In Justin Bailey’s lab, we study the broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies’ responses against hepatitis C virus (HCV) in individuals who naturally and repeatedly control infection to understand the basic biology behind successful immunity. We discovered potential vaccine antigens for the development of a successful prophylactic HCV vaccine, which is urgently needed to help achieve the World Health Organization’s goal of eliminating HCV as a public health problem by 2030.
Questions & Answers
Why did you choose Johns Hopkins for your work?
I chose Johns Hopkins for the collaborative environment and for the opportunity to do translational and clinical research. The prospect of working at the interface between science and medicine and being able to positively impact patients’ health is what drew me to this institution.
What does receiving this award mean to you personally and professionally? Do you have any connection with the particular award you received?
This award recognizes the value and impact of my discoveries and motivates me to keep pursuing important and rigorous research. I have been inspired by previous awardees and consider myself very fortunate to join them this year.
What contributed to your project’s success?
Unwavering support from my mentors and fellow scientists helped me tremendously in planning and successfully completing my project. Patience, a positive attitude and teamwork were the keys to my project’s success.
What thoughts do you have about Young Investigators’ Day itself, as a celebration of the roles student and fellows play in research at Johns Hopkins?
I think the Young Investigators’ Day initiative is important to inspire other young researchers, share innovative ideas and recognize the effort of those who drive impactful research forward and often do not receive the credit they deserve.
What has been your best/most memorable experience while at Johns Hopkins?
My most memorable experience while at Hopkins was attending the international HCV conference in Ghent, Belgium. There, I had the chance to present my work in front of many experts in the field and was awarded the best oral presentation prize. It was exciting and fun to travel with my colleagues and connect with international collaborators face to face.
What are your plans over the next year or so?
I recently received my Ph.D., and I will be a postdoctoral researcher in a viral hepatitis lab at the University of Oxford in the U.K., where I will be characterizing vaccine candidates in pre-clinical models and assessing the immunological response of vaccines in patient populations. My long-term goal is to keep expanding my vaccine development knowledge.
Tell me something interesting about yourself that makes you unique. Do you have any special hobbies, interests or life experiences?
I am an international student from Italy and the first one in my family to go to college and graduate school. I love practicing yoga, visiting friends and family all around the world and reading historical fiction novels.