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Watson School Alumni



Graduating Class of 2016


Aboukhalil
   Robert Aboukhalil, Ph.D.
  Senior Bioinformatics Software Engineer, GenapSys

Dr. Robert Aboukhalil conducted his thesis research in the laboratories of Drs. Michael Wigler and Mickey Atwal. His thesis was entitled “Elucidating cancer evolution using single-cell sequencing and comparative genomics.” Upon graduation, Robert joined Fluidigm as a senior computational biologist.  He is now a senior bioinformatics software engineer at GenapSys in California.


Bandyopadhyay
   Arkarup Bandyopadhyay, Ph.D.
    Postdoctoral Fellow, New York University

Dr. Arkarup Bandyopadhyay conducted his thesis research in Dr. Florin Albeanu’s laboratory.  His thesis was entitled “Identity and intensity encoding in the olfactory bulb.”  Arka is now a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Michael Long’s laboratory at NYU.





Carlston
   Colleen Carlston, Ph.D.
   Clinical Molecular Genetics Fellow, University of Utah

Dr. Colleen Carlston conducted her thesis research in Dr. Christopher Hammell’s laboratory.  Her thesis was entitled “Prion-like pqn-59 affects C. elegans developmental timing through microRNAs.”  Colleen is now a clinical molecular genetics fellow at the University of Utah.





Finoglio
   Silvia Fenoglio, Ph.D.
    Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT

Dr. Silvia Fenoglio conducted her thesis research in Dr. Gregory Hannon’s laboratory.  Her thesis was entitled “Context-specific dependencies in a mouse model of pancreatic cancer.”  Silvia is now a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Michael Hemann’s laboratory at MIT.





Garvin
   Tyler Garvin, Ph.D.
    Senior Software Engineer, Pict

Dr. Tyler Garvin conducted his thesis research in Dr. Michael Schatz’s laboratory.  His thesis was entitled “Algorithms for the analysis of cancer genomics with advanced sequencing technologies.”  Tyler is now a senior software engineer at Pict in California.





Hohmann
   Anja Hohmann, Ph.D.
    Senior Scientist, KSQ Therapeutics

Dr. Anja Hohmann conducted her thesis research in Dr. Christopher Vakoc’s laboratory.  Her thesis was entitled “Function and inhibition of BRD9 in acute myeloid leukemia cells.”  Anja is now a senior scientist at KSQ Therapeutics in Massachusetts.





Krug
   Lisa Krug, Ph.D.
    Scientist, Kallyope

Dr. Lisa Krug conducted her thesis research in Dr. Josh Dubnau’s laboratory.  Her thesis was entitled “Retrotransposon activation contributes to neurodegeneration in a Drosophila TDP-43 model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.”  Lisa is now a scientist at Kalloype in New York.






Graduating Class of 2015



   Özlem Aksoy (née Mert), Ph.D.
  Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Özlem Aksoy performed her thesis research in Dr. Scott Lowe’s laboratory. Her thesis was entitled “The biological role of an atypical E2f family member, E2F7.” Özlem is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. William A. Weiss’s lab at University of California, San Francisco, where she studies mouse models of neuroblastoma.



   Mitchell A. Bekritsky, Ph.D.
    Bioinformatics Scientist, Illumina

Dr. Mitchell Bekritsky conducted his thesis research in Dr. Michael Wigler’s laboratory.  His thesis was entitled “Detecting de novo microsatellite mutations in a population of families with sporadic autism.”  Mitch is now a bioinformatics scientist at Illumina in Cambridge, UK.






   Stephane E. Castel, Ph.D. 
 Postdoctoral Fellow, New York Genome Center
 

Dr. Stephane Castel conducted his thesis research in Dr. Rob Martienssen’s laboratory.  His thesis was entitled “Transcriptional regulation in the context of DNA replication by RNA interference in fission yeast.”  Stephane is now a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Tuuli Lappalainen at the New York Genome Center, where he studies how the genome regulates transcription to generate phenotypic diversity.



   Kristen Marie Delevich, Ph.D. 
 Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Kristen Delevich conducted her thesis research in Dr. Bo Li’s laboratory.  Her thesis was entitled “Synaptic effects of Disrupted-in-Schizophrenia 1 loss-of-function in the medial prefrontal cortex and thalamofrontal feedforward inhibitory circuit.”  She is doing postdoctoral research in the lab of Dr. Linda Wilbrecht at the University of California, Berkeley.  Kristen is interested in the functional changes in the nervous system that accompany adolescence



   Wee Siong Sho Goh, Ph.D. 
Research Fellow, A*STAR Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (SG)  

Dr. Wee Siong Sho Goh performed his thesis research in Dr. Gregory Hannon’s laboratory.  His thesis was entitled “Biogenesis and function of piRNAs.”  He is a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. William F. Burkholder at the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology of A*STAR in Singapore.  The lab develops microfluidics devices and DNA sequencing applications to understand gene expression.



   Sang-geol Koh, Ph.D.
  Scientist, {mind}


Dr. Sang-geol Koh performed his thesis research in Dr. Anthony Zador’s laboratory.  His thesis was entitled “The role of callosal projections in auditory coding.”  Following graduation, Sang-geol moved to South Korea to develop a biotechnology start-up company, {mind}





    Lead Scientist, Kallyope, Inc.

