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Our Students

MS I

Johnson-DaKuawn

Johnson, Da’Kuawn
da’kuawn.johnson@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater:  University of Maryland, Baltimore County
1st year in the MSTP
I’m interested in metabolic disorders such as diabetes. I am particularly fascinated by the role that the microbiome could be playing within the disease.

Kanyuch-Nickole

Kanyuch, Nickole
nickole.kanyuch@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Pennsylvania
1st year in the MSTP
I'm interested in the underlying developmental and biological bases of schizophrenia and the potential roles for neuroinflammation in psychiatric disorders.

Moiz-Bilal

Moiz, Bilal
bilal.moiz@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Rochester
1st year in the MSTP
I’m interested in drug delivery, lysosomal storage disorders and the blood brain barrier.

Ning-Frankin

Ning, Franklin
franklin.ning@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Maryland, College Park
1st year in the MSTP
I am interested in cancer drug resistance and metabolism.

Tebben-Kieran

Tebben, Kieran
kieran.tebben@som.umaryland.edu
Alma Mater: Ohio State University
1st year in the MSTP
I’m interested in infectious disease epidemiology; human microbiome influence on susceptibility to infectious disease

Vik-Alexandra

Vlk, Alexandra
Alexandra.vlk@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: Towson University
1st year in the MSTP
I am interested in infectious diseases and immunology.

Yasin-Saif

Yasin, Saif
saif.yasin@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: Drew University
1st year in the MSTP
I’m interested in protein dynamics, molecular structures and enzyme kinetics. I’m especially interested in chemical biology and biophysical methods to assist with biochemical conclusions.

MS II

Born-Louis

Born, Louis
louis.born@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Maryland-College Park
2nd year in MSTP
I am interested in gene therapy.

Kambouris

Kambouris, Adrienne
adrienne.kambouris@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: Georgia Regents University
2st year in MSTP
I am studying the relationship between Chlamydia and cholesterol acquisition as a virulence factor.

Mathias, Trevor

Mathias, Trevor
trevor.mathias@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Maryland Baltimore County
2nd Year in MSTP
I’m interested in Cancer Biology, Genetics and Precision Medicine

Sikorski-Michael

Sikorski, Michael
michael.sikorski@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Maryland, College Park
1st year in the MSTP

Uddin-Olivia

Uddin, Olivia
olivia.uddin@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: Haverford College
1st year in the MSTP
I’m interested in neuroscience.

Wolf-Gideon

Wolf, Gideon
gideon.wolf@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: Columbia University
1st year in the MSTP
I am interested in immunology and virology.

GS I

Casella-Alex

Casella, Alex
Email: alex.casella@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Pennsylvania
PI: Seth Ament, PhD
Graduate Program: Molecular Medicine
My previous work has focused on retrotransposons and Vitamin D.

Coburn-Katherine

Coburn, Katherine
Email: katherine.coburn@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: Grand Valley State University
PI: David Weber, PhD
Graduate Program: Biochemistry
I’m interested in cancer biology.

Guardia, Talia
talia.guardia@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: Barry University
Graduate Program: Molecular Medicine
I am interested in cancer research and in understanding the mechanisms involved in the various hallmarks of cancer. I am particularly fascinated with cancer immunology, metastatic processes, cancer stem cells and therapeutic resistance.

Khan-Niaz

Khan, Niaz Zafar
Email: niaz.khan@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Pittsburgh
PI: Alan Faden, MD
Graduate Program: Neuroscience
My research interests include: brain tumors, neuroinflammation.

Makarevich

Makarevich, Oleg
Email: oleg.makarevich@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
PI: Bogdan Stoica, PhD
Graduate Program: Molecular Medicine
I’m interested in regenerative medicine.

Rao-Vishnu

Rao, Vishnu-Prak
Email: vishnu-prak.rao@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Southern California (USC)
Graduate Program: Molecular Medicine
I’m interested in understanding the mechanisms of cancer progression and metastasis.

Tibbs-Ellis

Tibbs, Ellis
Email: ellis.tibbs@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Missouri-Columbia
Graduate Program: Microbiology & Immunology
I’m interested in developmental biology, stem cells and immunology.

Yu-Justine

Yu, Justine
Email: jyu@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: Johns Hopkins University
PI:  John Fisher, PhD (University of Maryland-College Park /UMCP)
Graduate Program: Bioengineering (UMCP)
I am studying the macrophage response to implantable biomaterial scaffolds for use in skin tissue engineering applications.

