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Current Graduate IMSD-MERGE Scholar

  • Karla Cardenas Avervalo
    Karla Cardenas Arevalo

    Microbiology and Immunology
    Karla was born and raised in Ecuador and migrated to New York in 2009. In 2020 she obtained her B.S. in Biology from the City College of New York (CCNY). She worked in a microbiology lab throughout her undergrad career where she studied the roles of two poorly characterized IM proteins in the maintenance of  E. coli  cell envelope integrity. As a Post-Bac, she studied the role of a small bitopic protein in bacterial division and DNA stability. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology at Stony Brook.   
  •  Kimberly Nnah
      Kimberly Nnah

    Kimberly was born and raised in The Bronx, NYC to Nigerian immigrants. In 2018. She obtained a B.S. from Binghamton University in Integrative Neuroscience. Her time in a physiology of taste lab in undergrad prompted her to want to become a research technician at Johns Hopkins University. At JHU she studied the behavioral and cognitive correlates of the hippocampus in forming and storing long term memories. In pursuing a Ph. D. in Neuroscience at Stony Brook, she aims to assess the neural correlates of neuropsychiatric disorders. A life goal of hers is to increase access to mental health services in disadvantaged communities and increase science communication to said communities.

  • Sixto Taveras Lopez
    Sixto Taveras Lopez

    Ecology and Evolution

    Sixto was born in the Dominican Republic, moved to the United States in 2005, and has lived in Providence, Rhode Island for about 16 years. He graduated from Boston College in 2021 with a Bachelor's in Biology minoring in Hispanic Studies. During his time at BC, Sixto was intrigued by courses that had a focus on animal biology (ecology and evolution, deep-sea biology, animal behavior, etc.) and also learned lab techniques during various research opportunities. Sixto is currently on the Ph.D. track in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook and is in Dr. Dianna Padilla's lab. 

