Monica Alvarez

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Headshot of Monica AlvarezCMB Graduate Student (2012)
Ko Lab
0049 CARL Building/Box 3053 DUMC
Durham, N.C. 27710
Phone: 919-613-0517
Fax: 919-613-8646

Research interests: Host pathogenic interactions, bacteriology

I was raised in Miami, the place of year-long summers and the veritable “melting pot” of all different Hispanic cultures. I moved to Orlando to do my undergrad at the University of Central Florida where I majored in Microbiology and Molecular Biology. As an undergrad, I was part of the McNair Scholar’s Program that provided me with the opportunity to spend a summer doing research at the University of Pennsylvania in Dr. Susan Ross’ lab studying the host molecules necessary for Junin viral entry. For most of my undergrad, I was a teaching assistant for Human Anatomy. There I obtained an invaluable appreciation for humans as a host to disease.

I came t0 Duke through the Cellular and Molecular Biology umbrella program and became enthralled with host pathogenic interactions. I have joined the lab of Dr. Dennis Ko and will be studying human genetic variations and their effect on salmonella disease susceptibility. Specifically, studying the mechanism of how decreased levels of VAC14, a scaffolding protein involved in phosphoinositide metabolism, is involved with increasedSalmonella typhi invasion. My project is being funded by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Outside of lab, I enjoy salsa dancing, watching basketball, dining out, and shopping. When I can, I try to help others, either through local volunteering in the community or doing mission trips in other countries. My move to North Carolina has blessed me with a whole new world that I am excited to be in the midst of discovering.


R.E. Salinas, C. Ogohara, M.I. Thomas, K.P. Shukla, S.I. Miller, D.C. Ko, A Cellular Genome-Wide Association Study Reveals Human Variation in Microtubule Stability and a Role in Inflammatory Cell Death. Mol. Biol. Cell. (2013).

M. Lavanya, C. D. Cuevas, M.I. Thomas, S. Cherry, S. R. Ross, siRNA Screen for Genes That Affect Junín Virus Entry Uncovers Voltage-Gated Calcium Channels as a Therapeutic Target. Sci. Transl. Med.5, 204ra131 (2013).