Students of the Genetics Program
Year of entry into the Program is indicated in parentheses.
Disha Aggarwal (2017)
Disha graduated with a B. Tech. in Biotechnology from D.Y. Patil University, Mumbai, in 2014 and earned her M.S. in Molecular and Cell Biology from Brandeis University in 2015. She subsequently worked as a Research Associate at Moderna Therapeutics and then at CRISPR Therapeutics. These experiences working in biotech area of have fueled her interest in gene expression regulation, RNA biology, and therapeutics.
Likes: Traveling, sketching and painting, cooking, and beer
Brinda received a B.A. in Biology and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009. She worked as a research technician at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center for two years before joining the Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD) program at Stony Brook. She is currently studying the metabolism of pancreatic cancer cells in Dr. David Tuveson’s lab at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Alex Bott (2012)
Alex earned his B.S. in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Biotechnology at the University of Delaware. He currently is a member of Wei-Xing Zong’s lab. His dissertation project focuses on cancer metabolism.
Rachel Caston (2010)
Rachel graduated with her B.S. in Biology with specialization in Developmental Genetics from Stony Brook University. She is currently working in Dr. Bruce Demple’s lab. Rachel's project focuses on changes in mitochondrial DNA repair after cellular differentiation. This topic is relevant to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s or Huntington’s diseases, due to their association with mitochondrial dysfunction.
Likes: Cats, baking, and sketching
Frank Celeste (2014)
Frank earned his B.S. in Biological Sciences at the University of Connecticut (class of 2012). Upon graduation, he received an NIH-sponsored Intramural Research Training Award, allowing him to study rare and neglected diseases at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. Frank is now pursuing his dissertation research in the laboratory of Dr. Scott Powers.
Likes: Hiking, kayaking, attempting to cook, and passionately supporting the Patriots, Bruins, and Chelsea FC
Chuankai Chen (2017)
Chuankai received his B.S. in Biotechnology from Soochow University(Suzhou) in 2016. As an undergrad, he investigated the role of Fstl1 in vascular biology in the lab of Dr. Yulong He. For his graduate career, he is motivated to study cancer biology.
Likes: sports, movies, music, and reading (trying)
Yuping 'Shawn' Chen (2012)
Shawn received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from China Agricultural University, Beijing in 2012. As an undergraduate, he worked on new spacer acquisition mechanisms in the E. coli CRISPR system in Dr. Jennifer Doudna's lab at UC Berkeley. He joined Dr. Bruce Futcher's lab in 2013 and got fascinated by yeast (although he is still open to other species). He is currently studying how cell growth and cell division are coupled.
Likes: Music and m(n)u(o)s(i)i(s)c(e) production, water sports, molecular cloning, reading scientific articles (which seldom overlap with Dr. Futcher's "you-should-know" list), and Sai
Derek earned his B.S./M.S. in Material Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. He is currently in the Stony Brook Medical Scientist Training Program exploring cancer metabolism for dynamic diagnostics for pancreatic cancer under the mentorship of David Tuveson.
Likes: Motorcycles, longboarding, pick-up soccer, casual tennis, running, lifting, discovering new music, drawing and sculpture, and working on his car
Ana Paula Delgado (2015)
Ana received her B.S. in Biology and a double minor in Chemistry and Bioinformatics from Nova Southeastern University in 2012. She also earned her Master's degree in Biological Sciences from Florida Atlantic University in 2014, where she applied bioinformatics approaches to discover novel druggable targets and diagnostic markers in cancer. She is currently an IMSD-MERGE scholar with an interest in cancer genomics, which she is pursuing in the lab of Dr. Scott Powers.
Likes: Film and television connoisseur, soccer, basketball (Miami Heat), food, and beer
Moises Guardado (2014)
Moises earned his B.S in Biochemistry and M.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Stony Brook University. Unable to say good bye to Stony Brook, he decided to stay for his PhD. His interests include the genetic and epigenetic regulations of metabolism, and he is studying under the guidance of Drs. Paul Bingham and Zuzana Zachar. He was the recipient of an NSF Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowship (2012-2014) and currently holds a Turner Fellowship. Moises also received an honorable mention in the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program and a travel award to participate in the 2104 Emerging Researchers National Conference.
Kelly Hills-Muckey (2016)
Kelly earned her B.S. in Biology from Barry University in May 2015. As an undergrad, Kelly participated in a research project looking at the paternal role in fetal alcohol syndrome using zebrafish. She was also heavily involved in community service and in leadership development through her work as an e-board member of Sigma Alpha Phi. She is a Turner Fellow and is working in the lab of Chris Hammell studying the regulatory network surrounding developmental timing and how this is influenced by environmental factors.
