School of Medicine


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  • Marla McPherson

    Marla McPherson

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Transplantation Surgery

    Bio As a postdoctoral fellow, my research aim is to improve our understanding of a category of Epstein Barr Virus (EBV)+ B cell lymphoma termed "PTLD", which arises in immunosuppressed or immunocompromised EBV-infected patients, including solid organ recipients. My projects are focused on (1) host genomic perturbations generated by EBV that may contribute to tumorigenesis in EBV+ B cell lymphoma, (2) EBV-based modulation of the host human miRNA network and its alteration of the host PI3K/Akt pathway in infected B cells, and (3) unique systemic and B cell-centric changes in the immune systems of pediatric organ transplant recipients who develop EBV+ PTLD. I am investigating potential mechanisms of EBV-induced B cellular proliferation and transformation. Improved understanding of the mechanisms of EBV pathogenesis may help identify new therapeutic targets for EBV-associated malignancies. My research is performed under the guidance of Dr. Olivia M. Martinez, a well-recognized leader in transplant immunology and Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) research. I have already contributed to collaborative projects focused on EBV+ B lymphomas in the lab, resulting in a second-authored research publication in the American Journal of Transplantation.
    To cultivate a robust scientific community at Stanford, I volunteer as a member of the Stanford Immunology Postdoctoral Committee and as lead organizer of the annual Immunology Postdoc Symposium. Through this scientific outreach, I have gained valuable experience in management, leadership, and networking. My training plan additionally includes other activities for research career development, including student mentoring, grantsmanship, computational biology workshops/courses, and conference presentations. Recently, I presented my preliminary research findings at the Stanford Immunology Research Conference (2018) and the International Congress of The Transplantation Society (2018).