Dr. Brandon DeKosky earned a Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2015 and completed a Post Doc in Immunology & Vaccinology at the Vaccine Research Center, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, MD in 2017. His research primarily focuses on inventing and applying advanced NextGen molecular biology techniques to accelerate development of new human vaccines and therapeutics.
Dr. Prajnaparamita Dhar (Prajna) received her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Florida State University, spent some time in the laboratory of Dr. Joseph Zasadzinski at the University of California, Santa Barbara as a postdoctoral fellowship, after which she began her position at KU. Her research primarily focuses on understanding nature’s rules that govern biological self-assembled processes, in order to better mimic nature and design new treatments for various diseases.
Dr. Hardwidge earned his Ph.D. at the Mayo Clinic Graduate School. His research focuses on understanding, treating, and preventing diarrheal disease caused by bacterial pathogens by studying several virotypes of Escherichia coli that cause diarrhea and malnutrition in humans and livestock, including E. coli O157:H7, non-O157 STEC, and enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC). These pathogens, as well as other enteric bacteria that use contact-dependent secretion systems, represent important threats to food safety, biosecurity, and animal health.
Dr. Meena Muthuramalingam received her PhD in Genomics and Bioinformatics from University of Bielefeld, Germany. Worked as post-doctoral fellow in Oklahoma State University, her research primarily focused on redox proteomics and RNA binding proteins involved in stress signaling. Later she joined University of Oklahoma, worked on bacterial toxin-antitoxin modules. Currently, she is a research associate in the Picking lab at the University of Kansas. Her research focuses mainly on structural and biochemical characterization of proteins involved in type III secretion system of Shigella flexneri.
Professor Picking earned her PhD at the University of Kansas. She most recently served as an associate professor at Oklahoma State University. Her research interests are vaccine development - especially for the children of low income countries, Enteric bacterial pathogens, and type III secretion.
Dr. Siva Ratnakaram received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Central Food Technological Research Institute, CSIR, Mysore, India and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at The Pennsylvania State University. His research work in Picking's lab focuses on understanding the structural and functional stability of nanoparticle vaccines via biophysical characterization with an aim to develop vaccines for antibiotic resistance pathogenic bacteria utilizing type III secretion system.
Dr. Sean Whittier earned a PhD in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Green Center for Systems Biology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. His research aims to develop vaccines for bacterial pathogens that utilize the type III secretion system.
Graduate Research Assistants
Shoichi Tachiyama received bachelor's degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Teikyo University in Japan. At same time, he received a license for pharmacists in Japan. Currently, he is a graduate student in Picking's lab, and his project focuses on the protein structures and the protein-protein interaction in T3SS of Shigella flexneri.