MS1

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Undergraduate Institution: Bowdoin College
Year in Program: 1st
Graduate Department: N/A
Research Mentor: N/A
Research: I am currently rotating through research labs at IUPUI. I am currently interested in studying the mechanisms underlying genetic diseases, cancer, and neurological disease.
John Damrath

John Damrath

Undergraduate Institution: University of Michigan
Year in Program: 1st
Graduate Department: Biomedical Engineering
Research Mentor: N/A
Research: I am very interested in orthopedic biomechanics and genetic bone disease.
Elizabeth Fernander

Elizabeth Fernander

Undergraduate Institution: Purdue University
Year in Program: 1st
Graduate Department: N/A
Research Mentor: N/A
Research: I am interested in studying infectious diseases, especially those that have the greatest impact in developing countries. I would like to study diseases to help alleviate the burden they have on these countries.
Hannah Kline

Hannah Kline

Undergraduate Institution: Indiana University-Bloomington
Year in Program: 1st
Graduate Department: N/A
Research Mentor: N/A
Research: I am interested in the physiology of addiction, specifically regarding the interaction between neuroanatomy, metabolism, and the cardiovascular system. I have previously studied thermoregulation and methamphetamine, and alcohol dependence in humans.
Paul Randazzo

Paul Randazzo

Undergraduate Institution: University of Maryland-College Park
Year in Program: 1st
Graduate Department: N/A
Research Mentor: N/A
Research: I am interested in biochemistry and structural biology. Characterization of the structures, intramolecular movements and structure function relationships of biological macromolecules and intermolecular interactions has tremendous potential to foster advances in medicine. I hope to combine structural and biochemical approaches to elucidate the molecular underpinning of clinically relevant phenomena.
Baleigh Schuler

Baleigh Schuler

Undergraduate Institution: Central Michigan University
Year in Program: 1st
Graduate Department: N./A
Research Mentor: N/A
Research: I am broadly interested in infectious diseases. I would like to study pathogen-host interactions at the molecular level.
Ravinderjit Singh

Ravinderjit Singh

Undergraduate Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology
Year in Program: 1st
Graduate Department: Biomedical Engineering
Research Mentor: N/A
Research: I am interested in neuroscience/neuroengineering research. More specifically, I am interested in utilizing signal processing and control techniques to better understand and modulate the nervous system.
Jared Smith

Jared Smith

Undergraduate Institution: University of Alabama at Birmingham
Year in Program: 1st
Graduate Department: N/A
Research Mentor: N/A
Research: I worked with Dr. Fletcher White for the last year prior to the start of MS1 on the role of carbamazepine in treating oxaliplatin-induce peripheral neuropathy, I also worked on other projects dealing with the electroacupuncture as a therapy post nerve injury and immunofluorescent activity of calcium (Fura2) on BV2 microglia cells after the addition of ATP and LPS
Matthew Steinhart

Matthew Steinhart

Undergraduate Institution: Johns Hopkins University
Year in Program: 1st
Graduate Department: N/A
Research Mentor: N/A
Research: Completed summer rotation investigating coronary heart disease in the context of changes in coronary blood flow as a response to decreased oxygen carrying capacity

MS2

James Baek

James Baek

Undergraduate Institution: Washington University-St. Louis
Year in Program: 2nd
Graduate Department: N/A
Research Mentor: N/A.
Research: I am interested in the pharmacology of neurobiology, with particular interest in how pathological neurotransmission can generate behavioral consequences. Recently I studied how adverse environmental factors generate neurological changes, specifically, the neurotoxicity of stress. During my rotation with Dr. Bryan Yamamoto, Ph.D., we used a rodent model to investigate the mechanism behind how chronic unpredictable stressors can produce neurotoxic effects. My work focused on the striatum, a brain region involved in motivation, decision-making, and is a critical component of the reward-system. I found data supporting the hypothesis that chronic unpredictable stress potentiates conditions that can be toxic to the striatum with chronic exposure, or acute exposure to psychostimulants such as methamphetamine and MDMA. I look forward to capitalizing on these findings and further investigating the neurotoxicity of stress and other drugs of abuse with Dr. Yamamoto during the graduate phase of my training.
Steven Chen

