Grad Phase Students

Grad Phase Students

Department: Grad Phase Students

Kijoon Kim

Education: Georgia Institute of Technology, B.S. in Biomedical Engineering (2019)
Hometown: Richmond, VA
PhD Advisor: Dr. Peter Hamilton, Ph.D. 
Graduate Program: Neuroscience
Bio: Kijoon conducted three years of undergraduate research with Dr C Ross Ethier and Dr Machelle Pardue at Georgia Institute of Technology and worked on projects related to glaucoma and the preservation of vision. Kijoon is hoping to gain a broader neuroscience background implementing behavioral assessments and electrophysiology techniques. Kijoon enjoys playing squash, classical guitar, cooking, and motorsports in his free time.

Steven J. Meas

Education: University of Toronto, B.S. with a double major in Neuroscience and Animal Physiology (2016); University of Toronto, M.S. in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology (2018)
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
PhD Advisor: Dr. Henry Donahue, Ph.D.
Graduate Program: CaMM
Bio: Steven has a background in regenerative medicine, developmental biology, neuroscience and hearing biology. He is interested in the interface between regenerative medicine and biomedical engineering, particularly in how strategies can be developed to allow the body to rebuild itself. Outside of the laboratory, he can be found trekking through mountains, relaxing in the park, trying his hand at new sports and/or forming new experiences through travel. 

Yu Par Aung Myo

Education: Virginia Commonwealth University, B.S. in Biology, with a minor in Chemistry (2015)
Hometown: Mandalay, Myanmar
PhD Advisor: Dr. Patricia Sime, MD
Graduate Program: Micro/Immunology
Bio: Yu Par is currently exploring her research interests in neuroscience, pharmacology/toxicology and nanomedicine. Her background was in neuroscience, and she wants to challenge herself by going into an area of research that approaches the brain from a different perspective than her previous work, which centered around basic molecular neuroscience. She loves building Legos, cooking and especially going on spontaneous outdoor adventures and food adventures!

Thomas Siff

Education: Liberty University, B.S. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, with a minor in Biomedical Sciences (2019)
Hometown: Hampton, VA
PhD Advisor: Dr. Jason Carlyon, Ph.D.
Graduate Program: Micro/Immunology
Bio: Thomas maintains an interest in several fields of research as they relate to cancer biology, including reactive oxygen species metabolism, cell signaling, and immunology. He aspires to perform translational research that transforms novel discoveries in basic science into innovative new treatments for cancer. In his free time, Thomas enjoys Taekwondo, Krav Maga, hiking in the mountains, playing piano and cello, and reading.

Marc Kealhofer

Education: University of Chicago, B.S. in Statistics; Johns Hopkins University, Sc.M. in Epidemiology
Hometown: Lafayette, CA
PhD Advisor: Brien Riley, PhD; Tan Hoang Nguyen, PhD 
Graduate Program: Integrative Life Sciences - Behavioral and Statistical Genetics 
Bio: Marc is interested in the genetic and epigenetic factors that contribute to psychiatric disorders and how they manifest in different environmental contexts, as well as the statistical methods that facilitate those analyses. As a master’s student and data analyst at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, he worked on a variety of projects, including studying insurance policy and its effect on access to substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, the role of comorbid mood disorders in predicting SUD progression and recovery, and the genomics and epigenomics of mood and psychotic disorders. Marc enjoys running, playing music, and coxing boats in his free time.

Hannah Shadowen

Education: University of Virginia, B.S. in Neuroscience (Minor in Women, Gender and Sexuality), Master of Public Health
Hometown: Richmond, VA
PhD Advisor: Andrew Barnes, PhD
Graduate Program: Healthcare Policy and Research 
Bio: Hannah Shadowen is interested in studying chronic health conditions with a particular focus on mental health from a population and epidemiologic perspective. She is interested in how social determinants of health impact patients and their well-being. Hannah is a Richmond native who enjoys rock climbing, running, good books and spending time with friends and family.

