The Seventh Annual Immunobiology Student Symposium

YISS Save the Date 19

Friday, October 25, 2019    

10:00AM – 5:00PM 

TAC Auditorium

Lunch will be served

Reception to follow

Invited Speakers

Erin Adams

University of Chicago

Roger Beachy

Indigo Agriculture

Washington University in St. Louis

Ajay Chawla

University of California, San Francisco

Rachel Gottschalk

University of Pittsburgh

Sabra Klein

Johns Hopkins University

Ellen Rothenberg

California Institute of Technology

Speaker Schedule


 Erin Adams


Roger Beachy


Ajay Chawla


Rachel Gottschalk


Sabra Klein 

Ellen Rothenberg




To provide a graduate student forum for the discussion of frontier research presented by a panel of leading scientists selected by our student body


  • To have experts from immunology and related disciplines discuss recent scientific advances and present on the current state and future of their fields 
  • To have our student body select invited speakers based on their scientific, academic, and career interests 
  • To create an environment conducive to the generation of new ideas, particularly to application of fundamental principles from other disciplines to our own individual areas of research 
  • To encourage and foster graduate student interaction with scientific leaders and experts in both professional and social settings 
  • To provide a platform for established scientists and professors to discuss their past, present and future impressions of the state of academic science, translational research, clinical medicine and industry 
  • To strengthen the immunology graduate student community in this country by providing a fun and creative atmosphere to network, establish connections and collaborations, and to share ideas at this formative stage of our careers 
  • To host Yale Immunobiology alumni who are now leaders in the field to discuss their scientific trajectories and accomplishments 
  • To promote Yale Immunobiology graduate student involvement with the greater scientific community 
  • To highlight our presence, ideas, and scientific/academic goals to the Yale campus and the greater scientific community 
  • To host a unique and fun scientific symposium and provide an enjoyable and memorable atmosphere for graduate students, faculty, and invited speakers 

Contact Us

 2018 Immunobiology Student Symposium


Academic Advisor

Administrative Liaison

Past Speakers and Organizers



Sara Cherry, Ph.D.

Dr. Sara Cherry is a Professor of Microbiology, the Scientific Director of the High-throughput Screening Core, and the Director of the Program for Chemogenomic Discovery at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Cherry received her bachelor’s in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and her Ph.D. in biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in genetics at Harvard Medical School. Her lab applies genetic approaches and high-throughput screening to study the cellular machinery that regulates viral pathogenesis, including cellular factors hijacked by viral pathogens in order to evade the host immune system. By studying arthropod-borne viruses, her lab has discovered a large number of novel factors which play important roles in host-virus interactions, revealing new therapeutic targets for emerging pathogens worldwide 

Donna Farber, Ph.D.

Dr. Donna Farber is a distinguished Professor of Surgical Sciences and Microbiology and Immunology at Columbia University. She received her undergraduate degree in Microbiology from the University of Michigan and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of California. She started her postdoctoral training at the Section of Immunobiology at Yale University with Kim Bottomly, looking at CD4 T-cell activation, and continued at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France. She founded her lab at the University of Maryland, Baltimore and then moved to Columbia University in 2010. Dr. Farber has worked to expand our knowledge of immunological memory and currently investigates the formation and impact of tissue resident memory in mouse models of pulmonary infection. As a member of the NIH’s "Tissue compartmentalization of human lymphocytes" project, she has established a unique platform for obtaining human samples, and has described the dynamics of the immune compartment in various tissues throughout the human lifespan.

Yong Jun Liu, M.D., Ph.D.

 Dr. Yong-Jun Liu is the Global Head of Research, Senior Vice President R&D at Sanofi. He was previously the Head of Research at MedImmune, LLC and also served as Director of the Baylor Institute for Immunology Research and Chair of the Department of Immunology at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Liu received his M.D. from Norman Bethune University School of Medicine in China and his Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham in the U.K. With 25 years of pharmacology and medical experience, Dr. Liu’s research has resulted in the development of key drug targets in allergy, oncology, and immunology. He has been honored for his seminal contributions with the Dallas-Fort Worth Living Legend Faculty Achievement Award in Basic Research from MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Dana Foundation Award for Human Immunology Research, and the Sandler Award for Asthma Research, among many others.

