Prior to commencing his AAAS fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Byrnes conducted postdoctoral research at Johns Hopkins University that was focused on infectious diseases translational research. Specifically, he worked on the establishment of a prospective natural history study for reporting clinical outcomes of Cryptococcus gattii infections in the United States. These studies allow for analyses of epidemiology, therapeutic efficacy, clinical risks, and patient outcomes. This work is aimed at fostering translational research to enhance diagnosis, prognosis, and patient outcomes and serve as a paradigm for examinations of emerging microbial pathogens. During his graduate studies, Dr. Byrnes examined the molecular epidemiology, expansion, population structure, and virulence of the emerging fungal pathogen C. gattii in the United States. Some of his findings included the documentation of an expansion of C. gattii outbreak strains from Canada into the United States and the emergence and characterization of a novel and highly virulent genotype unique to Oregon. Upon the publication of his results, there was significant interest from national and international media organizations and Dr. Byrnes conducted an interview for a nationally broadcast National Public Radio segment to aid in summarizing his findings to the general public. He grew up in the New York City Metropolitan area, received his BS (Microbiology) from the University of Maryland, College Park, and his PhD (Molecular Genetics and Microbiology) from Duke University.