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2020 Graduates


Alejandra Laureano, PhD (Mentor: Kelvin Kwan)

The role of transcriptional elements during inner ear neuronal development

Current: In transition to post-doc 


Gabriel Villegas, PhD (Mentor: Isaac Edery)

Biochemical and Functional Analysis of DAYWAKE, a novel wake-sleep regulator in Drosophila melanogaster

Current: Assistant Teaching Professor at Rutgers University 


2019 Graduates


Kumar Tiger, MS (Mentor: Maureen Barr)

Endogenous gab-28is present in CEMs, RnBs, HOB and additional neurons in the head

Current: Analytical Scientist at Catalent


2018 Graduates


Deanna De Vore, PhD (Mentor: Maureen Barr)

Extracellular Matrix Regulates Morphogenesis and Function of Ciliated Sensory Organs

Current: STEM Academy Biology Teacher, Passaic County Technical Institute


Olufunmilola (Funmi) Ibironke, PhD (Mentor: Stephan Schwander)

Air Pollution Particulate Matter Effects on Adaptive Human Anti-mycobacterial Immunity

Current; Post-doc; Rutgers Dept of Exposure Science and Epidemiology


Julia Bolanle Olayanju, PhD (Mentor: Bing Xia)

Understanding the Anti-cancer activity of Moringa Isothiocyanates in Breast Cancer Cells

Current: Exec. Director, Global Food Health Institutes; Founder, FoodNiche


Christina Ramirez, PhD (Mentor: Ah-Ng (Tony) Kong)

Epigenetic Regulation of NRF2 and Ursolic Acid in Skin Carcinogenesis

Current: Oncology Lead Biological Specialist, Prolong Pharmaceuticals (NJ): 


2017 Graduates


Melvili Cintron Cotto, PhD (Mentor: Nancy Woychik)

Functional analysis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis VapC toxins

Current:  Clinical Microbiology Fellow, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center


Lizahira Rodriguez-Colon, PhD (Mentor: Shridar Ganesan)

A role for G9a methyltransferase in the DNA response signal

Current:Clinical Research Coordinator II, Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University


2016 Graduates


Christal Lewis, PhD (Mentor: Helmut Zarbl)

A Transgenerational Study of Exposure to Zeranol, a Dietary Contaminant with Potent Estrogenic Activity

Current: Toxicologist, Avon


Eileen Oni, PhD (Mentor: Ronald P. Hart)

Bioinformatic Analysis of DNA Methylation in Neural Progenitor Cell Models of Alcohol Abuse

Current: Health Science Policy Analyst, National Institutes of Health


Eva Rubio-Marrero, PhD (Mentor: Davide Comoletti)

Structural and Functional Studies of CASPR2, a Molecular Approach of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Current: Scientist II, Celgene (NJ)


Jairo Sierra, MS (Mentor: Suzy Chen)

Activation of Grm1 expression by inducible mutated Braf in vitro and in vivo

Current: Associate Scientist II, PTC Therapeutics, Inc. (NJ)


2015 Graduates


Adenrele (Akintobi) Gleason, PhD (Mentor: Barth Grant)

Functional Characterization of C. elegans F-BAR protein SDPN-1

Current: Post-doc (PRAT) Fellow, National Cancer Institue (Julia Cooper)


Kristina (Hernandez) Rodriguez, PhD (Mentor: Bonnie Firestein)

The role of NOS1AP, a schizophrenia susceptibility gene, in the regulation of dendrite branching, dendritic spine formation, and actin dynamics. 

Current: Lead Medical Writer, MediTech Media (NY)


Letzibeth Mendez-Rivera, MS (Mentor: Steve Brill)

The SLX5 Paradox: Expression Of A Sumo-Targeted Ubiquitin Ligase Generates Toxic Poly-Sumo Chains In Yeast 

Current: Laboratory Manager, U.S. Military HIV Research Program, Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine (Washington, DC area)


Leonardo Valdivieso-Torres, PhD (Mentor: Monica Roth)

Isolation and Characterization of Retargeted Feline Leukemia Virus Envelope Proteins and Isolations of Host Factors Involve in Envelope Specific Entry

Current: International Sales Specialist, USA Scientific (Florida)


 2014 Graduates


Allen Alcivar, PhD   (Mentor:  Bin Xia) 

BRCA2 and PALB2 in Cellular Stress Response 

Current: Scientist II, Bristol-Myers Squibb


Judith Canabal, PhD (Mentor: Sunita Kramer)

Analysis of Two Distinct Functions of the Roundabout 2 Receptor during Drosophila Cardiac Assembly. 

Current: Ob/Gyn Resident, Morristown Medical Center, NJ (MD, June 2018, Universidad Central del Caribe, Bayamon, Puerto Rico) 


Andrew Hoffmann, MS  (Mentor: Michael Verzi)  

Enteroid Culture and its Impact on Stem Cell and Cancer Research. 

Current: not known


Tiffany King, PhD (Mentor: Sunita Kramer)  

The Cytoskeletal Regulator Enabled Mediates Proper Cardiac Fusion during the Final Stages of Drosophila Dorsal Vessel Formation. 

Current: Post-doc, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine (previous: Staff Scientists, “Bio-Bus”, NYC)


Frank Macabenta, PhD (Mentor: Sunita Kramer)  

Investigating the Coordinated Expression and Function of the Netrin-Frazzled Signaling Pathway During Drosophila Dorsal Vessel Formation. 

Current: Post-doc, Caltech


Adriana Martin, PhD (Mentor: William Welsh) (MD/PhD: MD, RWJMS 2016)

Biophysical Characterization of Novel Amphiphilic Macromolecules: Modeling Membrane Interactions

Current: Fellow, Cardiovascular Disease, Dept of Medicine, Univ. of Arizona Medical School  


Winder Perez, PhD (Mentor: Terri Goss Kinzy)  

Mutations in Eukaryotic Translation Elongation Factor 1A that alter Protein Synthesis & Actin Bundling

Current: Staff Microbiologist, Stryker (NYC area)    


Maryann (Poku) Obiorah, PhD  (Mentor: Emanuel DiCicco-Bloom)  

Developmental Vulnerability of the Rat Hippocampus to Methylmercury (MEHG). 

Current: Associate Scientific Director, Vaniam Group (Wash, DC area); formerly Senior Medical Writer, Vaniam)  


Felicia Smith, PhD  (Mentor: Robin Davis)  

The Role of Neurotrophins in Regulating Spiral Ganglion Morphology. 

Current: Epilepsy Coordinator, Dept of Neurology, University of Florida Health (Jacksonville)    


Connan Vaca, PhD  (Mentor: Ramsey Foty)

Fibronectin Matrix- Mediated Inhibition of Tumor Cell DispersalMD, May 2019, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Current: Intern, Dept. of Anesthesiology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami.

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