The Taylor Fellowship aids recruitment and retention of outstanding graduate students and can provide dissertation support. Graduate students conducting research in virology receive first preference. Undergraduate microbiology majors, who preferably are performing research in virology, may also apply for scholarships from this fund and receive second preference. The endowed fellowship was created in 2000 by alumnus Lawrence Blatt to honor his former teacher and mentor, Professor Milton W. Taylor.
About Milton Taylor
Milton W. Taylor joined the IU faculty in 1967, teaching molecular biology and performing research. He worked in the areas of somatic cell genetics, viral replication, and the effects of interferon on viral replication and the immune system. While at IU, Taylor received uninterrupted funding from the NIH and grants from the American Cancer Society, the Damon Runyon Foundation, and industrial groups such as InterMune, Amgen, Schering Plough, and Eli Lilly. He most recently ran one of four ancillary labs selected to participate in a clinical trial funded by NIH to investigate the effects of interferon on hepatitis C patients. Taylor is a fellow of the American Society for Microbiology (an honor reserved for particularly accomplished microbiologists), a fellow of the Indiana Molecular Biology Institute, and a former office holder in the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research.
About Lawrence Blatt
Lawrence M. Blatt, Ph.D.—a pioneering virologist and biopharma entrepreneur—studied under Taylor as an undergraduate, earning his B.S. in microbiology in 1983. He began collaborating with Taylor on scientific projects in the early 1990s. Together they researched the synergistic effects of interferon on virus replication and the study of gene expression using microarray technology. Blatt has cofounded two biopharmaceutical companies and in 2018 became the CEO of the second one: Aligos Therapeutics, a San Francisco-based biotech discovering and developing curative treatments for hepatologic diseases and viral infections. In addition to the Milton Taylor Fellowship in Virology, Blatt's generosity has benefitted Indiana University and its students in a variety of ways, including the creation and support of our department's endowed Lawrence M. Blatt Chair of Virology.
2020 Taylor Fellow: Stephanie Gummersheimer
Stephanie Gummersheimer is a Ph.D. student in the Microbiology Graduate Program. She is a member of Associate Professor Pranav Danthi's lab.
2020 Taylor Fellow: Lauren Nease
Lauren Nease is a Ph.D. student in the Microbiology Graduate Program. She is a member of Professor Rich Hardy's lab.
2020 Taylor Fellow: Asha Philip
Asha Philip is a third-year Ph.D student in the laboratory of Professor John T. Patton. Asha has spearheaded the development of the rotavirus reverse genetics system in the laboratory. Her thesis project is to use this system to generate and characterize recombinant rotavirus strains that express foreign proteins including norovirus capsid proteins and coronavirus spike proteins. In her recent papers, Asha showed that NSP3 gene of rotavirus is very flexible and can be re-engineered to express fluorescent proteins as additional separate proteins, without compromising any rotaviral proteins.
During her spare time, Asha enjoys creating YouTube videos on academic and scientific topics.
This award will support Asha as she explores her next project on development of rotavirus-norovirus dual vaccine and rotavirus-COVID19 dual vaccine for infants and young children.
2020 Taylor Fellow: Caleb Starr
Caleb Starr is a Ph.D. student in the Biochemistry Graduate Program. As a member in the lab of Adam Zlotnick (professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry and adjunct professor of biology), Caleb's project focuses on the disassembly of the hepatitis B virus. This award will help Caleb continue the project as he seeks to better understand the stability and thermodynamics of hepatitis B virus capsids.