Ashley Mello

Immunology Program Graduate Student Pre-Candidate
Rackham Merit Fellow

Biography

Ashley graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA) in 2020 with a B.S. in Biochemistry. While at XULA, Ashley was a part of the National Institutes of Health Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (NIH BUILD) Initiative, which was aimed at engaging students from diverse backgrounds in biomedical research, and worked in the lab of Dr. Thomas Huckaba. In the Huckaba lab, Ashley studied the neuronally enriched kinesin motor protein KIF5A, one of 87 genes known to cause a progressive neurodegenerative disease called hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) when mutated. She also studied functional relationships between all 87 HSP-related genes. Additionally, Ashley studied the microtubule associated protein tau and protein kinase casein kinase 1 in the context of Alzheimer's disease. During an internship at the University of California, Davis in the summer of 2019, Ashley worked in the lab of Dr. Jamal Lewis and studied changes in the calcium concentration of phagosomes in macrophages during a cellular process called vomocytosis after fungal cell or microparticle uptake. Ashley joined the University of Michigan's Graduate Program in Immunology in the fall of 2020.

Research Interests

Ashley's research focuses on understanding how hypoxia regulates tumor immune microenvironments through the crosstalk between tumor cells, fibroblasts, and immune cells.

Techniques

3D Pancreas Organoids, Orthotopic Transplantation Models, GEMMS, qRT-PCR, Co-IF, Fluorescence Microscopy, Western Blotting

Awards

University of Michigan Rackham Merit Fellow (2020-Present)
American Chemical Society Louisiana Local Section Outstanding Chemistry Student (2020)
Xavier University of Louisiana Department of Chemistry Service Award (2020)
Clare Boothe Luce Scholar (2019-2020)
University of California, Davis HBCU Initiative Summer Research Program Completion Award (2019)
Beta Kappa Chi and the National Institute of Science Joint Annual Meeting Oral Presentation Award (2019)
Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students Poster Presentation Award (2018)
National Institutes of Health Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity Scholar (2018-2020)
Xavier University of Louisiana Rousseve Scholar (2017-2020)

Abstracts

Ashley Mello, Angel'Niqua Dixon, Jedera Nwoke, and Thomas Huckaba. “Using Protein Interaction Networks to Understand Kinesin-based Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia,” American Society for Cell Biology and European Molecular Biology Organization Joint Meeting, 2019 (Poster Presentation)

Ashley Mello, Melissa Cruz-Acuña, and Jamal Lewis. “Investigation of Calcium Fluxes in Macrophages After Fungal Cell or Microparticle Uptake,” Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, 2019 and University of California, Davis Summer Undergraduate Research Poster Session, 2019 (Poster Presentations)

Ashley Mello, Angel'Niqua Dixon, Jedera Nwoke, and Thomas Huckaba. “Determining a Shared Cellular Process Among Spastic Paraplegia Genes,” Xavier University of Louisiana Department of Chemistry Seminar Series, 2019 (Oral Presentation)

Ashley Mello, Angel'Niqua Dixon, Jedera Nwoke, and Thomas Huckaba. “Bioinformatic Analysis of Spastic Paraplegia Gene Interactions,” Xavier University of Louisiana Festival of Scholars, 2019 (Poster Presentation)

Ashley Mello, Angel'Niqua Dixon, Jedera Nwoke, and Thomas Huckaba. “Determining the Subset of Cellular Cargoes Transported by KIF5A,” Beta Kappa Chi and the National Institute of Science Joint Annual Meeting, 2019 and Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, 2018 (Oral and Poster Presentations)

Ashley Mello, Angel'Niqua Dixon, Jedera Nwoke, and Thomas Huckaba. “Identifying Mislocalized Cellular Cargoes in Patients with Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia,” Xavier University of Louisiana Summer Research Symposium, 2018 and Xavier University of Louisiana BUILD Interdisciplinary Seminar, 2018 (Oral and Poster Presentations)

Marquis Bell, Ashley Mello, Taryana Peterson, and Tiffany Phillips. “2, 4, 6, 8 The Air Quality in St. Rose is Not So Great,” Xavier University of Louisiana Festival of Scholars, 2017 (Poster Presentation)

Publications

Mello, Ashley. "The Pink Winged Penny Angel", Baltimore: Scriber Graphics & Publishing, 2013. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/1jKRi4JZVEAsED/bibliography/public/

Hobbies and Extracurricular Activities

Outside of lab, Ashley enjoys video chatting with her twin brother and other family members, watching anime, reading (mainly manga), and trying new things. She also enjoys activities that allow her to combine two of her biggest passions: science and serving others.