Graduate Student Directory

Joseph Saelens
MGM Graduate Student

215 Jones Building
Box 3020 DUMC
Durham, N.C. 27710

Phone: (919) 668-9234
Fax: (919) 684-2790

Vivian Zhang

Research Interest: Integration of genetics, statistics, computer science and disease

My academic interest lies at the union of genetics, statistics, computer science and disease. I graduated with a degree in bioinformatics from Loyola University Chicago in 2011. The city presented an abundance of new opportunities, but perhaps the most pivotal of them all was researching in Dr. Catherine Putonti's lab. The theme of my undergraduate research projects concerned the co-evolution of viral pathogens and their hosts. My work ranged from creating mutant bacteriophages for experimental evolution to writing a program utilizing an alignment-free algorithm for phylogenetic analysis of the flaviviridae family. After coming to Duke, I joined Dr. David Tobin's lab to study Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Using zebrafish as an in vivo model system, I aim to understand the role of discrete virulence factors of M. tuberculosis during infection by their targeted expression in particular cell types through the use of transgenics. Additionally, by means of computational analysis, I decipher the natural genetic variation among global strains of this pathogen and its contribution to distinct infection phenotypes.

I love to explore the area in which I live, and North Carolina has yet to disappoint. I'm an avid listener of music, and when I'm not in the lab, you can almost surely expect to find me sitting in front of my stereo or playing guitar. 

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