Dr. Ian Peikon conducted his thesis research in Dr. Anthony Zador’s laboratory.  His thesis was entitled “Encoding of neural circuit information into DNA” and was awarded the Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award for this work. In 2016, Ian was named one of Forbes magazine's 30 Under 30 in science for his graduate work on the connectome. Ian worked shortly with GoogleX as a product engineer before joining the biotech start-up Kallyope in New York City. Kallyope focuses on applications of understanding how the gut communicates with and controls the brain and other organs.



   Nilgün Tasdemir, Ph.D.
   Research Fellow, University of Pittsburg


Dr. Nilgün Tasdemir performed her thesis research in Dr. Scott Lowe’s laboratory.  Her thesis was entitled “Investigating the role of Brd4 in cellular senescence and normal tissue homeostasis.”  Nilgün is conducting postdoctoral research at the University of Pittsburg. She studies the effects of hormonal signaling on gene expression in breast cancer in the lab of Dr. Nancy Davidson.





   Elvin Wagenblast, Ph.D.
  Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto (CA)


Dr. Elvin Wagenblast conducted his thesis research with Dr. Gregory Hannon.  His thesis was entitled “A molecular characterization of breast cancer progression, including onset, tumor growth and metastasis.”  Elvin is performing postdoctoral research with Dr. John Dick at the University of Toronto, studying hematopoietic stem cells and leukemia.





  Jack G. Walleshauser III, Ph.D. 
Research Scientist at Plexxikon Inc.

Dr. Jack Walleshauser performed his thesis research in Dr. Leemor Joshua-Tor's laboratory. His thesis was entitled "Insights into the molecular interactions within the Lin28-let-7 pathway." Jack conducted research with Dr. Anna Pyle at Yale University, where he studied the structure and function of large RNAs. He is currently a Research Scientist at Plexxikon Inc., in California.



  Susann Isolde Weissmueller, Ph.D.
  Investor Relations Officer


Dr. Susann Weissmueller conducted her thesis research with Dr. Scott Lowe.  Her thesis was entitled “The impact of chromosome 17p alterations on cancer.” Susann was a healthcare equity research associate with Roth Capital Partners and is now an Investor Relations Officer.


  Cinthya J. Zepeda Mendoza, Ph.D.
  Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University & Brigham and Women’s Hospital


Dr. Cinthya Zepeda Mendoza conducted her thesis research in Dr. David Spector’s laboratory.  Her thesis was entitled “Impact of copy number variation on chromatin interactions at the mouse 4qE2 chromosome region.”  After graduation, Cinthya moved to Harvard and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital for postdoctoral work with Dr. Cynthia Morton, where she uses cytogenetics techniques to understand human diseases.


Graduating Class of 2014

Liberatore

   Katie Liberatore, Ph.D.
  Postdoctoral Fellow, USDA Cereal Disease Laboratory

Dr. Katie Liberatore conducted her thesis research in Dr. Zachary Lippman’s laboratory. Her thesis was entitled “Investigating the roles of gene dosage and stem cell maintenance in the regulation of plant shoot and inflorescence architecture.” Katie is a postdoctoral fellow at the USDA Cereal Disease Laboratory.


Batut

   Philippe Batut, Ph.D.
   Postdoctoral Fellow, Princeton University

Dr. Philippe Batut conducted his thesis research in the lab of Dr. Thomas Gingeras.  His thesis was entitled “Promoter evolution in Drosophila: non-coding transcription and transposon-driven innovation.”  Philippe is conducting postdoctoral research with Dr. Mike Levine at Princeton University.


Wasik

   Kaja Wasik, Ph.D.
   Co-Founder, Gencove
 

Dr. Kaja Wasik conducted her thesis research in Dr. Gregory Hannon's laboratory. Her thesis was entitled "Unusual aspects of piRNA pathways in mice and flatworms." Kaja was an intern at Topspin Partners and Accelerate Long Island, which together help fund innovative, early stage biotech start-up companies. Kaja joined the biotech start-up, EpiBone, where she was a research scientist. Later, she was a postdoctoral research associate with Dr. Joe Pickrell at the New York Genome Center. Recently, Kaja co-founded Gencove, a company formed to make genomic data accessible and interpretable.











Platform.


Sanders

   Joshua Sanders, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO, Sanworks, LLC

Dr. Joshua Sanders conducted his thesis research in the lab of Dr. Adam Kepecs.  His thesis was entitled “A computational framework for understanding decision confidence.” Josh conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Duda Kvitsiani at the Danish Research Institute for Translational Neuroscience and Århus University, where he studied the brain circuits that underlie foraging behavior. He recently started his own company Sanworks, which develops automated systems for Neuroscience research, and streamlines access to them through an online assembly service.

 


Bressan

   Dario Bressan, Ph.D.
   Research Associate, Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
 

Dr. Dario Bressan conducted his thesis research in Dr. Gregory Hannon’s laboratory. His thesis was entitled “A novel technology for the space-specific recovery of biological molecules.”  Dario is continuing his work as a research associate at Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Institute and the University of Cambridge.


Plavskin

   Yevgeniy Plavskin, Ph.D.
  Postdoctoral Fellow, New York University


Dr. Yevgeniy Plavskin conducted his thesis research in Dr. Marja Timmermans’ laboratory.  His thesis was entitled “Regulation of the auxin response by an ancient small RNA pathway.”  Eugene is currently a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Mark Siegel at New York University’s Department of Genomics and Systems Biology.  He studies the genetic networks underlying phenotypic evolution.


