2020-2021 Interview / Recruitment Event

BS/MS seeking PhDs

Student Name
Program
Research Interests
Paula Banuelos

Paula Banuelos

Immunology & Infectious Disease

I am currently completing a bachelor's in Microbiology and a minor in public health at California State University, Los Angeles. I am presently investigating the effects of HIV on the human small intestine. At the University of Iowa, I focused my research on understanding the biological effects of soluble CD25 -Interleukin-2 complexes on regulatory T cell induction.
Russell Barkley

Russell Barkley

Immunology & Infectious Disease

Naturally, being from Toronto, I am very passionate about ice hockey (and I make a great teammate). I study oncolytic viruses (cancer-fighting viruses), with a focus on host-virus interactions. Specifically, my goal is to manipulate host antiviral restriction factors to give measles virus a replicative advantage in solid tumours. If you want to chat, come find me! Look for the guy with a ‘stache.
Benjamin “Ben” Boren

Benjamin “Ben” Boren

Immunology & Infectious Disease

I am coming from Las Cruces, New Mexico. I currently attend New Mexico State University and work in Dr. Ryan Ashley's reproductive physiology laboratory. I will be graduating with a BS in Biology this upcoming May. I am interested in microbial pathogenesis and I plan to pursue a career involving the development of novel therapeutics that can be used to target infectious diseases.
Cole Butler

Cole Butler

Population Medicine & Epidemiology

I have a B.S. in mathematics and a passion for mathematical epidemiology. I was born in Auburn, Maine. My previous research experience and current research interest is the mathematical modeling of epidemiological systems, particularly those concerning infectious diseases.
Uddeep Chaudhury

Uddeep Chaudhury

Immunology & Infectious Disease

I hail from Kolkata, India and am currently a visiting scholar at UCSD. I've had exposure to phytocompound-based drug screening and composite biopolymer preparation at my undergrad institution. My research at UCSD deals with proteins of the innate immune system that serve as microbial sensors and their possible link to Crohn's Disease. I'm interested in the adaptive immune system and immunotherapy.
Jong Hyun “Jonathan” Cho

Jong Hyun “Jonathan” Cho

Immunology & Infectious Disease

I am an international student from South Korea. I attended high school in NJ and obtained BS and MS degrees from SUNY Binghamton. I have previously worked on microbial fuel cell-based sensors and I am interested in host-bacteria interactions and microbiology.
Alexandra “Alex” Fister

Alexandra “Alex” Fister

Molecular & Cellular Medicine

Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, I completed my undergraduate at Purdue University where I also joined a lab studying the molecular mechanisms of outer hair cell development in the cochlea. I am currently a research fellow at the NIH studying lymphatic vessel formation in zebrafish. These experiences solidified my interest in hi-res imaging, animal models, and cell/developmental biology.
Isabel Forlastro

Isabel Forlastro

Immunology & Infectious Disease

I am originally from Douglas, AZ, a small border town, and will be graduating from the University of Arizona with a BS in Veterinary Science and a BS in Microbiology. For the past four years, I have studied the tripartite symbiosis between insects, insect pathogenic nematodes and their mutualistic bacterial partners. My primary research interests include studying microbial pathogenesis.
Laura Frazier

Laura Frazier

Immunology & Infectious Disease

I grew up in Minden, Louisiana and I’m currently attending Centenary College of Louisiana. I spent two consecutive summers studying the interaction and downstream signaling events Human Cytomegalovirus initiated upon infection of monocytes. I am interested in research focused around the mechanisms and pathways infectious diseases use to enter the body, as well as disease treatment and prevention.
Jingyi Gao

Jingyi Gao

Molecular & Cellular Medicine

My hometown is in northeast China. I went to Wuhan University for my Bachelor's degree and I am now a senior student. I have done researches about neurological diseases during an exchange program in Finland and at present, as a research intern at UT Southwestern medical center. My research goal is to understand brain disorders from molecular and cellular level and develop potential treatments.
Wenting “Amber” Gao

Wenting “Amber” Gao

Immunology & Infectious Disease

I am from Toronto. In my undergraduate studies, I investigated the potential of cyclic lipid-mediated mRNA vaccination in treating cancer. I also evaluated the efficacy of an engineered PLGA microparticles for long-term, pulsatile release of STING agonist as an adjuvant immunotherapy. I am interested in Cancer Biology. My current research investigates the role of 4-1BBL in STING agonist therapy.
Sharada Gopal