GS II

arai-allison

Arai, Allison
Email: allison.arai@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Maryland-College Park
PI: Dudley Strickland, PhD
Graduate Program: Neuroscience
I’m interested in neurological and neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer's with a particular focus on neural circuitry or role of inflammation in pathophysiology of disease.

aronson-sarah

Aronson, Sarah
Email: sarah.aronson@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: Dartmouth College
PI: Elliot Stein, PhD
Graduate Program: Neuroscience
I’m pursuing my PhD training in Neuroscience through the NIH MD/PhD Partnership Training program, which is a joint venture between NIDA and the University of Maryland’s MSTP. My scientific interests include the etiology of psychiatric disease, neuroimaging research methods, and relating basic science research with applications to the clinic.

brao-kristen

Brao, Kristen
Email: kristen.brao@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: Yale University
PI: Mark Shirtliff, PhD
Graduate Program: Microbiology & Immunology
I'm interested in arthropod-transmitted diseases, vaccine development, and virulence evolution. 

cole-anthony

Cole, Anthony
Email: anthony.cole@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Central Florida
PI: Scott Thompson, PhD
Graduate Program: Neuroscience
I study the rapid actions of stress hormones on specific brain regions including the hippocampus to better understand the etiology of stress disorders and depression.

doran-sarah

Doran, Sarah
Email: sarah.doran@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Connecticut
PI: David Loane, PhD
Graduate Program: Microbiology & Immunology
I am interested in investigating the role of the immune system in neurological conditions, particularly traumatic brain injury and stroke, and how it pertains to potential therapies. Another area of interest of mine is the role of sex differences in neurological diseases. 

klontz-erik

Klontz, Erik
Email: erik.klontz@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: Carleton College
PI: Eric Sundberg, PhD
Graduate Program: Microbiology & Immunology
I am interested in developing new inhibitors against multidrug-resistant bacteria.

lasola-jackine-joy

Lasola, Jackline Joy
Email: jacklinejoy.lasola@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of California-Berkeley and Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
PI: Eduardo Davila, PhD
Graduate Program: Microbiology & Immunology
I am interested in investigating the relationship between inflammatory pathways and the tumor microenvironment in sustaining tumorigenesis in metastatic melanoma in hopes of developing immunotherapeutics to improve treatment options for cancer patients.

lee-michael

Lee, Michael
Email: michael.lee@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: Washington University at St. Louis
PI: Tonya Webb, PhD
Graduate Program: Microbiology & Immunology
I am interested in a wide variety of research areas with my current focus being on bio-engineering and immunology. I completed my first rotation in the bio-engineering department at the University of Maryland, College Park, and plan on returning next summer to look into bio-material based approaches to immunological diseases. 

rosenberg-kenneth

Rosenberg, Kenneth
Email: kenneth.rosenberg@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Maryland-College Park
PI: Nevil Singh, PhD
Graduate Program: Microbiology & Immunology
The adaptive immune system generates cells that recognize virtually any biological structure yet selectively responds only to harmful pathogens. I find how the body tackles this massive regulatory imperative fascinating, especially considering its breakdown results in autoimmunity. In particular, I am interested in studying how T cells make decisions. They must decide what to respond to and how best to respond, as well as remember those decisions in case we come across the same bug again.

zhou-albert

Zhou, Albert
Email: albert.zhou@som.umaryland.edu
Alma Mater: University of Maryland Baltimore County
PI: Mark Travassos, MD, MSc
Graduate Program: Epidemiology and Human Genetics
Malaria parasites express variant surface antigens, which play a critical role in sequestration and evasion of host immune responses due to their extraordinary genetic diversity. In regions with malaria transmission, adults develop immunity to clinical disease, which is believed to be associated with the development of antibodies to particular VSAs. I am aiming to identify epitopes involved in protective natural immunity by utilizing ultra-dense peptide microarrays.

