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Current Graduate Students

Rhea Abisado

Advisor:  Josie Chandler
Email:  rabisado@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biology (Microbiology major) - University of the Phillippines Los Baños (2007), M.S. in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology - University of the Phillippines Los Baños (2011)
Hometown:  Sorsogon, Phillippines
Research Interests:  Quorum sensing regulation of antibiotic resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Sahida Afroz

Advisor:  Rotation Student
Email:  sahida.afroz@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Zoology - University of Dhaka (2014), M.S. in Zoology (Fisheries) - University of Dhaka (2015)
Hometown:  Dhaka, Bangladesh
Research Interests:  Microbial pathogenesis and cancer biology

Haifa Alhadyian

Advisor:  Rob Ward
Email:  haifaalhadyian@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Zoology - College of Sciences-Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (2012), M.A. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology - KU (2016)
Hometown:  Damman City, Saudi Arabia
Research Interests:  Cell, Developmental Biology, and Genetics
Award/Honors:  2018 Outstanding International Woman Stuudent Award (Emily Taylor Center-KU), 2017 K-INBRE Award of Excellence-Poster Presentation, 2016 Molecular Biosciences Travel Award, 2013-2016 King Abdullah Scholarship for Outstanding Academic Achievement
Leadership Roles:  Early Career Scientist-Communication and Outreach Subcommittee, Genetics Society of America

Jennifer Amrein

Advisor:  Rotation Student
Email:  jamrein@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biology/Microbiology - University of Southern Mississippi (1994)
Hometown:  Topeka, Kansas
Research Interests:  Neuroscience, Immunology, and the intestinal microbiome as they relate to autism spectrum disorder and autoimmunity

Srishti Baid

Advisor:  Scott Hefty
Email:  srishtib@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Microbiology - University of Calcutta (2013), M.S. in Medical Biotechnology - Manipal University (2015)
Hometown:  Kolkata, India
Research Interests:  Infectious Diseases and Microbial Pathogenesis, Immunology, Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology


Anuja Bhatta

Advisor:  Steve Benedict
Email:  a751b166@ku.edu 
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biology - University of New Orleans (2012)
Hometown:  Kathmandu, Nepal
Research Interests:  T cell Biology


Molly Birrer

Advisor:  Brian Ackley
Email:  mbirrer@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biology - Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI (2014)
Hometown:  Indianapolis, Indiana
Research Interests:  Genetics and Cancer Biology
 

Alex Bowman

Advisor:  Mark Richter
Email:  abowman@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biochemistry - University of Kansas (2013)
Hometown:  Medicine Lodge, Kansas
Research Interests: Structure/function of ATP Synthase, structure/function of E3 Ubiquitin Ligase Parkin

 

Amritangshu Chakravarty

Advisor:  Roberto De Guzman
Email:  a718c558@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biochemistry - University of Calcutta (2009), M.S. in Biochemistry - University of Calcutta (2011)
Hometown:  Kolkata, India
Research Interests:  Structural Biology, Mechanisms of Neurodegenerative Diseases

Thelma Chiremba

​Advisor:  Kristi Neufeld
Emailtchiremba@ku.edu
Educational BackgroundB.A. in Biological Chemistry with minor in Neuroscience - Grinnell College, Iowa (2014)
HometownChitungwiza, Zimbabwe 
Research InterestsCellular/Molecular/Cancer Biology



Oindrila De

Advisor: Robert Ward
Email: oindrila_de31@ku.edu
Educational Background:B.S. in Biotechnology - Ramnarain Ruia College - University of Mumbai (2014), M.S. in Biotechnology - St. Xavier's College (Autonomous), Mumbai (2016)
Hometown: Mumbai, India
Research Interests: Cell and developmental biology, Molecular biology


 

 

Dwight Deay

Advisor:  Mark Richter
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biochemistry - University of Kansas (2008)
Hometown:  Des Moines, Iowa
Research Interests:  ATP synthase structure/function, Design and optimization of flavin containing oxidase enzymes for biosensor applications
Awards/Honors:  NIGMS Biotechnology Training Grant

Rik Dhar

Advisor:  Joanna Slusky
Email:  rdhar@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.Tech. in Biotechnology - Heritage Institute of Technology, India (2013), M.Tech in Biotechnology - National Institute of Technology-Rourkela, India (2015)
Hometown:  Kolkata, India
Research Interests:  Cancer Biology and Biochemistry

