Recent Ph.D. recipient receives fellowship at the Pasteur Institute

Author: Gene Stowe

Sherri Smith

Sherri Smith has won a three-year post-doctoral fellowship at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. She is working under Nancy Guillén, studying the parasite Entamoeba histolytica. The research involves characterizing the immune response during infection with the amoeba and determining the role potential virulence factors play in the elicited immune response.

At Notre Dame, Smith worked with Kristin Hager, assistant professor of Biological Sciences for her Ph.D., studying protein transport in the parasite Toxoplasma gondii.  Her work focused on studying the beta subunit of COPI coated vesicles with the ultimate goal of beginning to understand how the parasite utilizes the early secretory transport pathway. Her interest in microbiology and parasitology began when she was on an exchange at the University of Nebraska – Kearney while working on her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls.

”I decided to pursue a career studying disease,” Smith says. “One of my career and training goals is to work with and have a broad overview of several pathogens.  The position at the Institute is providing me training in a different pathogen system and is one step further in my overall goal.” After the fellowship, she expects to pursue another post-doc to work on a new pathogen or take a position in the Centers for Disease Control or industry.

The Pasteur Institute, founded by Louis Pasteur in 1887, is one of the leading private nonprofit centers for infectious disease research. Some 2,500 people from more than 70 countries work in its 130 research labs. Fellowship packages are $70,000 a year for three years.