2018 Presidential Award Finalists

Student Category

3rd place Amanda Pulsifer, University of Louisville

Amanda Pulsifer completed her undergraduate studies at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, from which she graduated with a B.S. in Biology. During her undergraduate studies, she began her research path by investigating how protein expression changes in wound sites of regenerating organisms during a research internship. Currently, she is a Ph. D. candidate in the University of Louisville’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and is a member of Dr. Matthew Lawrenz’ laboratory.   Amanda is working to further elucidate mechanisms used by Yersinia pestis to manipulate neutrophils and macrophages early during infection in order to create a non-inflammatory host environment.

2nd Place Mandi Roe, Montana State Uni.

Mandi Roe received her Bachelor’s degree in biotechnology from California State University San Marcos. During this time, she conducted research at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. Mandi is currently a PhD candidate in Microbiology and Immunology at Montana State University in the gastric mucosal immunology laboratory of Dr. Diane Bimczok. She is researching the function of CD103 and the molecular pathways of retinoic acid induced expression of CD103 on human dendritic cells.


1st Place Charles Yin, Western University

Charles Yin received his BSc in Integrated Science with a concentration in Biochemistry from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario where he worked with Dr. Dawn Bowdish on signal transduction mechanisms of macrophage scavenger receptors. He then began his MD/PhD at Western University, where his PhD is being completed under the supervision on Dr. Bryan Heit in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology on characterizing defects in phagocytic removal of apoptotic cells by macrophages in atherosclerosis. Charles hopes to pursue a career as a clinician-scientist and is interested in investigating the role of inflammation in the pathogenesis of chronic disease.

Junior Faculty/Post-Doc Category

1st Place Prajwal Gurung, University of Iowa

Prajwal Gurung, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Inflammation Program, Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Iowa. The research goals of the lab are to investigate how nod-like receptors regulate innate and adaptive immune responses. To unravel the underlying mechanisms governing nod-like receptors and their function, his research group uses bacterial, parasitic and viral infection of mice, as well as autoinflammatory disease models.


2nd Place Matthew Long, University of Washington

I am a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington Center for Lung Biology. My overall interests are in understanding how innate immune cells regulate the resolution of inflammation in the lung during the context of injury and infection. My current research focus is on macrophage signaling pathways that regulate both pro- and anti-inflammatory functions and efferocytosis of apoptotic neutrophils. I am specifically interested in how the MEK1/2 pathway may regulate these responses and I am investigating therapeutic approaches to enhance the resolution of inflammation in models of lung injury and infection.