Anne Skelton

Education: University of Denver, B.S. in Biology and Psychology (2016)
Hometown: Albuquerque, NM
PhD Advisor: Barbara Boyan, PhD
Graduate Program: Physiology and Biophysics 
Bio: After spending two years as a clinical research coordinator in pediatric orthopedic hip preservation and sports medicine, Anne developed an interest in bone and muscle physiology. Her current interests involve understanding the factors which influence osteoblast differentiation and growth plate closure as they relate to orthopedic pathology. She has recently taken up running, frequenting many of the trails around Richmond, and will gladly show pictures of her cat, Tom.

Susie Turkson

Education: University of Chicago, B.A. in Biology with a specialization in Neuroscience (2012); Eastern Virginia Medical School, M.S. in Biomedical Sciences (2017)
Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA
PhD Advisor: Gretchen Neigh (McCandless), PhD
Graduate Program: Neuroscience
Bio: Susie is interested in exploring sex differences in the relationship between chronic stress/disease and neurocognitive outcomes. Susie is an avid baker whose personal interests include culinary adventures and advocacy.

Augustus (Gus) White

Education: University of Tennessee-Knoxville, B.A. in College Scholars with a Concentration in Health Economics and Policy (2018)
Hometown: Chattanooga, TN
PhD Advisor: Andrew Barnes, PhD
Graduate Program: Healthcare Policy and Research 
Bio: Gus' research interests lie in the fields of behavioral economics and public policy, particularly as they apply to public health. The current focus of Gus' research is on using techniques in behavioral economics to assess abuse liability of electronic cigarettes as well as better understanding state-level trends in opioid use and health insurance coverage. Outside of research, Gus enjoys playing golf and following his beloved Tennessee Volunteers. 

Yi (Daniel) Zhou

Education: McGill University, B.Sc. in Anatomy and Cell Biology (2014), M.Sc. in the Integrated Program in Neuroscience (2017)
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
PhD Advisor: Michael Neale, PhD
Graduate Program: Integrative Life Sciences - Behavioral and Statistical Genetics
Bio: Daniel is interested in how environmental and genetic factors interact to affect brain structure, function, and behavior. Currently, he is interested in approaches that integrate molecular, neuroimaging, and clinical data in order to better understand the development of mental health disorders. He is excited to be in Richmond and is looking forward to exploring the music scene, drinking craft beers, swimming in the James River and everything else the city has to offer. 

Jessica Kiernan

Education: Virginia Tech University, B.S. in Biology (2008); Georgetown University, M.Sc. Biohazardous Threat Agents and Emerging Infectious Diseases (2011)
Hometown: Lancaster, PA
PhD Advisor: April Kimmel, PhD
Graduate Program: Healthcare Policy and Research
Bio: Building on a pre-medical school career within the field of global health and infectious disease, Jessica's research interests include understanding the landscape of factors that lead to increased disease burden in vulnerable populations.  She is interested in evaluating key drivers of disease transmission, opportunities for intervention and translatable, evidence-based models of treatment delivery, specifically within the HIV positive population in the United States.  In her free time, Jessica enjoys exploring Richmond with her 16-month-old, SJ, and continuing global travel with her husband, Scott, with over 80 countries visited between them. 

Caellaigh Kimpston

Education: University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, B.S. in Biology (2017)
Hometown: Russell, KY
PhD Advisor: Richard Marconi, PhD
Graduate Program: Microbiology and Immunology
Bio: At the University of North Carolina, Caellaigh's research focused on understanding the roles of the protein periostin and Schwann cells in a murine model of autoimmune peripheral neuropathy. Currently, she is interested in vaccine development for pathogenic spirochetes including those associated with Lyme disease, relapsing fever and periodontal disease. In her free time, she enjoys travelling, hiking, baking, and exploring new restaurants.

Pratyush Narayan

Education: Stony Brook University, B.S. in Biology and Sociology, with a minor in South Asian Studies (2014); Virginia Commonwealth University, M.S. in Physiology and Biophysics (2017)
Hometown: New York, NY
PhD Advisor: Stefano Toldo, PhD
Graduate Program: Physiology and Biophysics
Bio: Pratyush's research interest is in the field of cardiology and the role of inflammation in cardiovascular disease processes. He is particularly interested in the role of Interleukin-18 in high-fat diet induced cardiomyopathy, cardiac ischemia-reperfusion injury, and heart preservation and transplant. His personal interests include photography, intramural sports and exploring Richmond.

