PREP@UGA – Where we are now

​​​​PREP@UGA, “Post-baccalaureate Training in Infectious Diseases Research,” directed by CTEGD faculty member Julie Moore, is an NIH-funded program that provides focused research training opportunities, specifically in infectious diseases, to students from underrepresented backgrounds. These students graduated college within the past 36 months, but need supplementary preparation to grow into more competitive graduate candidates for the upcoming application season.

PREP@UGA’s first year has been extremely successful. We are very proud that all five scholars will be attending top graduate programs in the fall. They all worked hard this year and are well-prepared to take the plunge into graduate school.

First cohort finishes year strong

Scholars in the PREP@UGA program receive an number of opportunities to prepare them for graduate school. These opportunities include GRE test prep assistance, seminars, and hands on training in leading infectious diseases research labs. Each scholar also was able to present their research at a number of conferences throughout the year.

Enrico (Rico) Barrozo from Minnesota studied in Biao He’s lab in the Department of Infectious Diseases with Ph.D. student Shannon Phan serving as his mentor. Last November, he presented at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in San Antonio, Texas. Currently, Rico is in Sienna, Italy, where he is presenting a poster at the Negative Strand Virus conference.

Rico is heading to the University of Florida in the Genetics and Geonomic Sciences program.  He received a Board of Education Summer Fellowship, the Graduate School Fellowship, and the Florida Education Fund McKnight Doctoral Fellowship.

California resident Trenton (Trent) Frisbie worked in Nancy Manley’s lab in the Department of Genetics. Graduate student John O’Neil and Research Scientist Julie Gordon served as his mentors. In addition to presenting a poster at ABRCMS this past November, Trent gave an oral presentation at the “Organogenesis Mini-Summit” at MD Anderson in Austin, Texas. He also presented posters at the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) conference in New Orleans and the Society for Developmental Biology conference in Utah.

Trent will be attending the University of Michigan in the Program in Biomedical Sciences-Human Genetics, and received the Rackham Merit Fellowship.

Jessica Elmore, from Georgia, worked with Ph.D. student Nicole Acuff in Wendy Watford’s lab in the Department of Infectious Diseases. She won 2nd place in the poster conference at UGA Infectious Diseases retreat in April. She also presented a poster at the AAI conference in New Orleans and the Southeastern Immunology Symposium at Emory University.

She will be focusing on infection and immunity at Cornell University this fall. She received a Cornell Sloan Fellowship

De’Ashia Lee, from South Carolina, studied under Post-doctoral fellow Mattie Pawlowic in the CTEGD and Cellular Biology lab of Boris Striepen. During the year, De’Ashia presented a poster at ABRCMS, the American Society for Microbiology conference, and CTEGD’s 25th Annual Molecular Parasitology/Vector Biology Symposium.

She’s heading to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to join their Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program focusing on microbiology and immunology. De’Ashia is also in the Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD) program at UNC.

Georgia resident, Kiara Miller worked with Ph.D. student Tara Bracken and Assistant Research Scientist Demba Sarr in CTEGD and Department of Infectious Diseases lab of Julie Moore. She presented a poster at CTEGD’s 25th Annual Molecular Parasitology/Vector Biology Symposium.

Kiara will be attending the University of Alabama-Birmingham, Neurosciences Theme in Graduate Biomedical Sciences. Kiara was accepted into the Neuroscience Roadmap Scholars Program.

Welcoming a new cohort of scholars

On July 1, 2015, the next group of PREP@UGA scholars will come to campus from around the country. The seven scholars include Brent Allman from California, DeJuana Ford, Michael Mills  and Nicole Williams from Georgia, Alexis Thomas from Indiana, Cybelle Tabilas from Oregon and Ivelisse Resto-Garay from Puerto Rico.

July will be a busy time for the scholars as they receive intense content and strategic GRE preparation throughout the month, attend one of the UGA Graduate School Summer Bridge workshops,  and rotate through several labs. Before the fall semester begins on August. 17, they will be matched for the year with faculty and research mentors who will guide them through their own research project.

We look forward to working with the next group of PREP@UGA scholars and are confident they will rise to the challenges they will face over the coming year.

For further information on PREP@UGA, please see