VCU Molecular Biology and Genetics


Jennifer Mietla  PhD, 2014
The cPLA2alpha/C1P interaction and its role in eicosanoid synthesis and inflammation
Charles Chalfant
Current Position: Postdoc, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, VCU School of Medicine

Tamer Hadi  MD/PhD 2014
The Role of p62 in Osteoclastogenesis and Paget's Disease of Bone
Jolene Windle
Current Position: Resident, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland OH

Hoon Shim  MD/PhD 2014
The Role of R7 Regulators of G Protein Signaling in the Retina
Ching-Kang Jason Chen
Current Position: Anesthesiology resident, Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY

John Strang MS 2014
The Effect of Isocitrate Dehydrogenase on the Epigenetics of Human Mitochondrial DNA
Adviser: Shirley Taylor
Current Position:

Class of 2013

Jose Gomez-Arroyo  PhD, 2013
Metabolic Remodeling and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Maladaptive Right Ventricular Hypertrophy Secondary to Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
Adviser: Norbert Voelkel
Current Position: Research Associate, University of Pittsburgh

Upneet Sokhi  PhD, 2013
Analyzing the functions of human polynucleotide phosphorylase (hPNPaseold-35)
Paul Fisher
Current Position: Postdoc, Department of Human Genetics, VCU School of Medicine

Helal Endisha MS, 2013
The effects of SIRT6 overexpression on genomic instability
in Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome
Adviser: Lynne Elmore
Current Position:

Shannon Hedrick  MS, 2013
Identification of Human PGC-1a-b Isoforms using a Novel PGC-1a-b Specific Antibody
Adviser: Shirley Taylor
Current Position:

Maria Amaya  PhD dissertation completed 2013
The Role of the Nucleosome Remodeling and Histone Deacetylase (NuRD) Complex in Fetal γ-Globin Expression
Adviser: Gordon Ginder
Current Position: Completing MD studies at VCU (MD/PhD student)

Sawsan Atia  MS, 2013
Systematic Analysis of ABC Transporters in Streptococcus sanguinis
Adviser: Ping Xu
Current Position:

Lori Hill  MD/PhD, 2013
Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Genetics of Preeclampsia
Adviser: Jerome Strauss
Current Position: Resident, Family Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson

Vijay Menon   PhD, 2013
Ligand Modulation of a Dinuclear Platinum Compound Leads to
Mechanistic Differences in Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis

Adviser: Nicholas Farrell
Current Position: Postdoctoral Associate, Massey Cancer Center

Ancydimpy Nalli   MS, 2013
Regulation of Gastrointestinal Smooth Muscle Function
by Hydrogen Sulfide

Adviser: Srinavasa M. Karnam
Current Position: PhD student, VCU School of Medicine

Siddharth Saini  PhD, 2013
Mechanisms by which XRCC3 mediates Breast Cancer Cell Invasion via Cyclophilin A
Aylin Marz
Current Position: Postdoctoral Associate, Massey Cancer Center

Prashant Thakkar   PhD, 2013
Elucidation of Mechanisms Generating 5-Hydroxymethyl Cytosine (5hmC) in Mammalian Mitochondria
Adviser: Shirley Taylor
Current Position: Postdoctoral Associate, Weill Cornell Medical College, NY

Sai Yanamandra  MS, 2013
Role of Porphyromonas gingivalis Extracytoplasmic
Function (ECF) Sigma Factor, sigG
Adviser: Janina Lewis
Current Position:

Robin Chan MS, 2013
Genetic Analysis of Ethanol Sensitivity and Tolerance in Drosophila
Adviser: Michael Grotewiel
Current Position: Research & Lab Spc., Center for Biomarker Research and Personalized Medicine,  VCU School of Pharmacy

Joseph Alaimo PhD, 2013
Identification and Characterization of Ethanol Responsive Genes in Acute Ethanol Behaviors in Caenorhabditis elegans
Adviser: Jill Bettinger
Current Postion:  Postdoctoral Associate, Baylor College of Medicine


Class of 2012

Tong Zhou  M.S., 2012
Role of Tyrosyl-DNA Phosphodiesterase (TDP 1) on Repair of 3’-Phosphoglycolate (3’- PG) Terminated DNA Double-Strand Breaks (DSBS) and in Response to Oxidative Stress
Lawrence Povirk
Current Position: Research Specialist, Dept. of Pharm/Tox, VCU