Anuj Tharakan

Education: Drexel University, B.S. in Biological Sciences (2014)
Hometown: Vienna, VA
PhD Advisor: Rebecca Martin, PhD
Graduate Program: Microbiology and Immunology
Bio: Anuj's research interests lie in basic and translational immunology. His dissertation research focuses on dendritic cell intrinsic mechanisms that influence T-helper 2 cell polarization in the context of allergy and asthma. In his free time, Anuj enjoys playing basketball, cooking, and spending time outdoors.

Kyle Woisard

Education: Virginia Tech, B.S. in Psychology and B.A. in Philosophy (2016)
Hometown: Fairfax, VA
PhD Advisor:Frederick Moeller, MD
Graduate Program: CCTR CaMM
Bio: Kyle's research aims to highlight differences in brain activity among users of different classes of drugs and non-drug users. The primary method toward this aim will be resting state fMRI to assess functional and effective (directional) connectivity among different brain regions and networks. Kyle's personal interests include hunting for good vegan food, sports and exercise, and urban dance.

Carter (Kent) Fairchild

Education: Florida Atlantic University, B.S. in Neuroscience and Behavior (2013), M.S. in Biological Sciences (2016)
Hometown: Jupiter, FL
PhD Advisor: Anthony Faber, PhD
Graduate Program: CCTR CaMM
Bio: Kent's research focuses on the identification and pre-clinical testing of targeted therapies for genetically-defined cancers. In particular, Kent studies new approaches to treat fusion gene-driven sarcomas. In his free time, Kent enjoys whitewater kayaking on the James River, and taking advantage of the many great restaurants and breweries Richmond has to offer.

Christian Fontan

Education: College of William & Mary, B.S. in Chemistry (2016)
Hometown: Leesburg, VA
PhD Advisor: Iain Morgan, PhD
Graduate Program: Oral Health Research
Bio: Christian's research endeavors include how high-risk human papillomaviruses modify the host cell's response to chemoradiotherapy in the context of oropharyngeal cancer. Such an understanding may allow for treatment stratification for HPV-positive versus HPV-negative cancer patients as well as de-escalation therapy. In his personal time, Christian enjoys outdoor sports such as rock climbing and running, as well as exploring food and music festivals. 

Alan Harris

Education: College of William and Mary, B.S. in Biology (2014); Virginia Commonwealth University, M.S. in Physiology & Biophysics (2016)
Hometown: Richmond, VA
PhD Advisor: Kimberle Jacobs, PhD
Graduate Program: Neuroscience
Bio: Alan’s main interest is neuroscience, particularly the mechanisms whereby neurocomputation emerges in dependence on membrane conductance properties. His research focuses on how traumatic disruption of cortical fast-spiking interneurons may translate to cognitive dysfunction after traumatic brain injury. Alan is from Richmond and has relished watching the city evolve; outside the lab he enjoys running, philosophy, entomology, and numismatics.

Gene (Chatman) Clark

Education: Virginia Tech, B.S. in Biochemistry (2012); Virginia Commonwealth University, MS in Biochemistry (2015)
Hometown: Richmond, VA
PhD Advisors: Ross Mikkelsen, PhDXiang-Yang (Shawn) Wang, PhD
Graduate Program: Biochemistry
Bio: Gene is interested in exploring the immune effects of radiotherapy, immunotherapeutic strategies for solid tumors, and radiotherapy-immunotherapy combination procedures. Currently he is focused on the ability of exosomes produced by irradiated cancer cells to inhibit tumor infiltrating dendritic cell function. His personal interests include traveling, paddle boarding, running, music, teaching, and of course science.

Kara Dods

Education: Rutgers University, B.Sc. with honors in Biochemistry, Exercise Physiology, Nutrition
Hometown: Linwood, NJ
PhD Advisor: Matthew Hartman, PhD
Graduate Program: Chemical Biology
Bio: Kara's research focus is using peptide library selection strategies to develop peptide inhibitors of the intrinsically disordered protein MYCN, which plays an important role in high-risk neuroblastoma. She is interested in developing novel therapeutic strategies to reduce the mortality for patients with MYCN-amplified disease. Outside of the lab, Kara enjoys playing music and watching football: she is the librarian/third horn for the VCU Health System Orchestra and is almost always in Liverpool red on match days.

