Graduate and professional students


   Kayla Marie Fantone (PhD candidate, 2019-)

Kayla completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology at Clarkson University and completed her Master’s Degree in Molecular Biology at Albany College of Health Science and Pharmacy in the state of New York. Her undergraduate research work was under Dr. Tim Sellati at the Trudeau Institute and her Master’s work included understanding the mechanisms of inflammasome suppression by Francisella tularensis, under Dr. Meenakshi Malik. Kayla is currently working in the laboratory towards her PhD in Infectious Diseases at the University of Georgia, to better understand the interactions between bacteria and host immune cells in cystic fibrosis airways. Her projects particularly study mechanisms by which killing of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa by neutrophils are impaired in cystic fibrosis and by which neutrophil activation in cystic fibrosis could be attenuated. Kayla has been awarded the Georgia CTSA TL1 training grant in 2021 and she has also been accepted into the Georgia CTSA Certificate Program in Translational Research (CPTR). Kayla has also been selected for an oral presentation at the European Cystic Fibrosis Conference 2022 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands and she has also been awarded a travel award (June 2022):


   Nuha Milad Ashtiwi MD (PhD candidate, 2019-)

     Nuha completed her medical degree at the University of Tripoli, in Tripoli, Libya. She has then acquired a Master’s degree in Health Sciences in Medical Laboratory / Biomedical Sciences MLS at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, US.  Nuha’s previous research  work focused on the phenotypic analysis of mutant strains of Borrelia Burgdorferi, the Lyme disease agent, under the supervision of Dr. Christian Eggers. Nuha joined the Rada lab at UGA at the end of November 2019. Her research focuses on oxidative epithelial mechanisms targeting influenza virus and explores their therapeutic potential to attenuate lung infection and inflammation.


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Nathalie Bonatti Franco Almeida (Visiting graduate student, 2020-)

Nathalie completed her Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences in Brazil. She has then acquired a Master’s degree in Science and Technology in Brazil. Her research work included the selection and characterization of aptamers for Zika virus. Her PhD research work is conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Rafaella Fortini at Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Nathalie is currently visiting UGA for one year and working in the Rada lab towards her PhD in Health Sciences. Her project here explores how key proteins of SARS-CoV2 and antibodies produced against them in patients affect human immune cells.


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