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Holly c. Lewis

Current Status: M4

Graduate Department: Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis

Previous Education: A.B. Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University;  

Advisor(s): Jacques Galipeau, MD;

Hometown: Boston, MA


Last year, I helped found Sickle & Flow, a collaboration of artists, scientists, and patients to increase blood and stem cell donor diversity. The translation of science & music from bench-to-bedside helped inspire me to chair CJ17: The Work of Art. Emory has welcomed the NIH director of LGBT health, humanities scholars, and activists to campus, exploring ways to translate work in the library, lab or artist-loft into progressive social change. I also co-founded and help direct the, a chartered student group and IRB clinical trial that aims to reduce childhood medical anxiety with Atlanta kindergarteners.

I graduated from Harvard University with a concentration in Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and a secondary in Romance Languages and Literatures. As an undergraduate, I studied iron sequestration in mouse models of tuberculosis and performed a total synthesis of influenza antiviral compounds. Between college and medical school, I spent two years working for Boston Children's Hospital, studying mouse models of smallpox vaccination, eczema and food allergies.

My language and literature studies have focused on Catalan, Portuguese, and Spanish.  As a Weissman International Fellow, I spent a summer interning for CatSalut, the public health care system of Barcelona. Since arriving at Emory, I have collaborated with faculty at the Rollins School of Public Health, including the Department of Environmental Health, studying aromatic hydrocarbon toxins and their relation to carcinogenesis. As an independent research student with the Rollins Department of Global Health, I traveled to eastern Cuba to study their public healthcare system, drawing comparisons with systems in Honduras and Brazil. As a first-year medical student, I participated in a student exchange program with Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico, attending lectures, hospital rounds, street medicine and an inspirational teddy bear hospital.

I volunteer as often as I can with the South Georgia Migrant Farmworker Health Project, Good Samaritan Health Center, the Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia, and various Latin American consulates as a medical interpreter and clinical student at community health fairs and cancer screening events.


My PhD research has been in the laboratory of Dr. Jacques Galipeau, director of the Emory Personalized Immunotherapy Center.  I’ve studied mesenchymal stem cells, or what I like to call the tolerance-inducing cells of the immune system. If we understand more about how the body teaches and maintains tolerance to its own tissues, then we can use this knowledge in our CULTURE system to make transplants more effective for more people.