Steven Chen

Undergraduate Institution: Dartmouth College
Year in Program: 2nd
Graduate Department: N/A
Research Mentor: N/A
Research: I am interested in the intersection of molecular biology, genomics, and oncology. My rotation with Yunlong Liu, PhD, exposed me to using computational techniques to elicit significant alternative splicing patterns using clinical data from cancer patients (TCGA).
Geneva Cunningham

Geneva Cunningham

Undergraduate Institution: University of Oklahoma
Year in Program: 2nd
Graduate Department: N/A
Research Mentor: N/A
Research: I am interested in identifying biomarkers that may predict the therapeutic responsiveness and risk versus benefit of chemotherapeutic agents used to treat patients with cancer. The use of next-generation sequencing technology in translational oncology thereby supports the personalization of medicine, and allows patients to become more empowered in their own health.
Hendrik Greve

Hendrik Greve

Undergraduate Institution: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Year in Program: 2nd
Graduate Department: N/A
Research Mentor: N/A
Research: My current research interests lie in neurodegenerative disease and neurotoxicology. In particular, I am interested in studying the mechanism of how chronic exposure to environmental pollutants, such as diesel exhaust, contribute to the formation of neurodegenerative disease.
Sara Ibrahim

Sara Ibrahim

Undergraduate Institution: Indiana University--Indianapolis
Year in Program: 3rd
Graduate Department: N/A
Research Mentor: N/A
Research: N/A
Sotirios Karathanasis

Sotirios Karathanasis

Undergraduate Institution: Northwestern University
Year in Program: 2nd
Graduate Department: N/A
Research Mentor: N/A
Research: I am interested in unearthing the roots of, and developing treatments for diseases affecting the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. My previous research focused on signaling in neural stem cells, and I also worked on spinal cord injury recovery. I am rotating in the lab of Jinhui Chen, MD/PhD, helping discover methods to prevent neuronal death following traumatic brain injury. I would like to learn about the immune system in greater detail, especially how its activity impacts the nervous system in both health and disease.
Paul Sohn

Paul Sohn

Undergraduate Institution: Dartmouth College
Year in Program: 2nd
Graduate Department: N/A
Research Mentor: N/A
Research: Associated with insulin resistance and inflammation, obesity is an ever-increasing metabolic disorder reaching epidemic levels worldwide. Further, insulin resistance is associated with type II diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypertension and other vascular complications. I am interested in the link between obesity, inflammation, lipid metabolism and diabetes at molecular, biochemical and physiological levels.
Cyrus Takahashi

Cyrus Takahashi

Undergraduate Institution: Johns Hopkins University
Year in Program: 2nd
Graduate Department: N/A
Research Mentor: N/A
Research: I recently completed two research rotations over the summer of 2016. The first was in the lab of Dr. Jian-Ting Zhang in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. I investigated possible signaling pathways involving a member of the platelet-derived growth factor family and its potential role in contributing to the extensive drug resistance seen in pancreatic cancer. The second rotation was in the lab of Dr. Thomas Hurley in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. I was involved in screening the activity of novel inhibitors of the metabolic enzyme ALDH1A1 and other related aldehyde dehydrogenases due to further elucidate its potential contribution to chemoresistance in various cancer types.

GS1

Megan Bernath

Megan Bernath

Undergraduate Institution: University of Michigan
Year in Program: 3rd
Graduate Department: Medical and Molecular Genetics
Research Mentor: Andrew Saykin, Psy.D.
Research: My research focuses on the functional and molecular substrates of cognitive deficits in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and memory, Parkinson’s disease (PD), and brain cancer. I investigate the relationships among brain, gene and protein networks in diseases affecting memory and under normal conditions. I will primarily focus on biomarker phenotypes and imaging to provide a better understanding of early stage AD to facilitate therapeutic development.
Frederick Damen

Frederick Damen

Undergraduate Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology
Year in Program: 3rd
Graduate Department: Biomedical Engineering
Research Mentor: Craig Goergen, Ph.D.
Research: My research interests lie in multi-modal cardiovascular imaging with Dr. Craig Goergen at Purdue University, specifically developing new methods for characterizing the dynamic properties of cardiovascular tissue in vivo. The Cardiovascular Imaging Research Laboratory (CVIRL) as a whole is focused on studying the disease progression of various cardiomyopathies, abdominal aortic aneurysms, and atherosclerosis using high frequency ultrasound, high field MRI, and other imaging techniques. My current research is aimed at furthering development of a 4-dimensional volumetric ultrasound technique to study hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in both murine and clinical models.
Brian Grice

