Payne Receives ASM/CDC Resident Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

September 22, 2014

DURHAM, NC – Tamika Payne, a graduate student in the Duke University Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, has received the ASM/CDC Resident Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The two year award will provide Payne with the opportunity to pursue an approved research plan at the National Center for Preparedness, Detection, and Control of Infectious Diseases (NCPDCID) at the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia. This fellowship also provides opportunities for interdisciplinary training on global issues. Payne works in the laboratory of Georgia Tomaras, PhD, Associate Professor in the Departments of Surgery, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, and Immunology. Payne’s current research focuses on the CD8+ T-cell response to HIV-1 infection in anti-retroviral therapy (ART)-naïve patients.

After completing her PhD this fall, Payne will join the laboratory of Dr. Ellen Kersh where she will study the effects of contraception use on HIV acquisition.

“I hope to apply the knowledge gained during my graduate training in the Tomaras lab to improve understanding of the link between hormonal contraceptives and HIV risk, contributing to the field of HIV prevention and to the betterment of global health,” says Payne.  She is optimistic that completing her postdoctoral training alongside leading scientists in the highly collaborative research environment of the CDC will provide ample opportunities for the continuation of her intellectual growth and mastery of research skills. Although research will be her first priority, Payne plans to supplement her research activities with professional development opportunities offered in the resource-rich environment of the CDC and neighboring Emory University.

​Payne’s graduate work is currently supported by NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards for Individual Predoctoral Fellowship (F31). She is currently serving as co-President of the Duke University Bouchet Society which works to strengthen the efforts of underrepresented minority graduate students in achieving their career goals in science research and education while encouraging values that will promote diversity and inclusion in the sciences. In 2013, Payne was selected as the Graduate Life of the Mind Award recipient which is given to a student that demonstrates personal and academic excellence in both the Duke and Durham communities. Payne previously served as an Executive Board member of Black Graduate and Professional Student Association (BGPSA), as a mentor and assistant coordinator for the B.O.O.S.T. (a mentoring program which served to expose underprivileged middle-school children to science), and  in multiple volunteer roles in the greater Durham community.