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Doctoral Students

Gamid Abatchev

Gamid Abatchev, Bimolecular Graduate Program, studio portrait, Priscilla Grover photoResearch: Researching and developing cancer treatments, emphasizing electrochemotherapy and liposomal chemotherapy drug delivery.

Advisor: Dr. Daniel Fologea

Marcelo Ayllon

Marcelo Ayllon, Bimolecular Graduate Program, studio portrait, Priscilla Grover photoCurrently in Lab Rotations
Teaching Biology 100 Lab

Devin Bendixsen

Devin Bendixsen, Biomolecular Sciences, Studio PortraitResearch: RNA fitness landscapes and the evolution of novel RNA functions.

Advisor: Dr. Eric Hayden

Sheenah Bryant

Sheenah Bryant, Biomolecular Sciences, Studio PortraitResearch: Unique risk factors that contribute to decline in bone mass and bone quality during extended spaceflight and mission operations are a major concern of any space program. While in these conditions, an astronaut may lose up to 1-2% of total bone mass each month, a loss ten times higher than for severe osteoporosis on Earth. Mitigation of multiple pathophysiologies and development of clinical practice guidelines is crucial for extended space flight and depends on understanding the process of bone loss at a molecular level. My research plan is to demonstrate that mechanical unloading, as experienced in the microgravity of space, triggers alterations in the ion transport of osteoclasts, leading to bone resorption

Advisor: Dr. Daniel Fologea

Steven Burden

Steven Burden, Biomolecular Science, studio portraitResearch: developing a more accurate qPCR assay for telomere quantitation, and developing RNA reporters that only fluoresce when in the presence of a ligand and a fluorophore

Advisor: Dr. Eric Hayden

Giovan Cholico

Giovan Cholico, Biomolecular Science, studio portraitResearch: I work towards understanding the role AhR plays in the generation of fibrotic hepatic tissue.

Advisor: Dr. Kristen Mitchell

Jacob Crow

Jacob Crow, Biology, studio portraitResearch: Molecular regulation of Matrix Gla Protein, a crucial vascular calcification inhibitor

Advisor: Dr. Allan Albig

Josh Eixenberger

Josh Eixenberger, Biomolecular Sciences, studio portraitResearch: The mechanisms of nanoparticle cytotoxicity and how the physiochemical properties of the nanoparticles, the cells and the environment impact the mechanism of cytotoxicity and their toxicity profile

Advisors: Dr. Alex Punnoose, Dr. Denise Wingett, and Dr. Daniel Fologea

Sarah Kobernat

Sarah Kobernat, Bimolecular Graduate Program, studio portrait, Priscilla Grover photoResearch:
Understanding the role of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor in cholestatic liver injury and fibrosis.

Advisor: Dr. Kristen Mitchell

Leslie Kendrick

Research: Post Concussive Biomarkers

Advisor: Dr. Denise Wingett

Bryce Lafoya

Bryce LaFoya, Biomolecular Sciences, studio portraitResearch: Studying how Notch and integrin signaling pathways coordinate vascular cell behavior


Advisor: Dr. Allan Albig

Abir Rahman

Amir Rahman, Bimolecular Research Center, Graduate Student, studio portraitResearch: Understanding the molecular mechanisms of Parkinson’s Disease manifestation in critical to developing new modes of therapy. My research focuses on the PD associated gene VPS 35 and how mutations in the gene can affect key cellular processes such as Macroautophagy, in turn affecting cell survival.

Advisor: Dr. Brad Morrison

Shivakumar Rayavara

Shivakumar Rayarara, Biology, studio portraitResearch: Toxicology of AhR ligands during liver regeneration and fibrosis.

Advisor: Dr. Kristen Mitchell

Jessica Roberts

Jessica Roberts, Bimolecular Graduate Program, studio portrait, Priscilla Grover photoCurrently in Lab Rotations
Teaching Biology 191 Lab

Mark Smith

Mark Smith [tag], Bimolecular Science, studio portraitResearch: Mark Smith studies drug delivery systems, with particular emphasis on liposomes as the drug carrier, and the cells of the immune system as the target organ. As his compelling interest is the autoimmune disease type 1 diabetes, his research is directed toward eliminating or modulating the behavior of the immune cells which are responsible for this disease.
Advisors: Dr. Daniel Fologea and Dr. Denise Wingett

Alex Soto

Alex Soto, Bimolecular Graduate Program, studio portrait, Priscilla Grover photoResearch: Understanding the role of lipids on the regulation of autophagy in Parkinson’s Disease.

