Category Archives: #IamEmoryEPI

1st Year MPH: Emma Butturini

Category : #IamEmoryEPI

For the first #IamEmoryEpi spotlight of the semester, we met up with the newest member of our EmoryEPI Social Media Team: Emma Butturini!

Tell us a little bit about your academic history:

I just graduated from Wake Forest University, in North Carolina where I majored in biology and minored in health policy and administration.

What are your primary research interests?

My main research interests are in infectious disease, outbreak response, and disease surveillance.

What are you looking forward to this spring semester?

I am really looking forward to taking more electives this semester. I am taking a GIS class and global health systems and financing class, which I think will be really interesting topics to complement what I’ll be learning in the main Epi classes.

Are there any exciting projects or experiences you are involved in right now?

At my REAL job with the Rwanda Zambia HIV Research Group, their clinic in Rwanda has been recruited to assist in the administration of a mass Ebola vaccination campaign along the border of Rwanda and the DRC, so I have been able to help prepare some materials for the campaign and I am excited to continue working on that project as it unfolds and learn more about how large scale vaccination initiatives are run.

What is your favorite part about earning your MPH at Rollins?

The professors have definitely been my favorite part about Rollins so far. In the intro classes last semester, I was so surprised how enthusiastic all of my professors were about the material, how passionate they were about getting to know their students, and how they provided guidance through their own journeys in public health.

What advice do you have for people who may be interested in getting their MPH?

Based on the advice I got from advisors in undergrad, I would remind them that while academics are important, going into your MPH it is just as important to focus on gaining practical experiences and professional/research mentorship to prepare you best for whatever opportunities you are hoping to pursue afterward. Also don’t feel pressured to decide on a specific research area from the start, take time to explore your interests and opportunities that are exciting to you!

What books are you currently reading, or what podcasts are you currently listening to?

Some of my favorite books that I have read recently are “The Hot Zone” by Richard Preston, about the origins of the Ebola virus and “We Fed an Island” by Jose Andreas, about the humanitarian response led by a group of chefs to feed hundreds of thousands of people in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?

  1. I love to cook and try new restaurants in my spare time.
  2. I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was 22 (and I am still not very good at it).
  3. In my junior year of college I did a multi-country study abroad program, and spent the semester in India, South Africa, and Brazil.

What are you most excited about being on the EmoryEPI Social Media Team?

I am really excited to have the chance to get to know and learn about more people across the Rollins community, and to be able to help connect students to meaningful resources and opportunities!


PhD Candidate: Davit Baliashvili

Category : #IamEmoryEPI

For this week’s #IamEmoryEpi spotlight, we met up with Davit Baliashvili!

Tell us a little bit about your academic history:

I went to Medical school in Tbilisi State Medical University, in the country of Georgia. Then did my MPH in the same university before coming to Emory for my MSCR (Master of Science in Clinical Research) degree in 2013-2014

What are your primary research interests?

My research interest is infectious diseases in general, although my research is mostly focused on tuberculosis and viral hepatitis C. I have co-advisors in the PhD program: Dr. Neel Gandhi and Dr. Henry Blumberg

What were you up this this past summer?

The first few weeks of summer I was “healing wounds” (i.e. lying on the couch doing nothing but watching TV and playing video games) from the PhD qualifying exam that we took in early June. Then I went to country of Georgia, where I started to work on my dissertation ideas and developed a concept letter.

Are there any exciting projects or experiences you are involved in right now?

Recently I attended The Union’s World Conference on Lung Health where I presented my project that I am working on as part of my Research Assistantship. I am also working on a manuscript about hepatitis C seroprevalence and genotype distribution in the country of Georgia. However, most of my time is focused on dissertation, in which I am studying co-infection of tuberculosis and hepatitis C in the country of Georgia.

What is your favorite part about earning your PhD at Rollins?

Agh, so many things! I feel like I learned more things in past two years that I have during all my previous years of education. But if I have to name just one favorite part of getting PhD at Emory, it’s getting to know my fellow PhD students. Amazing people!

What advice do you have for MPH students?

Try to separate your work hours and rest/relax hours as much as you can. The more focused you are during work hours, the more productive these hours are and more time is left for relaxation and fun activities. If possible, try completing all the schoolwork at school or in library, and enjoy the well-deserved rest at home.

What books are you currently reading, or what podcasts are you currently listening to?

I am currently reading/listening three books in parallel – The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman on my Kindle, Favorite Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow as a print book and Aesop’s Fables as an audiobook.

