Current Members


David Leib - PI. David grew up in London, England, within shouting distance of Wembley Stadium, the home of football (a.k.a. soccer). He had an early fascination with microbiology watching Paramecia and amoebae crawling in pond water under his toy microscope. He attended Birmingham University for a BSc in biology, and then Liverpool University for his PhD working on non-human primate herpesviruses.  He then spent 3 years in Priscilla Schaffer's lab at Harvard before taking a faculty position at Washington University in St. Louis. After 19 wonderful years there he moved the lab to Dartmouth in 2009. When not in lab, David enjoys his family, hiking, playing soccer, coaching soccer, watching soccer, and never stops dreaming that England will win the World Cup again.

Audra Charron - Research associate. Audra is a NH native who recently returned to the Northeast after many years marooned in the Midwest. She received her PhD in Cell Biology from Northwestern University in Chicago, and did her postdoctoral work at Washington University in St. Louis. Never one to shy away from that great leveler of the intellect, "the learning curve", Audra has focused on the cell and molecular bases of such varied fields as human kidney disease, host-parasite interactions, and drought resistance in plants. She is now working on HSV genes that alter intrinsic and innate immunity.  If not for the call of science Audra would surely be a woman of leisure: her favorite pastimes are yoga, horseback riding, kayaking, and cooking.

Jesse Mehrbach - Technician. Jesse is a graduate of the University of Chicago and has studied biotechnology and music. He was born in Boston and grew up in the Upper Valley area. In his 8th grade yearbook he predicted that he would be a virologist, so he's very excited to be working with HSV. He enjoys fencing and board games, and his favorite animal is the cuttlefish.

Chaya Patel - Graduate Student, MCB. Chaya hails from sunny southern California. At UCLA she majored in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics (partly because of the startling number of syllables) and was inadvertently captivated by bacteriophage research. Determined to see real snow, Chaya found herself transplanted to Dartmouth where she is understanding how to harness maternal immunity to prevent neonatal herpes infections. She is also the resident pyschovirologist and can often be found analyzing how herpes infection changes mouse and human behavior alike. Outside of the laboratory Chaya can be found practicing yoga, dancing, skiing, and eating ice cream—often all at the same time.

Richard Manivanh - Graduate Student, MCB. Richard was born and raised in Portland, OR. He first became fascinated with infectious diseases while studying malaria in lizards at Pacific University where he received his BS in Biology. He worked for 3 years as a research assistant at Stanford University on development of an artificial retina which confirmed his passion for repetition, working long hours, and overanalyzing negative data. Naturally, he joined Dartmouth's MCB program in 2013 and is ecstatic to be working with Herpes on ways in which it controls the host immune system. By learning from viruses, he wishes to someday commandeer the Leib Lab. When not in lab, he can be found restoring old motorcycles in the barn, building tube radios, or cycling around many of Vermont's beautiful back roads.

Stacey Ceron - Graduate Student, MCB. Prior to arriving at Dartmouth, Stacey graduated from Drew University with degrees in both Biology and French. It was there that her love for microbiology began when she studied biofilm formation in Vibrio cholerae. This led her to pursue a Master of Science in Microbiology at Wagner College. Originally from New York City, she has recently started to embrace nature. She enjoys rock climbing, paddle boarding, horseback riding and skiing.




Iara Backes - Graduate Student, MD/PhD. Co-mentored by Margie Ackerman. Hailing from the Andes but most recently from sunny Florida, where I got my Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at the University of Florida. My introduction to science began in an organic chemistry synthesis lab, then to physiology, and finally to the world of immunology and virology. I’ve always been a host-pathogen interactions fangirl and I’m excited to delve into HSV’s. New Hampshire has, hands down, the best summers I have ever experienced. You’ll often find me in the river, paddling to my heart’s desire on a kayak.        


Sean Taylor - Research assistant. A native of the Upper Valley, Sean has returned to the region after graduating from McGill University. At McGill, Sean studied Microbiology and Immunology so is excited to be able to put his degree to work. Sean also worked as a first responder and bar-back during school so is very used to a flexible schedule with sleep as an elusive object. When not in the lab, Sean can often be found hiking in the White Mountains with the goal of hiking all forty-eight 4000-footers.