Brian Grice

Undergraduate Institution: Benedictine University
Year in Program: 3rd
Graduate Department: Cellular and Integrative Physiology
Research Mentor: Jeffrey Elmendorf, Ph.D.
Research: Dr. Elmendorf's lab looks into early mechanisms of insulin resistance in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. Currently, we are investigating cellular cholesterol membrane concentrations and a specific mechanical dysfunction in GLUT4 translocation associated with membrane cholesterol accumulation.
Jennifer Martynowicz

Jennifer Martynowicz

Undergraduate Institution: University of Notre Dame
Year in Program: 3rd
Graduate Department: Microbiology and Immunology
Research Mentor: William Sullivan, Ph.D.
Research: I am working in a combined Pharmacology/Toxicology and Microbiology/Immunology lab studying the obligate intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii. I have several projects but the main focus of my research will be AP2IX7 and AP2X8, which are part of a large lysine acetyltransferase recruiting complex called GCN5b. Little is known about their role in the complex and since GCN5b an essential protein it is important to explore the roles of the proteins with which GCN5b associates.
David Sohutskay

David Sohutskay

Undergraduate Institution: The Ohio State University
Year in Program: 3rd
Graduate Department: Biomedical Engineering
Research Mentor: Merv Yoder, M.D. (IU) and Sherry Harbin, Ph.D. (Purdue)
Research: My interests lie in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, with emphasis on biomaterials and stem cell biology. The focus of my current work is the development of vascularized tissue-engineered human skin equivalents as therapy for large full-thickness or nonhealing wounds such as diabetic ulcers. I will be using oligomeric collagen matrices in combination with progenitor and multipotent cell populations including skin-derived epidermal and dermal cells, adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells, and vasculogenic endothelial colony forming cells, and I will optimize design parameters to improve mechanical and biological characteristics. I will investigate these constructs both in vitro, and using in vivo animal wound models.
Thao Trinh

Thao Trinh

Undergraduate Institution: University of Nebraska--Lincoln
Year in Program: 3rd
Graduate Department: Cellular and Integrative Physiology
Research Mentor: Maria Grant, M.D.
Research: During my undergraduate years, I studied the epigenetic effects of biotinylation on Enolase 1 enzyme kinetics and expression. After my first year of medical school, my research interests have evolved into understanding the diabetes-induced vascular dysfunction and how we can exploit the potential reparative capacity of hematopoietic stem cells in treating these devastating complications. Hence, I decided to join Dr. Maria Grant’s lab. One of my projects will be studying the role of SIRT1-LXR axis in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy. Intriguingly, the LXR nuclear receptors have also been demonstrated to play a role in macrophages that are responsible rhythmic neutrophil clearance in the bone marrow. In addition, I’ve been always passionate about traditional medicine, and I hope that using modern technology will allow us to understand the mechanisms of things like acupuncture in restoring homeostasis.

GS2

Katharine Andrews

Katharine Andrews

Undergraduate Institution: Texas A & M University
Year in Program: 4th
Graduate Department: Medical Neurobiology
Research Mentor: Thomas McAllister, M.D. and William Truitt, Ph.D.
Research: My IUSM rotation experiences included immunohistochemical staining of NF1 mutant amygdalar regions (Anantha Shekhar/Philip Johnson laboratories), GWAS of depression phenotype in the elderly (Alexander Niculescu laboratory), and fMRI analysis of the effects of methylphenidate and attention training on cognitive recovery of the traumatically brain injured (TBI) patient (Thomas McAllister laboratory). Currently, I am working in my chosen dissertation lab with Drs. William Truitt and Thomas McAllister. Along with our collaborators, we are creating a novel mild TBI model in rats, in which we hope to explore complex social behavior deficits that arise after injury. We hope to elucidate how mTBI leads to psychiatric deficits in order to improve current therapies for mTBI patients.
Mohammad Aref

Mohammad Aref

Undergraduate Institution: Indiana Univerity-Indianapolis
Year in Program: 2nd
Graduate Department: Anatomy and Cell Biology
Research Mentor: Matthew Allen, Ph.D.
Research: Current research work is focused on studying the skeletal manifestations of chronic kidney disease (CKD). The goal of this work is to understand how drug treatments can be used to effectively control skeletal disease in the setting of CKD.
Brittani Bungart