What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?

  1. I had a pet turtle when I was a kid
  2. I learned how to ride a bike when I was 29 (still don’t know how to drive a car)
  3. I translate science fiction and fantasy books from English into Georgian (my native language) together with my friend, and we have translated and published 10 books so far.

Rollins Professor: Allison Chamberlain

Category : #IamEmoryEPI

For this week’s #IamEmoryEPI, we caught up with Dr. Allison Chamberlain!

Tell us where you went to school:

I am a proud Virginia Wahoo (GO HOOS!). After my time in Charlottesville, I got a Masters of Science degree from Georgetown University and my PhD in Epi from RSPH.

What are your primary research interests?

I am interested in infectious disease epidemiology, public health practice, and vaccine promotion. I do a lot of work with clinicians interested in improving their promotion of preventive health interventions (e.g. vaccines, PrEP for HIV) to their patients. Right now, I am working to characterize PrEP (for HIV) promotion practices among primary care providers in Atlanta. I want to explore whether a particular model from vaccine promotion can be tweaked for and applied to PrEP promotion.

What did you do this past summer?

This past summer, I worked with two recent Emory Epi PhD grads on data analysis for a PBS Frontline documentary exploring the breadth and impact of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that occurred around the time of the Flint water crisis. It was an interesting opportunity to put our Epi skills and knowledge towards a lay media production. The documentary aired on September 10 and can be found here:

Flint’s Deadly Water

How did you find the research that you are currently conducting?

Much of my current research is done in collaboration with the Fulton County Board of Health (FCBOH) in downtown Atlanta. I work as a consultant to FCBOH two days per week. More on that can be found here:

My Life as a Pracademic

Are there any exciting manuscripts or projects that you are currently working on?

Yep! Having just finished FCBOH’s second sexual health & PrEP-focused survey at the 2019 Atlanta Pride festivals, I am drafting up descriptions of my analysis needs…will be looking for some more student help soon!

What is your favorite part about being at Emory?

The ambition of the students. It’s infectious and energizing.

Do you have any advice for MPH students?

While you’re at Rollins, accept any opportunities you can that involve either primary data collection or survey design & implementation. Those skills will serve you enormously in the working world!

What current books are you reading and/or podcasts that you are currently listening to?

Pivot by Jenny Blake is my absolute favorite Podcast. Her book (also called Pivot) is so great for anyone trying to figure out their next career move. The book Range by David Epstein is also a great read – particularly for those of us (ahem, me) looking to justify having interests in a lot of topics!

What are three fun facts about yourself?

  1. I love working in between academia and local public health practice. I want more students and faculty to work at this intersection.
  2. I am looking forward to leading EPI 535: Designing and Implementing Epi Studies for the first time this Spring!
  3. I never order anything but plain chocolate ice cream when I go get ice cream. Drives my topping-loving kids insane.

1st Year MPH: Malay Mody

Category : #IamEmoryEPI

For this week’s #IamEmoryEpi spotlight, we met up with Malay Mody!

Tell us a little bit about your academic history:

I am a proud alumnus of the University of Michigan, Class of 2019. Go Blue!

What are your primary research interests?

My research interest interest lies in cancer epidemiology!

What were you up this this past summer?

I spent this past summer continuing my cancer research from undergrad while studying for the MCAT. I then spent my last couple weeks exploring Italy!

Are there any exciting projects or experiences you are involved in right now?

I began my research at Rollins with Dr Lash this past November, and I’m excited to continue working with him!

What is your favorite part about earning your MPH at Rollins?

I am loving the opportunity to meet such a diverse cohort of new people at Emory. That, combined with being in the great city of Atlanta, has made for a great first term!

What advice do you have for people who may be interested in getting their MPH?

I would advise them to explore how they best can advance their future career interests during their time outside of the classroom. I have found that there is ample time to take advantage extracurricular activities, especially if you’re at Emory and have all of Atlanta at your fingertips.

What books are you currently reading, or what podcasts are you currently listening to?

I am passionate about sports, politics and news, so three podcasts I listen to are Pardon my Take, Pod Save America, and The Daily

What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?

  1. I have a very cute Labradoodle named Charlie
  2. I’ve lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan my entire life.
  3. I love to play tennis!

2nd Year MPH Student: Leah Moubadder

Category : #IamEmoryEPI

For this week’s #IamEmoryEpi spotlight, we met up with Leah Moubadder!