Likes: Yoga, dogs, hiking, and traveling
Chad Hogan (2016)
Chad received his B.S. in Biotechnology with a minor in Chemistry from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2016. With an interest in forensic biology, Chad's undergraduate research focused on the degradation and recovery of trace DNA evidence. He also interned at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Regional Crime Laboratory. Chad is pursuing his research on gammaherpesviruses, which are associated with human cancers, in the lab of Laurie Krug. Using a mouse gammaherpesvirus as a model organism, Chad's work aims to understand the roles of a host transcription factor, STAT3, in this infection.
Likes: Video games, biking, and horror movies
Daniel Irizarry (2016)
Daniel received his B.S. in Biology from Stony Brook University in 2016. As an undergrad, he worked in the lab of Dr. Jennie Williams investigating novel chemotherapeutics for cancer. In May 2017, Daniel joined the lab of Dr. Berhane Ghebrehiwet. Current research includes a collaborative project with Dr. Williams focusing on complement system proteins in breast cancer and melanoma. Our ultimate goal is to characterize how these complement proteins affect cancer initiation, progression and immune evasion. Daniel's research is supported by an NSF LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowship and an NIH IMSD Fellowship.
Likes: Music, reading, and spending time with family
Shruti Iyer (2016)
Shruti received a B. Tech. in Genetic Engineering from SRM University in India in 2012 and went on to earn an M.Sc. in Molecular Biology and Human Genetics from Manipal University, India, in 2015. As part of her master's studies and following receipt of that degree, Shruti worked at Emory University on understanding the genetic basis of complex psychiatric disorders such as PTSD. She is currently pursuing her doctoral research in the McCombie Lab at the Cold Spring Harbor Genome Center, where she uses Next-Gen sequencing technologies to gain insight into complex human diseases.
Likes: Writing, traveling, reading, theater, and food!
Keffy Kehrli (2015)
Keffy earned a B.S. in Physics and a B.A. in Linguistics at Western Washington University in 2008. In 2010, he joined the lab of Dr. Ray Monnat at the University of Washington where he researched mechanisms of DNA replication and repair with Dr. Julia Sidorova. Keffy is currently in Dr. Joshua Rest's lab using meta-analysis of RNA-Seq data to investigate the evolution of gene expression regulation. In 2017, he was selected as a NSF GRFP fellow. In his copious spare time, he writes science fiction.
Nuri Kim (2017)
Nuri received her B.A. in English and Molecular & Cell Biology with emphasis in Genetics, Genomics, and Development from UC Berkeley. Her prior research mainly involved ischemic stroke and traumatic brain injury in mice. As an MSTP student here at Stony Brook, she has turned her attention to C. elegans and plans to study cell migration in David Matus's lab.
Young Jin Kim (2015)
Young Jin received a B.S. in Biochemistry from Binghamton University in 2011 and joined Stony Brook's MD program in 2012. He took a year off from medical school to participate in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Medical Research Fellows Program in 2014 and subsequently joined Stony Brook's Medical Scientist Training Program. He is currently working under the guidance of Dr. Adrian Krainer at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where he studies RNA splicing in cancer.
Likes: Cooking, biking, skiing, Brazilian jiu jitsu
Brian Kinney (2012)
Brian has bachelor's degrees from University of Southern Maine ('11) and Berklee College of Music ('08). He is currently working in Dr. Ben Martin's lab studying cell fate decisions in the zebrafish tailbud.
Michael Klingener (2012)
Michael entered the Graduate Program in Genetics in 2012 after earning a B.S. degree in Biology, also at Stony Brook University. Following his rotations, Michael joined Adan Aguirre’s lab where he is currently studying the process of myelination during development and remyelination following injury. His project has relevance to multiple sclerosis, where oligodendrocyte progenitors, precursors to mature myelinating oligodendrocytes, have recently been highlighted as a therapeutic target to promote lesion repair.
Abraham Kohrman (2013)
Abraham has a B.A. in biology from Grinnell College. He is from Chicago but has traveled extensively. He is a grad student in the Matus lab where he is studying the process of basement membrane invasion using a cell in the model organism C. elegans.
Likes: Photography, cooking, travel, language, reading, and writing
Meng Lin (2012)
Meng got her B.S. in Biology at Nanjing University, China in 2012, and enrolled in the Genetics Program in the same year. With a broad interest in bioinformatics and human genomics, she has joined Dr. Brenna Henn’s lab and is currently working on polygenetic traits in southern African populations. She hopes to gain insight into population-specific genetic architecture, which helps to infer the evolutionary history of ancient and genetically diversified human groups.
Likes: Food, sleeping, swimming
Devon Lukow (2016)
Devon graduated from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania with a degree in biotechnology in 2015. Devon is working in the Sheltzer Lab at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where he studies the relationship between aneuploidy and cancer.
Likes: Tabletop games, film/TV, reading, and occasionally going outside
Fu Luo (2017)
Fu (Maze) received her B.S. in Biological Science from Sichuan University, China, in 2017 and studied at Columbia University and Oxford University as a visiting student in 2015 and 2016, respectively. She has a strong interest in cancer genomics and translational research.
