Biomedical Graduate Education
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Student Profiles

Nick Baro

Nick Baro recently earned his PhD from Georgetown’s Global Infectious Diseases Program and is now starting his postdoc with the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard School of Public Health. Nick was gracious enough to sit down with us to talk about his work at Georgetown, his future plans at Harvard, and the advice he would give to current and prospective PhD students at BGE. 

1.What are your plans after graduation?

Nick Baro

I have accepted a Postdoctoral Research Fellow position in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease at the Harvard School of Public Health. Under the direction of Dr. Dyann Wirth I will be working on projects that include the development and application of genetic and genomic tools to parasite populations from malaria endemic countries to determine their utility in understanding and assessing malaria transmission dynamics. Data collected from these tools can be used to help inform malaria control efforts toward best practices about application of intervention strategies, as well as play a role in monitoring and surveillance strategies.

2. What kind of research were you involved in with Global Infectious Diseases? 

My thesis work in Dr. Paul Roepe’s lab focuses on elucidating the structure and function of a putative transport protein from malarial parasites. This protein, Plasmodium falciparum Chloroquine Resistance Transporter (PfCRT), has been identified as the genetic determinant for chloroquine resistance in malaria parasites. One of my most significant contributions to the field is developing an affordable high throughput screen that can be used to analyze effects of PfCRT on growing yeast. As a requirement of the GID program, I also had the opportunity to work on a collaborative research project under the direction of Dr. Choukri Ben Mamoun in the Section of Infectious Diseases at Yale University. While there I began a project designed to identify the natural physiologic substrate of PfCRT.

3.How would you define your Georgetown experience?

Georgetown’s Global Infectious Diseases (GID) program is specifically designed to integrate scientific knowledge and public policy. I am forever grateful to Georgetown for recognizing the need for an interdisciplinary program aimed at training “policy literate” scientists and I am excited by the prospect of applying my scientific expertise, and knowledge of public health policy, to effectively translate scientific concepts into strategic policies that save lives.

4.What career advice would you give a prospective PhD student matriculating to GID or any other biomedical program?

Seek a challenging environment. Although extremely demanding at times, I am extremely grateful to my mentor, Dr. Paul Roepe, for his stimulating and critical evaluation of my work.

Network. Being able to connect with someone on a personal level and communicate new ideas is essential for transformative science. Ideas need to flow from one discipline to the next unhindered by lack of communication or misunderstanding.