protein (APP). She lives by the personal philosophy that one can't be truly successful without 1st improving upon one's environment & has a strong personal passion for diminishing health inequalities & promoting healthy nutritional lifestyles. Unsurprisingly, she would like to incorporate this passion in her research. Her research interests lie in the intersection between nutritional neuroscience, health disparities & mental health.

bintaBinta Jalloh (Cohort 2)

BS. Binta was born and raised in Sierra Leone, West Africa. She came to the US as a refugee a little over a decade ago as a result of a civil war in Sierra Leone. She became interested in doing biomedical and biological sciences research early on during her academic career and is so glad to be in the GMB program pursuing her PhD in the Biomedical and Biological Science. Her fascination with science began when a Biology teacher first introduced her class to mitosis and what happens when mitosis goes wrong resulting in cancer (tumors). This was the beginning of her curiosity to learn and understand how cells work and what happens when things in the cell or around the cells go awry. Thus, being in a position to learn and ask biological questions and figuring out what tools or methods to answer those questions is a very exciting rewarding experience for her as a graduate student.

jamieJamie King (Cohort 1)

BS, Biology, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, 2012. Jamie entered the Cancer Biology (CB) program in 2012. She attended summer research programs at the University of Tennessee (metal stabilization of plasminogen activator-1), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (phosphorylation sites on a drosophila cell cycle regulatory protein), and studied triple negative breast cancer as a MARC scholar before joining the CB program. Jamie has chosen Dr. Jin-Tang Dong's laboratory for her dissertation research, which deals with centrosome regulatory molecules involved in breast carcinogenesis.

lisaLisa Mills (Cohort 2)

BS, Cabrini College. Lisa's previous research experience includes host protein interactions with HIV-1 Rev protein and viral immunology of ectromelia virus (mousepox). Lisa is interested in emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases and viral immunology.


Trenell Mosley (Cohort 3)

BS, was born in Cincinnati, OH, but was raised in Atlanta, GA. She attended the University of Texas at Austin where she recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology. After graduating, she worked as a summer assistant researcher in Dr. Tanya Paull’s as part of the HHMI EXROP Capstone program. She focused on the molecular roles of homeobox proteins in the activation of ATM, a protein kinase that has a role in DNA repair. In the fall of 2015 she began her first year as a PhD student in Emory’s Genetics and Molecular Biology program. Trenell’s interests include, but are not limited to, exploring risk factors related to and elucidating the molecular basis of genetic disorders and understanding the genetic regulation of the immune system.


Derek Novacek (Cohort 1)

BA, MA, Psychology, University of Notre Dame, 2013. Derek entered the Clinical Psychology doctoral program in 2013. He conducted summer research at the University of California, Berkeley (neural correlates of monetary and social reward) and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (relationship between schizotypal and autistic traits). Derek is training with Dr. Elaine Walker, examining neurobiological and clinical predictors of the development of psychosis in clinical high-risk youth.


Lael Rayfield (Cohort 3)

BS, started in Emory’s Biostatistics department in Fall 2015.  She graduated from University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) in 2015 with a major in mathematics and a minor in statistics. As an undergraduate, she interned at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and UCLA’s Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics. Additionally, she was a member of the UMBC Meyerhoff Scholars program. She is interested in work related to clinical trials and statistical imaging.


Edgar Sherman (Cohort 2)

BS. Edgar entered the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MMG) Program in 2014. He graduated from University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA) with a BS in Biology in May 2014. His research experiences included two summer internships at UT Austin and the UTHSCSA as well as working in the lab of Dr. Karl Klose at UTSA since January of 2013, performing research for his honors thesis. Under the supervision of Dr. Karl Klose, he began researching on the multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria Acinetobacter baumannii studying cyclic di-GMP genes involved in biofilm formation. Edgar’s current research interests are in infectious diseases, especially the study of other MDR organisms.


Domoniqu Watson (Cohort 1)

BS, Applied Mathematics, Columbus State University, 2009; MS, Biostatistics, Florida State University, 2012. Domonique is a graduate student in Biostatistics. Among the projects she worked on in her Masters training were Image Analysis with Principal Component Analysis (PCA), Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA), and Simple Projection. Domonique has selected Dr. Qi Long as her advisor. Her research involves statistical methods for handling missing data under the assumption of Not Missing At Random (NMAR) with applications to diabetes and cardiovascular disease research.