Oyibo

   Hassana Oyibo, Ph.D.
  Postdoctoral Fellow, Friedriech Miescher Institute (CH)

Dr. Hassana Oyibo conducted her thesis research in Dr. Anthony Zador’s laboratory. Her thesis was entitled “A high throughput sequencing approach to mapping synaptic connectivity in the brain.” Hassana is a postdoctoral fellow at the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel, Switzerland.  She studies sensory processing in the visual cortex, working in the lab of Dr. Georg Keller.


Pautler

   Michael Pautler, Ph.D.
   Research Associate, Vineland Research and Innovation Center (CA)

Dr. Michael Pautler conducted his thesis research in Dr. David Jackson’s laboratory.  His thesis was entitled “Meristem size and determinacy in maize.”  Mike is now a research associate at Vineland Research and Innovation Center in Canada, an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to horticultural science and crop improvement.


EckersleyMaslin

   Melanie Eckersley-Maslin, Ph.D.
  Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Cambridge (UK)

Dr. Melanie Eckersley-Maslin conducted her thesis research in Dr. David Spector’s laboratory. Her thesis was entitled “Characteristics of random monoallelic gene expression during embryonic stem cell differentiation.” Mélanie is a postdoctoral fellow at the Babraham Institute at the University of Cambridge with Dr. Wolf Reick.  She studies epigenetic reprogramming in stem cells.


Perova

  Zinaida Perova, Ph.D.
  Postdoctoral Fellow, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (UK)

Dr. Zinaida Perova conducted her thesis research in Dr. Bo Li’s laboratory. Her thesis was entitled “Synaptic changes in the medial prefrontal cortex in susceptibility and resilience to stress.” Zina is a postdoctoral fellow at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology and the University of Cambridge.  She works in the lab of Dr. Tiago Branco studying how neurons integrate synaptic signals.


Kudla

  Marek Kudla, Ph.D.
  Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Marek Kudla conducted his thesis research in Dr. Gregory Hannon’s laboratory.  His thesis was entitled “Quantitative description of microRNA target site occupancy in mouse embryonic stem cells and derived cells of neuronal lineage.”  Marek is performing postdoctoral research in the lab of Nick Ingolia at UC Berkeley studying the regulation of gene expression.





Graduating Class of 2013

Gruntmann

 Eyal Gruntman, Ph.D.
  Postdoctoral Fellow, HHMI Janelia Farm

Dr. Eyal Gruntman conducted his thesis research in Dr. Glenn Turner's laboratory. His thesis was entitled “Integration Properties of Kenyon Cells in the Drosophila melanogaster Mushroom Bodies.” Eyal is currently conducting postdoctoral research with Dr. Michael Reiser at HHMI Janelia Farm.  He studies the organization of neural circuits that control innate behaviors in Drosophila.


pineda

  Maria Pineda, Ph.D.
  Co-founder and CEO, Envisagenics, Inc.

Dr. Maria Luisa Pineda conducted her thesis research in Dr. Raffaella Sordella Laboratory. Her thesis was entitled “Substrate specificity of receptor tyrosine kinases is critical for selective signaling.” She has been consulting for private equity investment firms in Long Island and NYC, Canrock Ventures and Golden Seeds. Maria established the first bioinformatics solutions company in New York, Envisagenics, Inc.


schlesinger

   Felix Schlesinger, Ph.D.
Bioinformatics Scientist, Illumina

Dr. Felix Schlesinger conducted his thesis research in Dr. Thomas Gingeras' laboratory. His thesis was entitled “Discovery and Analysis of Transcription at Regulatory Elements.” Felix is currently a Bioinformatics Scientist at Illumina in San Diego.


Bodnar

   Megan Bodnar, Ph.D.
Senoir Research Scientist, NYU Langone Medical Center

Dr. Megan (Bodnar) Hogan conducted her thesis research in Dr. David Spector's laboratory. Her thesis was entitled "The dynamics of pluripotency genes upon differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells." Megan conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Thomas Zwaka at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where she studied the regulation of pluripotency in embryonic stem cells. Megan is currently a Senior Research Scientist at the Institute for Systems Genetics at the NYU Langone Medical Center.


guzzardo

  Paloma Guzzardo, Ph.D.
Team Leader, Horizon Genomics (AT)

Dr. Paloma Guzzardo conducted her thesis research in Dr. Gregory Hannon’s Laboratory. Her thesis was entitled “Identification and characterization of novel components of the Drosophila piRNA pathway.” Paloma worked as a Program Evaluation Consultant at the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation before starting her current position as a team leader at the biotech company Horizon Genomics in Vienna, Austria. 




Ebbesen

   Saya Ebbesen, Ph.D.
Medical Writer, BGB Group

Dr. Saya Ebbesen performed her thesis research in Dr. Scott Lowe's laboratory. Her thesis was entitled "RNAi Mouse Models of Breast Cancer Tumor Suppressor Genes." Saya conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. David Lyden at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, where she studied the role of extracellular vesicles in the tumor microenvironment of metastatic melanoma. In 2016, Saya joined BGB Group, a medical communications agency in New York City, as a medical writer.



