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Postbac Seminar Series: September 29, 2020

Series: Science Skills; Speaking

Sep 29, 2020

This event is recommended for: Postbacs.

Science isn't complete until the results have been shared with others, and talking about your results is one of the important ways of making them public. The Postbac Seminar Series provides a unique opportunity for two Postbacs each month to present their research to a diverse audience of their peers.  The atmosphere is relatively informal and non-threatening.  The series allows Postbacs who attend to learn about the different types of biomedical research being conducted at the NIH while meeting other postbacs.  Read more about the seminar series.


The meeting information will be shared by email. If you have questions, please contact Ryan Bertoli <> and Madaleine Niznikiewicz <>.


This month's presenters are:

Arati Rajeevan (NCI)

Title: Exploring the Developmental Origins of Cancer

Summary:  While the current state of knowledge surrounding cancer origin and tumorigenesis revolve around somatic mutation theory and cancer stem cells, there is still a gap in our understanding of the actual mechanism of cancer progression. My project is centered around elucidating the developmental pathways that are dormant in ​adult tissues but are re-activated in cancer. I will present ​results from our analysis of enha​ncers and genes, across multiple cancer types and tissues, that ​are down-regulated during development but up-regulated in cancer (and vice versa).  We hypothesize that is it these pathways, which have a foundation in development, that are likely to drive cancer progression.

Bio: Arati graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2019 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and an option in Cell Biology. After graduating, she started her NIH Postbac in Dr. Sridhar Hannenhalli’s lab in the Cancer Data Science Laboratory. In Dr. Hannenhalli’s lab, she has learned how to use computational tools to analyze sequencing data, and has applied these methods to better understand the role that regulatory sequences in the genome play in cancer.


Angela R. Corrigan (NIAID/VRC)

Title: Improving Vaccine Outcomes by Reducing Antibody Responses to the HIV-1 Envelope Trimer Base

Summary:  A major hurdle to an effective HIV vaccine is the inability of eliciting prevalent immune responses targeting vulnerable conserved epitopes on the trimeric HIV-1 Envelope glycoprotein (Env), which is masked by dense glycosylation. Soluble ‘SOSIP’-stabilized envelope (Env) trimers are promising HIV-vaccine immunogens. However, they induce high antibody responses against the glycan-free trimer base, which is occluded on native virions. To test the impact of prime immunogens on base responses, we quantified the prevalence of trimer-base antibody responses in 49 non-human primates immunized with various SOSIP-stabilized Env trimers and fusion peptide (FP)-carrier conjugates. Our data provide multiple methods to analyze and quantify trimer-base responses and reveal that FP-conjugate priming, either alone or in a cocktail with a SOSIP-stabilized Env trimer, can reduce the trimer-base response and improve the vaccine outcome.

Bio: Angela graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences and a minor in French in 2018. While in college, she characterized the nanoscale mechanical and chemical properties of plant cell wall and plant-derived thin films using Atomic Force Microscopy-based techniques. At the Vaccine Research Center, Angela’s research is focused on monitoring immune responses of prospective HIV-1 vaccine regimens in animal studies, including plasma and B cell analysis in mice, guinea pigs and non-human primates. Angela is also involved in the design and antigenicity testing of novel HIV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 immunogens.


Allen Seylani (NHLBI)

Title:     Emerging Role of GCN5L1, A Novel Regulator of Lysosomal Biogenesis

Summary: GC5L1 is a newly discovered gene with homology to the nuclear acetyltransferase GCN5. Our new findings suggest that GCN5L1 participates in a variety of cellular mechanisms that may provide answers to some of human’s most complicated diseases such as storage diseases, mitochondrial and metabolic diseases as well as organ cross-talk via exosomes.

Bio: Allen studies chronic rare inflammatory diseases of the cardiovascular system and the liver within the context of mitochondria and metabolism with the translational application. Previously he studied human physiology and biochemistry and obtained his B.S., class of 2019 at California State University, San Marcos. He worked in the virology and infectious diseases lab. Later he utilized his business and science training and established Geo-Med Alliance, a non-profit organization focused on climate change and infectious diseases spread prevention.