Sharada Gopal

Molecular & Cellular Medicine

I am from Bangalore, India and recently graduated with a Masters in BME from Cornell. My interests lie in molecular mechanisms of development, and how these mechanisms are recalled in regeneration and disease. My current work in the Kurpios lab focuses on how mechanical stresses regulate transcription during gut morphogenesis. My previous work includes ear development and sickle-cell gene therapy.
Bruktawit “Bruk” Goshu

Bruktawit “Bruk” Goshu

Translational Medicine

Born in Ethiopia, I immigrated to Chicago at age 9, and now reside in Maryland. Previously, I studied: mechanisms behind an effective Stem Cell transplantation on CCI (rat model of TBI), efficacy of drug incapsulated nanoparticles on motor function of AIDP rat models, efficacy of a combination immunotherapy on HIV+ CD8 T-cell function. I'm interested in immunology/microbiology/molecular biology.
Jasmine Hensley

Jasmine Hensley

Zoology & Wildlife Conservation

I'm from Atlanta, Georgia, where I've lived most of my life. I earned a B.S. from Emory University in 2015 with a double-major in Environmental Sciences and Japanese. While at Emory, I studied tick-borne diseases. Since 2014, I've been working at the CDC, most of which time I've spent researching food-borne diseases. My goal is to study wildlife infectious diseases from a OneHealth perspective.
Yi-Chia “Amy” Huang

Yi-Chia “Amy” Huang

Molecular & Cellular Medicine

I am from Taiwan, a beautiful island with various endemic species. I am captivated by how intrinsic and extrinsic factors that dictate cell differentiation and the formation of complex structures. In my master's thesis, I identified a novel role of one gap junction protein regulating cell morphogenesis. Currently, I am working on the roles of Myosin II and Ubr3 in the inner ear development.
Nkechime Ifediora

Nkechime Ifediora

Molecular & Cellular Medicine

I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and also completed my undergraduate work there. While in college my first research experience focused on the adaptive modulation of house sparrow digestive systems. I now live in New York City, and am working in a neuroscience lab concerned with how we can use stem cells to replace neuronal populations after events like stroke or traumatic brain injury.
Hina Ishaque

Hina Ishaque

Molecular & Cellular Medicine

I am Hina Ishaque and I am a senior at Rutgers University studying Biomedical Engineering. I live in Edison, NJ. My research interests include cancer epigenetics and stem cell biology, especially cellular fate as it relates to cancer. At school, I am currently investigating stem cells for use in wound healing. I have also worked at Colgate-Palmolive Company and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Breanna Jeffcoat

Breanna Jeffcoat

Translational Medicine

I am from Washington DC and currently at VCU located in Richmond, VA completing PREP. My previous research experience includes studying the effect of fibroblasts on breast cancer cells, the effect of silver nanoparticles on cancer cells, how to optimize the use of epigenetic modulators, and recently the role of the DREAM complex in HPV positive cancers. I am most interested in cancer biology.
Zewen “Owen” Jiang

Zewen “Owen” Jiang

Molecular & Cellular Medicine

I'm Zewen (Owen) from Chengdu, China. Currently, I'm a research technician in Svenson Lab at Stanford Medicine. My project is to study and characterize an adipose-secreted protein called Isthmin-1, including its signaling pathway and functions in glucose and lipid metabolisms. For my Ph.D. training, I'd like to focus on signal transduction in cancer, cancer genetics, and novel cancer therapeutics.
Benjamin “Ben” Kaza

Benjamin “Ben” Kaza

Immunology & Infectious Disease

I’m from just a little north of Ithaca, but I moved here in June to work at Cornell. My connection is to the Aguilar-Carreño Lab where I’ve helped with tasks like growing cells. My primary interest is developing phage based therapies for emerging and difficult diseases. I also spend time thinking about ATM Serine/Threonine Kinase mutations and their role in cancer, HIV infection, and radiation.
Chinyere Kemet

Chinyere Kemet

Translational Medicine

Hi! My name is Chinyere Kemet. My hometown is Chicago, but I currently go to school in West Lafayette, IN. My current research focuses on the alterations of the blood-brain barrier during brain metastases of non-small cell lung cancer. I am really interested in understanding biological systems as it pertains to developing newer and safer therapeutics.
Julie Kiss