Brittani Bungart

Undergraduate Institution: University of Missouri-Columbia
Year in Program: 4th
Graduate Department: Biomedical Engineering
Research Mentor: Ji-Xin Cheng, Ph.D. (Purdue)
Research: I am a Ph.D. student in the laboratory of Ji-Xin Cheng at the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University. My work entails participating in a highly diverse research atmosphere to develop precision diagnostic tools with optical techniques in order to optimize the therapeutic plan for patients. My current interest is in the area of urology, especially prostate cancer. I intend to continue my pursuits to improve urological medicine after my M.D./Ph.D. training.

Victoria Alexe' Engel

Undergraduate Institution: University of Missouri
Year in Program: 3rd
Graduate Department: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research Mentor: Quyen Hoang, Ph.D.
Research: The objective of my research project is to understand the mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease to aid in the development of therapeutics. Parkinson’s Disease (PD), a major neurodegenerative disease, affects about one million people in the United States, and the prevalence is expected to triple by 2050 due to a global increase in life expectancy. Currently there is no cure or effective therapy, thus there is a desperate need for novel treatment development which will require a detailed understanding of the disease mechanism.

The molecular etiology of PD remains unknown, however, it is associated with the presence of abnormal alpha-synuclein-rich inclusions known as Lewy bodies, which are the pathological hallmark of PD. In addition, oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of PD for decades, and chemicals that generate mitochondrial ROS, such as the neurotoxin MPTP (1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine), have been shown to directly cause Parkinson’s disease. Moreover, mutations in different mitochondrial proteins are associated with the pathogenesis of familial PD. Nevertheless, the mechanisms by which mitochondrial ROS cause PD and alpha-synuclein aggregation remain unknown, and my project is 1) to investigate inflammation and alpha-synuclein aggregation and 2) to determine the structure of a mitochondrial-associated kinase to isolate which interactions are responsible for disease-associated effects.

Eric Hawley

Eric Hawley

Undergraduate Institution: DePauw University
Year in Program: 4th
Graduate Department: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research Mentor: Wade Clapp, M.D.
Research: Elucidating the cell signaling pathways which drive tumor formation and progression in Neurofibromatosis Type 2.
Alexander Kiel

Alexander Kiel

Undergraduate Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Year in Program: 4th
Graduate Department: Biomedical Engineering
Research Mentor: Johnathan Tune, Ph.D. (IU) and Craig Goergen, Ph.D. (Purdue)
Research: I am currently working in Dr. Johnathan Tune’s lab. My cardiovascular research is focused on determining the key pathways and mechanisms involved in selective coronary dilation.


Elizabeth Runge

Elizabeth Runge

Undergraduate Institution: Loyola University Chicago
Year in Program: 4th
Graduate Department: Anatomy and Cell Biology
Research Mentor: Kathryn Jones, Ph.D.
Research: In the Jones lab, I study the ways in which the immune system mediates motor neuron survival and regeneration after peripheral nerve injury. Our long-term goal is to discover immune modulating therapies for motor neuron diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.)
Ben Ulrich

Ben Ulrich

Undergraduate Institution: Purdue University
Year in Program: 4th
Graduate Department: Microbiology and Immunology
Research Mentor: Mark Kaplan, Ph.D.
Research: As a pre-doctoral assistant researcher in the Kaplan Laboratory, I am examining the roles that Th9 cells and cytokines play in allergic inflammation. Previously the lab has found that Th9 cells secrete a number of cytokines including IL-9, IL-3, IL-21, IL-24, and GM-CSF. In an initial project I will investigate the impact these cytokines have on the inflammatory milieu and populations of immune cells. Furthermore, it is unknown if additional cytokines will have effects on the Th9 cells themselves priming them for a more inflammatory or protective state. I will be investigating these aims through both in-vitro and in-vivo mouse models.

