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Haley D

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at University of Chicago


Immunology, infectious disease, vaccines, antibodies, virology, cancer


Hello! My name is Haley and I am a true midwesterner at heart, originally from Cleveland and now in Chicago for my PhD. I have a bachelors degree in molecular biology from Kenyon College, and a PhD in immunology from the University of Chicago. In college, I studied how metabolic pathways in plants impact plant health and development. After college, I worked as a research technician at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard, where I studied the role of natural killer cells in HIV-1 infection. My thesis work investigated antibody responses to influenza and SARS-CoV-2 viruses. I am passionate about the development of universal vaccines and antibody therapeutics that can protect against pandemic-threat viruses. When I'm not in lab, I love hiking, reading, painting, and spending time with my giant and lovable dog, Casper. I'm interested in mentoring with Polygence to keep my passion for teaching and exploring fundamental questions in science alive, as I move out of academia to work as a Scientist in industry.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Natural vs. vaccine-acquired immunity: which is better?

This project aims to explore how natural infection and vaccination induce protective immune responses. What happens if you get the COVID vaccine when you've already been infected? What are the pros and cons of natural vs. vaccine-acquired immunity?

Universal influenza and coronavirus vaccines: are they possible?

This project will explore current avenues of universal vaccine development- vaccines that target conserved parts of viruses and work against emerging viral variants. Can we beat the evolutionary arms race?

Teaching experience

As an undergrad at Kenyon College, I tutored introductory neuroscience, biology, and a laboratory course on research methods in biology. During my PhD at UChicago, I was a teaching assistant for molecular immunology and experimental immunology. Finally, I've mentored several trainees on various immunology research projects in the past two labs I've worked in.


Work experience

Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard (2014 - 2016)
Research Technician
Stanford University (2013 - 2014)
Research Intern


Kenyon College
BA Bachelor of Arts (2014)
Molecular Biology
University of Chicago
PhD Doctor of Philosophy

Completed Projects

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