2020 Midwinter Conference of Immunologists at Asilomar. What a great lab! Felipe, Juan, Kirk, Julia and Angel in the picture.


[Jan 27] Honored and thrilled to receive the ‘Young Investigator Award – for Outstanding Oral Presentation’  at the 59th Midwinter Conference of Immunologists at Asilomar. I’m really pumped to be recognized by some of the leading immunologists in the field.

Pumped to receive the Young Investigator Award!


[Dec 13] Lab picture (below) after reading poems and giving gifts. Picture in front of UC Merced’s ‘New Beginnings’ sculpture with lights!With gifts displayed (and poems read) Sinterklass was so fun!

[August 26] Undergraduate researchers Jennifer Eggleston and Darian Galvez join the lab! Welcome and we wish you the very best in your research pursuits studying Host-Pathogen interactions. A fantastic choice for a research topic.

[August 1] Postdoctoral researcher Juan Camilo Sanchez-Arcila joined the lab. Juan has a wealth of experience in human and parasite immunology obtained his Ph.D. from FIOCRUZ in Rio De Janeiro. Welcome and we are excited to have you join the lab!

[June 20] We received an R21!! R21AI145403

[June 19 – 22] The International Toxoplasma Congress XV was held this year in the beautiful region of Decameron Panaca, Quindio Colombia. Our biennial conference was exciting as always and my graduate student Scott Souza and I each gave talks. This community of Toxoplasma researchers is extremely supportive and I am fortunate to be associated with them. Also, thank you to Juan Sanchez who showed me around Bogota for three days following the conference. What a neat city and great time.

[June 10] I was invited to give a talk at University of Pennsylvania, for the School of Veterinary Medicine, Parasitology Seminar Series. What a great institution and collection of scientists who study molecular parasitology and the immune response to these pathogens. My host, Chris Hunter, showed me around Philadelphia and treated me to the best seafood ever. Shout outs to Sunny Shin, Igor Brodsky, David Roos, James Lok, Michael Povelones, De’Broski Herbert, Oriel Sunyer and Boris Striepen who took time to meet with me and share some of their exciting and unpublished work. I had a great time indeed, thank you for the invite.

[June 3] Undergraduate student Safuwra Wizzard joins the lab! We are excited to have you, and wish you the very best senior year in our lab.

[April 22] Graduate Student Jessica Wilson successfully defends her Masters thesis. Congrats.

[April 16] Scott gave an excellent talk that was well received at the 2019 Woods Hole Immuno-Parasitology (WHIP) meeting. Great bunch of scientists studying the immune response to parasites.

2019 WHIP Scott (3rd from the left) wins a Travel Award for being selected to give an oral presentation on his work.

[April 8] Julia Alvarez received Honorable Mention for her application to the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program! Fantastic job Julia, this is difficult to do!

[March 29] Undergraduate Brooke Wilson joins the lab. Welcome Brooke, we’re excited to have you!

[March 22] Congratulations to Scott, who received a travel award to attend and give a talk at the 2019 Woods Hole Immuno-Parasitology (WHIP) meeting!! Great job Scott.

[February 21] Gave a talk at UC Davis, for the Host-Pathogen Seminar series. Thank you for the invite, UC Davis does fantastic host-pathogen research.

[January 26] Attended the Midwinter Conference of Immunologists at Asilomar, CA. Great talks, interesting science and all around great time discussing science with members of the community.


[December 11] Gave a seminar at UC Davis, for the Center for Comparative Medicine. What a fantastic group of immunologists to discuss host-pathogen interactions with! Thanks for the invite.

[September 28] We got an R01!!!! R01AI137126

[August 15] Julia Alvarez is now a first year graduate student in the lab. Welcome Julia! We are excited that you have joined.

[August 14] Scott Souza has successfully passed his qualifying examination and advanced to candidacy!! Congratulations on all your accomplishments in this busy year.

[July 1] Sam and Scott’s first research paper is published in Infection and Immunity. Congratulation! The manuscript details the limited role of immunotherapeutics in altering disease outcome during virulent secondary infections with T. gondii.

[May 1] Scott Souza gives a fantastic MCB seminar and it was well received. Very impressive presentation, good job Scott. Your hard work is paying off.

[April 20] Not to be outdone, undergraduate student Julia Alvarez is awarded the School of Natural Sciences ‘Outstanding Undergraduate Student’ award. She was one of 5 undergraduate graduating seniors to be given this distinction. Well done Julia!

[April 17] More awards! Wow! At this years 22nd Annual Woods Hole Immunoparasitology Meeting (WHIP) graduate students Angel Kongsomboonvech and Scott Souza win AAI Young Investigator Awards for their oral and poster presentations, respectively. Congrats Angel and Scott!! I imagine there will be more in the future.

2018 WHIP AAI Young Investigator Recipients! Scott and Angel are barely visible, sorry.

[April 14] Felipe Rodriguez does it again, receives ‘Honorable Mention’ for his poster presentation at the 43rd Annual West Coast Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Conference, held at St. Mary’s College, CA.

[March 10] Felipe Rodriguez wins ‘High Honors’ for his poster presentation at the annual UC Leads Conference held in Santa Barbara this year. This is a major recognition, as he was only one of three biologists to receive this distinction.  Congratulations!

[March 7] Undergraduate researchers Julia Alvarez and Felipe Rodriguez are recognized as two of three undergraduates from the School of Natural Sciences to win ‘Best Poster’ awards at UC Merced’s Undergraduate Research week. Fantastic job!