Znamensky
Petr Znamenskiy, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Biozentrum, University of Basel (CH)

Dr. Petr Znamenskiy conducted his thesis research in Dr. Anthony Zador's laboratory.  His thesis was entitled “Role of corticostriatal projections in auditory discrimination.” Petr is currently conducting postdoctoral research with Dr. Thomas Mrsic-Flogel at the Biozentrum, University of Basel, Switzerland, studying the circuit mechanisms by which neural networks encode sensory information in the visual system.


Calarco

 Joseph Calarco, Ph.D.
  Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University

Dr. Joseph Calarco conducted his thesis research in Dr. Robert Martienssen's laboratory.  His thesis was entitled “A System to Study Chromatin Dynamics Through Pollen Development.”  Joe is now conducting postdoctoral research with Dr. Gerald Crabtree at Stanford University.  He investigates the roles of chormatin remodeling during mammalian development. Joe sadly passed away in 2016.




Graduating Class of 2012

rollins

  Frederick Rollins, Ph.D., MBA
 Engagement Manager, L.E.K. Consulting

Dr. Frederick Rollins conducted his thesis research in Gregory Hannon’s Laboratory. His thesis was entitled “The genetics and epigenetics of erlotinib resistance in non-small cell lung cancer”.  Fred then graduated from the accelerated MBA program at The Johnson School of Graduate Management at Cornell University.  He now works with L.E.K. Consulting.



Finiganweb

  Patrick Finigan, Ph.D.
  Associate, Regulatory Affairs, Sanofi

Dr. Patrick Finigan conducted his thesis research in Dr. Rob Martienssen's laboratory. His thesis was entitled "The origin of novel phenotypic variation in Arabidopsis allopolyploids." Patrick was an intern at Bayer Healthcare before moving to his current position as a regulatory affairs associate at Sanofi.


Nakasoneweb
Elizabeth Nakasone, M.D., Ph.D.
Resident Physician, UCLA

Dr. Elizabeth Nakasone conducted her thesis research in Dr. Mikala Egeblad's laboratory. Her thesis was entitled, "A stromal CCL2/CCR2 signaling axis regulates chemotherapeutic response in a mouse model of breast cancer." Beth graduated from the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii and is now a Resident Physician at UCLA Health in California.


honneger

  Kyle Honnegger, Ph.D.
  Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University

Dr. Kyle Honegger conducted his thesis research in Dr. Glenn Turner's laboratory.  His thesis was entitled “Neural Coding in the Drosophila Mushroom Body.”  Kyle is a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Benjamin de Bivort at Harvard University.  He continues to study how odors are represented in the Drosophila brain using genetics and imaging.




wang

  Zhenxun Wang, Ph.D.
  Research Fellow, Genome Institute of Singapore

Dr. Zhenxun Wang conducted his thesis research in Dr. Adrian Krainer 's Laboratory. His thesis was entitled " The mechanism and manipulation of pk-m alternative splicing.  Wang is a research fellow with Dr. Bing Lim at the Genome Institute of Singapore where he studies embryonic stem cell pluripotency and reprogramming.






Graduating Class of 2011

rappaport
Amy Rappaport, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist, Gristone Oncology

Dr. Amy Rappaport conducted her thesis research in Dr. Scott Lowe's laboratory. Her thesis was entitled "Dissecting tumor suppressor and tumor maintenance genes in poor prognosis acute myeloid leukemia". Amy conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Leisa Johnson at Genentech in San Francisco, where she developed mouse models of cancers to identify and validate therapeutic targets. She then joined a highly publicized biotech start-up company in Palo Alto as an assay development scientist. She is currently a Senior Scientist at Gristone Oncology in California.


Scuoppo
Claudio Scuoppo, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Columbia University

Dr. Claudio Scuoppo conducted his thesis research in Dr. Scott Lowe's laboratory. His thesis was entitled "Architectural Models of Tumor Suppression in Lymphoma." Claudio is conducting postdoctoral research with Dr. Riccardo Dalla-Favera at the Institute for Cancer Genetics at Columbia University studying B cell lymphomas. He aims to identify genetic lesions and the mechanism by which they contribute to tumors.




Graduating Class of 2010

pai

Shraddha Pai, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto (CA)

Dr. Shraddha Pai conducted her thesis research in the laboratory of Dr. Carlos Brody. Her thesis was entitled "Neuroanatomical localization of timing-specific brain loci in the rat". Shraddha is currently conducting postdoctoral research with Dr.Gary Bader at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto, Canada, investigateing epigenetic impacts on human psychiatric diseases.  In 2014, she was awarded a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship and a NARSAD Young Investigator Grant to support her research.


malone

Colin Malone, Ph.D.
Director of Genomic Analysis & Technical Operations, and Assistant Professor, Columbia University

Dr. Colin Malone conducted his thesis research in the laboratory of Dr. Gregory Hannon where he was the recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. His thesis was entitled "Evolution, inheritance and specialization of transposon control pathways in Drosophila." Colin conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Ruth Lehmann at The Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, supported by a Helen Hay Whitney Foundation fellowship.  He studied how the endosymbiont Wolbachia infects Drosophila germ cells. In 2015, Colin moved to Columbia University Medical Center, where he is Director of Genomic Analysis and Technical Operations at the Institute for Genomic Medicine and an Assistant Proffesor in the Department of Medicine.


