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Current Lab Members

Ned J. Place, Ph.D., M.D.
Phone: 607.253.3796

Principal Investigator:  Dr. Place (a.k.a. Ned) came to Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine in September 2004 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a Professor in the Department of Population Medicine & Diagnostic Sciences and the Director of the Diagnostic Endocrinology Laboratory within the Animal Health Diagnostic Center. He received his Ph.D. in zoology at the University of Washington. Prior to entering graduate school he was in the private practice of medicine as a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist for 4 years in Waynesboro, VA. He completed his internship and residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Connecticut Health Center and he received his medical training from the University of Rochester. Other than a brief foray into the field of hematology and oncology while a medical student, he has maintained an interest in reproductive biology throughout his professional career. Having worked as a clinician and basic scientist, the breadth and depth of his experience in reproductive biology affords him the opportunity to integrate novel perspectives into his research. When new questions arise, he generates hypotheses and synthesizes ideas within the context of life history theory. Using this approach he has studied reproductive aging in naked mole-rats, Siberian hamsters and cheetahs, seasonal reproductive biology in free-ranging yellow-pine chipmunks, and sexual differentiation and behavior in spotted hyenas under semi-natural conditions. Each animal model has provided an interesting perspective into  reproductive biology and specifically, aging of the ovaries. Dr. Place takes an integrative approach to his research, which is often relevant from both  ecological and biomedical perspectives.

Connor Owens and cows
Connor Owens, B.S., Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Associate: Connor recently completed his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech in Dairy Science, where his research focused on the influence of the uterine microbiome on dairy cow fertility. He earned his B.S. at Cornell University in 2015 and recently returned here as a postdoc, where he will be investigating ovarian aging in a transgenic line of mice that express the naked mole-rat gene for hyaluronan synthase 2 (nmrHas2 mice). His investigations will also include interrogations of ovaries from naked mole-rats.

Some Past Lab Members

David Peck, B.S., Ph.D.

Ph.D. Graduate Student: David was a student in Neurobiology and Behavior, and was co-advised by Tom Seeley. He earned his Ph.D. in 2018, and studied parasitic manipulation of vector and host behaviors, specifically with regard honey bees and Verroa destructor mites. While in the Place Lab, he also studied Chlamydia muridarum in laboratory mice. David is currently a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Entomology at Cornell University.

Kristen Roosa photo
Kristen Roosa, B.S., Ph.D.

Ph.D. Graduate Student: Kristen earned her Molecular & Integrative Physiology in 2015. She is investigated the impacts of photoperiod on various aspects of ovarian physiology and development in Siberian hamsters, including the susceptibility to drugs that are ovary toxicants (e.g., 4-vinylcyclohexene diepoxide [VCD]). She accelerated ovarian aging with VCD in Syrian hamsters to assess the impact on female mate choice. She is presently a tenure-track assistant professor at SUNY, Oneonta.

photo SungUn Park
Sung-Un Park, M.S.

Research Technician III (Lab Manager): Sung-Un was a lab member from 2007 to 2014 and he provided specialized technical support and organization for the lab and performs integrative research studies on the effects of photoperiod and melatonin on female reproductive aging in Siberian hamsters

Devin pix
Devin Zysling, Ph.D.

 Postdoctoral Associate: (2010-2012) Devin was a postdoc who studied the physiological mechanisms underlying seasonal variation in immune responses and characterize energetic trade-offs between reproduction and immune function. As a postdoctoral researcher in the Place lab, Devin explored the role of gonadotropins in modulating seasonal changes in ovarian physiology and reproductive aging. She is now working in the private sector.

Nikita pix
Nikita Ekhelikar

Undergraduate Researcher: Nikita joined the lab in 2010 and graduated in 2013; she went on to prepare for a career in medicine.

Sarah pix
Sarah Cudney

Undergraduate Researcher: Sarah joined the lab in 2009 and graduated in 2012; she went on to earn her D.V.M. at Cornell University.

Undergraduate Researcher: Yan joined the lab in 2009 and graduated in 2012; she then enrolled in graduate school at the University of Chicago.

photo of Jenifer Cruickshank
Jenifer Cruickshank, Ph.D.
Phone: 607.253.3018

Postdoctoral Associate: (2007-2009) Jenifer was a postdoc who studied the effects of photoperiod on female reproductive aging. She also elucidated a splice variant in the AMH receptor. She has since moved to a tenure-track faculty position at the State University of New York, Oswego in August 2009. She has diverse interests in reproduction and genomics and has studied a variety of species, including cows, dogs, and hamsters.

photo of Olivia Diamond
Olivia Diamond

Undergraduate Researcher: (2007-2010)Olivia studied the effects of short days on anti-Müllerian hormone and the ovarian follicular reserve, she then went to medical school at Technion American University.

photo of Heather Jones
Heather Jones

Undergraduate Researcher: (2008-2010) Heather studied factors that are known to modulate ovarian follicle histology (Gdf9) and activation (Foxo3) to determine if they play a role in the short day-induced changes in ovarian structure and function in hamsters. She then Heather went to medical school at Brown University.

photo of Cynthia Nunes Rodrigues
Cynthia Nunes Rodrigues, B.S.

Lab Assistant: (2008-2009) Cynthia joined the lab to gain research experience to complement her clinical training as a physician. She investigated the effects of short days on ovarian histology in another photoperiodic species, the Turkish hamster. She is now practicing medicine in Brazil.

photo of Khawla Ali
Khawla Faud Ali

Undergraduate Researcher: (Summer 2009) Khawla is a medical student at the Weill-Cornell Medical College in Qatar. She studied the accumulation of DNA double-strand breaks with aging and their modulation by photoperiod.

photo of Esthe Kabithe
Esther Kabithe, B.A.

Research Technician III (Lab Manager): (2004-2007) Esther was the original lab manager. Unfortunately, she had to leave the lab after developing an allergy to hamsters.

photo of Adrien Phalen
Adrien Phalen, B.S.

Undergraduate Researcher: (2006-2008)Adrien investigated ovarian development in different photoperiods. She went on to medical school at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.

photo of Ron Wexler
Ron Wexler, B.S.

Undergraduate Researcher: (2006-2008) He studied uterine development in different photoperiods. Ron went on to medical school at the University of Rochester School of Medicine.