Dr. Kari Nadeau, MD, PhD

Dr. Kari Nadeau is one of the nation’s foremost experts in adult and pediatric allergy and asthma. She is currently at Stanford University, where she is the director of the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research, Section Chief of Allergy and Asthma at the Stanford School of Medicine, and an endowed professor under the Naddisy Family Foundation. Dr. Nadeau received her bachelor’s degree in Biology at Haverford College, and subsequently enrolled in a dual MD and PhD program in Biochemistry and Immunology at Harvard Medical School. There, she explored the biochemistry of heat shock proteins derived from Trypanosomes under Dr. Christopher Walsh. After completing her residency in pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital, she briefly worked in the biopharmacology industry before completing her clinical fellowship studying allergic asthma with Dr. Alan Krensky at Stanford. She has since remained at Stanford University where she continues to conduct clinical and basic research on environmental factors, immunological responses, and possible treatments for asthma and allergy. There she was the first to successfully use a multi-allergen immunotherapeutic approach to desensitize patients with various allergies.

Robert D. Schreiber, Ph.D.

Dr. Robert Schreiber is a Professor of Molecular Microbiology, the Alumni Endowed Professor of Pathology & Immunology, and the Director of the Center for Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Programs at Washington University in St. Louis.  Dr. Schreiber completed his doctoral degree in biochemistry and immunology at the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1973. He then moved on to postdoctoral work with Hans Müller-Eberhard at the Scripps Clinic. He joined the faculty at Scripps in 1976, and was recruited to Washington University in 1985. His work has focused on the molecular biology and immunology of interferon gamma and its receptor, and firmly established the concepts of immunosurveillance and immunoediting in cancer. He has received many honors, including the CRI William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology, Charles Rodolphe Brupbacher Prize for Cancer Research, and the Balzan Prize for Immunological Approaches in Cancer Therapy. He is also a co-founder of Igenica Biotherapeutics, Jounce Therapeutics, and Neon Therapeutics, all of which focus on pushing the current limits of immune oncology.

2017 YISS Cover


Inger Damon, MD, PhD

Dr. Inger Damon is the Director of the Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology (DHCPP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Emory University School of Medicine. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Amherst College and graduated from the University of Connecticut with an M.D. and Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Damon completed her residency in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and continued her training at the National Institutes of Health, with both a clinical fellowship in infectious diseases and a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular virology with Dr. Bernard Moss. Joining the CDC in 1999, Dr. Damon has worked primarily with the poxvirus group, serving as the first chief for the Poxvirus and Rabies Branch. From 2014-2015, Dr. Damon led the CDC’s response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the largest response by the CDC to a global public health emergency. Dr. Damon continues to investigate the biology and transmission of orthopoxviruses and to develop public health infrastructure to protect against the outbreak of emerging infectious diseases.

Jonathan Kagan, PhD

Dr. Jonathan is returning after joining us as a speaker at the inaugural symposium in 2012! Dr. Kagan got his start in immunology working on his graduate work with Dr. Craig Roy here at Yale University. Dr. Kagan explored how Legionella pneumophila modified phagosomes to become intracellular replication factories without the disruption of the host cell. For his post-doctoral work, Dr. Kagan shifted from pathogen to host, joining the laboratory of Dr. Ruslan Medzhitov, where he explored how signal molecule localization is determined and how it, as well as adaptor-receptor relationships, influences innate immune responses. Dr. Kagan then moved to Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where he is currently an associate professor. His laboratory is currently dissecting how hosts, and pathogens, use, and manipulate, TLR and RLR signaling.

Nancy Moran, PhD

Dr. Nancy Moran is a world expert in the complex molecular basis of species coevolution, pioneering much of our knowledge of mechanisms of symbioses between bacteria and their host insects. A native of Dallas, Texas, she completed her graduate work in Zoology at the University of Michigan after which she delved into further entomology training in Czechoslovakia and then in Arizona. Dr. Moran joined the faculty of the University of Arizona’s Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department and was quickly awarded tenure in 1991, subsequently garnering a coveted MacArthur Foundation prize. Recognized for her valuable work on aphids, psyllids, termites, bees, and many other insects, she is both a member of the National Academy of Sciences and chair of its Evolutionary Biology Section. In 2010 Dr. Moran was recruited to Yale to help found the Microbial Diversity [today, Sciences] Institute at West Campus, holding the William H. Fleming Professorship in EEB. In 2013 she returned to her alma mater the University of Texas at Austin, where she is currently the Leslie Surginer Endowed Professor of Integrative Biology.