fregoso

Oliver Fregoso, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Oliver Fregoso conducted his thesis research in the laboratory of Dr. Adrian Krainer.  His thesis was entitled "Elucidating the functions of splicing regulatory proteins through the use of high-throughput proteomics." Oliver conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Michael Emerman at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, investigating the replication and pathogenesis of HIV and related viruses. Oliver continues to study viral evolution in his own research lab at UCLA and the David Geffen School of Medicine. He is in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics.


tam

Oliver Tam, Ph.D.
Sequencing Analyst, ARUP Laboratories

Dr. Oliver Tam conducted his thesis research in Dr. Gregory Hannon's laboratory. His thesis was entitled "Characterization of small RNA populations and DNA methylation in mammalian development." Oliver was awarded a Human Frontiers in Science fellowship for his postdoctoral research, which her performed with Dr. Janet Rossant at The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto and then with Dr. Molly Hammell at CSHL.  Oliver is now a sequencing analyist for ARUP Laboratories, a non-profit enterprise of the University of Utah that offers complex medical diagnostic tests.


leung

Amy Leung, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Professor, City of Hope, Beckman Research Institute

Dr. Amy Leung conducted her thesis research in Dr. William Tansey's laboratory. Her thesis was entitled "Regulation of chromatin by histone H2B ubiquitylation". Amy conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Rama Natarajan at the City of Hope, Beckman Research Institute, California, where she is now an Assistant Research Professor. She studies the cellular and molecular mechanims involved in diabetic vascular complications. Amy recently received an NIH K01 award to study the role of long non-coding RNAs in diabetes.

makino

Hiroshi Makino, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Nayand Technological University Singapore

Dr. Hiroshi Makino conducted his thesis research in Dr. Roberto Malinow's laboratory. His thesis was entitled "AMPA receptor dynamics and synaptic plasticity at excitatory synapses".  Hiroshi conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Takaki Komiyama at the University of California, San Diego, where he was looking at the activity of neuronal circuits in behaving animals. He is currently an Assistant Professor, Nayand Technological University Singapor.


collins
Galen Collins, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Galen Collins conducted his thesis research in Dr. William Tansey's Laboratory. His thesis was entitled "Activator turnover and proteolysis in transcriptional activation". Galen is currently conducting postdoctoral research with Dr. Fred Goldberg at Harvard Medical School studying protein degradation and quality control.


simpson

David Simpson, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University

Dr. David Simpson conducted his research in Dr. William Tansey's laboratory. His thesis was entitled "Regulation of Myc-induced apoptosis in the mammary epithelia". David was the recipient of a US Army Medical Research and Material Command Breast Cancer Research Program Predoctoral Fellowship. David is conducting postdoctoral research with Dr. Alejandro Sweet-Cordero at Stanford University identifying therapeutic targets for lung cancers.

mcjunkin

Katherine McJunkin, Ph.D.
Section Chief, National Institutes of Health

Dr. Katherine McJunkin conducted her thesis research in Dr. Scott Lowe's Laboratory. Her thesis was entitled "Inducible RNAi targeting essential genes". Katie conducteed postdoctoral research with Dr. Victor Ambros at UMass Medical Center. Where she studied the post-translational regulation of microRNAs in C. elegans development. In 2015, Katie was awarded an NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award. She is currently a Section Chief, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIH.


erlich

Yaniv Erlich, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Columbia University
Member, New York Genome Center

Dr. Yaniv Erlich conducted his thesis research in Dr. Gregory Hannon’s Laboratory. His thesis was entitled “Compressed sensing”. Yaniv was the recipient of the IEEE-CS/ACM High Performance Computing Ph.D. Fellowship and the Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award.  He then moved to the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research as the Andria and Paul Heafy Family Fellow.  In 2015, he moved to the New York Genome Center and the Department of Computer Science at Columbia University. His lab continues to develop computational tools to understand the genome.




Graduating Class of 2009

Allison Blum, Ph.D.
Director, Scientific and Research Strategy, Columbia University

Dr. Allison Blum conducted her thesis research in the laboratory of Dr. Josh Dubnau.  Her thesis was entitled "rutabaga signaling in distinct circuits supports short versus long-term memory in Drosophila."  Allison worked as the laboratory manager for Dr. Ruth Lehmann’s laboratory at the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, NYU School of Medicine, for several years. She then moved to Columbia University as Science Operations Managers for HHMI investigators. Her current position at Columbia University is Director, Scientific and Research Strategy.


Shu-Ling Chiu, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Dr. Shu-Ling Chiu conducted her thesis research in Dr. Hollis Cline's laboratory. Her thesis was entitled "The role of insulin receptor in the development of neuronal structure and function." Shu-Ling is currently conducting postdoctoral research with Dr. Richard Huganir at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where she studies the function and regulation of neurotransmitter receptors.


Daniel Chitwood, Ph.D.
  Assistant Member, Donald Danforth Plant Canter

Dr. Daniel Chitwood conducted his thesis research in Dr. Marja Timmermans' Laboratory.  His thesis was entitled "Patterning in leaves via a cascade of small RNAs." He conducted postdoctoral research with Drs. Neelima Sinha and Julin Maloof at the University of California, Davis.  Dan is now an assistant member of the Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis.  His lab investigates the molecular mechanisms underlying the diversity of plant morphologies, including leaf shapes and shoot architectures.


