Cystic Fibrosis Research & Advocacy


Rotation Student Summer 2021

Carnegie Mellon University, Biomedical Engineering Department (PI: Keith Cook, PhD)

Worked on biofabricated lung development by growing lung stem cells on a fully biological collagen I membrane and measuring the thickness and differentiation markers

Rotation Student Summer 2020

University of Pittsburgh, Bioengineering Department (PI: Tim Corcoran, PhD)

Statistical analysis of lung nuclear imaging data resulting in a poster at NACFC (below).

Applied introductory machine learning techniques

Research Scientist & Engineer – Assistant October 2018 – June 2020

University of Washington, Department of Microbiology (PI: Pradeep Singh, MD)

Investigating mechanisms of antibiotic resistance and persistence in chronic cystic fibrosis lung infections, particularly in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Characterized phenotypic and genotypic changes in P. aeruginosa before and after starting protein corrector treatments to investigate why infection persists.

Developed novel protocol for isolating antibiotic-resistant P. aeruginosa from clinical sputum samples.

Research Technician June 2013 – September 2018

UNC Cystic Fibrosis Center (PI: Scott Randell, PhD)

Completed senior thesis on directed lung stem cell migration with chemokine-directed “smart cells.”

Developed a novel chemotaxis protocol for testing migratory ability of lung cells.

Demonstrated appreciable lung cell migration toward IL-8 after viral transduction with chemokine

receptor, for use in future cell therapy applications for cystic fibrosis (CF).

Data from my project was used to win a two-year extension of the CREATV CFF grant.

Demonstrated and optimized WT cell engraftment into differentiated CF cell cultures using

dose-dependent applications of sodium caprate and polidocanol.

Characterized in vitro growth and colony forming ability of alveolar type II stem cells using flow

cytometry and different culture methods.

Used flow cytometry to correlate cell surface markers with colony forming ability of different lung

stem cell isolates in order to identify an ideal cell type for stem cell therapy.

Undergraduate Research Assistant January - May 2015

Duke University Cell Biology Department (PI: Brigid Hogan, PhD)

Contributed to a project on characterizing lung stem cell niches using a mouse model

Presentations and Posters

A Li, E Comber, & K Cook. (2021). “Towards Development of Biohybrid Artificial Lungs for

Delivery of Supplementary Oxygen in Patients with End-Stage Lung Disease.” (Poster presentation). MSTP Retreat 2021.

Corcoran TE, Bertrand C, Myerburg MM, Parker R, Weiner DJ, Frizzell S, Li A, Agostini B,

Shapiro M, Muthukrishnan A, Hages ND, Mulhern BP, Pilewski JM. (2021). “Correlations between

human nasal cell and lung physiology and therapeutic response in Cystic Fibrosis patients, single

disease-causing CFTR mutation carriers, and healthy controls.” (Abstract, ATS conference 2021).

A Li, ND Hages, ME Shapiro, CA Bertrand, MM Myerburg, JM Pilewski, RS Parker,

TE Corcoran. (2020). “Comparisons of Imaging-Based Measures of Lung Physiology to Nasal

Epithelial Cell Physiology in Cystic Fibrosis and Single-Mutation Carriers.” North American Cystic

Fibrosis Conference (Poster).

Li, A., Wang, Y., Miller, S., Asokan, S., Bear, J., & Randell, S.H. (2017). “Adenoviral

transduction of CXCR1 into HBEs may induce directed migration toward an IL-8 gradient.”

Biology Majors Senior Thesis Fall Symposium (Poster & Oral Defense). Duke University,

Durham, NC.

Boggs, Z., Miller, S., Li, A., & Randell, S.H. (2017). “Isolation, Culture, and Growth of Human

Alveolar Type II Pneumocytes.” John P. Graham Student Research Day (Poster). UNC School

of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC.

Miller, S., Li, A., Quinney, N., Gentzsch, M., Magness, S.T., & Randell, S.H. (2016). “Towards

Somatic Epithelial Cell Therapy for Cystic Fibrosis.” New Technologies Advancing Toward a

One-Time Cure, Conference (Poster presentation). Hyatt Regency, Savannah, GA.


Durfey S, Pipavath S, Li A, Vo A, Ratjen A, Carter S, Morgan S, Radey M, Grogan B, Salipante S,

Welsh M, Stoltz D, Goss C, McKone E, & Singh P. “Combining Ivacaftor and Intensive Antibiotics Achieves Limited Clearance of Cystic Fibrosis Infections.” Submitted to mBio for review


Corcoran TE, Bertrand C, Myerburg MM, Frizzell S, Li A, Agostini B, Parker R, Shapiro M, Muthukrishnan A, Hages N, Mulhern B, Pilewski JM. “Correlations between human nasal cell and

lung physiology and therapeutic trsponse in cystic fibrosis patients, single disease-causing CFTR

mutation carriers, and healthy controls.” In prep.; contact T. Corcoran (

Li A, Wang Y, Gunn MD, & Randell S. “Adenoviral transduction of CXCR1 into human bronchial epithelial cells may stimulate directed migration towards IL-8.” Duke University Department of Immunology, Senior Thesis Dec 2017.