Khanyisile Kgoadi, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow 

Khanyisile is a Postdoctoral researcher in the Rengarajan lab. She joined our lab as a visiting scholar in January 2021 then transitioned into a Postdoctoral fellow upon completion of her PhD (Clinical Science and Immunology) studies from the University of Cape Town (South Africa). She received her BSc in Biochemistry and Human Physiology from the University of Johannesburg, followed by a BSc (Hons) and MSc in Biochemistry from the University of Pretoria. Her research interests are in infectious diseases; specifically, HIV and TB which are directed towards improved HIV-TB diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccine development and finding a cure for HIV. Her previous research (Hons & MSc) investigated metabolic complications caused by HIV and HAART in human patients; while her PhD work characterized innate antigen-presenting cells (dendritic cell, macrophage & microglia) and adaptive T cell responses during central nervous system tuberculosis using mouse models. Her primary Postdoc research in the lab focusses on investigating the impact of HIV on Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection during HIV-TB co-infection using bronchoscopy patient samples. She is working on a project that characterizes the impact of myeloid-suppressor cells (MDSC) and their impact on T cell responses during HIV-1 infection. Platforms she utilizes include multi-parametric flow cytometry and single-cell RNA sequencing.  

She serves as a subcommittee member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee at Emory National Primate Research Center. She loves volunteering in community outreach programs, and motivating/inspiring/mentoring women and children in the STEM and she is passionate about helping train the next generation of young scientists. She loves God, spending time with loved ones, music, fashion designing, traveling and watching movies/TV shows/soccer. Her favorite quote is “Everything Happens for a Reason” by Aristotle.  



Hedwin Kitdorlang Dkhar, PhD 

Assistant Scientist (Academic Research)  

Kit works as a research scientist interested in understanding host immunity during microbial infection and vaccine development.  He is currently involved in multiple projects that allow him better to understand innate and adaptive immune responses during TB infection.  Using the TB mouse model, advanced flow cytometry technique, and single-cell RNA sequencing platform, he tries to understand the different myeloid cells’ emergence and function to enhance or suppress the immune system.  Kit is an outdoor person who likes to hike and walk on different trails in Georgia. He loves dogs and enjoys cooking. His favorite sport is soccer and he is a Barcelona F.C fan.



Ana Enriquez, PhD 

Doctoral Student  

Ana is a recent graduate of Emory University’s Microbiology and Molecular Genetics PhD program.  Her doctoral work in the lab focused on elucidating innate immune pathways that contribute to CD4 T cell Th polarization during Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection.  Ana is an Emory Diversifying Graduate Education (EDGE) Ambassador and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Program Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee member.  She joined the lab in 2017 and hails from south Florida.     



Nicole Woods, M.S.

Research Specialist  

 Nicole has served as the Research Specialist in the Rengarajan lab since June 2021 and is currently working on multiple projects that allow her to better understand Tuberculosis immunology in both the mouse and human model.  

 Nicole received her B.A. in Biology and Chemistry from Mount Holyoke College, where she conducted research on the role of caspase gene dronc in fat body remodeling and the effects of ultraviolet radiation in the eye development of drosophila melanogaster. She then went to receive an MS in Medical Sciences from Morehouse School of Medicine. Her master’s project focused on examining the relationship between depression, obesity, and hypertension among underserved African American women in Georgia. 

 In her free time, Nicole loves to watch new shows on Netflix, travel, and try new restaurants around the city. 


Kris Stallings 

Undergraduate Researcher  

 Kris joined the Rengarajan lab as an undergraduate researcher in May of 2021. In the lab, she has studied dendritic cells and measured their gene alterations in response to various stimulants. Her workday consists of intensive readings of scientific literature and outlining protocols to perform RNA isolation or RT-qPCR. 

For fun, Kris likes to find new restaurants in the Atlanta area and try different cuisines. Her favorite quote is: “Life is like a game of cards. Not about the deck you have, but how you play the hand.” 



Louis Hopkins, MPH

Graduate Student 

Louis is a Centennial Scholar and Doctoral Student at Emory University Laney Graduate School, studying Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis. Before matriculating to Emory, he was a research fellow at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), studying the immunogenicity of protein-based therapeutics, and a program coordinator in HIV and chronic disease prevention for the Minority Health Consortium and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Disparity Solutions. His interests in infectious disease and public health began during his studies at Cornell University while pursuing an undergraduate degree in microbiology and continued in his pursuit of graduate education at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Louis has intentionally balanced his work between biomedical research and public health fieldwork to ensure that he is better informed as a scientist to conduct patient and population centric research. 

 In the Rengarajan lab, Louis is working with several of the lab members on projects characterizing myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in the context of different diseases. He is interested in understanding the immunosuppressive microenvironment within the Mtb  granuloma, and finding approaches to improve adaptive response for protection and vaccination. In his spare time, Louis enjoys playing sports, watching anime, and creating art.