Featured Trainees are students, postdoctoral fellows, practicing physicians and faculty, and others who work under the tutelage of Levy CIMAR Core Faculty members and who stand out for their efforts in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. Trainees might be graduate students, antimicrobial stewards, educators, scientific researchers, medical doctors, veterinarians, pharmacists, or a combination of any of these and other professions. If you are a Levy CIMAR Core Faculty member and would like to nominate someone for “Featured Trainee” distinction, please email us any time at email@example.com.
Spring 2023 Featured Trainee:
Rachel Ende, PhD
- Postdoctoral Scholar in the lab of Levy CIMAR’s Dr. Joan Mecsas, studying mechanisms of synergistic antibiotic interactions against Klebsiella pneumoniae in the lungs.
- First-year IRACDA fellow who will soon develop a course at either UMass Boston or Bunker Hill Community College
Rachel Ende is a first-year postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Levy CIMAR’s Joan Mecsas, PhD, at Tufts University’s School of Medicine’s Department of Molecular Biology and MIcrobiology. She is investigating the mechanisms of synergistic antibiotic interactions against Klebsiella pneumoniae, a gram-negative pathogen that can cause opportunistic infections. K. pneumoniae has been increasingly recognized as an urgent public health threat due to the rising prevalence of multi-drug resistant (MDR) strains. However, clinical studies suggest that using multiple antibiotics that act synergistically in infected tissues is an effective option for treatment for MDR K. pneumoniae.
Previous research by the Mecsas lab in collaboration with the Bree Aldridge lab used diagonal measurement of n-way drug interactions (DiaMOND), a methodology developed by the Aldridge lab, to identify synergistic, additive, or antagonistic interactions of antibiotic combinations against K. pneumoniae grown in standard Cation-Adjusted Mueller Hinton Broth (CAMHB) or a lung mimetic medium. (Click to learn more about DiaMOND.) These findings suggest that antibiotic synergy is highly growth condition specific for K. pneumoniae. Rachel’s goal is to understand why specific combinations of antibiotics interact synergistically, and uncover the bacterial processes that are targeted by these antibiotic combinations. Understanding these vulnerabilities could provide valuable insight into the physiology of K. pneumoniae in mammalian hosts and additional means to target MDR K. pneumoniae.
Rachel is also working in collaboration with the multi-institution Center for Innovation to Transform Antibiotic Discovery (CITADel) to identify small molecules that act synergistically with antibiotics and improve treatment of K. pneumoniae and other hospital-acquired bacterial infections such as Acinetobacter baumannii and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Prior to joining the Mecsas Lab, Rachel earned her PhD in the lab of Isabelle Derré, PhD, at the University of Virginia’s Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology. Her graduate research focused on how the obligate intracellular pathogen Chlamydia trachomatis manipulates the host cell environment to establish its replicative niche. Rachel characterized host and bacterial glycolysis during C. trachomatisinfection and showed that multiple host glycolytic enzymes are recruited by C. trachomatis during infection. Her graduate work also characterized how hosphor-regulation accommodates Type III secretion and assembly of a C. trachomatis tether complex with the host endoplasmic reticulum.
In addition to her work in the lab, Rachel is passionate about teaching and mentorship, and is a part of the Tufts IRACDA (Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards) Chapter. She has taught Introductory Microbiology and Biology laboratory courses and enjoys mentoring undergraduate and junior graduate students. As an IRACDA fellow, Rachel is excited to continue to develop as a teacher and mentor through developing a course at UMass Boston or Bunker Hill Community college. She hopes to remain in academia and establish her own research lab.
Outside of the lab, Rachel enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with friends. Rachel also enjoys singing and was in an acapella group throughout graduate school.
