The Team

Namal Liyanage (Principal Investigator)

Dr. Liyanage received his postdoctoral training with Dr. Genoveffa Franchini at the National Institutes of Health and followed by a research fellow position in the laboratory of Immune Biology and Retroviral section under Dr. Marjorie Robert-Guroff in the Vaccine Branch at NCI.  Dr. Liyanage obtained his undergraduate degree at the Medical School at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka, and his graduate studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. During his post-doctoral training, Dr. Liyanage studied the role of Natural Killer (NK) and mucosal innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) in HIV/SIV pathogenesis and vaccines. Dr. Liyanage was a member of the team that recapitulated the RV144 clinical trial, the first human vaccine trial to show limited but significant protection from HIV acquisition, in rhesus macaques.


Manuja Gunasena B.S. (Ph.D. Candidate)

Bachelor of Science Special Degree with Honors in Immunology and Integrative Molecular Biology from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka (2017). His research project focused on the pathogenesis of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection.




Jerra Furay  (Research volunteer- Undergraduate)

Jerra Furay is a third-year Neuroscience major currently in the college of Arts and Sciences. She has been in the lab since April 2019 and is assisting in many projects including one that focuses on testing an adjuvant candidate for the HIV vaccine. Jerra plans to finish her undergraduate degree and attend medical school focusing on microbiology and neurology.








Tatum Skladany  (BMS Student)

Tatum Skladany is currently a second-year honors student studying biomedical science. Tatum has been in the lab since August 2019 and is currently assisting in multiple projects, including HIV vaccine and adjuvant experiments. She hopes to learn more about microbiology and immunity and plans on going into medicine after graduation.




Will Mulhern (Research volunteer- Undergraduate)

Will Mulhern is a third-year Pharmaceutical Sciences student in the College of Pharmacy at Ohio State University in a direct route to the Doctor of Pharmacy program.  Will has been assisting in the lab since May 2019 and has been involved with the HIV vaccine project. Will plans to pursue a career in research and development within the pharmaceutical industry and/or practice pharmacy at a hospital.



Sarah Board (MD student)

Sarah Board is a rising second-year medical student at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Before moving to Columbus, Sarah graduated from Sewanee: The University of the South with her Bachelor of Science in chemistry and from The University of Cincinnati with her Master of Science in pharmacology. Her research interests include infectious disease, global health, and oncology.






Christina Isckarus (Research volunteer- Undergraduate)


Christina Isckarus is a rising 3rd year within the College of Arts and Sciences and the Honors Program. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry as well as minors in Public Health and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Once completing her undergraduate degree, Christina plans on attending medical school. She is also involved in the Morrill Scholars Program and the Honors Community Council. Her research interests include immunology and oncology.




Trenton Scherger (Research volunteer- Undergraduate)

Trenton Scherger is a rising senior at Kenyon College and is pursuing a pre-med track.





Lab Alumni