Suehyb Alkhatib  M.S., 2012
Characterizing the role of Nucleosome Remodeling Factor (NURF) in tumorigenesis and metastatic progression using mouse models of breast cancer
Adviser: Joseph Landry
Current Position: Medical student, Florida International University

Joyce Balinang  M.S., 2012
Regulation of mtDNMT1 in Response to Oxidative Stress
Adviser: Shirley Taylor
Current Position: PhD student, VCU School of Medicine

Sukhada Bhave  M.S., 2012
Investigating Synergy Between Ribonucleotide Reductase Inhibitors and CMV Antivirals
Adviser: Michael McVoy
Current Position: PhD student, VCU School of Medicine

Heather Herman  M.S., 2012
The Role of Sulfatide in the Development and Maintenance of Nodal and Paranodal Domains in the Peripheral Nervous System
Adviser:  Jeffrey Dupree
Current Position: Research Specialist, UVA School of Medicine

Anuya Paranjape  M.S., 2012
Mechanism of regulation by a transcriptional regulator OxyR in Porphyromonas gingivalis
Janina Lewis
Current Position: PhD student, VCU School of Medicine

Meredith Weck  M.S., 2012
Transferrin binding protein B structure, function and export in Neisseria gonorrhoeae
Adviser: Cynthia Cornelissen
Current Position: PhD student, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

Class of 2011

Priyadarshan Damle  PhD.,  2011
Helper Phage Capsid Size Redirection by Staphylococcal Pathogenicity Island SaPI1
Involves Internal Scaffolding Proteins

Adviser: Gail Christie
Current Position: Postdoctoral Associate, Division of Hematology & Oncology, Dept. of Internal Medicine, MCV/VCU


Stephen Dollery   PhD., 2011
Identification and characterization of low pH-triggered conformational changes in the herpes simplex virus glycoprotein B
Adviser: Anthony Nicola
Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, NIAID, National Institutes of Health

Anne L. Sauer   Ph.D., 2011
Inhibition of cytomegalovirus genome maturation by the halogenated benzimidazoles
Michael McVoy
Current Position:  Research Associate, Dept. of Pediatrics, MCV/VCU

Omar Mian   MD/Ph.D., 2011
The Role of the Methyl DNA Binding Domain Protein 2 (MBD2) in Breast Cancer
Gordon Ginder
Current Position:  Resident, Radiation Oncology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Alexandra Racanelli  MD/PhD., 2011
Transcriptional, Epigenetic, and Signaling Events in Antifolate Therapeutics

Adviser: Richard Moran
Current position: Resident, Internal Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, NY

Alison Kuchta  MD/Ph.D., 2011
Characterization of the Cytomegalovirus Alkaline Nuclease Active Site
Adviser: Michael McVoy
Current position: Resident, Pediatrics, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, San Francisco, CA

Class of 2010

Sami Amr   PhD., 2010
Identification and Characterization of a Second Wolfram Syndrome Gene
Rita Shiang
Current Position: Director of Sequencing for Partners Health Care; Center for Personalized Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Debasmita Basu  M.S., 2010
Ex vivo expansion of tumor-specific T cells with sequential common gamma chain cytokines render them refractory to MDSC upon adoptive immunotherapy
Adviser: Masoud Manjili
Current Postion:
Novartis Healthcare Pvt. Ltd, Hyderabad, India

Siddharth Saini M.S., 2010
Role of XRCC3 in Acquisition and Maintenance of Invasiveness through Extracellular Matrix in Breast Cancer Progression
Aylin Rizki
Current Position:  Postdoctoral Associate, Massey Cancer Center, VCU

Sinduja Ethiraj  M.S., 2010
Cell-Cell Junction Signaling Regulating DNA Double Strand Break Repair in Breast Cells
Aylin Rizki
Current Position: Research associate, Dept. of Human & Molecular Genetics, VCU

Jenishkumar Patel  M.S., 2010
Environmental Responses of Two-component Systems in S. sanguinis
Adviser: Ping Xu
Current Position: QA Specialist, DAK Americas, Bay St Louis, MS