Tell us a little bit about your academic history:

I graduated in 2016 from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Individualized Studies (this is code for: I love math and science, but I’m not sure what I’d like to do with it). My three formal concentrations were: (1) biochemistry and organic chemistry, (2) human genetics and pathology and (3) liberal studies.

What are your primary research interests?

My research interests are in environmental exposures and molecular epi, particularly as it relates to reproductive health and cancer.

What were you up this this past summer?

This past summer I worked at Winship Cancer Institute, under the guidance of Dr. Lauren McCullough, on a project investigating the role of obesity in the prognosis of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma by using imaging- and molecular-based assessments of adiposity. I also continued my REAL position at the PBB Registry, under the guidance of Dr. Michele Marcus, where we are examining transgenerational epigenetic inheritance associated with polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) exposure. Lastly, I wrote a manuscript reviewing the current literature linking environmental exposures to the molecular pathogenesis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Are there any exciting projects or experiences you are involved in right now?

I’m continuing everything I was doing in the summer – all of which are exciting! Additionally, I’m getting started on my thesis on gene-environment interactions in the PBB-exposed cohort.

What is your favorite part about earning your MPH at Rollins?

The people. Everyone I have worked with at Rollins, in whichever capacity, has been welcoming, helpful, and collaborative.

What advice do you have for 1st year MPH students?

Get (at least a little) out of your comfort zone. By doing so, I’ve learned so much, both academically and professionally, in just the first year.

What books are you currently reading, or what podcasts are you currently listening to?

I listen to the Free Associations podcast religiously. I also just finished the book Educated by Tara Westover and it was awesome!

What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?

  1. I lived in Japan for a year.
  2. I did the equivalent of 23&me for my dog.
  3. I can’t bake to save my life.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

So much to be thankful for! I’m thankful for the Epi Department here at Rollins, all of my great mentors, and the incredible friends I’ve made here!


MD/PhD Candidate: Kristin Harrington

Category : #IamEmoryEPI

For this week’s #IamEmoryEpi spotlight, we met up with Kristin Harrington!

Tell us a little bit about your academic history:

I went to the University of Wisconsin in Madison for undergrad, and I majored in biochemistry and global health. I worked for a couple of years, and then started the MD/PhD program here at Emory in 2016.

What are your primary research interests?

My primary research interests are in infectious disease transmission modeling (specifically for tuberculosis), using a combination of field work, Bayesian statistics, and geospatial methods! My advisor is Neel Gandhi.

What were you up this this past summer?

This summer I was mainly working on writing up my F30 fellowship grant for the NIH – so lots of writing and communicating with all of my collaborators for what will eventually become my dissertation! I also worked on the data analyses for a couple of other research projects I am involved with, and went to a few summer courses focused on biostatistical methods for ID modeling. I was also able to travel to the Republic of Georgia, and France!

Are there any exciting projects or experiences you are involved in right now?

Currently my research has been focused on some of the other projects I have going on separate to my dissertation. I am involved in a project comparing diagnostic tests for cryptococcal disease, which is an opportunistic fungal infection – I presented this work at the IDWeek conference in DC last month, and hopefully the manuscript will be completed soon! My other project is looking at pulmonary diseases (like asthma and COPD) in people with HIV in Atlanta, and I just submitted an abstract to the ATS conference for next May.

What is your favorite part about earning your PhD at Rollins?

My favorite part about getting my PhD here at Emory is being surrounded by such amazing faculty and students – all of the students are so accomplished and have so much to share in terms of their experiences, and the faculty are so well known for their contributions to the field of epidemiology.

What advice do you have for MPH students?

Take advantage of all of the opportunities here at Rollins – for involvement in teaching, research projects, taking courses, everything! One thing I really missed when I graduated college and started working was being supported by an academic institution that really provides as much as possible for you to succeed moving forward.

What books are you currently reading, or what podcasts are you currently listening to?

The books I have currently on my coffee table to start reading over winter break are Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell, Know My Name by Chanel Miller, and Dying of Whiteness by Jonathan Metzl. Podcasts that I am always listening to are All Songs Considered and The Daily!

What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?

  1. I lived in 5 states and in the Philippines before starting high school.
  2. I absolutely love kickboxing.
  3. I am obsessed with my bikes and all sports/activities bike-related!