Julie Kiss

Immunology & Infectious Disease

I was born and raised in New York City. Currently, I am investigating the role of the protein DipA and its effect on oxygen-dependent pattern formation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms in the lab of Dr. Lars Dietrich at Columbia University. Moving forward, I am interested in studying the gut microbiome’s role in the onset and progression of autoimmune diseases.
Courtney Knitter

Courtney Knitter

Translational Medicine

Hi, I live in Milpitas, California near San Jose, and work in a molecular genetics lab at my current school San Jose State University. So far, I have worked to characterize the roles of proteins potentially involved in a synaptic molecular pathway. I am interested in microbial pathogenesis, molecular engineering and therapeutic and prophylactic strategies to limit antibiotic resistance.
Molly Kroeger

Molly Kroeger

Immunology & Infectious Disease

Molly grew up on a family farm in Lennox, South Dakota. At South Dakota State University, Molly's research experience has focused on the production of monoclonal antibodies and development of diagnostic tests for swine pathogens. Also, she has interned with Merck Animal Health and the National Pork Board. Molly is interested in studying virus-host interactions and developing new vaccine vectors.
Mercedes Lewandrowski

Mercedes Lewandrowski

Immunology & Infectious Disease

I am originally from the town of Poland, NY, and I'm currently a senior undergraduate at Cornell, majoring in Biology. I’ve worked in the lab of Dr. John Parker for three years studying mammalian orthoreovirus, with my current project utilizing high-throughput sequencing to study the genetic diversity of viral populations. I am interested in the molecular biology of host-pathogen interactions.
Bailey Lubinski

Bailey Lubinski

Immunology & Infectious Disease

I was born in Ironwood, Michigan and got a double major in Biology and Entomology at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. I have been doing molecular research on mosquitos for almost five years. I am mainly interested in human pathogens and I have a special enthusiasm for the ways that they interact with their hosts.
Claire Luo

Claire Luo

Molecular & Cellular Medicine

I am originally from the Bay Area and studied Molecular Biology at UC San Diego. As an undergraduate, I researched at an Immunology lab for three years, participated in the 2018 iGEM Competition, and interned at Genentech over the past summer. During my graduate studies, I am interested in pursuing basic and translational research in cancer biology and immunotherapies.
Melia Matthews

Melia Matthews

Translational Medicine

I am from Weaverville, a tiny town in northern California, and I have been in Walla Walla, Washington studying Biology at Whitman College for the past 3 years. I have done research on campus (mitochondrial function and some plant genetics), on a ship in the South Pacific (oceanography), and with NOAA (species inventory). I am interested in translational research and disease physiology/pathology.
Trung Nguyen

Trung Nguyen

Molecular & Cellular Medicine

I am interested in cell signaling pathways of oncogenesis and disease development, whereby we can identify druggable vulnerabilities for therapeutic interventions. Biochemical, biophysical, and structural studies of components in such pathways will facilitate structure-based drug design. I am also interested in molecular cell biology and genetics studies that help improve human medicine.
Gengle “Gigi” Niu

Gengle “Gigi” Niu

Molecular & Cellular Medicine

I am from Queens NYC, and I was originally born in China. My undergraduate study is at SUNY Oswego. My first research project was the ultrastructure of turtle eggshell under SEM, and my second research project is the pathways between two adhesion regulators in Dictyostelium. I am interested in studying developmental and reproductive biology for my graduate study, especially embryo development.
Aiyana Ponce

Aiyana Ponce

Translational Medicine

I am studying at UT El Paso in my hometown that resides on the US-Mexico border. I have participated in 3 different summer research programs, and for 2.5 years, I have been working on a project focused on a highly promising therapeutic for the treatment of prostate cancer. My research field of interest includes cell biology, infectious disease, and epidemiology, but I am also open to other fields.
Thomas Potts

Thomas Potts

Immunology & Infectious Disease

I come from Cherry Hill in South Jersey, across the Delaware from Philly. I am soon to graduate from a small liberal arts college in North Jersey called Drew where I have had access to limited research opportunities but spent a year studying signaling pathways in viral innate immune responses. I'm interested in studying the molecular mechanisms of viral infection and the immune response to it.
Dormarie Rivera

