Dr. Manu Platt is the inaugural director of the NIH-wide Center for Biomedical Engineering Technology Acceleration (BETA Center), housed within the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) Intramural Research Program. In addition, Dr. Platt is NIBIB associate director for Scientific Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Previously, Dr. Platt was professor and Associate Chair of Graduate Studies in the Walter H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University. He also was Georgia Research Alliance Distinguished Cancer Scientist and Deputy Director, Interdisciplinary Bioengineering Graduate Program at Georgia Tech Walter H. Coulter Distinguished Faculty Fellow.
Dr. Platt’s science interest was cultivated as a middle and high school student during his participation in FAME (Forum to Advance Minorities in Engineering), a science and engineering enrichment program at Delaware State University in Dover, DE. Dr. Platt earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Morehouse College and was distinguished as an ARCS Foundation Scholar and a NASA Scholar. During his senior year at Morehouse, he began tissue engineering research with Dr. Robert M. Nerem in his lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology where he would ultimately join for his graduate studies where he earned his PhD under the direction of Dr. Hanjoong Jo studying mechanosensitive regulation of endothelial cell biology and its role in cardiovascular disease. Dr. Platt was in the second class of the newly established joint Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. Program between Georgia Tech and Emory University School of Medicine which has now been the #2 program in the country for more than a decade and has an excellent MD/PhD program.
After postdoctoral research at MIT with Drs. Linda Griffith and Douglas Lauffenburger, in 2009, Dr. Platt began a tenure track faculty position in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory. He has developed a diverse, robust research program with focuses on proteolytic mechanisms of disease, translational approaches to reduce strokes in people affected by sickle cell disease and harnessing proteolytic networks and systems biology tools to predict disease progression in patients with breast cancer which has led to work investigating mechanisms underlying aggressive breast cancers in young women in Ethiopia.
Dr. Platt is an outspoken leader for his community and an avid supporter of his undergraduate and graduate students from a number of diverse backgrounds and experiences. He has participated in conversations with the Gladstone Institute on issues surrounding Diversity and Inclusion, and Anti-Racism. He participated in Discussions on Science and Diversity through Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science. Dr. Platt has graduated ten Ph.D. students under his advisement with four of whom have gone on to begin tenure track professors at top universities, three of them being Black women, and another to a tenure track teaching position. Other graduates have entered industry positions, medical writing, public-partner biotech relationships, and more. He is proud of all of them! We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Manu Platt to the 38th Annual National MD-PhD Student Conference.
Kerry J. Ressler, MD, PhD, is chief scientific officer and James and Patricia Poitras Chair in Psychiatry at McLean Hospital, and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is current president of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) and a past president of the Society for Biological Psychiatry. Dr. Ressler is a former Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine. Dr. Ressler’s lab focuses on translational research bridging molecular neurobiology in animal models with human genetic research on emotion, particularly fear and anxiety disorders. He has published over 500 manuscripts ranging from basic molecular mechanisms of fear processing to understanding how emotion is encoded in a region of the brain called the amygdala, in both animal models and human patients.
The Ressler lab uses well-established mouse models to examine different aspects of fear learning (e.g., acquisition, consolidation and extinction). To do this, they utilize a variety of molecular-genetic neurocircuitry tools such as optogenetics, DREADDs, cell-type specific calcium imaging and transcriptional profiling and DNA methylation analyses combined with viral-vector and transgenic manipulations. These models allow the lab to investigate the role of different brain regions, in particular the amygdala, as well as neural cell populations, and the underlying gene regulation in these cells in fear processing. Furthermore, his work examines how these mechanisms may be involved in the development of fear-based disorders in humans, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression and other stress-related syndromes. Additionally, Dr. Ressler’s lab utilizes data collected from human clinical populations to identify genetic traits and neural processes that may contribute to the development of these illnesses and provide novel targets for research using animal models. By gaining a more mechanistic understanding of how fear works in the mammalian brain, Dr. Ressler’s discoveries contribute to the development of novel treatments, and possibly even the prevention, of fear based psychiatric illnesses.