Zoe Dimond

Advisor:  Scott Hefty
Educational Background:  B.S in Biology, Chemistry minor - Oregon State University (2014)
Hometown:  Portland, Oregon
Research Interests:  Using whole genome sequencing and genetics to explore mechanisms in infectious disease

amanda dunbar

Amanda Dunbar

Advisor:  Steve Benedict
Email:  a223d891@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.A. in Biology and Biochemistry - University of Minnesota-Morris (2011)
Hometown:  Rochester, Minnesota
Research Interests:  T cell biology and the development of autoimmunity​
Awards/Honors:  Morris Scholar 

Kelsey Ferguson

Advisor:  Rotation Student
Email:  kelsferg9@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics - Kansas State University (2018)
Hometown:  Topeka, Kansas
Research Interests:  Neurobiology, Biochemistry, and Developmental Biology

 

Christian Gomez

Advisor:  Kristi Neufeld
Email:  cgomez-2@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biology - Washburn University (2013)
Hometown:  Topeka, Kansas
Research Interests:  The role of APC in cancer biology and differentiation

 

Victoria Hassebroek

Advisor:  Yoshiaki Azuma
Email:  vav365@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biology - University of Missouri (2015)
Hometown:  Marshfield, Missouri
Research Interests:  Genetics, Neurobiology and Cancer Biology

 

Dianarys Hernandez-Aquino

Advisor:  Stuart Macdonald
Email:  dianarys.hernandez@gmail.com
Educational Background:  B.S. in Microbiology - University of Puerto Rico-Arecibo (2014)
Hometown:  San Sebastian, Puerto Rico
Research Interests:  Cellular and molecular biology, Protein-protein interactions, Biochemistry, Developmental biology and Microbiology

 

Latavia Hill

Advisor:  Susan Egan
Email:  lataviahill@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biology - Philander Smith College (2016)
Hometown:  Chicago, Illinois
Research Interests:  AraC transcriptional activators are found in seventy percent of sequenced bacterial genomes and control the expression of genes involved in stress response, metabolism, and virulence. Our lab studies RhaR and RhaS. These two proteins activate the expression of the E. coli L-rhamnose regulon in the presence of their effector, L-rhamnose.
Awards/Honors:  NIH Chemical Biology Trainee, ASM Microbe 2018 Travel Awardee, ASM Research Capstone Education Fellow

Ayotunde Paul Ikujuni

Advisor:  Rotation Student
Email:  apikujuni@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biochemistry - University of Lagos (2014), M.S. in Biochemistry - University of Lagos (2017)
Hometown:  Ilutitun, Ondo, Nigeria
Research Interests:  Molecular/Cell Biology: Identifying molecular targets for gene expression regulation to improve human medicine

 

David Ingham

Advisor:  Chris Gamblin
Email:  inghamd002@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biology - Missouri Southern State University (2016)
Hometown:  Leeds, England
Research Interests:  ​The normal function of the tau protein is to associate and stabilize microtubules within the neuronal cytoskeleton. However, hyperphosphorylation of tau can dissociate from microtubules and lead to the formation of tau aggregates forming pathological structures such as neurofibrillary tangles and paired helical filaments. These structures have been identified in multiple neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. I am interested in how small compounds can be used to not only inhibit the formation of these pathological structures, but also cause the disassembly of aggregates that have already formed.

 

Shivani JagannathanMurali

Advisor:  Mizuki Azuma
Email:  shivani_jm@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.Engineering in Biotechnology - PES Institute of Technology (2016)
Hometown:  Bangalore, India
Research Interests:  Molecular and cellular biology, Cancer biology
 

Anupama Kante

Advisor:  Eric Deeds
Email:  anupama.kante@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biotechnology - University of Pune (2008), M.S. in Biotechnology - Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth, Pune (2010)
Hometown:  Pune, India
Research Interests:  The proteasome is a protease complex that irreversibly degrades proteins and is crucial to a number of cellular functions.  The proteasome is active only when its sub units are fully assembled.  I am studying the assembly pathways employed by this molecule in order to form an active complex.

 

Erica Keffeler

Advisor:  Lynn Hancock
Email:  ekeffeler@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biotechnology - Missouri Western State University (2016)
Hometown:  Lenexa, Kansas
Research Interests:  Microbiology, Immunology
 

Nikola Kenjic

Advisor:  Audrey Lamb
Email:  nkenjic@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Chemistry - University of Florida (2009), M.S in Biochemistry - University of Arizona (2014)
Hometown:  Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Research Interests:  Enzyme kinetics, Protein purification and biochemical, structural characterization of their function

Catherine Kerr

Advisor:  Rotation Student
Email:  catkerr@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biology - University of Wyoming (2018)
Hometown:  Casper, Wyoming
Research Interests:  Microbiology

Jittasak (Jake) Khowsathit

Advisor:  Eric Deeds    
Email:  jkhow@ku.edu              
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biochemistry - Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok (2011)
Hometown:  Bangkok, Thailand
Research Interests:  Computational Protein Design