GS3

Arianne Aslamy

Arianne Aslamy

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington-Seattle
Year in Program: 5th
Graduate Department: Celluar and Integrative Physiology
Research Mentor: Debbie Thurmond, Ph.D.
Research: My current research focuses on the role of the SNARE (soluble n-ethymaleimide-sensitive fusion attachment protein) complex and associated regulatory proteins in secreting insulin from the pancreatic beta cell. Normal euglycemia requires regulated insulin release from pancreatic beta cells. Regulated insulin release requires SNARE proteins, which facilitate fusion of insulin-containing granules at the beta cell’s plasma membrane; insulin is released upon fusion. This SNARE-mediated fusion is regulated by the protein, Doc2b. Recent studies reveal that Doc2b deficiency in vivo is associated with insulin secretion defects, and conversely, overexpression of Doc2b simultaneously in pancreas and skeletal muscle enhances insulin secretion and peripheral insulin sensitivity. While this suggests that Doc2b is limiting for maximal beta cell function, Doc2b’s effect on whole-body glucose homeostasis using a beta cell specific enrichment model remains unexplored. Furthermore, rodent models of diabetes show decreases in Doc2b mRNA and protein abundances early in disease. Hence, we hypothesize that Doc2b abundance is compromised in diabetes and that beta cell specific enrichment of Doc2b will improve functional beta cell function and survival.
Lisa Deng

Lisa Deng

Undergraduate Institution: Washington University in St. Louis
Year in Program: 4th
Graduate Department: Medical and Molecular Genetics
Research Mentor: Rebecca Chan, M.D./Ph.D.
Research: I am currently working in the lab of Dr. Rebecca Chan studying the mechanisms of juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) pathogenesis. JMML has a high mortality rate because standard chemotherapy treatments are ineffective and allogeneic bone marrow transplantation has a high relapse rate of about 50%. JMML is unique from other leukemias in that patients initially present with a hyperinflammatory syndrome and they succumb to extramedullary tissue invasion by myeloid cells rather than developing blast crisis. Because of the interesting initial presentation and cause of death, I am testing the hypothesis that increased inflammation and ROS levels induce hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells to migrate from the bone marrow into the periphery,
leading to poor bone marrow engraftment and organ dysfunction.

Ayeeshik Kole

Ayeeshik Kole

Undergraduate Institution: Vanderbilt University
Year in Program: 5th
Graduate Department: Biomedical Engineering
Research Mentor: Michael Sturek, Ph.D. (IU) Ji-Xin Cheng, Ph.D. (Purdue)
Research: Currently validating a novel dual-modality photoacoustic/ultrasound intravascular imaging catheter for real-time detection of atherosclerotic disease.
Jenny Lin

Jenny Lin

Undergraduate Institution: Cornell University
Year in Program: 5th
Graduate Department: Biomedical Engineering
Research Mentor: Alyssa Panitch, Ph.D. (Purdue)
Research: I am working in the lab of Dr. Alyssa Panitch for Engineered Therapeutics; Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN; Developing An Angiogenic Peptidoglycan for Ischemic Diabetic Foot Ulcer Repair
Lauren Marussich

Lauren Marussich

Undergraduate Institution: University of Miami
Year in Program: 5th
Graduate Department: Biomedical Engineering
Research Mentor: Zhongming Liu, Ph.D. (Purdue)
Research: Liu laboratory: fMRI studies toward characterizing resting-state and task based networks in terms of
connectivity and spatial organization; development of white matter functional imaging; CTSI pre-doctoral fellowship
for Alzheimer's Disease patients white matter project
Kevin Ni

Kevin Ni

Undergraduate Institution: Harvard University
Year in Program: 5th
Graduate Department: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research Mentor: Irina Petrache, M.D.
Research: My research interests lie in understanding how cigarette smoke impairment of macrophage function contributes to COPD development and developing macrophage-targeted therapies for treating COPD. I am also interested in extending the use of Adipose derived Stem Cells (ASCs) to treating chronic disease processes. Specifically, I seek to understand the use of ASCs for treating chronic lung inflammation in cigarette smoke induced emphysema models. As an aspiring pulmonologist, I really enjoy the continuity of care and long-term follow-up aspects of internal medicine and hope to make research discoveries that will benefit patients with chronic health concerns.