Meet all of the Levy CIMAR's Featured Trainees:
Rachel Ende, PhD, Postdoctoral Scholar in the lab of CIMAR’s Dr. Joan Mecsas, studying mechanisms of synergistic antibiotic interactions against Klebsiella pneumoniae in the lungs
Postdoctoral Scholar & first-year IRACDA Fellow in the lab of Levy CIMAR’s Dr. Joan Mecsas, studying mechanisms of synergistic antibiotic interactions against Klebsiella pneumoniae in the lungs
Irene Nagawa, Inaugural Recipient of the Levy CIMAR’s Undergraduate Summer Internship
Senior at UMass Boston majoring in biology and working with the Levy CIMAR’s Aimee Shen, PhD; Inaugural recipient of the Levy CIMAR Undergraduate Summer Internship for Underrepresented Groups in Science and Medicine
Rebecca Tenner, Inaugural Recipient of the Levy CIMAR’s Undergraduate Summer Internship
Rising Senior at Tufts University’s Undergraduate School of Arts & Sciences working with the Levy CIMAR’s Alysse Wurcel, MD; Inaugural recipient of the Levy CIMAR Undergraduate Summer Internship for Underrepresented Groups in Science and Medicine
Emma Price, VMD, master’s candidate in Clinical and Translational Science at Tufts University’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
2nd year master’s candidate in Clinical and Translational Science at Tufts University’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences working with the Levy CIMAR’s Claire Fellman DVM, PhD, and Shira Doron MD, to identify factors driving antimicrobial prescription in hospitalized dogs and cats
Joshua Khuvis, MD Candidate at Tufts University School of Medicine and Levy CIMAR Student Researcher
MD Candidate at Tufts University School of Medicine and Levy CIMAR Student Researcher working with Dr. Shira Doron on exploring the impact of diagnostic stewardship interventions on Clostridioides difficile test ordering practices and results
Efrat Hamami, Molecular Microbiology PhD Candidate Working to Identify Vulnerabilities in Drug Resistant A. baumannii Isolates
Molecular Microbiology PhD Candidate Working in the Ralph Isberg Lab to Identify Vulnerabilities in Drug Resistant A. baumannii Isolates
Kathleen Davis, PhD, Postdoctoral Scholar Working on Adapting Drug Combination Testing of Clinical Isolates
Postdoctoral Scholar working to identify antibiotic and small molecule combinations that function against problematic community and hospital-acquired pathogens; Working on adapting drug combination testing of clinical isolates
Shailab Shrestha, MERGE-ID Ph.D. Candidate and Recipient of the Tufts GSBS Fellowship For International Students
PhD Candidate in Molecular Microbiology, MERGE-ID (Medically-oriented Research in Graduate Education – Infectious Disease) track at Tufts University’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Inaugural Recipient, Tufts University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Fellowship Supporting International Student Education, 2018
Courtney Chan, Infection Prevention Coordinator, Medical Scribe, and Researcher
Infection Prevention Coordinator and Infectious Diseases Clinic Medical Scribe at Tufts Medical Center; Research contributor and co-author with the Levy CIMAR’s Drs. Maya Nadimpalli and Shira Doron: “Antibiotic Resistance: A Call to Action to Prevent the Next Epidemic of Inequality,” in Nature Medicine (2021)
Eve Abraha, Undergraduate Researcher and Co-Teacher
Undergraduate Researcher at Tufts Medical Center working with the Levy CIMAR’s Dr. Shira Doron; Co-teacher in the PARE (Prevalence of Antibiotic Resistance in the Environment) program’s short course, PARE-Seq, under the guidance of the Levy CIMAR’s Drs. Carol Bascom-Slack and Amy Pickering
Aubrey Specht, DVM Candidate and Award Winner, 2020 Tufts Vet Summer Research Training Program
Second-Year Graduate Student pursuing a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) at the Cummings School; Winner, Basic Science Award at the 2020 Tufts Vet Summer Research Training Program
Iyob Gebremariam, Levy CIMAR Software Developer
Software Developer working with the Levy CIMAR on our Cutter and DiaMOND research and analytics tools; Masters student studying International Business at the Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
Juan A. Hernández-Bird, MERGE-ID PhD Student
2019 American Society of Microbiology (ASM) Capstone Fellowship awardee and PhD Candidate in Molecular Microbiology – MERGE-ID (Medically-oriented Research in Graduate Education - Infectious Disease) track at Tufts University’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Scarlet Bliss, Undergraduate Laidlaw Fellow
Laidlaw Scholar working with CIMAR’s Drs. Amy Pickering and Carol Bascom-Slack to incorporate molecular methods into the PARE (Prevalence of Antibiotic Resistance in the Environment) project
Erica Fuhrmeister, PhD, Postdoctoral Scholar and National Science Foundation Fellow
Postdoctoral Fellow, Pickering Lab, Tufts University School of Engineering; Recipient: National Science Foundation Fellowship titled, “Transfer of Antimicrobial Resistance Genes betwee
Gabriela Andujar Vazquez, MD, Inaugural LEAP Fellow
Attending physician, Division of Geographic Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Tufts Medical Center; Assistant Professor of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine; Inaugural LEAP Fellow for 2018-2019