 

Haeyoung Kim

Advisor:  Mizuki Azuma
Email:  kyh426@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biological Science - Incheon National University (2013), M.S. in Life Science - Incheon National University (2015)
Hometown:  Incheon, South Korea
Research Interests:  Cellular/Molecular/Cancer Biology
 

Joan Klages

Advisor:  Susan Egan
Email:  jklages@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biology - Austin Peay State University (2016)
Hometown:  Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Research Interests:  Microbiology and Immunology
 

Jennifer Klaus

Advisor:  Josephine Chandler
Email:  jennklaus@ku.edu            
Educational Background:  B.S. and M.S. in Biology - Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS (2011 and 2014)
Hometown:  Hays, Kansas
Research Interests: Our group is interested in a type of cell-to-cell signaling in bacteria called quorum sensing, which is important for many bacteria to compete and survive in different environments including the host. My research seeks to understand how quorum sensing promotes survival of the gram-negative opportunistic human lung pathogen Burkholderia pseudomallei.
Awards/Honors:  2014 K-INBRE Award of Excellence for poster presentation; 2013 Outstanding GTA Award, Fort Hays State University Graduate School​, 2015 Chemical Biology 21st Annual Symposium Pre-orals Graduate Researcher Poster Presentation Award

 

Pratik Koirala

Advisor:  Josephine Chandler
Email: pratikkoirala@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.Tech. in Biotechnology - Asian Institute of Technology and Management, Purbanchal University (2016)
Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal
Research Interests: Microbiology and Immunology
 

Meagan Kurland

Advisor:  Brian Ackley
Email:  meagankurland@gmail.com
Hometown:  Etters, Pennsylvania
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biology - Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA (2015)
Research Interests:  Development and Cellular Biology, Immunology

Scott LaBrie

Advisor:  Scott Hefty
Email:  scottlabrie@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Environmental Science - Haskell Indian Nations University (2014)
Hometown:  Sacramento, California

 

Cindy Ly

Advisor:  David Davido
Email:  cly724@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Chemistry (Biochemistry concentration) - Florida International University (2016)
Hometown:  Miami, Florida
Research Interests:  Microbiology, Infectious Diseases, Drug Development, and Instrumental Analysis
 

 

Snehal Mahadik

Advisor:  Erik Lundquist
Email: snehal@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biotechnology - Ruia College, Mumbai (2010), M.S. in Bioanalytical Sciences - Ruia College, Mumbai (2012)
Hometown:  Mumbai, India
Research Interests:  Developmental neurobiology and cell biology
 

Jeff Mcfarlane

Advisor:  Audrey Lamb
Email:  jeffmcfarlane@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biology - Sterling College, Kansas (1997), M.S. in Education - Park University, Parkville, MO (2003)
Research Interests:  Protein structure and function
 

Megan McKinney

Advisor:  Scott Hefty
Email:  mem2015@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biology - University of West Georgia (2015)
Research Interests:  Anything in microbiology really interests me.  I also find viral immunology, understanding the body's response to infection, fascinating and enjoyable.

Sarah Mullinax

Advisor:  Rob Unckless
Educational Background:  B.A. in Biology, B.A. in Spanish - Wartburg College, Waverly, IA (2016)
Hometown:  Overland Park, Kansas
Research Interests:  Microbiology and Immunology
Awards/Honors:  Madison & Lila Self Graduate Fellow
 

vaishnavi nagarajan

Vaishnavi Nagarajan

Advisor:  Lisa Timmons
Email:  v612n423@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.Tech. in Biotechnology - Vellore Institute Technology, India (2010)
Hometown:  Chennai, India
Research Interests:  Biomolecules & mechanisms in molecular biology

Matthew Ochs

Advisor:  Erik Lundquist
Email:  matthew.ochs@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biology - Hope College, Holland, MI (2015)
Hometown:  Township, Michigan
Research Interests:  Virology and Developmental Biology
 

Nootan Pandey

Advisor:  Yoshiaki Azuma
Email:  n070p188@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in  Biotechnology and Chemistry - VBS Purvanchal University, India (2006), M.S. in Microbiology - MITS University, India (2009)
Hometown:  Varanasi, UP, India
Research Interests:  Cancer Biology and Virology​

 

Taybor Parker

Advisor:  Kristi Neufeld
Email:  parkertw@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biology - University of Missouri (2013)
Hometown:  Joplin, Missouri
Research Interests:  Translational medicine, epigenetics, colorectal cancer, and the gut microbiome

 

Srivatsan Parthasarathy

Advisor:  Lynn Hancock
Email:  s679p149@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.Tech. in Biotechnology - Vellore Institute of Technology, India (2010)
Hometown:  Chennai, India
Research Interests:  Signal transduction pathways, cell cycle and genetic recombination
 