GS4

Donna Cerabona

Donna Cerabona

Undergraduate Institution: University of Notre Dame
Year in Program: 6th
Graduate Department: Biochemsitry and Molecular Biology
Research Mentor: Wade Clapp, M.D.
Research: Our group is interested in understanding the origins of aneuploidy and genomic instability in Fanconi anemia (FA), an inherited disorder characterized by developmental abnormalities, bone marrow failure, and cancer predisposition. We investigated the central question of whether abnormal mitosis, specifically spindle checkpoint dysfunction, contributes to aneuploidy and cancer predisposition in vivo upon loss of Fancc. We developed and characterized a novel FA mouse model, which we hope will serve as a preclinical platform for targeted therapeutics in the future. Additionally, we are working to understand the signaling mechanism by which Fancc regulates the spindle assembly checkpoint.
Abass Conteh

Abass Conteh

Undergraduate Institution: Purdue University
Year in Program: 6th
Graduate Department: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research Mentor: Murray Korc, M.D.
Research: Pancreatic cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer related death in U.S. Due to its presentation at an advanced stage with metastatic and/or extensive locally invasive disease, pancreatic cancer diagnosis accompanies a very dismal outlook with a median survival of less than 6 months. The tumor microenvironment has been implicated as a major contributor to cancer progression through mediation of therapeutic resistance, increasing invasion and promoting metastasis. My project is to develop a microfluidic tissue culture device that recapitulates the pancreatic cancer tumor microenvironment.
Sherri Huang

Sherri Huang

Undergraduate Institution: Washington University in St. Louis
Year in Program: 6th
Graduate Department: Pharmcology and Toxicology
Research Mentor: William Sullivan, Ph.D.
Research: I am a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. William Sullivan, Jr. We study epigenetic mechanisms and transcriptional and translational control in the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. My thesis project concerns determining the function of a putative DNA-binding protein of the AP2 (apetela) family through genetic and molecular approaches.
Nick Race

Nick Race

Undergraduate Institution: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Year in Program: 6th
Graduate Department: Biomedical Engineering
Research Mentor: Riyi Shi, M.D./Ph.D. (Purdue)
Research: My research is focused on neuroscience and neurotrauma. I am working in Dr. Riyi Shi's lab at Purdue University to apply biomedical engineering approaches to understand the contributions of primary and secondary brain injury resulting from blast wave exposure. In addition to pursuing a heightened understanding of the biomechanics of blast-induced neural injury, the goals of this project include linking the mechanical initiators of injury to consequential functional alterations.
Deborah Setter

Deborah Setter

Undergraduate Institution: University of Notre Dame
Year in Program: 6th
Graduate Department: Anatomy and Cell Biology
Research Mentor: Kathryn Jones, Ph.D.
Research: Studying the role of the immune system in nerve healing
after facial nerve transection. Performing facial nerve axotomy surgeries, collecting brain tissue from the mice,
cryosectioning to reveal the facial motor nucleus, laser capture microdissection to collect the cell bodies,
performing RNA extraction and reverse transcription to get cDNA to perform qPCR analysis. Comparing the
differential neuroprotective properties of normal CD4+ T cells compared with CD4+ T cells collected from
mice with motoneuron disease.

Joyatee Sarker

Joyatee Sarker

Undergraduate Institution: MIT
Year in Program: 7th
Graduate Department: Biomedical Engineering
Research Mentor: David Umulis, Ph.D. (Purdue)
Research: Healthcare systems contain a vast array of information. However, the optimization of this information has generally been unexplored. I am interested in extracting information from healthcare systems, and using computer science algorithms to prognosticate patients. We are modeling hematopoietic stem cells’ maturation to white blood cells in leukemic patients with bone marrow transplants. Eventually, we hope to personalize the treatment of these patients, based on the acceptance or rejection of the grafts.
Stefan Tarnawsky

Stefan Tarnawsky

Undergraduate Institution: University of Toronto
Year in Program: 6th
Graduate Department: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research Mentor: Mervin Yoder, M.D. and Rebecca J. Chan, M.D./Ph.D.
Research: Blood cell development in mice and humans proceeds sequentially through distinct waves: embryonic, fetal, and adult. Each of these waves has a unique tissue of origin, unique signaling requirements, and unique progenitor-progeny hierarchies. I seek to discern the contribution of each of these three waves to the origin of pediatric myeloproliferative diseases. My project relies on the combination of genetic knock-in mouse models with lineage trace methods.