[January 16] I’m excited to learn that we received an R15 award from the NIH on our project to identify novel T. gondii virulence factors that directly manipulate CD8 T cell responses! This is the Jensen lab’s first major award from the NIH. Pumped!

[January 8] I was awarded an internal collaborative seed grant from our MCB department to explore how T. gondii perceives immune pressure. Collaborators on this seed award include Dr. Dave Ardell and Dr. Mike Cleary.


[December 2] I was invited to give a seminar for the Northern California Parasitologists (NCP) meeting at UC Davis. I really enjoyed the afternoon and meet with a fantastic group of parasitologists in the Northern California area.

[November 2] Graduate student, Angel, wins the School of Natural Sciences Distinguished Graduate Fellowship!  Congratulations Angel, you deserve it. This is a competitive award across multiple scientific disciplines represented by SNS at UC Merced.

[August 14] Graduate student, Jessica Wilson, joins the lab. Welcome, Jessica! Your interest in parasites will see you through.

[July 17] Angel Kongsomboonvech passed her Ph.D. qualifying exam. Excellent job and fantastic accomplishment! Keep up the good work.

[June 19] Undergraduate Researcher, Julia Alvarez, joins the lab. Welcome Julia!

[June 12] Undergraduate Researcher, Felipe Rodriguez, joins the lab. Welcome Felipe!

[May 31] Once again the Toxo14 conference, held in Tomar Portugal this year,  showcased fantastic research in Toxoplasma biology.  Graduate student, Angel Kongsomboonvech, gave an oral presentation of her project and it was received well. Also, Lisbon is a really amazing city. I enjoyed site seeing and eating fish!

[May 22] I am honored to become a 2017 Hellman Fellow. The fellowship supports our project studying how novel Toxoplasma virulence factors manipulate CD8 T cell responses. This is a huge honor, and I am excited to see where the project goes next. Thanks to the Hellman Fellowship Program!

[April 29] Congratulations to undergraduate researcher Brandon Justice, who received 2nd place at the 18th Annual Microbiology Student Symposium, hosted by UC Berkeley’s Microbiology Student group, for his poster presentation on large scale genetic deletions in macrophages using CRISPR/CAS9! Fantastic job Brandon!

[April 24] Graduate Student Samantha Splitt, successfully defends her Master’s Thesis. Awesome job! You have made major scientific contributions in such a short time. Good luck in your future endeavors, and we will miss having you in the Jensen lab.

[April 22] Congratulations to undergraduate researcher Anh Diep, who won First Place for Best Talk in the Microbiology and Immunology section at the 42nd Annual West Coast Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Conference! Great job Anh, well deserved and we are proud of what you have accomplished.

[March 6] Graduate Student, Scott Souza joins the lab. Welcome Scott and I look forward to having you in the lab!


[July 12] Undergraduate Researcher, Andrew Curd, joins the lab. Welcome Andrew!

[May 27] Tina’s last day in the Jensen lab. She is heading off to graduate school to obtain her Ph.D. with the Graduate group in Immunology at UC Davis. Congratulations on this accomplishment and it was wonderful to have you in the lab! Good luck.

[May 16] Angel wins best overall poster at the annual QSB graduate program Spring retreat. Fantastic preparation and presentation Angel!

[May 6] I’m featured in the UC Merced Magazine Spring 2016 issue, pg. 15 digital (pg. 12 hard copy).

[March 29] Sam receives an honorable mention on her NSF predoctoral fellowship proposal.  Very difficult to do, so great job Sam!

[January 7] Graduate student Samantha (“Sam”) Splitt joins the lab.

[January 1] Spotlight article in Trends in Parasitology is online “Antigen Presentation of Vacuolated Apicomplexans – Two Gateways to a Vaccine Antigen.” It is a brief review summarizing two papers from the Yamamoto and Blanchard laboratories, that collectively suggest (I think) two host pathways to acquire parasite antigen for the MHC class 1 antigen presentation pathway.


[September, 11] I’m officially serving as the chair of graduate admissions for the QSB graduate program at UC Merced.

[September, 10] UC Merced alumna Tina Truong joins the lab.

[September, 8] Undergraduate student Anh Diep joins the lab.

[July, 10] Marie True’s last day with the Jensen lab. She is entering a Master’s program at UC Irvine. Good luck, and excellent job starting the lab!

[June, 18] Gave a talk at the 13th International Congress on Toxoplasmosis & T. gondii Biology, in Gettysburg PA.  What a great conference and smart collection of scientists.

[June, 8] Graduate student Angel Kongsomboonvech joins the lab.

[June, 8] Undergraduate researcher Brayan Castellanos joins the lab.

[May, 20] Voted “Best overall talk” at the QSB Spring retreat. Thanks QSB graduate students for the nod of approval!

[May, 8] Received an internal award from UC Merced’s Committee on Research. The COR award will provide seed money to explore intestinal inflammation regulation by Toxoplasma.

[April, 10] Undergraduate researcher Brandon Justice joins the lab.

[April, 2] Live interview with Julie Rose on “Top of Mind”. Listen to it here.

[February, 24] Research is featured in Merced’s Sun Star, the Modesto Bee, the Fresno Bee, the Central Valley Business Times and by UC Merced.

[February, 24] Paper on Toxoplasma Super-infection gets published in mBio.


[November, 3] Marie True begins as a Senior Research Associate.

[August, 1] My first day as an Assistant Professor at UC Merced. I am in the Molecular Biology Unit within the School of Natural Sciences.