Keisha John, Ph.D.
Director of Diversity Programs, Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Affairs, University of Virginia

Dr. Keisha John conducted her thesis research in Dr. Linda Van Aelst’s Laboratory.  Her thesis was entitled “Characterization of the role of DOCK7 in neuronal development.”  She was a recipient of the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship. Keisha conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Mary Beth Hatten at The Rockefeller University. She then moved to Florida State University's Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards. She is now Director of Diversity Programs at the University of Virginia's Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Affairs.


Jeremy Wilusz, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Jeremy Wilusz conducted his thesis research in Dr. David Spector’s Laboratory. His thesis was entitled “3’ end processing of long nuclear-retained non-coding RNAs yields tRNA-like small RNAs.”  Jeremy was the recipient of the 2009 RNA Society/Scaringe Graduate Student Award and a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society postdoctoral fellowship for his research with Dr. Phil Sharp at MIT.  He is now an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania where his group studies how non-coding RNAs are generated and regulated.




Graduating Class of 2008

Hiroki Asari, Ph.D.
Research Group Leader, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL, IT)

Dr. Hiroki Asari conducted his thesis research in Dr. Anthony Zador's Laboratory. His thesis was entitled "Auditory System Characterization." Hiro conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Markus Meister at Harvard University and CalTech, supported by a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Postdoctoral Fellowship. In 2016, he joined the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) at Monterotondo, Italy, as a group leader in neurobiology. His group investigates the neural circuits of the early visual system in mice, specifically how the retina participates in brain-wide feedback.


François Bolduc, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, University of Alberta (CA)

Dr. François Bolduc conducted his thesis research in Dr. Tim Tully’s Laboratory. His thesis was entitled “Role of Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein and the RNAi Pathway in Drosophila Learning and Memory.” Prior to joining the Watson School, he had completed his medical degree in Sherbrook, Quebec and had practiced pediatric neurology at the Université de Montreal and McGill University’s Montreal Children's Hospital and Montreal Neurological Institute.  François is currently a clinician scientist and associate professor in the Department of Pediatric Neurology and an adjunct associate professor of medical genetics at the University of Alberta, Canada.  His lab uses Drosophila to understand the molecular basis of memory in relation to human diseases, such as intellectual disability and autism.


Wei Wei, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, The University of Chicago

Dr. Wei Wei conducted her thesis research in Dr. Roberto Malinow's Laboratory. Her thesis was entitled "The Interplay between Amyloid-beta and Neural Activity." Wei conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Marla Feller at the University of California, Berkeley. She is now an assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Chicago and a recipient of a prestigious Sloan Research Fellowship.  Wei's lab studies the synaptic basis of neuronal computation in the retina and the development of synaptic connections.


Rebecca Bish, Ph.D.
Senior Scientific Editor, D. E. Shaw Research

Dr. Rebecca Bish conducted her thesis research in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Myers. Her thesis was entitled "The Function of the Ubiquitin-Binding Zinc Finger Domain in DNA Repair." Becky was the recipient of a predoctoral fellowship from the American Foundation for Aging Research. She conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Eric Holland at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and then with Dr. Christine Vogel at New York University.  She also founded an independent company that provided editorial services to academic researchers.  Becky is now a scientific editor at D. E. Shaw Research in New York City, a company that develops molecular dynamics simulations to aid drug discovery.


Christopher Harvey, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Christopher Harvey conducted his thesis research in Dr. Karel Svoboda’s laboratory. His thesis was entitled “Dynamics of Plasticity and Signaling at Individual Synapses.”  Chris conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. David Tank at Princeton University, supported by a Helen Hay Whitney Foundation fellowship.  He is now an assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School and the recipient of a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award.  Chris's lab aims to understand how neural circuits in the cortex implement decision-making.


Angelique Girard, Ph.D.

Dr. Angelique Girard conducted her thesis research in Dr. Gregory Hannon’s laboratory. Her thesis was entitled “Mammalian Piwi proteins and transposon silencing in the male germline.” She conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Kevin Eggan at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Harvard University.


Monica Dus, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, University of Michigan

Dr. Monica Dus conducted her thesis research in the laboratory of Dr. Greg Hannon. Her thesis was entitled "Beyond Classical RNAi: towards an understanding of germ cell development and transposon control in the fruitfly D. melanogaster." Monica then conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Greg Suh at the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, NYU School of Medicine, where she was awarded a Hilda and Preston Davis Postdoctoral Fellowship in Eating Disorders.  She now has her own lab in the Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Michigan, studying the molecular basis or sppetitive behavior in Drosophila.




Graduating Class of 2007

Elizabeth Murchison, Ph.D.
Reader, University of Cambridge (UK)

Dr. Elizabeth Murchison conducted her thesis research in Dr. Gregory Hannon's Laboratory. Her thesis was entitled "Genetic Studies of Mammalian Dicer." Liz completed postdoctoral research at the Australian National University and then the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, supported by an Australian Government NHMRC Overseas Biomedical Fellowship.  She has received the Eppendorf Young Investigator Award, the Genetics Society Balfour Prize, and the L'Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Fellowship.  Liz is now a Reader in Comparative Oncology and Genetics and a Wellcome Trust Investigator at the University of Cambridge.  Her lab studies the genetics and evolution of contagious cancers in dogs and Tasmanian devils.


