Executive/Advisory Committee

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee is comprised of an OHSU graduate program director and one past/present OHSU PREP faculty mentor. The goal of the Executive Committee is to support the OHSU PREP staff in monitoring the progress of the program, assist in reviewing applications during the year of service, and may help manage any conflicts/issues that might arise.

Timothy Nice, Ph.D.

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Timothy Nice, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology. Dr. Nice went to graduate school at the University of California at Berkeley, where he studied natural killer cell activation through protein-level stabilization of activating ligands by stress pathways in target cells. He went on to perform postdoctoral studies at Washington University in St. Louis, where he identified virus and host genes that determine the outcome of intestinal virus infection. In particular, Dr. Nice found that persistent viral infections in the intestine were controlled by a specialized type of immune effector called interferon lambda. The Nice Lab continues to study intestinal infections and how interferon lambda acts to protect from these pathogens. Additionally, the lab is interested in how the bacterial microbiota within our healthy intestine can impact the antiviral immune response and how this could become dysregulated in inflammatory bowel diseases.

Dr. Nice has mentored diverse trainees at the high school, undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral levels, including serving as a mentor to PREP scholar Bryan Ramirez (2023). He is director of the infectious diseases and immunology ‘hub’ within the Program in Biomedical Sciences (PBMS) graduate program, serves as academic mentor to PBMS students, and strives to provide opportunities within the biomedical sciences to scholars from all backgrounds.

Sandra Rugonyi, Ph.D.

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Dr. Sandra Rugonyi is a Professor in the Biomedical Engineering department, where she applies engineering principles to heart and vascular disease research. Dr. Rugonyi started her career in Argentina, where she obtained an MS-equivalent degree in Nuclear Engineering from the Balseiro Institute. She earned an MS and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, and soon after joined the OHSU as a postdoc investigating the mechanics of lung surfactant. Dr. Rugonyi then joined the Faculty of the Biomedical Engineering department at OHSU, where she has been leading interdisciplinary research efforts that combine Mechanical Engineering principles, Biology and Medicine, with the goal of understanding heart development and heart disease, improving diagnoses, and developing novel treatment strategies to cure heart disease and increase the quality of life of patients.  

Dr. Rugonyi is co-director of the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program at OHSU. She has mentored numerous students with diverse education and background levels, and fosters diversity in her lab. She is recognized for her studies on heart development and congenital heart disease, in the US and abroad. Dr. Rugonyi has been elected to the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) 2022 College of Fellows for outstanding contributions to biomechanics of cardiovascular development and for advocating for diversity in biomedical engineering.

Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee is comprised of the Executive Committee (above), one postdoctoral fellow from the OHSU Fellowship for Diversity in Research (OFDIR) postdoctoral program, one OHSU PREP alumni, and external advisory members. The goal of the Advisory Committee is to support OHSU PREP staff by providing feedback on programmatic plans as well as assist with reviewing PREP applications during the year of service. 

Alexis Gibson, Ph.D.

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Alexis Gibson is a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Isabella Rauch in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Immunology. She received her Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Pennsylvania. During her graduate work in the lab of Boris Striepen, Alexis studied the intestinal parasite Cryptosporidium and how its epithelial host cell responds to infection. Her post-doctoral work focuses on innate pathogen recognition in intestinal epithelial cells through inflammasomes and the impact of extrusion and cell death in infection and chronic disease, such as inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer. Dr. Alexis Gibson is the recipient of a Cancer Research Institute/Bristol Myers Squibb Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Joselinne Medrano, B.S.

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Joselinne Medrano obtained her B.A. in Neuroscience (minor in Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies) from Colorado College in 2020. As an undergraduate Joselinne became captivated with learning what networks are involved in behavior, including reward, and how epistemologies guide our perceptions and responses to the world around us. As a PREP scholar, she investigated the role of anti-inflammatory signaling in binge-like drinking behaviors in the Ozburn lab. Joselinne is currently a graduate student of OHSU's Neuroscience Graduate Program in the Ozburn and Williams labs.