ADAPs: Noni Bourne and Farah Dharamshi

Category : #IamEmoryEPI

For this week’s #IamEmoryEpi spotlight, we had the special opportunity to get to know both of our new ADAPs (Assistant Director of Academic Programs) in the department: Noni Bourne and Farah Dharamshi!

Tell us a little bit about your academic history:

Noni: I went to Spelman College for undergrad and completed a Masters in English and American Literature at Georgetown University.

Farah: I have a bachelors in science (BS) in environmental studies from the University of Winnipeg (I’m Canadian!), I hold a masters in science and education (MSEd) in public health from the University of Toledo, and a juris master- JM (master in law) in global health law from Emory University.

Where were you before arriving at Rollins?

Noni: My last position was at Trinity Washington University in D.C., where I worked in academic advising and student success.  Before that, I traveled to the South Pacific with the Peace Corps and spent several years advising NYU students.

Farah: I was a director in the Office of Enrollment Management and Student Services for five years at the Emory University School of Law. I have worked in consulting, and graduate medical education as director of medical education, working primarily with family practice residents. I have conducted research in childhood obesity, and interpersonal violence, and has presented numerous seminars on these topics along with early cognitive development, and women’s preventative health. I am also an active community volunteer, and serves as a principal and teacher on the weekends at an early childhood development center.

Why did you want to become an ADAP for the Epidemiology Department?

Noni: I was interested in the ADAP role because it allows me to support students from orientation all the way through to graduation, which is the best part of my job. I’m also really looking forward to learning about and being involved in the inner workings of the department, including admissions and student programming.

Farah: I love working with students, and helping individuals reach their highest potential! It is very rewarding for me to see the change, growth, and development that happens when students find and pursue their passion. I am also excited about the tremendous amount of collaboration both within RSPH, and across Emory to provide an exemplary student experience.

What are you most excited about at Emory?

Noni: I’m excited to join a vibrant, diverse, and well-respected community of scholars, students, and staff.  I’m also excited to learn more about public health and Epidemiology specifically, which are new to me; but (as you already know) have influenced much of my life.

Farah: I had an amazing experience being a student here, and decided to stay! The great minds, and diversity on campus makes each day an adventure.

What goals do you have when it comes to working with your new MPH students?

Noni: I’m looking forward to helping them make the most of their experience and training here at Emory.  That means different things for every student; so I’m excited to get to know my advisees better!

Farah: I’m excited to start meeting all of my students. I’m looking forward to learning about each one individually, and supporting them throughout their time here at Rollins!

What books are you currently reading, or what podcasts are you currently listening to?

Noni:  I’m a big fiction reader.  I recently finished An American Marriage, which is by Tayari Jones (my Spelman sister and current Emory professor).  Before that I was riveted by N.K. Jemisin’s sci-fi/fantasy trilogy The Broken Earth.  I haven’t decided what’s next, and am open to recommendations!

Farah: I am always listening to something, and very rarely watch anything. My favorite podcasts are: RadioLab, OnBeing, the TED Radio Hour, Science VS, HIDDEN BRAIN, Planet Money, Revisionist History, Science Rules, and Science Friday. I am currently reading: When Breath Becomes Air, The Checklist Manifesto, and The Obesity Code.

What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?

Noni:

  1. Fall is my favorite season, so I am currently living my best sweater and PSL life.
  2. My guilty pleasure is Netflix binge-watching.
  3. I like to cook and my most used spice is cumin. 

Farah:

  1. I love to run – I’ve run in a lot of amazing cities around the world – it’s the best way to know a place.
  2. I love to cook everything, although I am currently expanding my vegetarian repertoire for my daughter’s recent conversion.
  3. I spent my first five years in Africa – Kampala, Uganda.

1st Year EPI MPH: Tony Mufarreh

Category : #IamEmoryEPI , Twitter

For this week’s #IamEmoryEpi spotlight, we met up with Tony Mufarreh!

Tell us a little bit about your academic history:

I obtained my bachelor’s at the University of Michigan in Biochemistry and Middle Eastern Studies.

What are your primary research interests?

I’m really interested in genetic and molecular epidemiology, particularly cardiovascular disease and how both molecular and social determinants of health, synergistically, can affect disease outcome.

What were you up this this past summer?

I worked as a radiochemist in the Department of Radiology at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor. I was making radiopharmaceuticals for PET imaging and researching novel drugs for imaging neurodegenerative and cardiovascular disease.

Are there any exciting projects or experiences you are involved in right now?

