Field of Science

Thomas "Vandy" Vanderford, PhD

Belated, but sincere, congratulations to Vandy on the successful defense of his PhD thesis on August 13th. His dissertation is entitled "Adaptation of a diverse SIVsm population to natural and non-natural hosts". Vandy was a student in the Population Biology, Ecology & Evolution (PBEE) program at Emory University and he was jointly supervised by myself and Silvija Straprans. Even though I moved from Emory to Iowa in 2003, Vandy continued to work with me on the evolutionary aspects of his research on SIV. To make things happen, he travelled mutiple times to Iowa City and I went to Atlanta a few times, too.

Vandy gave a clear talk which was followed by some questions by the audience and commitee members. His post-seminar defense was rather short--his committee didn't even grill him! What a lucky guy. Afterwards, Vandy was treated to a reception hosted by the Vaccine Center (where Silvija's lab was located--she is now at Merck). After the festivities, Vandy and I spent the remaining afternoon celebrating over a few beers (picture above taken at that time) while listening to The Raconteurs. Later, accompanied by Vandy's girlfriend, Mitzi (who drove) we had dinner and a few more beers at the Brick Store Pub. I'm proud to add Vandy to my list of PhD grads. Congratulations, Dr. Vanderford!

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