Dormarie Rivera

Immunology & Infectious Disease

During my college career at the University of Puerto Rico in Ponce, I conducted research in molecular, immunological and genetic laboratories. These laboratories focused on understanding how to control immunity under HIV infection or blood disorders. My current research interests are to understand more about host-pathogen interactions and inflammatory diseases.
Valerie Rodriguez Irizarry

Valerie Rodriguez Irizarry

Immunology & Infectious Disease

I am from Puerto Rico, and actual PREP scholar at The Ohio State University. My research background and interest for graduate studies are in Microbiology and Immunology. In present, my research work is focus on how Listeria monocytogenes invades human placental cells. I am working to better understanding the maternal-fetal barrier defense mechanism against Listeria.
Sarah Saddoris

Sarah Saddoris

Molecular & Cellular Medicine

I'm originally from Greenville, SC, but I currently live in Athens, GA and am finishing up my BS in Plant Biology at UGA. I previously worked on characterizing mechanisms and functions of trimethylation of histone H3 K36 in Arabidopsis, but my past experience in health care motivates me to pursue research in molecular medicine, and I'm particularly interested in cancer biology.
Rio Salazar

Rio Salazar

Molecular & Cellular Medicine

I'm a student at Williams College majoring in Biology. I'm from Santa Barbara, CA. I've conducted research at Johns Hopkins University (BioREU), Columbia University (Amgen Scholars) and I'm currently conducting my senior thesis. My research interests include chromatin and histone segregation in cell division, and signal integration in the context of stem cell differentiation and function.
Leah Simon

Leah Simon

Molecular & Cellular Medicine

My hometown is Dubai, UAE. I completed my masters in Reproductive Science and Medicine from Northwestern University in March 2019. My mentor was Dr. Francesca Duncan and my thesis investigated the bioactivity of FSH glycoforms in ovarian follicles. Currently, I am a researcher in the Woodruff lab at Northwestern. My research interests are in reproductive biology, endocrinology and aging.
Viraj Upadhye

Viraj Upadhye

Immunology & Infectious Disease

My name is Viraj and I am from Moorpark CA, a small town just north of Los Angeles. I have been conducting research since the summer of 2017 in the lab of Dr. Christal Sohl and, during the summer of 2019, participated in the Amgen Scholars Program at UCSF with Dr. Bassem Al-Sady. I am interested in taking an interdisciplinary approach to studying viruses as well as the viral immune response.
Xueyi “Sherry” Yang

Xueyi “Sherry” Yang

Molecular & Cellular Medicine

I grew up in Beijing, China. I am studying Biochemistry at Mount Holyoke College. I have been working on synthesizing new drug delivery vehicles for cancer immunotherapy in college. In the future, I look forward to explore in the area of stem cell, cancer and metabolism. I loving playing ultimate frisbee in my spare time.
Thomas Zapadka

Thomas Zapadka

Molecular & Cellular Medicine

I recently completed my Bachelor's in biochemistry at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland OH. My current research expands on what I co-authored as an undergraduate by studying autoimmune inflammation leading to the onset and progression of diabetic retinopathy. I am interested in metabolic disorders, translational research, drug design, immunology, and disease progression/prevention.
Nadja Zhakula-Kostadinova

Nadja Zhakula-Kostadinova

Molecular & Cellular Medicine

My hometown is Alexandria, VA but coming from NYC (NYU). My research centers on molecular genetics and mutations in meiotic recombination. I also have clinical research experience in Hepatitis C and genetic disorders. I am interested in genome stability, the DNA damage response, molecular mechanisms of cancer & disease, and the genetic basis of neurodevelopmental/neurodegenerative disorders.
Tiago Zilch

Tiago Zilch

Immunology & Infectious Disease

I was born and raised in Brazil, where I grew up having the astonishing Iguassu Falls almost in my backyard. I am a Chemical Engineer with a passion and much experience in biotechnology. I am also a senior Animal Science MS student at Cornell with concentrations in Human & Animal Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases. One of my goals in life is to become an outstanding Immunologist.

