Current Students—Eric Wohlford
Department: Microbiology & Immunology
Advisor: R. Rochford, PhD
I am broadly interested in how Plasmodium falciparum malaria affects the development of immunological memory in children compared to adults. I am especially interested in P. falciparum in the context of Epstein Barr virus infection, because together these pathogens contribute to the development of Burkitt's lymphoma, the most common pediatric malignancy in Africa. My work in the laboratory involves in vitro studies of the effects of P. falciparum on B cell phenotype. My work also involves a field component at our lab in western Kenya, where I will be studying the effects of placental malaria and holoendemic malaria on immunological development. For this component I will be measuring antibody production, B cell phenotype, and response to vaccination in children exposed to placental malaria as well as those continuously infected with P. falciparum after birth.
Eric received a 4-year NIH Predoctoral Fellowship. His title is "The Interaction of Burkitt's lymphoma cofactors EBV and Plasmodium."
Eric is also the recipient of the Benjamin H. Kean Traveling Fellowship in Tropical Medicine from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. This is one of the Society’s premier awards that is both honorific and substantive. This unique award makes overseas training experiences for students interested in tropical disease possible, and demonstrates the Society’s commitment to building the ranks of physician-scientists focused on the infectious diseases common in low-income countries. Eric will use this award to travel to Kenya to continue his studies on the relationship of infections to the development of Burkitt’s Lymphoma in pediatric populations.
Dr. Arthur Kornberg (a Nobel prize winner in medicine in 1959) once said, "basic research is the lifeline of medicine." And if I could extend his comment, I would add, "and publication is the lifeline of medical research." I think publishing one's work serves two important roles. The first is to communicate your work to the larger scientific community, and the second is to serve as a landmark for the completion of one aspect of your work, thus providing direction for the future scientific work. As a future physician scientist here at Upstate, I have numerous opportunities to get involved in activities and trainings to improve our skills needed for publications.