Maria Bernabeu, PhD
Dr. Maria Bernabeu received her PhD in biology from the University of Barcelona in 2013. Her research focused on the functional analysis of VIR proteins of Plasmodium vivax and their role in host-pathogen interactions. In Barcelona, she generated transgenic lines of P. falciparum that expressed VIR proteins from different subfamilies and performed adhesion assays to the spleen. While working with both organisms, she became fascinated by the biology of Plasmodium parasites. Bernabeu joined the Smith Lab in 2014 as a postdoctoral scientist. She is trying to understand the mechanisms that cause severe malaria in adults and working on a 3D-microvascular platform for the study of P. falciparum-endothelial interactions. She loves to travel, and her research has taken her to work in Australia, India, the UK and Brazil. When not in the lab, she enjoys dancing and hiking and she is a devoted supporter of Football Club Barcelona.
Selasi Dankwa, PhD
Dr. Selasi Dankwa’s interest in infectious diseases and human health led her to the Harvard School of Public Health where she received her PhD in biological sciences in public health. For her doctoral research, she studied invasion of red blood cells by malaria parasites, a process which is essential to the survival of the parasite in the host. As a postdoctoral scientist in the Smith Lab, she seeks to better understand vascular dysfunction in severe malaria, as well as how parasite genotypes and binding phenotypes relate to the severity of malaria in children. She also enjoys the outdoors, reading and all things sweet.
Molly Dols, BS
Research technician I
Molly Dols joined the Smith Lab in June 2018 after completing a BS from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. She has previously studied the protective function of polyclonal antibodies against HIV-1 infection at the HVTN at Fred Hutch. She is interested in researching infectious diseases and public health. In the Smith Lab, Dols assists in the study of the mechanisms underlying severe malaria. She loves the outdoors, horses and cooking delicious food.
Senior administrative assistant
Maria Vishnyakova, BS
Research technician I
Maria Vishnyakova joined the Smith Lab in August 2017 after getting her bachelor’s degree at Rutgers University in New Jersey, where she worked with CRISPR/Cas9 in fission yeast. However, she has always been highly interested in research that’s aimed at treating human disease, and in the Smith Lab she assists on projects which study the pathogenic pathways involved in severe malaria infections. She enjoys whitewater kayaking, backpacking, and road trips.