Aaron Rudeen

Advisor:  Kristi Neufeld
Email:  aaron.rudeen@gmail.com
Educational Background:  B.A. in Biology and B.A. in Chemistry - Bethel College, Kansas (2013)
Hometown: Osage City, Kansas
Research Interests:  Cancer Biology, Protein Purification
Awards/Honors:  NIH Biotechnology Training Grant (2015-2017), H.P. Cady Award (2015)

 

Sudeep Shakya

Advisor:  Lisa Timmons
Email:  s404s173@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biotechnology - Kathmandu University (2008), Professional Science Master's in Biotechnology - University of Northern Iowa (2010)

Katelyn Soules

Advisor:  Scott Hefty
Email:  ksoules@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.A. in Human Biology - University of Kansas (2014)
Hometown:  Lawrence, Kansas
Research Interests:  Immunology and Microbiology
 

Sutton Stegman

Advisor:  Lisa Timmons
Email:  steg88@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biology - University of Kansas (2013)
Hometown:  Wichita, Kansas
Research Interests:  Molecular Biology, Cellular Biology, Neurobiology, and Genetics

Sanjana Sundararajan

Advisor:  Yoshiaki Azuma
Email:  sanjana.sundar95@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.Tech. in Biotechnology - Anna University, Chennai, India (2016)
Hometown:  Chennai, India
Research Interests: Genetics and Cancer Biology

 

 

Shoichi Tachiyama

Advisor:  Bill Picking
Email:  s818t598@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences - Teikyo University, Tokyo, Japan (2012), License to Practice Pharmacy (granted in Japan, 2012)
Hometown: Tokyo, Japan
Research Interests:  The mechanism of the infection to develop antibiotics in terms of biochemistry and pharmaceuticals
 

Nicholas Wagner

Advisor:  Rotation Student
Email:  wagner.j.nicholas@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biology - Washburn University, Topeka, KS (2017)
Hometown:  Norwalk, California
Research Interests:  Cell senescence and DNA repair


Zhe Yang

Advisor:  Matthew Buechner
Email:  z594y005@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Bioengineering - China University of Mining & Technology, Beijing; Institution of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Science​ (2012)
Hometown:  Jinan, China
Research Interests:  Excretory canal of C. elegans

 

Qi Zhang

Advisor:  Liang Xu
Email:  q643z135@ku.edu
Educational Background:  B.S. in Biotechnology - Shandong University (2015), M.S. in Natural Science (Marine Biology) - Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2018)
Hometown:  Shandong Province, China
Research Interests:  Molecular therapy targeting cancer and cancer stem cells, via novel nanovectors and rational drug design.

2017 Graduate Student Class

1st Row: Joe Panushka, Sydney Alexander Muck, Srishti Baid, Oindrila De, Cory Jenkinson

2nd Row:  Pratik Koirala, Cindy Ly, Shivani JagannathanMurali

2016 Graduate Student Class

1st Row:  Shoichi Tachiyama, Zoe Dimond, Rhea Abisado, Sarah Mullinax, Haeyoung Kim, Reshma Bhattacharya

2nd Row:  Kevin Tyner, Rik Dhar, David Ingham, Snehal Mahadik, Priyanka Goyal

3rd Row:  Joan Klages, Erica Keffeler, Sanjana Sundararajan, Latavia Hill

2015 Graduate Student Class

1st Row:  Victoria Vande Griend, Molly Birrer, Stacie Eliades-Becker, Megan McKinney
2nd Row:  Elizabeth Grotemeyer, Meagan Kurland, Katelyn Soules
3rd Row:  Taybor Parker, Jeff McFarlane, Nicole Massa, Scott LaBrie
4th Row:  Dianarys Hernandez-Aquino, Amritangshu Chakravarty, Srivatsan Parthasarathy, Matthew Ochs, Alex Bowman, Reid McLean

2014 Graduate Student Class

1st Row:  Jennifer Klaus,Nan Bai,Haifa Alhadyian, Anupama Kante, Sikta Patnaik
2nd Row:  Thelma Chiremba, Jin Niu
3rd Row:  Robert Wilkerson, Bryce Blankenfeld, Kelly Harrison, Nootan Pandey
4th Row:  Nikola Kenjic, Aaron Bart, Sudeep Shakya, Olivia Arizmendi

2013 Graduate Student Class

1st Row:  Erin Suderman, Kara Hinshaw
2nd Row:  Yuxiao Guo, Anuja Bhatta, Lingfei Liang, Sanjay Yadava
3rd Row:  Christian Gomez, Luke Wenger, Zhe Yang, Dwight Deay
 

 


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