Noah Pacifici receives NSF GRFP.

Noah Pacifici, a 1st year Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering under the mentorship of Dr. Jamal Lewis, was recently selected for the 2018 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program.

Noah is interested in investigating vomocytosis, a phenomenon where the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, following engulfment by immune cells, survives exposure to digestive enzymes and escape the cell through an unknown mechanism. Through this process, this pathogen is able to utilize the host body’s own immune cells to disseminate infection throughout the body. Noah plans to reveal the underlying mechanisms of vomocytosis to develop a ‘smart’ polymeric microparticle-based vaccine that can be engineered to enter immune cells, use them as a shuttle to reach the lymph nodes, and escape to present slow-releasing vaccine cargo. This method of vaccine delivery would combine the stability and potency of polymeric MPs with the accuracy and sustained release of lymph nodal delivery.

Congratulations, Noah!