James Wodicka

James Wodicka

Undergraduate Institution: Case Western Reserve University
Year in Program: 6th
Graduate Department: Biomedical Engineering
Research Mentor: Alyssa Panitch, Ph.D. (Purdue)
Research: My primary area of research interest is biomedical engineering, with an emphasis on biomaterials and related device-tissue interactions. My current project is in the cardiovascular domain and involves the development of novel protein-derived therapeutics. Our goal is to develop a drug delivery method for these therapeutics using varying release mechanisms to prevent intimal hyperplasia while providing an environment for healthy endothelial cell function. This approach will help prevent both restenosis and later stage thrombosis formation following vascular surgery and percutaneous coronary intervention.

MS3

Kelly Craven

Kelly Craven

Undergraduate Institution: Indiana University-Bloomington
Year in Program: 5th
Graduate Department: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research Mentor: Murray Korc, M.D.
Research: For my thesis project, I utilized human genomic data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) to identify important angiogenic pathways involving TGF-beta and JAK/STAT signaling in a subset of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) patients. Subsequently, targeting these pathways in a transgenic PDAC mouse model representative of this subgroup led to suppression of murine PDAC progression and significant improvements in survival, while the use of a non-representative PDAC mouse model did not lead to any suppression of murine PDAC progression. Therefore, this research has identified a gene signature that could be used to personalize the selection of anti-angiogenic therapy in PDAC patients. In addition to this project, I also have an outstanding project in the lab investigating the role of STAT1 in pancreatic cancer.
Alex Ocana

Alex Ocana

Undergraduate Institution: Kent State University
Year in Program: 7th
Graduate Department: Pharmacology and Toxicology
Research Mentor: Jeffrey Travers, M.D./Ph.D./Mark Kaplan, Ph.D.
Research: I am interested in studying the signaling pathways of lipid mediators such as Platelet-activating factor (PAF) that modify the cutaneous immune system. In particular, I am interested in studying the immunosuppressive effects of (PAF) and PAF-agonists generated in response to oxidative stressors (e.g. UV-B and chemotherapy). Our ongoing studies suggest the PAF-mediated pathways can compromise anti-tumor immunity. Further investigation of these pathways will lead to a better understanding of how environmental stressors can modulate cutaneous immunity. Also, this work may also shed light on the therapeutic approaches whereby oxidative stress is also taken into consideration.
Daniel Sassoon

Daniel Sassoon

Undergraduate Institution: University of the Pacific
Year in Program: 7th
Graduate Department: Cellular and Integrative Physiology
Research Mentor: Johnathan Tune, Ph.D.
Research: I am investigating the obesity induced alterations in cardiovascular response to incretin drugs in the setting of ischemia-reperfusion. We use the ossabaw swine model of diet induced obesity and metabolic disease. We have discovered that obesity significantly alters response to incretin drugs in the setting of ischemia-reperfusion with regards to cardiac performance, protein expression, and epigenetics.

MS4

Yohance Allette-Noel

Yohance Allette-Noel

Undergraduate Institution: University of Maryland-Baltimore County
Year in Program: 7th
Graduate Department: Anatomy and Cell Biology
Research Mentor: Fletcher White, Ph.D.
Research: I am currently a 4th year medical student completing my graduation requirements for medical school. During my graduate program I worked in the laboratory of Dr. Fletcher White in the Stark Neuroscience Research Institute. The project focused on the investigation of the mechanism behind the neuronal signaling cascades responsible for the development of chronic pain and its related sequelae. Specifically, this revolves around the function of the RAGE receptor, its downstream affects, and its relationship with other neuroinflammatory cascades, such as those associated with the TLR4 receptor.
Kemi Awe

Kemi Awe

Undergraduate Institution: University of Maryland-Baltimore County
Year in Program: 8th
Graduate Department: Microbiology and Immunology
Research Mentor: Mark Kaplan, Ph.D.
Research: I worked in the lab of Dr. Mark Kaplan. The Kaplan lab focuses on understanding T-helper cell development and their importance in various diseases such as asthma and atopic dermatitis. My focus was on examining the role of T-cell expression of the transcription factor, PU.1, in the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and Tfh-cell dependent germinal center development.
Sara Culleton

Sara Culleton

Undergraduate Institution: University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign
Year in Program: 8th
Graduate Department: Microbiology and Immunology
Research Mentor: Elliott Androphy, M.D.
Research: My thesis research in the Androphy lab focused on the early papillomavirus protein E2 and its transcription and replication activities. I discovered a novel phosphorylation site in bovine papillomavirus type 1 (BPV-1) E2, a model for HPV E2; this site seems to be important for both replication and transcription functions of E2, and we hypothesized that phosphorylation at this site inhibits E2 activity. Identifying the kinase responsible is our current priority.