DVM seeking PhDs

Student Name
Program
Research Interests
Anne Buglione

Anne Buglione

Translational Medicine

I attended college and vet school at Cornell, and consider Ithaca home. I am currently developing a novel mouse model of Parkinson's disease in which mice trained in a behavioral task show within-session progression of motor deficits, and am using electrophysiology to demonstrate corresponding changes in neural activity. I hope to pursue a career combining research and clinical work.
Patrick Connelly

Patrick Connelly

Zoology & Wildlife Conservation

I am currently a 4th-year DVM Student at Cornell interested in wildlife health and conservation. Specifically, I am interested in the ecology and epidemiology of infectious diseases of conservation concern. I am a research assistant with the Cornell Wildlife Health Lab where I do modelling work related to bald eagle lead toxicosis, and have field experience with the Smithsonian and The Lab of O.
Eric Gelsleichter

Eric Gelsleichter

Molecular & Cellular Medicine

I am a veterinarian practicing in Syracuse, NY, where I live with my wife and two daughters. I have research experience spanning the chemical and biological sciences. Although I plan to focus my future research on the molecular and cellular mechanisms of disease and health in humans and other animals, I am most passionate about sharing with others my enthusiasm for new science and new ideas.
Ileana Miranda

Ileana Miranda

Translational Medicine

I am the senior anatomic pathology resident at Cornell University. I earned my DVM and MS degrees in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and later was a research scholar at the University of Minnesota. My professional interests include comparative and investigative pathology, validation of animal models of human disease, and translational research focused on cancer biology.
Maura Ruyechan

Maura Ruyechan

Immunology & Infectious Disease

I grew up outside of Buffalo, NY with Maine roots and spent both undergraduate and veterinary school at Cornell and am working as a farm animal veterinarian. I previously worked in a lab studying immunoparasitology of Trichinella spiralis and developed an in vitro chemotaxis assay for the organism. My interest is in host pathogen interactions and their results at cellular and molecular levels.

Combined DVM-PhD Program

Student Name
Program
Research Interests
James “Jamie” Cockey

James “Jamie” Cockey

Immunology & Infectious Disease

I’m from New Jersey and went to Duke University. Senior year I examined MAPK pathway changes in T cells. Later I worked as a Research Technician at Sloan Kettering for clinical cell therapy. At Cornell I’ve participated in the VIP program twice and am completing a second distribution project. My research interests include immunology and cancer biology, and outside lab I enjoy football and music.
Megan “Meg” Fahey

Megan “Meg” Fahey

Translational Medicine

I grew up in Topsfield, MA. At the University of Vermont, I completed an Honors thesis in milk proteomics and I was a VIP student in Dr. Michelle Delco’s lab last summer. I’m continuing my work in Dr. Delco’s lab on a project involving intercellular mitochondrial transfer from stem cells to intervertebral disc cells. I’m interested in translational clinical research, infection and immunity.
Alexandra Hommer

Alexandra Hommer

Molecular & Cellular Medicine

My name is Alexandra Hommer and I am from Allentown, New Jersey. At UMass Amherst I studied calcium/calmodulin dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII), an enzyme that plays a role in learning and memory and egg cell activation. I fell in love with the field of reproduction while assisting with equine and bovine AI and wish to combine my love of biochemistry and reproduction at Cornell.
Katherine “Kat” Koebel

Katherine “Kat” Koebel

Population Medicine & Epidemiology

Katherine earned her BS with high honors in Animal Science from Michigan State University in 2019. At MSU, she worked on over 10 research projects studying mainly swine nutrition and infectious disease epidemiology. She is currently earning her DVM at Cornell. Her research interests span all areas of dairy cattle nutrition. When not in the barn or lab, she plays paintball and writes novels.
Viviana “Vivi” Maymi

Viviana “Vivi” Maymi

Immunology & Infectious Disease

Viviana is a second-year veterinary student from San Juan, PR. After graduating from Harvard with a B.A. in Neurobiology, she worked at Cedars-Sinai studying the microbiome’s effects on the immune response to radiation therapy, which prompted her interest in the immune system’s broad biological roles. While at Cornell, she has completed rotations with Dr. Avery August and Dr. Robert Weiss. Viviana balances her academic demands by rock climbing and practicing yoga.
Jessica Skinner

Jessica Skinner

Population Medicine & Epidemiology

I have always had a passion for animal health and the research that drives the field. Since moving to Florida, I have spent nearly four years working on mosquito microbiome projects, and I am currently studying the relationship between manatee algae growth; and their mortality. My goal is to enter veterinary research in order to help develop essential healthcare options for our animal companions.