GS III

hesselgrave-natalie

Hesselgrave, Natalie
Email: natalie.hesselgrave@som.umaryland.edu
Alma Mater: Cornell University and Columbia University
PI:  Scott Thompson, PhD
Graduate Program: Neuroscience
My research interests are focused on understanding of depression and antidepressant treatment. Currently I’m using electrophysiological techniques to elucidate the effects of fast acting antidepressants on the brain. My hope is that this will help us develop better treatments for depression, ones which may target specific deficits seen in the disorder. In the future, I’d like to work on identifying biomarkers that may be used to explain the etiology of depression and predict treatment response.

roberts-nathan

Roberts, Nathan
Email: nathan.roberts@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa
PI: Graeme Woodworth, MD
Graduate Program: Molecular Medicine
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and deadly type of brain cancer with a median survival of about 15 months. GBM presents two unique challenges to therapeutic efficacy: (i) restricted movement of therapeutic agents across the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) and within brain tissue, and (ii) immunosuppressive features which limit anti-tumor effects of immune cells. As a student in the Translational Therapeutics Research Group, I am utilizing advanced nanoparticle drug formulations to improve the delivery of immunomodulatory drugs to GBM.

GS IV

brown-joshua

Brown, Joshua
Email: joshua.brown@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of West Florida
PI: Michael Summers, PhD
Graduate Program: Biochemistry
We are determining the structure of the HIV-1 RNA 5'UTR Leader in its monomeric conformation using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance techniques. 

divakaruni-saisachin

Divakaruni, Sai Sachin
Email: saisachin.divakaruni@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Maryland Baltimore County
PI: Thomas Blanpied, PhD
Graduate Program: Neuroscience
Synapses are the fundamental units of communication between neurons, and activity-driven changes to the structure and function of hippocampal synapses are thought to be essential for learning and memory. I am examining the role of mitochondrial fission in long-term potentiation, which is defined as the persistent strengthening of synapses, using confocal and super-resolution fluorescence microscopy techniques.

hritzo-molly

Hritzo, Molly
Email: molly.hritzo@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Scranton
PI: Amit Golding, MD, PhD
Graduate Program: Microbiology & Immunology
I am working to explore the nuclear gene expression profile of regulatory T cells in healthy donors and patients with rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematous. 

wescott-andrew

Wescott, Andrew
Email: andrew.wescott@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Rochester
PI: Jon Lederer, MD, PhD
Graduate Program: Molecular Medicine
I employ quantitative imaging and computational methods to study the role of calcium signals in cardiac physiology (e.g. excitation-contraction coupling, metabolism, cell signaling) and pathology (e.g. arrhythmia, heart failure, ischemia-reperfusion). 

MS III

bradford-l-latey

Bradford, Latey
Email: l.lateybradford@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Maryland Baltimore County
PI: Jacques Ravel, PhD
Graduate Program: Microbiology & Immunology
I study changes in composition and gene expression of bacterial and fungal communities within the vaginal microbiota in women with yeast infection. This work will help to understand the role of the vaginal microbiota and identify potential diagnostic and therapeutic measures for vaginal yeast infection. 

ma-elise

Ma, Elise
Email: elise.ma@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: UCLA
PI: Alan Faden, MD
Graduate Program: Neuroscience
My research goal is to uncover mechanisms by which the brain and the intestines interact during physiological conditions and in response to injury. I am investigating neural and immunological nodes of the brain-gut axis in the context of traumatic brain injury. 

simpson-haley

Simpson, Haley
Email: haley.simpson@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
PI: Arnob Banerjee, MD, PhD
Graduate Program: Molecular Med
icine
I study oncogenic signaling pathways in Peripheral T cell lymphoma (PTCL). PTCL is a heterogeneous malignancy with very poor prognosis and inadequate response to current treatment approaches. My thesis research focuses on the role of the JAK/STAT signaling pathway in driving PTCL and developing novel targeting strategies.

stockman-sara

Stockman, Sara
Email: sara.stockman@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Maryland Baltimore County
PI: Margaret McCarthy, PhD
Graduate Program: Neuroscience
I am interested in sex differences in development of the hippocampus. Currently, I am exploring how epigenetic repression in females may contribute to a male bias in early postnatal hippocampal neurogenesis. 

stokum-jesse

Stokum, Jesse
Email: jesse.stokum@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of West Virginia and Carnegie Mellon University
PI: J. Marc Simard, MD, PhD
Graduate Program: Neuroscience
I am investigating the divergent patterns of protein regulation in white and grey matter astrocytes after injury and the impact of this heterogeneity upon cerebral edema and glial scar formation. 

tsai-alexander

Tsai, Alexander
Email: alexander.tsai@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
PI: Eduardo Davila, PhD
Graduate Program in Molecular Medicine
My interests are in the development of T-cell based cancer immunotherapies. My thesis project involves developing therapeutic regimens for the immunosensitization of melanoma through downregulation of immunosuppressive cell surface ligands (i.e. PD-L1), decreasing immunosuppressive cytokine secretion, and increasing immunogenic molecules (i.e. MHC-I).