Jacquetta Trasler, MD, PhD is a Distinguished James McGill Professor in Pediatrics, Human Genetics and Pharmacology & Therapeutics at McGill University and Senior Scientist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC). She directs the Developmental Genetics Laboratory at the RI-MUHC. Amongst her leadership roles, Dr. Trasler is a past president of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society, and has served as Scientific Officer and Chair of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Endocrinology Peer Review Committee, Scientific Director of the Montreal Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Deputy Director/ Chief Scientific Officer of the RI-MUHC, Member of the Institute Advisory Board of the CIHR Institute of Genetics, and Member of the CIHR Stem Cell Oversight Committee. She has mentored a number of trainees, directed the McGill University MD/PhD Program from 1999-2007, and remains a devoted advocate for the MD/PhD path. In 2022, Dr. Trasler was elected Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and awarded the American Society of Andrology Distinguished Andrologist Award for her outstanding contributions to the progress of andrology. Her translational research profile focuses on the epigenetic, molecular, and developmental regulation of gene expression in the germline and early embryo. More specifically she studies DNA methylation and genomic imprinting and the molecular and cellular targets for drug effects on germ cells and embryos. Ongoing studies include effects of drugs, diet (folate) and assisted reproductive technologies on the epigenome of germ cells and embryos and the implications for transgenerational passage of epigenetic defects.
|Hassan Ahamed, University of Iowa||Lesion Mapping of Central Post-stroke Pain|
|Michael LaCroix, University of Texas Southwestern||Tau Seeding in the Healthy Brain|
|Fae Kronman, Pennsylvania State||A Multimodal 3D Developing Mouse Brain Common Coordinate Framework for Cell Census Mapping|
|Katherine Lee, University of California, San Diego||An Extended Wave of Global mRNA Deadenylation Sets Up a Switch in Translation Regulation Across the Mammalian Oocyte-to-Embryo Transition|
|Kristina Pravoverov, University of Nebraska||IL-22-Induced MASTL Stabilization in Colon Epithelial Cells: Exploring a Novel Mechanism for Colitis Recovery and CAC Development|
|Mariia Long, University of Pennsylvania||Toward Multiplexed Single-Cell Western Blotting Using DNA Barcoded Readout|
|Nathan Nelson-Maney, University of North Carolina||CGRP Signaling in Meningeal Lymphatic Vessels Contributes to Migraine Pathophysiology|
|Nickole Moon, University of Colorado||Stress-Mediated Cellular Allostasis is Communicated by Extracellular Vesicles to Enhance Sperm Physiology|
|Yasminye Pettway, Vanderbilt||Human Pancreatic Pseudoislet System Reveals Cell-to-Cell Contact and Hypoglycemia as Mechanisms Underlying a Cell Dysfunction in Type 1 Diabetes (T1D)|
|Immunology / Microbiology / Immune Defense|
|Amanda Collar, University of New Mexico||High-titer IgG Elicited by a Bacteriophage Virus-like Particle Displaying the Major Outer Membrane Protein VD4 Epitope Protects Against Urogenital Chlamydia Infection|
|Casey Hofstaedter, University of Maryland||Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Lipid A 2-Hydroxylation Impacts Host Recognition and Immune Response in Cystic Fibrosis|
|Jake Stevens, University of Cincinatti||The Commensal Microbiota Programs T Cell Responses to Influenza A in Newborns Through the Circadian Gene NFIL3|
|Inbar Fried, University of North Carolina||An Autonomous Medical Robot for Accessing Peripheral Lung Nodules|
|Sophia Sakers, Georgia Institute of Technology||Development of a Microneedle Patch for mRNA Vaccination|
|Yajur Maker, Baylor||Development and Deployment of a Multinodal Colposcope for Real-time Cervical Cancer Detection|
|Erin Hollander, University of Pennsylvania||Loss of the MGAT5 Glycosyltransferase Sensitizes Pancreatic Tumor Cells to Immune Clearance|
|Emily Cybulla, Saint Louis University||Identifying a RAD18/UBC13-Dependent Mechanism of Replication Fork Recovery to Modulate Chemoresponse in BRCA1-Deficient Cancers|
|Chad VanSant-Webb, University of Utah||Utilizing Zebrafish to Characterize the Role of miR-21 in Hepatocellular Carcinoma|
Paula Braveman, MD, MPH, is Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Founding Director of the Center for Health Equity at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). For more than 25 years, Dr. Braveman has studied and published extensively on health equity and the social determinants of health and has worked to bring attention to these issues in the U.S. and internationally. During the 1990s she collaborated with World Health Organization staff in Geneva to develop a global initiative on equity in health and health care. She was the Research Director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s national commission on the social determinants of health in the U.S. Throughout her career, she has collaborated with local, state, federal, and international health agencies to see rigorous research translated into practice with the goal of achieving greater equity in health. She was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2002. Her book “The Social Determinants of Health and Health Disparities” was recently published by Oxford University Press.