Holly Hammond, M.S.

Personal biography

I began my career in science in a slightly backwards way. After initiating my undergraduate career as an English/Primary Education major, I became fascinated with the Biology 101 lab experiments. And as I continued to lose interest in the English/Education treadmill, I decided to enter a Laboratory Assistant Program at UPMC Altoona in Pennsylvania. It was clear to me by the end of that program that I should have continued my education in the field and obtain a bachelor’s degree in Medical Technology. During my undergraduate program at the Pennsylvania State University, I participated in an independent study project developing a screening assay for aflatoxin contamination on stored corn silage under the mentorship of Dr. Daniel Y.C. Fung. After graduation, I proceeded to gain experience in clinical settings as a medical technologist which included launching and directing in-office laboratories in Virginia and Maryland. In between career management, marriage and five children I went on to seek a Master’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Science from the Johns Hopkins University. While opting for field study experiments for my thesis, in collaboration with the Maryland Department of the Environment, I had the opportunity to evaluate novel candidate bacterial indicators of fecal contamination in the Chesapeake Bay estuary system. In spite of the graduate program’s emphasis on teaching careers - the test tubes kept “calling” and I entered a rewarding career in medical research. My research positions held at both the Johns Hopkins University and University of Maryland have included studies in immunology, the human genome project, breast cancer, human embryonic stem cells, malaria, Ebola vaccine development and currently the tick and Anaplasma phagocytophilum project. Raising three boys and two girls included lots of volunteer work at schools, scouts, church, dance and sports (gasp for breath here), but I have also found some time to enjoy dancing, family camping, graphic arts and quilting.


Shaw DK, Wang X, Brown LJ, Chávez AS, Reif KE2, Smith AA, Scott AJ, McClure EE, Boradia VM, Hammond HL, Sundberg EJ, Snyder GA, Liu L, DePonte K, Villar M, Ueti MW, de la Fuente J, Ernst RK, Pal U, Fikrig E, Pedra JH.Infection-derived lipids elicit an immune deficiency circuit in arthropods. Nature Communications 8, Article number: 14401 (2017) doi: 10.1038/ncomms14401.

Wang X, Shaw DK, Hammond HL, Sutterwala FS, Rayamajhi M, Shirey KA, Perkins DJ, Bonventre JV, Velayutham TS, Evans SM, Rodino KG, VieBrock L, Scanlon KM, Carbonetti NH, Carlyon JA, Miao EA, McBride JW, Kotsyfakis M, Pedra JH.The Prostaglandin E2-EP3 Receptor Axis Regulates Anaplasma phagocytophilum-Mediated NLRC4 Inflammasome Activation. PLoS Pathog. 2016 Aug 2;12(8):e1005803. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005803. PMID:27482714.

Hain AU, Weltzer RR, Hammond H, Jayabalasingham B, Dinglasan RR, Graham DR, Colquhoun DR, Coppens I, Bosch J.Structural characterization and inhibition of the Plasmodium Atg8-Atg3 interaction. J Struct Biol. 2012 Dec;180(3):551-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2012.09.001.

Boucher L.E., Lundqvist J.,Weltzer R., Hammond H., Bosch J. In silico approach to identify substrates and inhibitors of malaria proteases. Biophys J (2011) vol. 100 (S1), pp. 216a-217a. doi.org/10.1016/j.bpj.2010.12.1395

Martin G Pomper, Holly Hammond, Xiaobing Yu, Zhaohui Ye, Catherine A Foss, Doris D Lin, James J Fox1, Linzhao Cheng. Serial imaging of human embryonic stem-cell engraftment and teratoma formation in live mouse models. Cell Research 30 December 2008; doi: 10.1038/cr.2008.329.

Mali P, Ye Z, Hammond H, Yu X, Lin J, Chen G, Zou J, Cheng L. Improved efficiency and pace of generating induced pluripotent stem cells from human adult and fetal fibroblasts. Stem Cells, 2008 Aug; 26(8):1998-2005. doi: 10.1634/stemcells.2008-0346

Yu X, Zou, J, Ye, Hammond H, Chen G, Tokunaga A, Mali P, Li YM, Civin C, Gaiano N, Cheng L. Notch signaling activation in human embryonic stem cells is required for embryonic but not trophoblastic lineage commitment. Cell Stem Cell 2008, 2(5): 461-471. doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2008.03.001.

Dravid G, Hammond H, Cheng L. (2006) Culture of human embryonic stem cells on human and mouse feeder cells. Methods Mol Biol. 331:91-104. PMID: 16881511

Current Projects

Here in the Pedra lab my responsibilities are two-fold – primarily a Laboratory Manager, maintaining organization of projects, supplies and schedules. I also communicate with collaborators, write and perform some financial functions for the laboratory. In addition, I provide various support “bench work” for all projects including cell culture, molecular biology and maintenance of the mouse colonies. This is by far, the most diverse laboratory that I have experienced; a wonderful opportunity to apply cell, molecular biology, mouse, data analysis and design skills.

Working in the Pedra lab

Although I have had some experience working in the private sector before beginning medical research, I prefer the world of academia; the variety of projects is plentiful and always a challenge. But no one does research in a vacuum – the lab personnel is a major factor, the “Team Pedra” is a very enlightened, dedicated and effective group. It is a pleasure to work with them. Career satisfaction for me, also revolves around the basic notion of providing a better level of public health and welfare. So I prefer projects directly related to public health and certainly delineating the various aspects of tick borne disease is an excellent exploration with significant potential of improving public health.


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