Outside of Rollins, I play trumpet in the Emory Wind Ensemble. I get the chance to develop a unique skill and learn about myself. Music has brought me so much joy and has shaped my values in life.

What is your favorite part about earning your MPH at Rollins?

People come to Emory from all around the world and walks of life. I learn so much about the world by simply talking to peers about their lives.

What advice do you have for people who may be interested in getting their MPH?

Ask yourself the following question: “What do I believe in?” It is so key to find educational opportunities that will advance your personal goals and philosophies. An MPH truly does this for me.

What books are you currently reading, or what podcasts are you currently listening to?

I’m currently reading “The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels and the Business of AIDS,” by Elizabeth Pisani. It’s a great read to learn how real-world HIV prevention works and the challenges that exist!

What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?

  1. I’ve been playing the trumpet for 12 years.
  2. My morning omelette ALWAYS consists of spinach, shredded cheese, and turkey slices.
  3. I collect pens, and the most expensive one in my collection is priced at $60.

2nd Year GLEPI MPH: Rutika Raina

Category : #IamEmoryEPI , GLEPI

For this week’s #IamEmoryEpi spotlight, we met up with Rutika Raina!

Tell us where you went to school:

I did my undergrad in India, where I studied Biotechnology.

What are your primary research interests?

My research interest is in non-communicable diseases; particularly psychiatric illness and neurological disorders. I am doing my thesis on Schizophrenia.

What did you do this past summer?

I was working at the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands at their psychiatric epidemiology department during summer. I loved every bit of my experience in the Netherlands. I actually got to take some time off to roam around and I went to Belgium and Italy for vacation; attended the pride parade in Amsterdam.

How did you find the research that you are currently conducting?

I found my practicum by literally sending an email to the HOD at their Epi Department and things kind of worked smoothly from there. I had an interview and I got in and they actually reimbursed me for my travel expenses.

What is your favorite part about being at Emory?

My favorite part about doing my MPH at Emory is the diversity. The people that I have met and the friends that I have made; the relationships that I have forged, these are the things I am going to be carrying away after I graduate. Oh, also the food that I have had from different cultures and backgrounds. I love it! Obviously, some hard skills too but that’s why we are here, I guess!

Do you have any advice for MPH students?

My advice to the first years would be to take advantage of every opportunity to explore their interests. Graduate school is a lot of work but make sure to breathe once in a while and just broaden your perspective because Rollins provides you with so much that it is overwhelming at times.

What are three fun facts about yourself?

1. I am a trained dancer and I don’t miss an opportunity to dance. I have danced for 6hrs at a stretch.
 
2. I love music to the extent that I absolutely dislike having music apps. I download physical files of each song that I like!
 
3. I have been a year early for all my high school years and even during undergrad because I was promoted to 1st grade directly since I had the skills required for it already at the age of 5. I might be one of the youngest in our cohort too (23 years!)

 


Rollins Professor: Audrey Gaskins

Category : #IamEmoryEPI

For this week’s #IamEmoryEPI, we caught up with Dr. Audrey Gaskins!

Tell us where you went to school:

I received my Bachelors of Science in Engineering from Duke University (2004-2008) and my Doctorate of Science in Nutrition and Epidemiology from Harvard School of Public Health (2010-2014).

What are your primary research interests?

I am interested in how nutrition, lifestyle, and environmental exposures affect a couple’s ability to conceive and have healthy pregnancies and babies.

What did you do this past summer?

I had my first baby in May so I spent my summer on maternity leave caring for a sweet baby boy and soaking up all his newborn snuggles.

How did you find the research that you are currently conducting?

After I finished my undergraduate degree I worked as a post-bachelorette fellow at the NICHD where my mentor was studying how oxidative stress affects menstrual cycle function. It was during those two years that I became fascinated with the topic of human fertility and how little we knew about the factors that affect a man and woman’s chance of conceiving.

What is your favorite part about being at Emory?

The people. Everyone I have met so far is incredibly welcoming and collaborative which is not the standard at many other big research institutions.

Do you have any advice for MPH students?

Don’t feel like you have to narrow down your interests immediately (you can do this later). The MPH program gives you many incredible opportunities to learn about all the different areas of public health- enjoy them! 

What are three fun facts about yourself?

  1. One of my favorite workouts is boxing- I even continued doing it during my pregnancy, up until I was a week from my due date!
  2.  I was a vegetarian for a long time… until I married a Texan
  3. My research on TV watching and semen quality was mentioned in one of Conan O’Brien’s monologues