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Elizabeth Bardwil-Lugones ’21

Elizabeth Bardwil-Lugones ’21 came to Purchase via the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program, during which she tested the antifungal properties of sage and a derivative of curcumin. She presented her findings and received an award for her research poster at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS).

Bardwil-Lugones then became a MARC U*STAR scholar working with Assistant Professor of Biology Stephen Harris, investigating the transmission of pathogens between rats and rat traders from wet markets in An Giang, Vietnam. The purpose of this research was to inform methods in the detection and surveillance of potential zoonotic pathogens.

She worked with Dr. Paul J. Planet and Dr. Ahmed M. Moustafa through the virtual Summer Undergraduate Internship Program at the University of Pennsylvania. She used a Python3-based command-line application called Gene Novelty Unit-based Virus IDentification (GNUVID) to type SARS-CoV-2 genomes. The purpose of this research was to utilize GNUVID to characterize genomic diversity among isolates collected throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

She presented the results of her summer research at ABRCMS: The Virtual Experience in November 2020.

She also worked with Associate Professor of Biology Mark Jonas ’03, investigating the epigenetic basis of plant-pathogen interactions in the context of climate change. Specifically, they studied the interplay between cytosine methylation and elevated carbon dioxide in shaping plant susceptibility to pathogens.

After graduation, Bardwil-Lugones started her post-bac fellowship through the Intramural NIAID Research Opportunities (INRO) initiative at the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). She’s on a path to a PhD with research interests in Virology, Immunology, Host-Pathogen Interactions.

She works under the supervision of Ted Pierson, PhD, in the Division of Intramural Research (DIR) Laboratory of Viral Diseases (LVD), where she investigates the relationships between Zika virus vaccine antigen design and antibody repertoires that define the quality of protective immune responses. This work involves cutting-edge molecular approaches and high-throughput quantitative assays of flavivirus antibody function. A deeper understanding of these concepts will inform the design of vaccines against emerging arbovirus threats.

Prior to Purchase, Bardwil-Lugones earned an associate’s degree in Engineering Science and Liberal Arts, Math, and Science Westchester Community College.

Awards / Residencies

MARC U*STAR Scholar

President’s Award for Achievement in the School of Natural and Social Sciences

Graduated Summa Cum Laude