MS IV

Boudova, Sarah
Email: sarah.boudova@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Pennsylvania
PI: Miriam Laufer, MD
Graduate Program: Microbiology & Immunology
My research focused on the effect of malaria during pregnancy on development of the fetal immune system and subsequent risk of malaria during infancy along with ways of preventing pregnancy-associated malaria. I found that malaria at first antenatal visit was inversely associated with a universal bed net campaign and that children born to mothers with placental malaria had increased risk of malaria during infancy as compared to children born to mothers with peripheral infection or no infection during pregnancy. I also found that these children had altered cytokine profiles at the time of birth. I am currently examining the effect of malaria during pregnancy of fetal cellular immunity. The ultimate goal of this research is to improve the health of women and children in malaria-endemic regions.
Research interests: Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Infectious Diseases, Global Health, Malaria, HIV, Hepatitis C, Point of Care Ultrasound

chakrabarti-kristi

Chakrabarti, Kristi
Email: kristi.chakrabarti@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Pennsylvania
PI: Stuart Martin, PhD
Graduate Program: Molecular Medicine
I study the cytoskeletal alterations of circulating tumor cells. I am specifically interested in understanding the effects of the AMPK pathway on microtentacle formation and microtubule stability in breast cancer metastasis. 

chen-haiwen

Chen, Haiwen
Email: haiwen.chen@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: Harvard University
PI: Thomas Blanpied, PhD
Graduate Program: Neuroscience
Broadly, I study how synapses are structurally and functionally organized at the macromolecular level. More specifically, I study the distinct spatial organization of spontaneous and evoked vesicle release sites, and how they're regulated by active zone proteins and activity levels. 

freiberg-jeffrey

Jeffrey Freiberg
Email: jeffrey.freiberg@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Virginia
PI: Mark Shirtliff, PhD
Graduate Program: Microbiology & Immunology
My dissertation research involved studying Streptococcus pyogenes biofilms and their role in pathogenesis. Using global ‘omics approaches combined with in vitro and in vivo models of S. pyogenes biofilms, I identified key factors responsible for the antibiotic tolerance seen in certain S. pyogenes infections.

kurland-david

Kurland, David
Email: david.kurland@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: Washington University at St. Louis
PI: J. Marc Simard, MD, PhD
Graduate Program: Neuroscience
I'm interested in understanding injury to the brain caused by the neuroinflammatory response to blood and blood-products, which is in part mediated by the Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) pathway. My thesis centers on the role of TLR4-mediated upregulation of the Sur1-Trpm4 ion channel in activated microglia. 

tuo-peter-li

Li, Tuo Peter
Email: tuo.li@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: Johns Hopkins University
PI: Thomas Blanpied, PhD
Graduate Program: Neuroscience
I am interested in molecular mechanisms that retain and organize centrally important membrane proteins within excitatory neuronal synapses which are critical for basal synaptic transmission and learning-associated plasticity. I use super-resolved single-fluorophore microscopy and traditional confocal fluorescence microscopy to assess whether the size of extracellular or intracellular protein domains influence the mobility and hence the retention of transmembrane proteins on the postsynaptic membrane. 

park-anthony

Park, Anthony
Email: anthony.park@som.umaryland.edu
Alma mater: University of Virginia
PI: Asaf Keller, PhD
Graduate Program: Neuroscience
The sensation of pain is an essential signal that alerts us to possible damage to our bodies. However, this pain system can become defective and lead to chronic pain, significantly affecting quality of life. The Keller lab has shown that certain forms of chronic pain, such as central pain syndrome, are causally related to decreased inhibition of the thalamus, and I am interested in understanding the synaptic mechanisms underlying this disinhibition and the generation of chronic pain. 

Tise, Christina
Email: christina.tise@som.maryland.edu
Alma mater: Virginia Tech
PI: Alan Shuldiner, MD
Graduate Program: Epidemiology-Human Genetics
My dissertation research focused on the phenotypic consequences of two, rare nonsense mutations in SLC13A1, a gene encoding a sulfate transporter, that are enriched in frequency within the Amish population.
Research interests: Mendelian analysis, GWAS/ExWAS, Founder populations, Genetic diagnostic testing

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