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Current Students

Aaron Altman

Aaron Altman

PhD (1st year)

Department: N/A
Advisor: Dr. Chan

Research Interests

I’m in my third year here at Upstate, having finished my first two years of medical school and just starting my graduate studies. It’s been a privilege to study here at Upstate, and an honor to be selected for the MD/PhD program. I grew up in Woodbridge, CT and then attended college at Pomona College where I graduated in 2013 with a BA in Molecular Biology. I loved Upstate the moment I came for my interview and met the faculty, staff, and students of the program. In the three years since that date, I have never once regretted my choice.

In June, I started my graduate research in Dr. Gary Chan’s lab. My research will focus on CMV-mediated necroptosis in human monocyte cells. CMV is a member of the herpesviridae family of viruses that includes HSV1 and HSV2, perhaps the most well-known virus in the family. When CMV infects monocytes (the precursor cell to the macrophage), it engages with a number of proteins in the cell to inhibit the programmed death of these cells, thereby defeating one of the primary vectors of resistance we have to these viruses. I will be studying the interaction that CMV glycoproteins have with Receptor Interacting Protein Kinase 3 (the most appropriately named RIP3), which normally encourages cell death, aka necroptosis. Though I’ve just begun my research in the lab, the implications of elucidating this pathway are extremely exciting.

Beyond the lab I enjoy golfing, traveling, bowling, and long walks on the beach. Syracuse has an abundance of cheap and well maintained golf courses that are well utilized in the spring and summer months. Though winter is long, the springs and summers are beautiful in central New York. Recently, I’ve also moved into a new place that allows me to test out new recipes in the kitchen pretty much every night. After a long day of hard working or studying, cooking or baking is the perfect relaxing activity with the prize of food at the end! I also occasionally enjoy a good board game night with my favorites including Resistance, Eclipse, Bang!, and Dominion.