Catherine Seiler (née Cormier), Ph.D.
Program Manager, Human Specimen Procurement Service
St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center

Dr. Catherine Cormier conducted her thesis research in Dr. Yuri Lazebnik’s Laboratory. Her thesis was entitled "Caspase activation in unidentified apoptotic pathways." During her time at the Watson School, Catherine received a PEO Scholar's award and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. After completing her studies, she joined the Harvard Institute of Proteomics and then Dr. Josh LaBaer's group at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University as the scientific liaison for the DNASU Plasmid Repository.  She has recently become the program manager for the Human Specimen Procurement Service at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.


Gowan Tervo, Ph.D.
Research Specialist, HHMI Janelia Farm Research Campus

Dr. Gowan Tervo conducted his thesis research in Dr. Karel Svoboda's Laboratory wherehe was the recipient of a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellowship. His thesis was entitled "Development of Molecular Systems for the Inactivation of Synaptic Transmission." Gowan is currently a Research Specialist with Dr. Alla Karpova at the HHMI Janelia Farm Research Campus.  He studies learning in an adaptive environment as it applies to social interactions.


Darren Burgess, Ph.D.
Senior Editor, Nature Reviews Genetics

Dr. Darren Burgess conducted his thesis research in Dr. Scott Lowe’s Laboratory. His thesis was entitled "RNAi Genetic Screens for Chemotherapy Response Modifier Genes." Darren then conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Alan Ashworth at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK, before taking a position as an editor at Nature Reviews. He is currently Senior Editor at Nature Reviews Genetics.


Claudia Feierstein, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme (PT)

Dr. Claudia Feierstein conducted her thesis research in Dr. Zachary Mainen's Laboratory. Her thesis was entitled "Representation of Goals, Actions, and Outcomes in Rat Orbitifrontal Cortex." Claudia was a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Pierre-Marie Lledo at the Pasteur Institute. She is now conducting postdoctoral research with Dr. Michael Orger at the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme in Portugal where she studies sensory integration in the neural circuits that guide behavior.


Tomas Hromadka, Ph.D.
Research Scientist, Institute of Experimental Medicine (CZ)

Dr. Tomas Hromadka conducted his thesis research in Dr. Anthony Zador’s Laboratory. His thesis was entitled "Representation of Sounds in Auditory Cortex of Awake Rats." Tomas is now a research scientist in the Laboratory of Auditory Physiology and Pathology in the Institute of Experimental Medicine, an EU Center of Excellence in Prague, Czech Republic.




Graduating Class of 2006

Marco Mangone, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Arizona State University

Dr. Marco Mangone conducted his thesis research in the laboratory of Dr. Winship Herr. His thesis was entitled "Analysis of the HCF-1 basic region and its role in sustaining cell proliferation." Marco conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Fabio Piano at the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology at New York University. He is currently an assistant professor at Arizona State University.  His lab is interested in the regulation of gene expression by mRNA processing in C. elegans and human cells.


Charles Kopec, Ph.D.
Associate Professional Specialist, Princeton University

Dr. Chuck Kopec conducted his thesis research in Dr. Roberto Malinow's laboratory. His thesis was entitled "AMPA receptor trafficking and their effect on spine enlargement during long-term potentiation." Chuck was the recipient of a National Institutes of Health, NRSA Predoctoral Fellowship to support his research at the Watson School. He conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Carlos Brody  studying the processing of temporal information in sensory perception at Princeton University where he is an Associate Professional Specialist.


Rebecca Ewald, Ph.D.
International Business Leader
Roche AG

Dr. Rebecca Ewald conducted her thesis research with Dr. Hollis Cline. Her thesis was entitled "NMDA receptor subtypes and dendritic arbor morphology.” After completing her studies, Rebecca was accepted into the Management Trainee program at Roche Diagnostics, Europe, where she spent two years in training. She is currently an International Business Leader for Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. within the Roche Group.




Graduating Class of 2005

Elena Ezhkova, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Dr. Elena Ezhkova conducted her thesis research in Dr. William Tansey's laboratory. Her thesis was entitled "Role of the proteasome in gene control." Elena then conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Elaine Fuchs at The Rockefeller University. She is currently an associate professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine where her lab is identifying epigenetic regulatory mechanisms of stem cell self-renewal and differentiation in the skin.


Michelle Cilia, Ph.D.
Research Molecular Biologist, USDA-ARS and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Cornell University

Dr. Michelle Cilia conducted her thesis research in Dr. David Jackson's Laboratory. Her thesis was entitled "Mechanisms of intercellular communication in Arabodopsis thaliana." Michelle conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Stewart Gray at Cornell University, Ithaca. She is currently a Research Molecular Biologist in the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service.  Michelle holds adjunct faculty appointments with The Boyce Thompson Institute and Cornell University.  Michelle's research focuses on insect vector-virus-plant host interactions in agricultural systems.  In 2014, she was honored with the Herbert L. Rothbart ARS Early Career Scientist of the Year Award.