  • Isaiah Taylor
      Isaiah Taylor
    Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology Isaiah Taylor earned his undergraduate degree in Biological sciences from the University of Dayton in May 2019. His undergraduate studies included working with mice on high fat-diet studies relating to depression. His true research career began at NIH from 2019 to 2020, where he studied P-glycoprotein and the effect of multi-drug resistance on ABC transporters.Isaiah entered the Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology Doctoral Program in the Fall of 2020. Isaiah is currently working in the laboratory of Dr. David Komatsu, where he is studying the effects of microgravity-induced bone loss.
  • Ana Paula Delgado
    Ana Paula Delgado
    Genetics, Doctoral Program Ana received a bachelor's degree in Biology and a double minor in Chemistry and Bioinformatics from Nova Southeastern University in 2012. She also earned a master's degree in Biological Sciences from Florida Atlantic University in 2014, where she applied bioinformatics approaches to discover novel treatable targets and diagnostic markers in cancer. Ana is currently an IMSD-MERGE scholar with an interest in cancer genomics. Her interests include film, television, sports, and fine dining.
  • Anthony Stapon
    Anthony Stapon
    Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, Doctoral Program Tony was born and raised on Long Island. He graduated from Sachem High School and later received his B.S. degree from Pace University in Biochemistry. After graduating from Pace, Tony continued his studies at The Johns Hopkins University, where he received a Ph.D. in Organic and Bioorganic Chemistry. His graduate work at Hopkins elucidated the carbapenem antibiotic biosynthetic pathway. He also has post-doctoral experience at Harvard University and the National Cancer Institute.
  • Daniel Irizarry
    Daniel Irizarry
    Genetics, Doctoral Program Daniel worked a decade in the construction business before receiving his bachelor’s degree in Biology from Stony Brook University in 2016. He began his research career at Stony Brook working in the laboratory of Dr. Nancy Reich, which was facilitated by the Chancellor's Education Pipeline Biomedical Research Award. Daniel later worked in the laboratory of Dr. Jennie Williams, investigating cancer and racial health disparities. In addition to being a Bridge to the Doctorate Fellow, he is also an IMSD-MERGE Graduate Scholar. In his free time, he enjoys basketball, volunteering, and as of May 2016, spending time with his newborn son.
  • Emilie Bouda
    Emilie Bouda
    Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, Doctoral Program Emilie graduated High School in Burkina Faso, West Africa, and received a B.A. in Biochemistry from Hunter College, CUNY. As an undergraduate, she had the opportunity to explore a potential novel target for treating Pulmonary Hypertension using small molecule inhibitors. She is currently focusing on understanding the structural basis of small molecules binding to their target enzyme kinetics and how these molecules can mature into clinical approved drugs for cancer and diabetics therapeutics. She especially would like to be able to contribute to fighting drug resistance in cancer treatment. 
  • Folnetti Alvarez
    Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, Doctoral Program   Folnetti attended the University of Maryland, College Park and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences, specializing in Physiology. His interest in translational cancer research began as an undergrad, when he studied the biological disparities associated with Prostate Cancer during a summer research internship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. After graduating, he attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst as a post-bacc student to research the hormonal factors that contribute to Breast Cancer risk and resistance. In the Department of Pharmacological Sciences, he is investigating the role a specific protein acquires in carcinogenesis. Specifically elucidating the mechanisms that drive its contributions to transforming a normal cell into a cancer cell.   
  • Greisly Nunez
    Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Doctoral Program Greisly Nunez earned her undergraduate degree in the Biological sciences from Herbert H. Lehman College in December 2014. Greisly worked in Dr. O’Connor’s laboratory synthesizing hydrogels from polysaccharides crosslinked with amino acids for wound healing applications. In 2017, Greisly joined the Molecular and Cellular Biology Ph.D. program at Stony Brook University. She is currently studying the budding yeast ‘s spindle pole body under the guidance of Dr. Aaron M. Neiman.
  •  Jeffrey Malgady
    Neuroscience, Doctoral Program Jeff has a longstanding interest in the cellular mechanisms that underlie neuronal function and dysfunction. His academic and research experiences have honed this interest into a passion for cellular neurophysiology and circuit dynamics. His current research focuses on probing the pathophysiology of compulsive behavior through the scope of striatal dysfunction from cell to circuit.
  • Jinelle Wint
    Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, Doctoral Program Jinelle entered the Biochemistry and Cell Biology master's program here at Stony Brook in the Fall of 2013, where she collaborated with Dr. J. Peter Gergen, the Program Director of the IMSD Program, working with the Drosophila genus of flies. Her research focused on the developmental genetic framework of the Drosophila embryo to examine the regulation of gene. Jinelle entered the Molecular and Cellular Biology Doctoral Program in the Fall of 2014. Jinelle is currently working in the laboratory of Dr. Howard Sirotkin, where she is using CRISPR/Cas 9 to manipulate genes linked to Parkinson's disease in the model organism zebrafish.
  • Jinnette Tolentino Collado
    Chemistry, Doctoral Program Jinnette received a B.S. in Chemistry from York College and a M.S. in Chemistry from Queens College. As undergraduate student, her first research project was on the characterization of metal - carboxylate interaction. As a master's student, she studied the aggregation of human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP), also known as Amylin. The goal of the project was to assess the role played by aromatic residue Phe in driving amyloid formation. Exposure to different areas of research inspired Jinnette to pursue doctoral study in Chemistry.
  • Kafi Belfon
    Kafi Belfon
