Early Career Research Award Recipient: Jennifer Jenks
Jennifer Jenks is an MD PhD student in the Medical Scientist Training Program at Duke University School of Medicine. She graduated from Stanford University in 2013 and is currently pursuing her graduate studies in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology under the guidance of Dr. Sallie Permar. After she completes her graduate training, Jennifer will apply to Pediatrics residency followed by fellowship training in Infectious Disease or Allergy and Immunology. She ultimately aspires to pursue a career as a physician-scientist working on translational medical research for the prevention of congenital diseases.
Although a vaccine to prevent HCMV infection has been a “Tier 1” priority for the U.S. National Academy of Medicine for nearly 20 years, there are no vaccines currently licensed for clinical use. Vaccines to prevent HCMV infection are urgently needed, but vaccine development faces challenges generating neutralizing, protective responses. Jennifer’s research investigates the immune responses that protect against CMV infection and applies novel strategies developed in evolutionary medicine for the rational design of CMV vaccines.
“As a medical student on my Pediatrics rotation, I witnessed the devastating impact that congenital CMV infection can have on a patient and his or her family. These experiences motivated me to pursue research that would address gaps in our understanding of congenital CMV transmission and work toward developing highly efficacious vaccines that may help offer infants a healthy start to life.”
Congratulations Jennifer, we look forward to learning more about your findings!
Category: Clinical, "Fueling Our Mission"