Advisor: Dr. Brad Morrison

Matt Turner

Matthew Turner, Biomolecular Sciences, Studio PortraitResearch: Using computational prediction and wet bench validation to investigate receptor-ligand interactions of alpha-conotoxins and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in order to improved the binding affinity and selectivity of conotoxins for particular receptor subtypes.

Advisor: Dr. Owen McDougal

Rosey Whiting

Rosey Whiting, Bimolecular Graduate Program, studio portrait, Priscilla Grover photoCurrently in Lab Rotations
Teaching Biology 205 Lab

Masters Students


Doctoral Graduates

Catherine Anders

Biology Portraits, Catherine Anders, PortraitsResearch: Physicochemical properties of metal oxide nanomaterials and how those properties influence nanoparticle-induced cytotoxicity

Graduation Date: December, 2017

Advisors: Dr. Alex Punnoose and Dr. Denise Wingett

Hunter Covert, Ph.D.

Biology Portraits, Hunter Covert, PortraitsResearch: The contribution of inflammatory cytokines to breast tumor progression; with a focus on metastatic events leading to the development of secondary tumors.

Graduation Date: May, 2017

Advisor: Dr. Cheryl Jorcyk

Cheri Lamb, Ph.D.

Cheri Lamb, Biomolecular Sciences, studio portrait, photo by Priscilla GroverResearch: Investigating the consequences of TCDD exposure on hepatic stellate cell activation and extracellular matrix remodeling during chronic liver injury. TCDD is a persistent environmental contaminant whose toxic effects are mediated by the aryl hydrocarbon receptor. A focus in our lab is to understand the physiological role of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor in the liver.

Graduation Date: May, 2016

Advisor: Dr. Kristen Mitchell

Neha Misra, Ph.D.

Neha Misra, Biomolecular Sciences, studio portraitResearch: Designing multivalent vaccine for Staphylococcus aureus caused mastitis.

Graduation Date: December, 2017

Advisor: Dr. Juliette Tinker

Jonathan Reeck, Ph.D.

Biology Portraits, Jonathon Reeck, PortraitsResearch: Studying molecules that regulate the formation of the cartilage and bone, interested in the contribution of a particular molecule, COL11A1, in influencing cell behavior to establish the cartilage and bone architecture during development.

Graduation Date: May, 2017

Advisor: Dr. Julia Oxford

Nisha Shrestha, Ph.D.

Nisha Shrestha, Biomolecular Sciences, studio portraitResearch: Using lysenin channels, which are pore-forming proteins extracted from earthworm, as nano-sensing devices for analysis and characterization of single molecules. In addition, exploiting their unique regulatory mechanisms will enable controlled transport of small and large molecules across artificial or natural lipid membranes. These complex investigations of lysenin channels as both nano-sensing devices and stimuli-actuated nano-valves provides fundamental insights into complex functionalities of biological nanopores and opportunities for techniques and methodologies that will enable improved single-molecule characterization, development of nano-biosensing devices, design of nano-carriers for controlled delivery of chemicals and therapeutic agents, and temporary permeabilization of cell membranes for controlled loading of non-permeant molecules.

Graduation Date: August, 2017

Advisors: Dr. Daniel Fologea and Dr. Juliette Tinker

Ken Tawara, Ph.D.

Ken Tawara [tag], Biomolecular Science, studio portraitResearch: Immuno-modulating cytokine oncostatin m (OSM) in relation to breast cancer metastasis. In our lab, OSM has been shown to promote cancer metastasis to bone and other organs by promoting early stages of tumor progression. Some possible mechanisms include the OSM promoted cell detachment, invasion, migration and increased circulating tumor cells.

Graduation Date: December, 2017

Advisor: Dr. Cheryl Jorcyk

Masters Graduates

Amy Hall

Amy HallAdvisor: Dr. Ken Cornell

Graduation Date: May, 2017

Nathan Redman

Nathan Redman, Biomolecular Sciences, Studio PortraitResearch: Using real-time single molecule microscopy for the biophysical characterization of synthetic and native RNA systems.

Graduation Date: August, 2017

Advisor: Dr. Eric Hayden and Dr. Matthew Ferguson