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About Me

I recently earned my Ph.D. from the University Program in Genetics & Genomics at Duke University.

With the longstanding goal of engaging in biological research, I pursued wet lab opportunities throughout my undergraduate career, starting when I began my B.S. in Molecular Biology at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) in 2015. My primary research position throughout college involved investigating inflammatory signaling and autophagy in breast and prostate cancer cell lines under the mentorship of Dr. Nikki Delk at UTD.


Beyond research at UTD, I had the unique opportunity to conduct research in Europe. In 2017, I travelled to Dublin, Ireland to work at the Trinity Translational Medicine Institute under Dr. Mark Little, studying ANCA-associated vasculitis and assisting with the Rare Kidney Disease Registry & Biobank. Next, I flew to Marburg, Germany to work at the Universitätsklinikum Gießen und Marburg under Dr. Jörg Hänze, studying blood RNA biomarkers of prostate cancer. In 2018, I was hired as a Pasteur Foundation Summer Intern and conducted research in Paris, France at the Institut Pasteur under Drs. Xavier Montagutelli and Jean Jaubert. My work, which ultimately became my capstone project, contributed to the identification of the Itgal gene in the Collaborative Cross mouse strain CC042 as a contributing factor to Salmonella typhimurium susceptibility, a gene that was later connected to Mycobacterium tuberculosis susceptibility by Dr. Clare Smith.

My experience at the Pasteur Institute sparked my passion for the dynamic interface of host and pathogen, more specifically an interest in dry lab techniques, such as QTL mapping and gene clustering, and a curiosity about the contribution of host genetic diversity to the symptoms and prognoses of infectious diseases.

I earned my Ph.D. at Duke University in the lab of Dr. Clare Smith studying how host and pathogen genetic variation can give rise to unique disease outcomes following infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which causes tuberculosis. As the first graduate student in a lab that began in January 2020, we overcame many obstacles to begin a brand new biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) lab at Duke. I became the first graduate student at Duke certified to mentor new BSL-3 trainees toward independent work. My dissertation work leveraged both wet and dry lab techniques to explore genomic regions in genetically diverse mice that promote differential requirements for bacterial genes and unique immunological complexes following infection. I am currently wrapping up many of my dissertation projects, so please stay tuned for new publications very soon!

Follow me on Twitter @Rachel_K_Meade