Ji-Joon Song, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

Dr. Ji-Joon Song conducted his thesis research in Dr. Leemor Joshua-Tor's Laboratory. His thesis was entitled "Structural and biochemical studies of Argonaute reveal the slicing mechanism of RISC-RNAi effector complex." Ji-Joon conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Robert E. Kingston at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University. He is currently an associate professor at the KAIST in Korea, where his group is working on determining the atomic structure of chromatin modifying complexes in order to understand mechanisms of epigenetic regulation.



Zachary B. Lippman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Dr. Zachary Lippman conducted his thesis research in Dr. Robert Martienssen's Laboratory. His thesis was entitled "Transposons, heterochromatin, and epigenetic landscapes in Arabidopsis thaliana." Zach was the recipient of the prestigious Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award. He then conducted  postdoctoral research with Dr. Dani Zamir at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  In 2008, Zach returned to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where he is now an associate professor.  Zach's lab studies meristem development, especially in relation to crop improvement in tomatoes.  His lab is also interested in the genetic basis of hybrid vigor.


Ahmet Denli, Ph.D
Staff Researcher, The Salk Institute

Dr. Ahmet Denli conducted his thesis research in Dr. Gregory Hannon's laboratory. His thesis was entitled "Processing of pri-microRNAs by the Microprocessor Complex." He is currently working with Dr. Fred Gage at the Salk Institute in California.


Masafumi Muratani, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, University of Tsukuba (JP)

Dr. Masafumi Muratani conducted his thesis research in Dr. William Tansey's laboratory. His thesis was entitled "Regulation of gene expression by the ubiquitin-proteasome system." Masafumi conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Richard Treisman at the London Research Institute of Cancer Research UK. He then worked as a Research Associate at the Genome Institute of Singapore within Dr. Hui Ng's  group studying cancer cell death.  Masafumi now leads his own group at the University of Tsukuba in Japan, with a focus on genomics and epigenomics of clinical samples.

 

Graduating Class of 2004

Patrick J. Paddison, Ph.D.
  Associate Member, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Dr. Patrick Paddison conducted his thesis research in Dr. Gregory Hannon's Laboratory. His thesis was entitled "RNA interference in mammals: the quest for illuminating gene function." During his time at the Watson School, Patrick was the recipient of a US Army Medical Research and Material Comment Breast Cancer Research Program Predoctoral Fellowship. After completing his studies, Patrick became an independent fellow at CSHL. He is now an associate in the Human Biology Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where he uses functional genomics to understand mammalian stem cell self-renewal and pluripotency.


Niraj Tolia, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis

Dr. Niraj Tolia conducted his thesis research in Dr. Leemor Joshua-Tor's Laboratory. His thesis was entitled "Structural and biochemical studies of the malaria parasite Plasmodim falciparum protein EBA-175 involved in erythrocyte invasion." Niraj is currently an associate professor at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis.  His lab continues to use structural biology and biochemistry to understand how Plasmodium invades red blood cells.  In 2014, Niraj received an Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease Award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and in 2015, an NIH R01 to support his lab's work on malaria.


Ira M. Hall, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis
Associate Director, Department of Genetics, The Genome Institute

Dr. Ira Hall conducted his research in Dr. Shiv Grewal's Laboratory. His thesis was entitled "A Role for RNA Interfence in Heterochromatic Silencing and Chromosome Dynamics." Ira's research contributed to the prestigious AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize during his time at the Watson School. After completing his studies, Ira was appointed as a Cold Spring Harbor Fellow.  Ira then established his independent lab at the University of Virginia, studying genome variations in humans.  In 2014, Ira's lab is moving to the Department of Medicine Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, where Ira is an associate professor and associate director of The Genome Institute.



Amy A. Caudy, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, University of Toronto (CA)

Dr. Amy Caudy conducted her thesis research in Dr. Gregory Hannon's Laboratory. Her thesis was entitled "Mechanism and applications of RNAi." Amy was awarded the prestigious Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award and was also the recipient of a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellowship. After completing postdoctoral research with Dr. John Atkinson at Washington University, St. Louis, Amy joined the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University as a research fellow. In 2011, Amy took a position as an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, where she studies the chemical reactions catalyzed by metabolic enzymes.


Elizabeth E. Bartom (née Thomas), Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Northwestern University

Dr. Elizabeth Thomas conducted her thesis research in Dr. Michael Wigler's Laboratory where she was the recipient of a Howard Hughes Medical Predoctoral Institute Fellowship. Her thesis was entitled "Exploring repetitive sequences in the human genome." Elizabeth, conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. Aviv Regev at Harvard University's Center for Genomic Research.  She worked as a computational biologist at the University of Chicago Medical Center and then at Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, before taking up her current position in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at Northwestern University.


Emiliano Rial Verde, Ph.D.
Director, Corporate Development, Bunge Limited

Dr. Emiliano Rial Verde conducted his thesis research in Dr. Holly Cline's Laboratory, where he was the recipient of a Howard Hughes Medical Predoctoral Institute Fellowship. His thesis was entitled "The role of the immediate-early gene arc in synaptic transmission." Emilano conducted his postdoctoral research with Dr. Yuste at Columbia University. He served as associate principle at McKinsey & Co. Inc., in Geneva, Switzerland, and New York, focusing on strategy and productivity in pharmaceutical, agrochemical, and public sector research. In 2015, Emiliano accepted a position as Director of Corporate Development at Bunge, a major international agrobusiness and food company that aims to ensure food security for the world's growing population.