After completing a summer internship at Mayo Clinic and earning her PhD in Biological Anthropology from Illinois, Abigail Asangba will join the Mayo Clinic staff as a postdoctoral research associate in January 2020.
Asangba’s doctoral research focused on focused on understanding various host-microbe interactions in humans and non-human primates. In Prof. Rebecca Stumpf’s lab, Asangba used next-generation sequencing, bioinformatics and multivariate statistical tools to explore the extent to which these factors structure the human and non-human primate microbiome. Abigail first became aware of Dr. Marina Walther-Antonio’s work when Taylor Crooks, then an undergraduate in Dr. Stumpf’s lab, participated in the SURF program, where he worked in Dr. Walther-Antonio’s lab. Seeing that Dr. Walther-Antonio’s research aligned with her interests, Asangba reached out to Dr. Walther-Antonio to find out about opportunities in her lab.
With the help of Department of Anthropology Head Brenda Farnell, Abigail secured support from the Mayo Clinic and Illinois Alliance and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to spend Summer 2019 as an intern in Dr. Walther-Antonio’s lab. She worked closely with Mayo Clinic Senior Research Fellow Dr.Yuguang Liu on the detection of Porphyromonas somerae (a potential microbial cause of endometrial cancer) in endometrial cells using a microfluidic device. About her experience, Asangba shares, “I was able to learn new and innovative skills and worked with amazing people doing cutting edge research in understanding the role of the microbiome in host health.”
In January, Abigail will return to Mayo Clinic to work as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Surgery. She will continue to work in Dr. Walther-Antonio's lab. Using the single-cell platform, she will work with other members of the lab to discern microbial-microbial and microbial-host interactions to further understand the role of the human microbiome in reproductive health. Dr. Asangba shares her gratitude. “This was made possible because of the opportunity I had to intern in the same lab last summer thanks to your generous financial support and guidance.”
We are quite proud of Dr. Asangba and look forward to watching her grow into a promising biomedical research career.