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Lots of comings and goings…

Nicole Nova joined the lab earlier this year as an associate in research.

Undergrad Olivia Yvellez from U. of Chicago joins the Koelle group for the summer.

Lam Ha joins the Koelle group this August as a new Biology Ph.D. student. He’ll be coming from Ho Chi Minh City’s Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, where he has been working with Maciek Boni.

Diana Vera Cruz will be starting a rotation in the Koelle group this August as a new CBB Ph.D. student.


Goings: No one leaving the group right now, but lots of travel (furthest destination winner: Ashley, to Madagascar)

The fellowship recognizes two Duke Ph.D. students annually whose research shows particular creativity and promise. Congratulations, Rotem, and how will be spending that $5,000 supplement to your grad student stipend??

Rotem has published her first thesis chapter on the work she’s been doing on developing within-host dengue models that recover salient features of primary and secondary dengue infections. See publications page for more!


Katia gives birth to her second (and final!) child, Sonja Sawicki! Sonja was born January 27th, two days shy of her bigger sister’s 3rd birthday. She seems very good-natured, and at 6 weeks, is already sleeping through the night!

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The next 6 months will see a lot of travel! We are all heading down to the annual EEID (Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease) conference this May, this year being held in Athens, GA! Katia and Ashley are also heading down to Atlanta for a MIDAS meeting in late April.

Katia is heading to fantastic European destinations this summer. She’ll be speaking in the viral cross-scales session organized by Thomas Leitner and Richard Goldstein at SMBE’s annual meeting, this year in Vienna! She’ll also be speaking in the viral phylodynamics session organized by Tanja Stadler and Alexei Drummond at the ESEB meeting, this year in Lausanne!

Ashley has just come back from the American Mathematical Society’s meeting in DC, where she gave a talk on her research in the within-host disease modeling session organized by Sivan Leviyang and Stanca Ciupe. Her talk, coauthored with Katia Koelle, Micah McClain, and Chris Woods, was entitled: ‘A human challenge experiment points towards the importance of viral load dynamics and viral genetics in driving influenza symptoms’. Despite formidable attempts, snowstorms could not keep her away from the meeting.

Rotem is currently at a Gordon Research Conference on Tropical Infectious Diseases taking place in Galveston, TX. She is presenting a poster on her current work, entitled: ‘Statistical fits of primary infection within-host dengue model provide insight into virus serotype-specific mechanisms, with implications for disease severity’.

For a month, starting October 20th, Justin Silverman will rotate in the Koelle lab to determine if the research done in this group is up to snuff with what he’d like to get out of his Ph.D.! Welcome, Justin.

Katia presents some of her and her group’s recent work on influenza antigenic evolution at UPenn (thanks for the invitation, Erol!), at UNC (Ecology seminar), and at Princeton (EEB) this Fall! She was also fortunate to take part in a Virology-in-progress mini-symposium on ebola that Ron Swanstrom at UNC organized. Her talk focused on insights that viral sequence data have provided researchers on the current 2014 West Africa ebola epidemic.

Friend and collaborator Mark Tanaka from the University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia) visits the Koelle group for two weeks in mid-September. Katia and Mark are furiously working on a top-secret project involving pandemic flu dynamics….

Grateful, but somewhat embarrassed, Katia is chosen as one of Popular Science’s Brilliant Ten for 2014. You can read more about it here:


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