BLACKSBURG, Va., April 11, 2013 – VBI is proud to host both the Undergraduate and Graduate Women of the Year for 2013. Both Darya Nesterova and Shernita Lee have been fixtures at the institute, studying under the guidance of Jean Peccoud, associate professor, Chris Lawrence, associate professor,  and Reinhard Laubenbacher, professor and director of education and outreach.

Darya (aka ‘Dasha’) Nesterova

Dasha began working at the institute on the synthetic biology team with Jean Peccoud. After a wonderful experience at a summer research institute at MIT, she returned to work with Bernice Hausman, professor in English, studying how medical rhetoric is framed for the public. She then returned to VBI to work with Chris Lawrence on innate immunity to fungal pathogens. She is also president of the American Medical Student Association and serves as a hospice volunteer through the New River Valley Hospice in Radford. She hopes to pursue infectious disease research when she enters medical school.

See the VT News release about Dasha here.

Shernita Lee

Shernita came to the institute after meeting Senior Research Associate Kristy Collins, who encouraged her to apply to Virginia Tech’s GBCB program. Under the auspices of NIH’s Initiative to Maximize Student Development, Shernita has worked with Reinhard Laubenbacher and Chris Lawrence on a mathematical model investigating the effect of fungi on the lung epithelium. She has also been instrumental in diversity programs across campus, including the Ebony Affair, mentoring other students, and hosting the First Cohort for University Scholars through the graduate school. She plans to pursue a career as a research advisor and possibly university administration in diversity.

See the VT News release about Shernita here.


About the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute
The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech is a premier bioinformatics, computational biology, and systems biology research facility that uses transdisciplinary approaches to science, combining information technology, biology and medicine. These approaches are used to interpret and apply vast amounts of biological data generated from basic research to some of today’s key challenges in the biomedical, environmental, and agricultural sciences. With more than 240 highly trained multidisciplinary, international personnel, research at the institute involves collaboration in diverse disciplines such as mathematics, computer science, biology, plant pathology, biochemistry, systems biology, computational immunology, statistics, economics, synthetic biology and medicine. The large amounts of data generated by this approach are analyzed and interpreted to create new knowledge that is disseminated to the world’s scientific, governmental and wider communities.


Tiffany Trent

April 11, 2013