Dana Pe’er, PhD

Dr. Dana Pe’er is the Chair of Computational Systems Biology Program at the Sloan Kettering Institute in New York. She received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and her masters and Ph.D. degrees in computer science, all from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Pe’er performed her postdoctoral work with Dr. George Church at Harvard University before starting her own lab at Columbia University in 2006. One of her primary research interests is using single cell technologies such as mass cytometry to better understand cellular heterogeneity and to characterize the tumor-immune ecosystem. She has won many prestigious awards including the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, a Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) Innovative Research Grant, and the Overton Prize from the International Society for Computational Biology.

Terry Rosen, PhD

Dr. Terry Rosen is the CEO and co-founder of Arcus Biosciences, a drug discovery company located in San Francisco, and the CEO of PACT Pharma, a company focused on adoptive cell therapy for cancer. He studied chemistry as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan and received his PhD in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to founding Arcus in 2015, he was the co-founder and CEO of Flexus Biosciences, which was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb, that focused on developing small molecules to inhibit tumor-mediated immunosuppression. Previously, Dr. Rosen was Vice President, Therapeutic Discovery at Amgen and also held leadership roles in Chemistry Research as well as being head of Protein Sciences. Dr. Rosen has also held scientific, management, and executive positions at Tularik, Pfizer, and Abbott Laboratories.

YISS Cover


Barry Bloom, PhD
Dr. Bloom is a Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor in the Departments of Immunology and Infectious Disease, Global Health and Population, and the Harvard Center for Population and Development studies, as well as the Julius H. Jacobsen Professor of Public Health. He received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Amherst College in 1958, a PhD in immunology from Rockefeller in 1963, and also holds an honorary D.Sc. from Amherst conferred in 1990. He was an assistant and then full professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine from 1978 to 1998, where he co-discovered the first lymphokine, migration inhibitory factor (MIF). At Einstein, he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator from 1990-1998. He arrived at Harvard in 1998 to serve as Dean of the Faculty, a role he held until 2008 when he transitioned to his current Distinguished Service Professor position. His plethora of awards and accomplishments is too extensive to represent here, but some notable examples include his more than forty years of service for the WHO, where he is currently Chair of the Technical and Research Advisory Committee to the Global Programme on Malaria, and his receipt of the Robert Koch Gold medal for lifetime research in infectious diseases

Lisa Boulanger, PhD 
Dr. Boulanger is an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute at Princeton University. She received her BA from Boston University and subsequently did her graduate work at Wesleyan University, Columbia University, and the University of California, San Diego, where she obtained her PhD with Mu-ming Poo in 1999. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley in the lab of Carla Shatz and was a junior fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows at Harvard Medical School. Afterward, she joined the faculty of University of California, San Diego as the Silvio Varon Professor of Neuroregeneration and then moved to Princeton University in 2009. She is the recipient of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, a Cure Autism Now Pilot Award, an Autism Speaks Research Fellowship, and a PNI Innovation Award. Boulanger's lab lies at the crossroads of neuroscience and immunobiology, studying the influence of MHC class I molecules on neuronal circuitry and on neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases such as autism and depression.

Mark Davis, PhD
Dr. Mark M. Davis is the Director of the Stanford Institute for Immunology, Transplantation and Infection (ITI), a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. He received a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology. He later was a postdoctoral fellow and staff fellow at the Laboratory of Immunology at NIH and later became a faculty member in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine, where he remains today. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Davis is well known for identifying many of the T-cell receptor genes, which are responsible for the ability of these cells to recognize a diverse repertoire of antigens. His current research interests involve understanding the molecular interactions that underlie T cell recognition and the challenges of human immunology, specifically a “systems level” understanding of an immune response to vaccination or infection.