Janice Farlow

Janice Farlow

Undergraduate Institution: Indiana University-Bloomington
Year in Program: 8th
Graduate Department: Medical and Molecular Genetics
Research Mentor: Tatiana Foroud, Ph.D.
Research: My research is focused on developing best practices for analysis of high-throughput sequencing data across a spectrum of diseases. More specifically, I am applying next generation sequencing technology to identify highly penetrant inherited rare variants important to different disease models, including familial intracranial aneurysms and Parkinson Disease. The identification of causal variants can augment our current understanding of biological mechanisms behind these common diseases to provide options for early and more accurate diagnosis and risk typing, as well as for more effective and personalized therapeutic interventions.
Jeff Gehlhausen

Jeff Gehlhausen

Undergraduate Institution: Indiana University-Bloomington
Year in Program: 7th
Graduate Department: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research Mentor: Wade Clapp, M.D.
Research: I am in my 8th year in the MSTP program and have completed my thesis work and returned to medical school. During my PhD, I investigated basic Schwann cell biology and mouse-based models of schwanomma pathogenesis in Dr. Wade Clapp’s lab. In conjunction with ENT physicians and collaborators at other institutions, we successfully created a neurofibromatosis type 2 mouse model which recapitulates key features of the human disease. This model allows us and other laboratories to study basic NF2 mechanisms and to interrogate novel schwannoma therapeutics. Based on this model and others, I have published several first- and middle-author publications, with several more in the pipeline, as I continue my research as a fourth year medical student.
Steven Lee

Steven Lee

Undergraduate Institution: Purdue University
Year in Program: 9th
Graduate Department: Biomedical Engineering
Research Mentor: Pedro Irazoqui, Ph.D. (Purdue)
Research: Graduate Research at Purdue University. Center for Implantable Devices. Principle investigator and mentor: Dr. Pedro Irazoqui. Epilepsy affects ~1% of the world’s population, and a third of the patients are refractory to current pharmaceutical treatments. Our lab is developing implantable, wireless devices specifically for neuromodulation of the epileptic circuit of partial seizures. We have previously employed electrical stimulation (i.e. deep brain stimulation), and I am interested in applying optical stimulation (optogenetics) and developing a closed loop prosthesis. Major challenges currently include optimizing and integrating prospective seizure detection, power consumption, coupling high irradiance from the light source to an optical fiber, and directing light propagation through tissue.
Christopher Newman

Christopher Newman

Undergraduate Institution: Miama University
Year in Program: 6th
Graduate Department: Anatomy and Cell Biology
Research Mentor: Matthew Allen, Ph.D.
Research: I am interested in understanding how mechanical forces impact the skeleton and how bones optimize their mechanical properties in response to those forces. I am also interested in how bone fails to accomplish this function in the face of disease. While a large body of work has been devoted to understanding this problem in osteoporosis, the skeletal manifestations of chronic kidney disease—mineral and bone disorder (CKD-MBD) have been largely overlooked. As such, I explore the changes in bone quality associated with CKD-MBD and how approved skeletal therapeutics can be used to address these abnormalities.
Kurt Qing

Kurt Qing

Undergraduate Institution: Northwestern University
Year in Program: 6th
Graduate Department: Biomedical Engineering
Research Mentor: Pedro Irzaoqui, Ph.D. (Purdue)
Research: I have graduated from Dr. Pedro Irazoqui’s lab. My work focused on the development of experimental closed-loop, personalized neurostimulation systems and validation in animal models. The main goal was to improve therapeutic effectiveness through quantifying the neural response and standardizing stimulus dosing. I also was involved in developing and testing wireless, battery-less implantable devices and using these devices to study and modulate various circuits in the brain.

Melissa Tully

Melissa Tully

Undergraduate Institution: STONY Brook
Year in Program: 8th
Graduate Department: Biomedical Engineering
Research Mentor: Riyi Shi, M.D./Ph.D. (Purdue)
Research: I have completed my PhD in the lab of Dr. Riyi Shi, studying the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis and exploring new treatment options using a murine EAE model.