Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Disease
Area of Interest
Our research focus is the creation and implementation of precision animal models to address fundamental aspects of basic human immunology, transplantation, cancer, and infection with human pathogens including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and oncogenic herpesviruses like Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Currently, we are evaluating the effect of relevant co-infections on virus induced cancers. Using gnotobiotic animal models that possess a human immune system, we are evaluating the role of resident microbiota in human immune cell development and immune mediated control of tumorigenesis. In addition, we are also developing humanized animal models that can be used to evaluate the efficacy and safety of immunotherapies against different types of cancer and to test strategies to ameliorate any potential side effects.
Awards and Honors
- Young Investigator Award, International Workshop on Humanized Mice VI, Kyoto, Japan, 2022
- Scientific Committee, International Workshop on Microbiome in HIV, 2016-2022
- Rapporteur, 10th International AIDS Society International Conference on HIV Science, Mexico City, Mexico, 2019
- Outstanding Oral Presentation, Bridging Biomedical Worlds: Frontiers in Human Microbiota Symbiotic Interactions, Hong Kong, 2016
- amfAR Mathilde Krim Fellowship in Basic Biomedical Research, 2013-2015
- Scholarship Award, International AIDS Society Towards an HIV Cure Symposium and 20th International AIDS Conference, Melbourne, Australia, 2014
- Joseph S. Pagano Award, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2013
- Young Investigator Award, International Workshop on Humanized Mice IV, Seoul, South Korea, 2013
- NIAID T32 Postdoctoral Immunology Trainee, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2012-2013
- Scholarship Award, 6th IAS Conference on Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, 2011
- NIAID T32 Predoctoral Immunology Trainee, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 2006-2009
- Alumni Award for Outstanding Research, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Graduate Research Education and Technology Symposium. 2008
- Young Scientist Grant, European Scientific Working Group on Influenza (ESWI) Third European Influenza Conference, Vilamoura, Portugal, 2008
- Dean’s Scholarship, University of San Diego, 1995-1999
News and Stories
Gut microbiome can increase risk, severity of HIV, EBV disease
UNC researchers report that the gut microbiome has a significant impact on the acquisition of Epstein-Barr virus and human immunodeficiency virus-1 infection and plays a role in the course of disease.
UNC Lineberger member to collaborate to create long-acting HIV antiretroviral formulations
UNC Lineberger's J. Victor Garcia, PhD, the Oliver Smithies Investigator, professor of medicine, and a member of the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases and the UNC Center for AIDS Research, is a co-investigator for a project that aims to provide long-lasting HIV treatment and/or protection from a single injection. Angela Wahl, PhD, Rahima Benhabbour, PhD, and Martina Kovarova, PhD, are collaborating to lead the work, which is funded by a $3.8-million NIH grant.