Dr. Herzog honored with young investigator award

Kaylee Herzog, PhD

Kaylee Herzog, PhD

Kaylee Herzog, PhD, a postdoctoral research associate in the epidemiology department in the UNMC College of Public Health, was awarded the Young Investigator Award at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene meeting in Chicago on October 18-22.

Dr. Herzog’s presentation, entitled “Benchmarking an accessible method for generating complete genomes from parasitic nematodes,” placed first out of 11 competitors in her section.

The award is given to recognize the work of young investigators and to encourage developing scientists to pursue careers in various aspects of tropical disease research. Dr. Herzog’s presentation highlighted research she has been working on with her postdoctoral advisor, Joseph Fauver, PhD, since she joined his lab in June 2022. Dr. Herzog’s work is aimed at creating resources to better understand and control parasites.

“Kaylee is an exceptional early career scientist who has been instrumental in developing our genomic pipelines that we are using to understand the selective pressures antiparasitic drugs pose on helminth populations,” Dr. Fauver said. “We are excited about this work, as it is a step forward in improving our understanding on the efficacy of large-scale global health campaigns.”

Dr. Herzog said, “We developed a protocol for quickly and inexpensively generating complete whole genome assemblies from parasitic roundworms that cause disease in humans. Sequencing parasite genomes is important because genomes are invaluable tools for identifying novel drug and vaccine targets, monitoring the effectiveness of parasite control campaigns and pinpointing genes associated with drug tolerance.”

Understanding and controlling parasites can have a large impact on public health. This impact is what motivates Dr. Herzog to leverage her training as a biologist and parasitologist and find out more about the topic.

“Parasites exact a monumental cost in terms of global disease burden, impacting millions of people each year,” she said. “As we, as a global community, move forward into an unprecedented age of climate change, this burden will only increase, highlighting a need for novel and creative global health solutions.”

Dr. Herzog plans to continue her research on parasite biology following her work in this research lab.

“After my postdoc at UNMC, I hope to obtain a faculty position at a university to develop my own independent research program that unites my interests in parasitology, evolutionary biology and global health,” she said.

1 comment

  1. Iqbal Ahmad says:

    Congratulations, Dr.Herzog. Well deserved, and an important step toward a successful independent academic career.

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