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  • PhD, Emory University
  • BS, Beloit College

Sonia earned her PhD in Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis from Emory University in Atlanta, GA, training in the Department of Surgery at the Emory Transplant Center under Dr. Mandy L. Ford. Sonia’s thesis work contributed to our understanding of basic and translational aspects of transplant biology and immune tolerance to allografts. Sonia’s F31-sponsored dissertation work identified mechanisms by which selective CD28 blockade alters donor-reactive T cell programming by shifting the balance of costimulatory and coinhibitory molecule expression. In her postdoctoral work at UNC, Sonia is studying the role of type II innate lymphoid cells in graft-versus-host-disease following hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Specifically, Sonia uses high throughput sequencing to determine how inflammatory cytokines alter the epigenetic plasticity and fate decisions of innate lymphoid cells in the lower gastrointestinal tract.

As a postdoctoral fellow in the Seeding Postdoctoral Innovators in Research & Education (SPIRE) program, Sonia has taught in the Natural Science and Math Department at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte. Sonia is interested in biology education research with a focus on how cognitive and cultural factors are involved in the formation of undergraduate STEM identity and seeks to understand how learning environments support or inhibit expression of those identities. As a scientist and educator, Sonia aims to identify and remove institutional barriers to civil rights and education to build just, safe communal spaces for all. Sonia loves the outdoors and enjoys the mountains but feels the most at home by the sea and is a big fan of dogs, Thai food, and community organizing.

Sonia on the beach with a horse

Headshot of Sonia Laurie