Ayana Paul is originally from Charlotte, NC and is a recent graduate from Duke University, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences (Class of 2021). There she received her bachelor’s in science for Biological Sciences with a concentration in Cell and Molecular Biology and minored in Global Health. Ayana is a first-generation college graduate and graduated with distinction from the Biological Sciences department.
Beginning the Summer of 2018, she began studying the opportunistic fungal pathogen, Cryptococcus neoformans in Dr. John Perfect’s lab under the mentorship of both Dr. Perfect, MD and Dr. Jennifer Tenor, PhD. There she explored the molecular mechanisms for virulence expression and the evolutionary mechanisms of hypervirulence acquisition in C. neoformans.
She is currently a member of the 2021-2022 cohort of MUSC’s Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) and studies the opportunistic bacterial oral pathogen, Porphyromonas gingivalis, in Dr. Ozlem Yilmaz’s Laboratory. Ayana is now exploring the molecular basis for virulence and the persistence of P. gingivalis in human gingival epithelial cells.