Congratulations to Lillian Dillard, Recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) Predoctoral Fellowship Award

Lillian Dillard was awarded a predoctoral fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in August of 2022. Lillian is a 4th year PhD candidate in the Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics program who is training in Dr. Jason Papin’s lab in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Her research uses computational systems biology approaches to study the functional metabolism of Gardnerella, the primary pathogen in bacterial vaginosis (BV). Bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal condition among women of reproductive age, and can lead to significant health effects including preterm birth and increased risk of contracting STDs. By combining co-culture experiments and computational reconstructions of bacterial genomes, Lillian is focused on elucidating essential metabolites that underlie the polymicrobial communities of BV. She hopes to improve treatment efficacy and reduce rates of BV recurrence through a better understanding of Gardnerella’s metabolism in a community state. Lillian hopes to bring more attention to the deficit in women’s health research. After completing her degree Lillian plans to move to San Francisco to pursue a career in biotech.