2017 Presidential Award Winners

Student Category

Ramya GanesanWright State Uni.

I am a Ph.D. candidate at Wright State University working in Dr. Julian Gomez-Cambronero’s lab. I started in Dr. Cambronero’s lab as a masters student and have been interested in exploring the mechanisms underlying cancer, inflammation and inflammatory diseases ever since. The protein of interest in our lab Phospholipase D (PLD) has been widely implicated in inflammation and cancer. Therefore, I started working on elucidating the role of PLD in inflammation in innate immune cells such as macrophages and neutrophils for my dissertation research. I have also been working on several other projects in the lab that focus on tumor immunology that has inspired me to pursue a career in tumor immunology.

Fermin GuerraMontana State University

Fermin Ernesto Guerra was born in Havana, Cuba, and migrated to the United States at a young age. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry/Biology from New College of Florida in 2012. Following his undergraduate studies, Fermin was accepted into the Molecular Biosciences Program at Montana State University and joined the laboratory of Dr. Jovanka M. Voyich. In Dr. Voyich’s laboratory, Fermin aims to elucidate the mechanisms used by the human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus to evade human neutrophil antimicrobial mechanisms and has taken an interest on reactive oxygen species production, as well as the inflammatory response to S. aureus.

Osric ForrestEmory University

Osric Forrest is a Ph.D. candidate at Emory University in the lab of Dr. Rabindra Tirouvanziam in the Emory Center for Cystic Fibrosis and Airways Disease Research. Osric was introduced to research as undergraduate in the lab of Dr. Kristian Hargadon where he studied the role of the tumor microenvironment in suppressing both dendritic and T cell responses.  As a Ph.D. student, he is currently working on developing novel therapeutics to target the metabolic and functional reprogramming of inflammatory airway neutrophils in diseases such as cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and sever asthma.

Junior Faculty/Post-Doc Category

Julie StortzUniversity of Florida

Julie Stortz is a General Surgery resident at the University of Florida who, as part of her academic development, enrolled in a postdoctoral research fellowship under the mentorship of Dr. Lyle Moldawer and Dr. Philip Efron.  She is working in the Department of Surgery’s Laboratory for Inflammation Biology and Surgical Science and her research focuses on the role of myeloid-derived suppressor cells in sepsis.  Ultimately, she intends to pursue an academic career in cardiothoracic surgery, with a focus in general thoracic surgery.


Christine Cho, University of Iowa

Christine Cho is a postdoc at the Iowa Inflammation Program at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. She has been working in Dr. William Nauseef’s laboratory, studying how Neisseria gonorrhea delays human neutrophil apoptosis. Specifically, she has been studying how the interaction between Opa protein from N.gonorrhoeae and CEACAM3 from human neutrophils affects human neutrophil apoptosis.

Silvie KremserovaUniversity of Iowa

Silvie Kremserova received her Ph.D. at the Masaryk University Brno in the Czech Republic. The main subject of her Ph.D. study was focused on the enzyme myeloperoxidase and its relation to chronic inflammation and cardiovascular diseases. Currently, she is a postdoc in Prof. Nauseef’s laboratory in the Iowa Inflammation Program at the University of Iowa. Her project is focused on understanding the mechanism of human neutrophil cell death after community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus ingestion.