Lauren Dain

Education: Western Washington University: BS in Behavioral Neuroscience, BA in Philosophy, minor in Chemistry (2018)
Hometown: Spokane, WA
PhD Advisor: Dr. Zhu
Graduate Program: Micro/Immunology
Bio: Lauren is extremely interested in the field of oncology, specifically in pediatrics. With her background education being in neuroscience, Lauren finds she strongly gravitates towards research in glioblastoma and other primary brain cancers. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Lauren loves most outdoor activities such as skiing, rock climbing, hiking, swimming, and backpacking

Galen Goldscheitter

Education: University of Colorado Boulder, B.S. Chemical Engineering (2017), B.A. Chemistry (2017)
Hometown: Boulder, CO
PhD Advisor: Dr. Donahue
Graduate Program: Biomedical Engineering
Bio: Galen has worked with research groups in Colorado and Oregon investigating disorders of thrombosis and hemostasis, most recently how clotting factor deficiencies alter signaling at the PAR1 axis in bones. He is interested in researching how mechanical forces alter cellular and molecular behavior, and how changes at the cellular and molecular level influence bulk tissue morphology and function. Galen enjoys cycling, rock climbing, mountaineering, whitewater kayaking, music, and occasionally running.

Sarah Marks

Education: Yale University, B.S. Molecular Biochemistry and Biophysics (2012); UNC-Chapel Hill, M.S. Biostatistics (2016)
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
PhD Advisor: Dr. Barnes
Graduate Program: Healthcare Policy & Research
Bio: Sarah is interested in using quantitative approaches to  study the delivery of healthcare and improve health outcomes, particularly in underserved populations. She is excited to be in Virginia to see the impact of Medicaid expansion on healthcare in the state. Outside of research, Sarah has visited over 35 countries and looks forward to traveling again; she also enjoys reading and hiking.  

Chelsie Poffenberger

Education: Auburn University, B.S. Biomedical Sciences, with a minor in Psychology (2017)
Hometown: Huntsville, AL
PhD Advisor: Dr. Bos
Graduate Program: Micro/Immunology
Bio: Chelsie is interested in the neuroinflammatory components of the blood-brain barrier and tumor microenvironment. As a postbaccalaureate research fellow at the NIH, she worked to determine the underlying mechanisms, ameliorative properties, and deleterious effects of inflammation in the brain. When she isn’t in the lab, you will find her whitewater kayaking, rock climbing, painting, taking photographs, or searching for her next adventure!

Lia Signaevskaia

Education: University of California, San Diego; BS in Human Biology (2018)
Hometown: San Diego, CA
PhD Advisor: Dr. Manjili
Graduate Program: Micro/Immunology
Bio: Lia's past research experiences in pancreatic cancer and the hematopoietic niche have informed her interest in cancer biology and the tumor microenvironment. She is looking forward to expanding her bioinformatics abilities within those fields. Outside of class and lab, Lia enjoys longboarding, dancing, and camping. 

Hannah Stadtler

Education: Davidson College, B.S. with a major in Biology and a minor in Medical Humanities (2018)
Hometown: Spotsylvania, VA
PhD Advisor: Dr. Neigh
Graduate Program: CaMM
Bio: Hannah’s undergraduate work explored hookah smoke and lung cells, but upon graduation her work has focused on infectious disease at the Duke Human Vaccine Institute. She is specifically interested in HIV and hopes to expand her experience beyond cell and molecular biology into behavioral and neuroscience research pertaining to HIV. Outside of lab work, Hannah also enjoys the latest Reese’s Book Club pick, sour beer, and spin classes.

Josephine (Josie) Wallner

Education: University of Washington, B.A. in Mathematics (2016)
Hometown: Seattle, WA
PhD Advisor: Dr. Krusienski
Graduate Program: Biomedical Engineering
Bio: Josie worked in analytics consulting after graduating from the University of Washington, before applying her background in data management and applied mathematics as a research technician in the Physiology department at Northwestern. Her current interests are in the restoration of motor control after spinal cord injury - specifically neurally driven spinal cord stimulation. To recharge she loves biking, hiking & lifting weights or cozying up on the couch with a book.

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