Asheel Patel  M.S., 2010
Determination of Structure of Hepatitis B Virus E Antigen
Adviser: Darrell Peterson
Current Position: DGM-Corporate Affairs, Troikaa Parmaceuticals, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

Class of 2009

Jennifer Fettweis  Ph.D., 2009
Characterization of an Intracellular Signaling Pathway in the Context of Mammalian Innate Immunity

Adviser: Paul Fawcett
Current Position: CSBC Project Coordinator—Vaginal Human Microbiome Project, VCU

Michael Harwich  Ph.D., 2009
Transcriptional Profiling of Staphylococcal Bacteriophage 80a and Regulatory Interactions with Pathogenicity Island SaPI1

Adviser: Gail Christie
Current Position:  Senior Scientist, Epidemiology Support Group, DCLS, Richmond, VA  

Nusara Satproedprai  Ph.D., 2009
Adaptor Specificity in the Toll-like Receptor 2 Pathway
Paul Fawcett
Current Position: Medical Scientist, National Institute of Health, Division of Medical Sciences at Ministry of Public Health, Thailand

Eri Kamura  M.S., 2009
Exploring the Methylation Status of RAI1 and the RAI1 Consensus Binding Sequence
Adviser: Sarah Elsea
Current Position: Research Assistant, Center for Interdisciplinary Cardiovascular Sciences, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston, MA

Bijal Vyas  M.S., 2009
Retinoic Acid Induced 1 Gene Analysis in Humans and Zebrafish
Adviser: Sarah Elsea
Current Position: Scientist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, India

Huixin Wang  M.S., 2009
EPS8-mediated Oncogenesis
Adviser: Andrew Yeudall
Current Position: Research technician, Philips Institute of Oral and Craniofacial Molecular Biology, VCU

Joseph Bertsche M.S., 2009
Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors and Innate Immunity in Septic Shock
Adviser: Paul Fawcett
Current Position: Laboratory Technician, AI Biotech, Richmond, VA

Class of 2008

Linying Xie  M.S., 2008
Creation of a Mouse with a Humanized fpgs Gene Compatible with Normal Development
Adviser: Richard Moran
Current Position: Laboratory Specialist Sr., Massey Cancer Center, VCU

Anthony Pomicter  M.S., 2008
Discovery and Initial Characterizations of Neurofascin 155 high and Neurofascin 155 low
Adviser: Jeff Dupree
Current Position: Senior Laboratory Specialist, Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Lathika Mohanraj  Ph.D., 2008
Regulation of MDM2 mediated NFkB2 pathway in human lung cancer
Adviser: Swati Deb
Current position:
Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Pathology, VCU

Mahesh Ramamoorthy  Ph.D., 2008
Crosstalk Between MDM2 and AKT Signaling Pathway in Oncogenesis
Adviser: Swati Deb
Current position:
Postdoctoral Fellow, NYU Langone Medical Center, NY

Class of 2007

Jia He  Ph.D., 2007
Identification and characterization of metal uptake loci in Porphyromonas gingivalis

Adviser: Janina Lewis
Current position: Technical Consultant, Obetech LLC, Virginia Biotechnology Research Park, Richmond, VA


Michelle Holser  M.S., 2007
A New Model for Treacher Collins: Characterizing the Zebrafish TCOF1 Ortholog
Adviser: James Lister


Jeremy Rupon   M.D./Ph.D., 2007
The role of DNA methylation and methyl binding domain protein 2 in the regulation of human embryonic and fetal beta type globin genes
Adviser: Gordon Ginder
Current position: Pediatrician and Postdoctoral Fellow, The Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia


Heather Strange  M.S., 2007
Mechanism of iron transport employed by Neisseria gonorrhoeae: Contribution of Ferric Binding Protein A
Adviser: Cynthia Cornelissen
Current position:  Research Associate, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH

Sandra M. Tallent  Ph.D., 2007                                                               
Identification and characterization of helper phage gene products involved in mobilization of staphylococcal pathogenicity island SaPI1
Adviser: Gail Christie
Current position: Microbiologist, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA


Class of 2006

Evan Kransdorf  M.D./Ph.D., 2006
Purification and characterization of a methyl-DNA binding protein complex from primary erythroid cells
Adviser: Gordon Ginder
Current position: Physician, Internal Medicine, Scottsdale, AZ


