Nelson Bighetti

Emily E. Ackerman

She/her · University of Pittsburgh

Hello! I'm a sixth year chemical engineering PhD student using network and mathematical modeling to study immunoregulation during influenza and SARS-CoV-2 infection. I'm looking for a computational postdoc position to start in Fall 2021.




I am a sixth year PhD student in the University of Pittsburgh’s chemical and petroleum engineering program. My thesis work can be divided into two areas:

  • Antiviral drug target identification using network biology
  • Dynamic modeling of the immune response to viral infection

Working at the cellular and systems level, my aim is to better understand the mechanisms driving observed immunoregulatory behavior to improve drug development. While initially using influenza A virus as the primary infection of study, I repeated network controllability studies to efficiently prioritize drug repositioning candidates for treating SARS-CoV-2 infection at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a queer, disabled woman in STEM, I am passionate about the advancement of underrepresented populations in STEM. I have had the opportunity to perform diversity and equity work in academia with Future of Research, the TAE Consortium, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as a Gilliam Fellow. I am also an active advocate in the disability community for equitable access to education and technology. In my free time, I enjoy painting, union organizing with my fellow grad workers, and spending time with my cat, Poppy.