Meleah A. Hickman, PhD

Meleah joined the Biology Department at Emory University as an assistant professor in 2014 and is faculty in two graduate programs: Genetics & Molecular Biology (GMB), and Population Biology, Ecology & Evolution (PBEE). She received her PhD training at Duke University with Dr. Laura Rusche (2010) where she studied the role of gene duplication on the evolution of regulatory mechanisms controlling yeast mating and cell identity. Meleah began studying genome dynamics in fungal pathogens when she was a postdoc at the University of Minnesota, working with Dr. Judith Berman. Her current research interests include understanding how genome instability and ploidy transitions drive the evolution of virulence and antifungal drug resistance (CV). Meleah also enjoys hiking, cycling, craft cocktails, and re-upholstering furniture. Follow her on Twitter @meleahhickman


Ognenka Avramovska

Ognenka (Ogie) matriculated into Emory’s Genetics & Molecular Biology PhD program in 2016. Prior to joining the Hickman lab, she earned her Bachelor’s degrees in Microbiology and Genomics & Molecular Genetics at Michigan State University. Ognenka currently investigates how ploidy impacts C. albicans evolutionary trajectory and its ability to acquire antifungal drug resistance. Her future goals include teaching in undergraduate classes and developing biology curriculum. She is also interested in pedagogy research and its implementation in the classroom. Fun Facts: Ognenka enjoys cooking, traveling, social salsa dancing and feeding her Hulu/Netflix addiction.


Amanda Smith

Amanda Smith (formally Shurzinske) graduated with her B.S. in Biology from Ball State University in 2017 and began her graduate career in the Genetics & Molecular Biology Program the following Fall. Since joining the laboratory, Amanda’s research focuses on understanding how the innate immune system impacts the genome stability and pathogenicity of Candida albicans. To study the interaction between immunity and C. albicans, Amanda infects both healthy and immunocompromised nematodes with C. albicans and subsequently measures changes in genome stability and virulence phenotypes. After her PhD, Amanda hopes to continue researching microbial interactions with a career in industry or government. When Amanda is not in the laboratory, you can find her in her second home, the gym.


Emily Rego

Emily is a senior at Emory studying Biology (B.S.) and English. She joined the Hickman lab in January of 2019 and is currently investigating the impact of multiple kinetochore attachments on genome instability in C. albicans. Her future goals include possibly pursuing a PhD in biochemistry or genetics. Fun fact: Emily loves literature and can often be found curled up, reading murder mystery novels, and drinking (lots of) coffee. 


Past Members
Jennifer Mason, PhD Q2 Solutions, Lead Scientist
Graduate Students  
Dorian Feistel, MSc (PBEE) CDC, Microbiology ORISE Fellow
Research Technicians  
Courtney Thomas, MSc Mercer, MD program
Judy Dinh, BS Medical College of Georgia, MD program
Rema Elmostafa, BS Mercer, MD program
Undergraduate Students  
Katherine Greene (Boston University)  
Rohan Kanakamedala  
Nia Lucas, BS U of Penn, MPH program
Sarah Hernandez  
Judy Dinh Medical College of Georgia, MD program
Quilun Li, BS Cornell, MPH program
Dahlia Walters (U Chicago)  
Nancy Nguyen, BS U of Georgia, PharmD program
Rema Elmostafa Mercer, MD program
Panyachote Keyungyoenwong, BS Duke-NUS, MD program
Jennifer Lenchner, BS Lake Erie Collego, DO program
Mimi Wang, BS  
Talent Chaunza, BS (Duke) Oregon Health Sciences U, Research Tech
High School Students  
Alan Huynh  
Victoria Lamar University of San Fransisco; Founder, Securing Degrees Debt Free
Maya Chande  
Ishani Rao Emory University
Bernabe Becerra Georgia State University