Class of 2005

Daniel E. Nixon D.O., Ph.D 2005
A Bacteriophage-based Model of Herpesviral Genome Maturation
Adviser: Dr. Michael McVoy
Current position: Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine,
Division of Infectious Diseases, VCU Medical Center, Richmond, VA


Patrik Vitazka Ph.D., 2005
Breast Carcinoma Models for Studying Function of Metastasis Associated One (MTA1) Gene and Its Role in Metastasis
Adviser: Dr. Peter O'Connell
Current position: Regional Scientific Manager, Oncology
Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa (CEEMEA)
MERCK SHARP & DOHME IDEA, INC. Bratislava, Slovak Republic


Class of 2004

David Barrett  M.D./Ph.D. 2004
Transcriptional regulation of HLA-E by interferon-gamma
Adviser: Dr. Gordon Ginder
Current position: Instructor in Pediatric Oncology; Clinical associate in Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA

Dan Monson  Ph.D., 2004
Signaling studies of serine residues in the erythropoietin receptor
Adviser: Dr. Steve Sawyer
Current position: Research Associate, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD

Xueping Zhang  Ph.D., 2004
Transcription of the human vimentin gene is repressed by ZBP-89 or P53 but activated by the oncogene C-Jun
Adviser: Dr. Zendra Zehner
Current position: Biostatistician, Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPD), Richmond, VA


Class of 2003

Jody C. Noe  M.S., 2003
Characterization of Streptococcus sanguis mutants generated by signature-tagged mutagenesis
Adviser: Dr. Todd Kitten
Current position: Division Chief, Epidemiology Surveillance Laboratory, USAF, BSC

Sandra M. Tallent  M.S., 2003
Characterization of linezolid resistance in an Enterococcus faecium isolate from a nosocomial bloodstream infection
Adviser: Dr. Gail E. Christie
Current position: Microbiologist, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA


Class of 2002

Mark J. Guilliano, Ph.D., 2002
The microenvironment of the human peyer’s patches influences germinal center B cell development
Adviser: Dr. Deborah Lebman
Current position: Forensic Business Manager, QIAGEN Inc.                                        

Jeffery S. Edmiston, Ph.D., 2002
The regulation of immunoglobulin alpha by transforming growth factor beta
Adviser: Dr. Deborah Lebman
Current position: Research Scientist, Philip Morris USA, Richmond, VA

David E. Yates, M.S., 2002
Dnmt1 isoform expression analysis and the effect of p53 genotype on Dnmt1 expression in the mouse
Adviser: Dr. Shirley Taylor
Current position: Pharmacist, Eckerd Drugs, Richmond, Va.

Class of 2000

Victor J. McAlister, Ph.D., 2000
Characterization of DNA binding by a prokaryotic zinc-finger transcription factor
Adviser: Dr. Gail Christie
Current position: RetroTherapy, Bethesda, MD

May Al-Maghrebi, Ph.D., 2000
Isolation and identification of the human vimentin 3'UTR binding proteins
Adviser: Dr. Zendra Zehner
Current position: Associate Professor, Dept. of Biochemistry, Kuwait University, Jabriya, Kuwait

Class of 1999

Robyn A. Puffenbarger, Ph.D., 1999
Cannabinoids inhibit inducible cytokine gene expression from rat microglial cells
Adviser: Dr. Guy Cabral
Current position: Associate Professor, Dept. of Biology, Bridgewater College, Bridgewater, VA.

Gregory A. Meyers, M.S., 1999
Design and development of new reagents to facilitate fluorescent DNA analysis on automated sequencers
Adviser: Dr. Gail Christie and Dr. Rob Harris (Commonwealth Biotechnologies Inc.)
Current position: Vice President, DNA Services at AIBioTech, Richmond, VA

Class of 1998

Kimberly A.R. Stratton, M.S., 1998
Differential gene expression analysis and genomic organization of DNA methyltransferase in mouse
Adviser: Dr. Shirley Taylor
Current position: Laboratory Research Manager, Molecular Biology Core Facility, Massey Cancer Center, VCU, Richmond, Va.

Class of 1996

Luiz R. Nunes, Ph.D., 1996
Structure and expression of the spliced leader (sl) genes in trypanosomatids
Adviser: Dr. Greg Buck
Current position: Professor, Universidade de Mogi das Cruzes, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Back to top