Likes: Scuba diving, small animals and cooking
Taylor Medwig (2016)
Taylor earned her B.S. in Biology and Health Science at Stony Brook University in 2016, concentrating in developmental genetics, public health, and community health education. She is currently a graduate student in the Matus laboratory where she is studying the transcriptional regulation and evolution of cell invasive behavior.
Pierre Migeon (2017)
Pierre received his B.S. in Biology at the University of Dallas and his M.S. in Genetics at Kansas State University. His past research interests include analysis of repetitive DNA elements and genomic structural variation in Zea mays. He has a strong interest in bioinformatics and sequence analysis.
Mansa Munshi (2012)
Mansa has a B.S in chemistry and an M.S. in microbiology from The Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda, India. Encompassing both of these contrasting subjects, her research is focused on studying the role of sphingolipids in the pathogenicity of Cryptococcus neoformans in the laboratory of Dr. Maurizio Del Poeta. Mansa has authored not only a research paper but also a recent book chapter on fungal infections in the central nervous system.
Likes: Fashion, making friends, and cooking
Christian Ruiz (2013)
Christian earned his B.E in Biomedical Engineering from The City College of New York. As an undergraduate, he worked at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center helping to develop surgery simulators for thoracic surgeon trainees. Upon acceptance to the Genetics Program at Stony Brook, Christian was awarded the NSF Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowship. He is currently working in Dr. Geoffrey Girnun's lab, where he studies cancer metabolism.
Adrita Siddiqui (2016)
Adrita completed her undergraduate degree in the fields of genetics and molecular biology at University of Malaya, Malaysia, in 2014. Her internship there was in the area of plant molecular genetics, and her thesis focused on cancer genetics. After graduation, Adrita was a teaching assistant at East West University in Bangladesh. Her research interests are in cancer.
Likes: Family, video games, teaching, and cooking
Jia Shen (2014)
Jia came from Shanghai, China to New York in 2010 and finished her Master's degree in Biology at NYU. Having spent four years doing research on cryptic genetic variation, which has been considered as a critical factor for modern diseases in humans, she is currently expanding this interest to neuropsychiatric disorders. In particular, Jia is interested in how organisms respond behaviorally to external stress and what are the underlying genetic influences and neural circuitry. She is pursuing her doctoral studies in the laboratory of Dr. Shaoyu Ge.
Likes: Traveling, hiking, oil painting, and fashion
Jayson Smith (2015)
Jay earned his B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from Central Michigan University in May 2015. As an undergraduate, Jay participated in research projects on characterization of ribonucleoprotein formation in S. cerevisiae exposed to the fermentation inhibitor furfural and on polysaccharide skin scaffolds for use in third degree burns. Jay is broadly interested in understanding how chromatin state interfaces with regulation of cell invasive behavior. He is using C. elegans anchor cell invasion to identify the suite of chromatin modifiers that regulate invasion, with the hope of identifying new therapeutic targets to limit invasive pathologies, such as cancer metastasis.
Likes: Beer, coffee, gardening, reading, Sudoku, writing
Gaurang Trivedi (2017)
Gaurang earned his Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, India, and Master’s degree in Pharmacology and Toxicology from Long Island University. As a technician with Dr. Lingbo Zhang at CSHL, Gaurang exploited the self-renewal capacity of erythroid progenitors to develop new treatments for myelodysplastic syndrome. His project received a feasibility award in 2016 from the NIH REACH and the Center for Biotechnology.
Xiaoli Wu (2015)
Xiaoli (Sky) received her B.S. in Biology from Sichuan University in 2014 and studied at University of Washington as an exchange student in 2013. She took a year off and studied at Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology before joining the Genetics Program. Sky is now in the laboratory of Dr. Chris Vakoc at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Likes: Traveling, reading, swimming, and eating
Allen Yu (2014)
Allen received his B.S. and M.S. in Molecular & Cellular Biology at the Johns Hopkins University. He is in the Medical Scientist Training Program and is currently in David Spector's lab at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory studying nuclear organization and gene expression. Allen plans to focus his doctoral work on the role of long non-coding RNAs in stem cell differentiation and development.
Likes: Volleyball, badminton, and working on cars
Sai Zhou (2011)
Sai got her B.S. in Life Sciences at China Agricultural University. She joined the Sternglanz/Neiman lab after her rotations and currently works on the meiotic part of the cell cycle of budding yeast. She is interested in RNA binding proteins, transcription regulation, and kinases.
Likes: Reading, cooking, and badminton
Andrew Ziesel (2017)
Andrew graduated summa cum laude from Binghamton University with a B.S in Biochemistry. As an undergraduate, he worked in Dr. Heather Fiumera's lab studying nuclear-mitochondrial genome interactions in S. cerevisiae. He is interested in clinical cytogenetics.
Likes: Hockey, the beach, golf, skiing, and listening to music