Lora Hooper, PhD
Dr. Hooper is the Jonathan W. Uhr, M.D. Distinguished Chair in Immunology in the Departments of Immunology, Microbiology, and the Center for Genetics of Host Defense at the University of Texas Southwestern. She received a BS in Biology from Rhodes College in 1989 and a PhD in Molecular Cell Biology and Biochemistry from Washington University in St. Louis in 1996. She continued her work as a postdoctoral researcher at Washington University in the laboratory of Jeffrey Gordon. During this time, she developed an interest in the interactions between intestinal bacteria and host cells in the mammalian gut and established her own lab at UTSW in 2003 to investigate these topics. Throughout her career, she has been the recipient of many prestigious accolades such as the Burroughs Wellcome Career Award in Biomedical Sciences, being named a Burroughs Wellcome Investigator in Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease, appointment as a Howard Hughes Investigator, and selection as a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Currently, her laboratory investigates the immune mechanisms which mediate the interaction of the microbiota and host barrier surfaces. Her research has elucidated innate and adaptive immune engagement by constituents of the microbiota and uncovered factors important for homeostasis at barrier sites, such as bactericidal lectins and phages.

John Mascola, MD
Dr. Mascola is the Director of the Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center (VRC) and Chief of the Virology Laboratory at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). He received his bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and his M.D. from the Georgetown University School of Medicine. Dr. Mascola has also completed a residency in internal medicine at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, a fellowship in infectious diseases at the National Naval Medical Center (now known as the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center) in Bethesda, and a fellowship in retroviral diseases at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. As Director of the Vaccine Research Center, Dr. Mascola plays a pivotal role in shaping the direction of vaccine research in the U.S. through both intramural leadership and external advisory roles. As Chief of the Virology Laboratory, Dr. Mascola directs research on the structure-based design and testing of vaccines for HIV and influenza, as well as studies on the humoral response to HIV infection. Work from his lab led to the discovery of VRC01, a broadly neutralizing antibody against HIV, which reinvigorated the search for and application of such antibodies as vaccines.

2016 Immunobiology Graduate Student Symposium Committee

Helen Beilinson 

Ross Federman

Ali Kuhlmann

Harding Luan

Michael Parker

Zuri Sullivan

Immunobiology Student Symposium Academic Advisor:

Dr. David Schatz

Immunobiology Student Symposium Administrative Liaison:  

Barbara Cotton


Dr. Carl H. Jun e, MD 

Dr. June is the Richard W. Vague Professor of Immunotherapy, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Director of the Translational Research Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He received a BS from the Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1971 and an MD from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston in 1979. He received training in immunology and malaria research at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and did his post- doctoral training in transplantation biology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. From 1986–1999 he rose through the ranks in the Departments of Medicine and Cell and Molecular Biology at the Uniformed Services University for the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland before assuming his current position as a tenured Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in 1999. Currently, his research laboratory studies various mechanisms of lymphocyte activation that relate to immune tolerance and adoptive immunotherapy. The June laboratory has pioneered the use of genetically engineered killer T cells to target and eradicate tumors in leukemia patients.

Dr. Roman M. Chicz, PhD Dr. Chicz is the Head of External R&D at Sanofi Pasteur, the largest manufacturer of human vaccines. He received his BS from Occidental College and his PhD from Purdue University. He served as a principal scientist and postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and co-founded ZYCOS Inc., where he served as Vice President of Discovery Research from 1996 until the company’s acquisition in 2004 by MGI Pharm Inc. After working for several biotech companies in Massachusetts, he joined Sanofi Pasteur in 2010, where he now identifies and assesses opportunities for external collaboration on vaccine targets and relevant technologies. He is a member of the American Association of Immunologists and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and an advisory reviewer for the American Journal of Immunology. He holds numerous patents and published several articles in the field of vaccines, including on HPV, HSV and therapeutic vaccines. 

Dr. Yasmine Belkaid, PhD 

Dr. Belkaid is Chief of the Mucosal Immunology Section at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). She obtained her PhD in 1996 from the Pasteur Institute in France. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at NIAID, she joined the Children’s Hospital Research Foundation in Cincinnati as an Assistant Professor in 2002. In 2005, she joined the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases at NIAID as a tenure-track investigator. Since 2008, she has worked as an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Belkaid is a leading expert on immune cell function at barrier sites and the influence of commensal organisms and dietary factors on effector and regulatory T cell responses in the GI tract and skin. Her current research interests include studying the functions of the microbiota and vitamin metabolites in immunity and pathology during infection, understanding the strategies through which individual tissues maintain integrity during inflammation, and unveiling the factors that mediate induction and stability of regulatory T cells at barrier sites. 

