Shannon Jones, Ph.D.

  • Toxicology


    UNC Chapel Hill - Toxicology


    Ilona Jaspers, Ph.D.


As an undergraduate student at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), I was strongly encouraged by faculty members to conduct research and to participate in summer internship programs, as well as research programs on campus. It was during this time, that my interests in teaching and biomedical research began to grow. One of my most memorable experiences as an undergraduate student took place during a visit to WSSU’s campus by current UNC SPIRE fellows.  During their visit, the fellows spoke about their experiences as scientists and also about their interests in teaching. My interactions with the SPIRE fellows and the opportunity to seek their advice were instrumental in helping me achieve my goal of entering graduate school and pursuing a career as a researcher and professor.  

I completed my graduate studies in the laboratory of Dr. Barbara Vilen, in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UNC-Chapel Hill. Under Dr. Vilen’s mentorship, I investigated the role of the cytokine BAFF in regulating key events in the adaptive immune response. As a student Toxicology Ph.D. program at UNC, I was always eager to share my graduate experiences with younger students during recruiting sessions, and to also provide assistance to fellow graduate students with their course work as an academic coach. All of my experiences as a graduate student have strengthened my commitment to a career in research and teaching.

I’m looking forward to using my post-doctoral experiences in the SPIRE program, and in the laboratory of Dr. Ilona Jaspers to develop a research project that can be continued in a primarily undergraduate setting. My future career plans include managing a research laboratory, at a primarily undergraduate institution, that focuses on how environmental exposures may play a role in the dysregulation of immune cells. As a future professor and researcher, I hope to help increase diversity in the scientific workforce, by introducing underrepresented minorities to biomedical research and future careers in science.



  • Fall 2014
    • Concepts in Biology, North Carolina A&T State University
    • Principles & Practices of Immunology, North Carolina A&T State University
    Spring 2014
    • General Biology, North Carolina A&T State University