Alicia Francis is a pre-medical biology student at Washington Adventist University (WAU) where her studies also include a minor in Applied Bioinformatics which is part of the WAU’s Bioinformatics Interdisciplinary Program (BIP). From October 15-17, 2012, Ms. Francis had the opportunity to attend the 6th Annual Vaccine Renaissance Conference held by The Institute for Informatics and Immunology (iCubed) at the University of Rhode Island in Providence, Rhode Island. This unique opportunity was made possible by a collaboration between Dr. Anton Dormer, the WAU program coordinator for BIP, and Dr. Anne Degroot, who is the director of iCubed.
While attending the Vaccine Renaissance Conference, Ms. Francis had the opportunity of interacting with renowned scientists from all over the world with diverse interests in biodefense vaccines, animal vaccines and human health, neglected tropical diseases, vaccine vectors, and the human microbiome. These scientists included Dr. Degroot who is also a professor at the University of Rhode Island, president of EpiVax, Inc., and the founder and scientific advisor of the HIV/AIDS prevention and education nonprofit foundation which primary work is in Malawi Africa called Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance (GAIA). Dr. Spero, co-director of iCubed, also a prestigious scientist, along with Dr. Degroot extended an invitation to Ms. Francis to attend the conference; Ms. Francis’ travel and accommodations were paid for by iCubed.. This is the second year that a student from WAU has attended the conference. The 2011 attendee was Ms. Adriana Gonzales.
Alicia Francis (left) with Dr. Anne Degroot (middle) and Dr. Denice Spero (right)