Dr. Michael S. Diamond, MD, PhD 

Dr. Diamond is a Professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Molecular Microbiology, Pathology, and Immunology at Washington University in St. Louis. He received a BA from Columbia University in 1985 and an MD/PhD from Harvard University in 1994. After completing residencies and fellowships at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, San Francisco, he joined Washington University in St. Louis in 2002 as a practitioner and Assistant Professor. Dr. Diamond’s laboratory has made major contributions to our understanding of viral pathogenesis and host immune responses. His research focuses on globally important viruses of the Flaviviridae family, including West Nile virus, Hepatitis C virus, and Dengue virus, as well as on an emerging member of the Togaviridae family, the Chikungunya virus. Currently, he is spearheading efforts to understand how novel innate immune effector molecules restrict infection, utilize systems biology approaches to dissect innate immunity in the brain, and determine how the innate immune system contributes to the establishment and maintenance of memory B and T cell responses. 

Dr. Christopher M. Sassetti, PhD 

Dr. Sassetti is an HHMI Early Career Scientist and an Associate Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He received a BS from Santa Clara University in 1990 and a PhD from the University of California, San Francisco in 1999. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University School of Public Health as a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Scholar from 2001–2003, he joined the faculty of the University of Massachusetts as an Assistant Professor in 2004. In 2009, he was selected as an HHMI Early Career Scientist. Dr. Sassetti helped engineer the TraSH system, which utilizes transposons to randomly inactivate genes in M. tuberculosis. Using this approach, Dr. Sassetti has defined key gene networks involved in different aspects of M. tuberculosis survival and pathogenesis. Currently, his laboratory strives to understand host- pathogen interactions and mechanisms of restriction of mycobacteria, the bacterial regulation of cellular growth in mycobacteria, and the interplay between dormancy and antibiotic resistance during mycobacterial infections. 


Joann Roskoski Ph.D from Yale University, Deputy Assistant Director for the NSF Directorate of Biological Sciences Directorate, has been at the NSF since 1989, and has held numerous positions throughout the Environmental Biology and Biological Sciences divisions. 

David Hafler Gilbert H. Glaser Professor and Chair of Neurology at Yale University, Professor of Immunobiology at Yale, and Neurologist-in-Chief at Yale-New Haven Hospital, member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, The American Neurological Association, and the Alpha Omega Society. 

Wendy Garrett B.S., M.D., and Ph.D from Yale University, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Immunology, and Infectious Disease at Harvard Medical School, research interests focus on gut microbiota and the influence of gut inflammation on the development of cancer. 

James Noonan Professor of Genetics at Yale Medical School, research interests focus on human developmental regulatory regions using a combination of computational and in vivo techniques to develop an understanding of what makes us human. 

Mikael Pittet Associate Professor of Radiology Harvard Medical School, research interests focus on the use and development of novel in vivo imaging strategies to better understand host immune responses to infection and cancer. 

Carl Zimmer B.A. from Yale University, Fellow and Lecturer of scientific writing at Yale University, Scientific Columnist at the New York Times, described by the New York Times Book Review as, “as fine a science essayist as we have,” host of the blog The Loom, and winner of numerous scientific awards including the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Journalism Award, which he received three times. 

2013 Immunobiology Graduate Student Symposium Committee: 

Kachiko Hayashi ( 

William Ruff ( 

Asu Erden ( R

obert Amezquita ( 

Jessica Wang ( 

Corey Martin ( 

2013 Faculty Advisors: 

Dr. Martin Kriegel ( 

Dr. David Schatz ( 


Ira Mellman

Former chair of Cell Biology at Yale, Vice President of Research Oncology at Genentech, Professor of Biochemistry & Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco. 

Jonathan C. Kagan

Ph.D. from Yale University, Assistant Professor at Harvard University Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences.

Linda R. Watkins

Professor in the Department of Psychology, University of Colorado President’s Teaching Scholar, Director of the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Ph.D. Program.

Diane Mathis

Professor of Microbiology and Immunobiology, and Director of the JDRF Center on Immunological Tolerance in Type-1 Diabetes at Harvard Medical School.

Ian Lipkin

Ian Lipkin

Director of the Center for Infection and Immunity, John Snow Professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and Professor of Neurology and Pathology at College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, Director of the Northeast Biodefense Center

Shelly Kagan

Clark Professor of Philosophy at Yale University and the former Henry R. Luce Professor of Social Thought and Ethics.

2018 Sponsors

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Location: TAC Auditorium

300 Cedar Street

New Haven, CT

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