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Student Spotlight

Jacob Nelson

Jacob Nelson

I joined UTMB in Fall 2015 as a PhD student in the Experimental Pathology program.  I have taken a different path than most students have to get where I am, which has included a post-baccalaureate internship at the NIH, working as a biosciences technician for a non-profit organization and a MS in Tropical Medicine at the University of Hawaii.  Before my education at UTMB, I have accumulated a wide skill set and experiences, however, the skills I have gained as a graduate student at UTMB could only have been acquired here. 

My dissertation project combines high containment virology, molecular virology, animal modeling and cutting-edge microscopy.  I am working with tick-borne encephalitis virus in Dr. Alexander Freiberg’s lab and I am defining novel mechanisms of pathology in vivo and in human neuronal cells.  The results of this project will lend to a deeper understanding of the pathology resulting from encephalitic flavivirus infection as well as outlining new methods for CLARITY imaging in virology.  The assistance from my committee and mentor have made this possible and I am fortunate to have their expertise and the opportunity to conduct the type of research that I am. 

The scientific skills that I have garnered at UTMB are matched by the leadership and communication skills that I have been able to garner.  Through interaction with the Graduate Student Organization, Graduate School and other organizations, I have been able to give back to UTMB and the students.  My future goals of establishing myself as a virologist with a focus on in vivo pathology are achievable through my education and training here at UTMB. 

Past Student Spotlight