Jeffrey Letourneau

Headshot of Jeffrey LetourneauMGM Graduate Student (2017)
David Lab




Research Interests:
I grew up in Dedham, MA and graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) with a degree in Biology and Biotechnology. Narrowing down my research interests in college was a gradual process. I worked in an animal behavior lab studying bumblebees, then in a cell culture lab working on the development of a plant-derived scaffold on which mammalian cells could be grown, and I completed my thesis in Dr. Reeta Rao’s microbiology lab studying the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans. It was this lab experience and courses such as Virology and Medical Microbiology that made me realize I wanted to pursue infectious disease research.

I knew I wanted to join a doctoral program with high-caliber research in the field of host-pathogen interactions and a variety of research areas within the program, such as bacteriology, virology, and mycology. I chose to attend Duke because the research here is both exceptional and diverse, and because I felt welcomed by the faculty and students, who are both intelligent and down-to-earth. Not only was Duke a school I could see myself at, Durham was a place I could see myself being happy in as well. My original flight to visit Duke was canceled due to a snowstorm, and I was lucky enough to get on one of the last flights out of the airport. The plane had to be de-iced before we took off. Coming from that, the weather in Durham was a very welcome change.

Personal Interests:
In addition to science, my two other major interests are food and the outdoors. I enjoy making food – especially baking – as well as trying new international foods. Ice cream will always be my favorite, though. I also love hiking and rock climbing (mostly bouldering) and being outside in general. I am excited for lots of new hikes and restaurants while at Duke.