    Biochemistry and Structural Biology, Doctoral Program Kafi is originally from the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. She received her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Chemistry from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. Before entering the PhD program, she conducted research with Professor Jarrod French working on gammaherpesvirus proteins. During her graduate career, she continues to work in the French lab where she focuses on characterizing the structure and function of the gammaherpesvirus proteins. It is her hope to understand the function and interaction of these proteins so that they can be exploited to develop drugs against gammaherpesviruses.
  • Kennelia Mellanson
    Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, Doctoral Program Kennelia third year PhD student conducting research into the following: Role of neural stem cells in aging, antidepressant therapies and physical activity. 
  • Kellon Belfon
    Kellon Belfon
    Chemistry, Doctoral Program Kellon received his B.Sc in Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of the West Indies and his M.S in Chemistry at Long Island University. His undergraduate research involved studying the relationships between atomic charges and electronegativity in small organic molecules. At the master's level, his research examined the application of photochromic molecules in logic devices using density functional theory. He is currently, a member of the Simmerling lab at the Laufer Center for Physical and Quantitative Biology. His research encompasses Proteases' conformational dynamics and functions, using a variety of computational tools such as molecular dynamics simulations. 
  • Kyle McEvoy
    Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Doctoral Program Kyle is passionate about investigating the inner workings of fungal immunity and the general pipeline of antifungal drug development. Moreover, he is interested in the host-pathogen interactions that occur during  Cryptococcus neoformans  infection. One of his main projects focuses on identifying the binding partner(s) of the newly developed (by his lab) antifungal compounds through use of photo-affinity labeling. Another project of his centers on observing how sphingosine kinase 1 regulates the immune clearance of cryptococcal infections as well as other fungal infections. His research experiences include working with biochemical assays and observing the cross-linking of alpha-synuclein proteins in Lewy Bodies in Parkinson’s disease patients (2017).
  • Meagan Conner
    Meagan Conner
    Neuroscience, Doctoral Program Meagan was born and raised in Houston, TX. In May of 2016 she graduated from Texas A&M with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology minoring in Neuroscience. During her time at A&M she worked in a neuroscience lab at the university’s Health Science Center researching receptors involved in alcohol addiction and well as a pathology lab at the university’s veterinary school testing a vaccine for foal pneumonia developed at Harvard. Meagan is currently working towards her PhD in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior here at Stony Brook University.
  • Priscilla Yevoo
    Neuroscience, Doctoral Program Priscilla aims to apply what she learns through her Neurobiology and Behavior research to raise awareness on neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders particularly in developing countries. Her previous research focused on   exploring the effects of lead toxicity on neural plasticity, and she's currently studying the role of extrasynaptic GABAR in the insular cortex on impulsive behavior
  • Richard Sejour
    Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, Doctoral Program Richard lived on Long Island, NY my entire life, where he was fortunate to be exposed to educational opportunities that sparked my passion for research. He completed my Undergraduate (2015) and Master’s (2018) studies at Adelphi University. During this time, he conducted research on the role of Sirtuin 4 in modulating metabolic signaling pathways across Drosophila mitochondrial DNA haplotypes. His scientific interests are broad, but  he has an affinity for scientific computing and basic research in the following areas: molecular biology, DNA damage repair, cellular damage responses, and epigenetics. On my spare time, he enjoy playing video games, exploring religious/spiritual ideologies, and in general enhancing his comprehension of the physical and social sciences. Richard is  honored to be a member of the Stony Brook community, and he looks forward to being mentored by Stony Brook's talented faculty researchers.
  • Sheed Itaman
    Sheed Itaman
    Neuroscience, Doctoral Program Sheed received his bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and Biophysics from the University of Houston. He later received his master’s degree in Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience from Delaware State University. His master’s project examined the role of nuclear protein TDP-43 and mitochondria in Alzheimer's Disease. During his masters, he was awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program award for his research proposal entitled “Aging Neurons: The Balance Between Calcium Ion Flux and Cell Death.” Sheed is currently an IMSD-MERGE Graduate Scholar with an interest in neurogenesis and neural stem cells.  
  • Steven Hall
    Steven Hall

    Chemistry, Doctoral Program Steven was born and raised by his proud Jamaican mother in Brooklyn, NY. In June of 2016, he graduated from CUNY Hunter College with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and a minor in Music. During his time at Hunter, Steven became an NIGMS-RISE scholar and conducted research in a bioorganic lab investigating how bacteria in medicinal plants contribute to the immunomodulatory effects of the plant. He is currently doing laboratory rotations in his first year of doctoral study here at Stony Brook University.
  • Tanya Victor
    Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, Doctoral Program Tanya is originally from Long Island, but left to receive her B.A. in Biology from SUNY Potsdam. She then continued her studies at the University at Albany, where she earned an M.S. in Biomedical Sciences/Molecular Genetics. Her research examined the peptide epitopes for use as potential diagnostic targets for Cystic Fibrosis screening of newborns. After gaining experience in clinical laboratories, she decided to return to school to pursue a career in research. Tanya's current work is investigating the effects of cannabidiol in microglial activation.