ID Division Welcomes 2022 First-Year Fellows
August 18, 2022 | Erin DuPont
On July 1, 2022, a new group of first-year fellows joined the Division of Infectious Diseases. Attracted to Baltimore from across the country, these physicians are the latest in a long line of dedicated early-career clinicians and investigators to choose Johns Hopkins to further their training.
Caitlin Visek, MD, is a Chicago-area native who completed her undergraduate degree in Boston and earned her MD from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Before pursuing medicine, Caitlin worked for a health care consulting firm in Washington, DC, and worked with the CDC and Chicago Department of Public Health during medical school and residency.
Experiences in global health, first as an undergrad and later in medical school, inspired Caitlin’s desire to pursue infectious diseases as a specialty. Her research interests include viral respiratory diseases, quality improvement, and public health. “In residency, I always found the ID cases the most interesting and loved all the ID faculty I worked with, so it was a natural fit,” she says. As she set out on the fellowship interview trail, she was impressed by Hopkins’ strong public health connections through the Bloomberg School of Public Health and close partnership with the Baltimore City Health Department. Also helping drive her decision to return to the Washington-Baltimore metro area were the warm welcome from ID faculty interviewers and Hopkins’ enthusiastic support for research and master’s coursework during fellowship training. A bonus for Caitlin: “The location was close to family that my husband and I have in the Baltimore/DC area, including my sister-in-law, who is a pediatric intensive care fellow at Hopkins!” Over the next three years of fellowship training, Dr. Visek hopes to dive into clinical ID, develop a strong research skillset, and create a career path forward in infectious diseases.
On living in Baltimore, Caitlin says the best part so far has been spending time with family and friends in the area, especially her one-and-a-half-year-old nephew. She and her husband are making themselves at home in their Canton neighborhood, where Caitlin enjoys exploring Canton Square and the Baltimore restaurant scene, running along the waterfront, and going to Patterson Park.
Lucy Li, MD, PhD, has been with Johns Hopkins since her medical residency. She earned her graduate degree and MD from Washington University in St. Louis before moving to Baltimore to complete her residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital. At the WashU School of Medicine, Lucy developed an interest in fungal pathogens and conducted research on virulence factors in Cryptococcus neoformans. Outside of medicine, Dr. Li enjoys hiking, baking, and exploring area museums.
Sean Anderson, MD, is another Midwest transplant. He grew up near Milwaukee, attended the University of Michigan, received his MD from Medical College of Wisconsin, and completed residency at the University of Chicago.
As an undergraduate studying ecology and evolutionary biology at Michigan, Sean discovered a natural affinity for host/pathogen science. He says, “It came very naturally to me; I understood it almost like a second language, and this understanding really helped tie together my view of the world.” During his medical education and residency, Sean researched viral oncogenesis under Dr. Vera Tarakanova at Medical College of Wisconsin and HIV diagnostic disparities at UChicago Medicine with Dr. Moira McNulty. When it came time to further his specialty training, he found ID to be a perfect fit: “This field is the most direct application of this type of science on a clinical level.” Choosing Johns Hopkins was an easy decision, too. Sean found the ID Division’s reputation for world-class clinical training with a varied patient population and endless opportunities for growth as a physician-scientist most appealing. Dr. Anderson’s primary goal for his fellowship is to develop a career path that will allow him to apply ecological and evolutionary science to patient care, likely by exploring ways to use the human microbiome to prevent disease. More broadly, though, he looks forward to learning daily from Hopkins’ ID faculty mentors and his “excellent co-fellows.”
An avid baseball player, Sean judges a city by its baseball fandom and in that regard, Baltimore does not disappoint. He says the best part about living in Charm City is “the amount of enthusiasm and loyalty that people show toward the Orioles. It seems like a fantastic baseball city which, in my experience, is the best litmus test for the true soul of a place.”
Seth Judson, MD, came to Baltimore by way of Arizona and California, where he developed a passion for the intersection of health and the environment at an early age. He received his undergraduate degree from Stanford, earned his MD from UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, and completed residency at the University of Washington.
“I first became interested in infectious diseases while doing research in a marine biology lab in high school,” Seth explains. “I spent my summers wading through salt marshes and dissecting invertebrates to find parasitic trematodes. From these experiences, I became interested in the unseen world of microbes and disease ecology.” Exploring tide pools as a teenager led Seth to study disease ecology and bat-borne pathogens as a Stanford undergrad, which eventually resulted in an NIH fellowship researching ecology and transmission of Ebola viruses and corona viruses. In residency, Seth rounded out his medical training with SARS-CoV-2 transmission assessment and COVID-19 regional risk and data reporting in Africa. He attributes his desire to become an ID physician-scientist to his experiences working with investigators on the front lines of the Ebola virus disease epidemic in West Africa. As for his decision to pursue specialty training at Johns Hopkins, Seth says, “I was drawn to the ID Division at Johns Hopkins because of its emphasis on strong research mentorship, clinical training, and international collaborations.” Hopkins stood out as “the best place in the country to achieve my career goals as a physician and researcher studying emerging zoonotic diseases and pandemic preparedness.” Dr. Judson looks forward to receiving excellent clinical training from Hopkins’ ID faculty and building an interdisciplinary research mentorship team that will help answer questions about the emergence, detection, and prevention of spillover infections. He also hopes to explore further epidemiology training through the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
As a newcomer to Maryland, Seth seems to be fitting right in, having already developed a taste for Old Bay and blue crabs. He enjoys exploring Baltimore’s diverse and historic neighborhoods with his wife, and says he appreciates how friendly and helpful people in the community have been. Seth also shares that he’s seeing some East Coast wildlife for the first time, like fireflies and cardinals, though so far the only Orioles he’s spotted have been at Camden Yards.
Of this year’s group of first-year fellows, Dr. Michael Melia, Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of the ID Fellowship Program, has very high hopes.
“We are thrilled to have recruited another spectacular cohort of fellows into our fellowship training program. Sean, Seth, Lucy, and Cait each possess superb clinical skills, compelling and diverse research aspirations, and genuine drive to serve as future leaders in our field,” Dr. Melia says. “We are incredibly fortunate that they have chosen to train with us, and we are beyond excited for what the next three years will bring.”