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Cellular & Molecular Biology Student Success

Just a sampling of our great students

Khusali Gupta

Khusali Gupta is a graduate student in the Cellular and Molecular Biology Master's program.She has already madeKhusali Gupta Headshot a significant contribution to Lyme disease research and was the recipient of the 2015 CT Lyme Riders - Lyme Disease Research Scholarship. Khusali’s research investigates the link between heart disease and bacterial biofilms localized in the heart tissue. The goal of her research was to evaluate heart tissues from experimentally infected mice with Borrelia burgdorferifor Borrelia aggregates with biofilm specific markers. Her study provides the first evidence of Borrelia biofilm presence in infected murine cardiac tissues, which warrants further research to evaluate the physiological role of Borrelia burgdorferi in Lyme carditis. Her future research will examine the effect of Borrelia biofilm in the heart tissues and examine what kind of damages Borrelia can cause in an infected heart.

Yuvabharath Kondaveeti

Yuva graduated from UNH in 2010 with a M.S. in Cellular & Molecular Biology. After graduationYuvabharath Kondaveeti, Yuva was admitted into a Ph.D. program in Biomedical Science at UConn Health Center, Farmington, CT. His Ph.D. thesis led to a publication of an article in Cancer Letters entitled "Epithelial-mesenchymal transition induces similar metabolic alterations in two independent breast cancer cell lines”. Yuva received his Ph.D. in May 2015 and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. In his work, Yuva primarily studies the mechanisms by which methamphetamine enhances HIV pathobiology.

Dylan HaenelDylan Haenel

Dylan graduated from UNH in May 2015 with a B.S. in Biotechnology with a minor in chemistry and sustainability. He worked in Dr. Eva Sapi's Lyme disease research team looking for a new alternative antimicrobial agent to treat the morphological forms of Borrelia burgdorferi. He presented part of his research at the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) held at Philadelphia in 2015 and for the Honor's undergraduate showcase hosted by University of New Haven in 2015. Currently he is writing his papers on Lyme to later be published for the use of the greater Lyme disease scientific community. After a short time off from school, he plans to go to graduate school.

Eva Haigh

Eva has been working for the past 10 years at Yale medical school since she graduated the CMBI program. Eva has been with the Genetics Department at the Yale School of Medicine since 2008 in the lab of Dr Kenneth Kidd working now as a  Research Associate. The lab studies genetic variation at thousands of loci in hundreds of populations around the world. In her current position as lab manager she trains students, post docs and visiting scientists and genotyping hundreds of single nucleotide polymorphisms to identify good candidate SNPs for the labs ancestral and individual identification panel.

Heather PascualHeather

Heather Pascual is a 2014 graduate of the Cellular and Molecular Biology Masters program. She is currently a laboratory manager, working for the Molecular Neuropharmacology Section, within the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health in Rockville, MD. As a lab manager Heather is not only responsible for the day to day operation of the laboratory, but also is integral in a number of experimental studies investigating the molecular, cellular and biochemical signaling properties of dopamine receptors. Dopamine receptors are the primary target of all antipsychotic drugs and most anti-Parkinsonian treatments. The section is interested in developing new drugs for these neurological disorders as well as studying dopamine receptor signaling with novel probe compounds. Heather leads a project developing mutant receptor subtypes to allow for the determination of the site of drug action on these receptors, and oversees a mouse colony of transgenic mice lacking these receptors.

Amy RattelleAmy Rattelle

Amy is a 2011 graduate of the Cellular and Molecular Biology Program. At UNH, she worked as a Research Assistant in Dr. Eva Sapi’s lab gaining practical lab experience and skills that have proven critical for her position. She is currently a Research Tech IV at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute working on a type of autoimmune encephalitis against the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. Since discovery of the disease in 2007, research has made diagnosis and treatment possible. However, much about the disease remains unknown including a clear triggering event that causes a patient to develop autoantibodies. Amy works on a variety of independent and collaborative projects to further scientific understanding of Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis under Dr. Jessica Panzer. Being a graduate of the Cellular and Molecular Biology program prepared Amy for success in her career.

Maria Jacintha VictoriaMaria Jacintha Victoria

I graduated from UNH in May 2014 with a Master’s in Cell and Molecular Biology. Graduate school is lot different from undergraduate college. Initially everything which seemed like challenges later turned out to be opportunities for success. The program was well designed to improve our foresight on the field of study. At the end of my first trimester, I was offered a TA position in the undergraduate biochemistry laboratory courses where I developed strong teaching skills. At UNH, I did research under Dr. Eva Sapi in the Lyme disease lab, where, I studied the additive effect of sugars and enzymes with antibiotics on Borrelia biofilms. The research skills and experience obtained under the guidance of Dr. Eva Sapi helped me reach out for a lab assistant position at IGeneX, a clinical lab which offers tests for detection of Lyme and associated tick borne diseases. Presently, as part of the PCR team, apart from documentation, I perform PCR and dot blots for clinical samples.

Priyanka TheophilusPriyanka

Priyanka graduated from UNH in 2014 with an M.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology. She worked in Dr. Eva Sapi’s Lyme disease research group looking for novel antimicrobial agents against the morphological forms of Borrelia burgdorferi. She presented part of her research at the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) held at Boston in 2012 and San Diego in 2013 and also in the graduate students showcase hosted by The University of New Haven in 2012 and 2013. In April 2014, she was awarded a postgraduate research position in the Lyme disease research lab continuing her work on the effectiveness of antimicrobial agents on Borrelia biofilms. She is also developing new and sensitive techniques to quantitate the different morphological forms of Borrelia after antimicrobial treatment.  Her aspiration is to cultivate research and greatly contribute to the field of microbiology, especially Lyme disease.

Seema PatelSeema Patel

Seema graduated from University of New Haven with an M.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology in 2010. At UNH she worked as Research Assistant under Dr. Michael Rossi and Dr. Eva Sapi. Her research with the Lyme disease research group looked for mycoplasma co-infections in the Ixodes scapularis ticks collected from southern Connecticut. She presented the work at a poster presentation session at Lyme Disease Symposium in 2010. After graduation Ms. Patel  joined a developmental and molecular biology research lab at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston learning about role of the BMP signaling pathway in development of various tissues in a Drosophila melanogaster model. After three months she moved with the same lab to University of Nevada in Las Vegas. Seema is currently working in a Molecular Biology research lab at UNLV doing studies on Age Related Macular Degenerative disease (AMD). Recently,she was accepted into a  Ph.D. program for 2014 Fall at Center of Immunology and Microbial Diseases in Albany Medical Center, NY. 

Kristin BovatKristin Bovat

Kristin graduated from UNH in 2008 with an M.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology. At UNH she worked in Dr. Eva Sapi’s Lyme disease research group. While completing her degree, she was a research assistant at Yale University School of Medicine in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences where she studied the role of soluble epidermal growth factor receptor isoforms in regulating ligand availability and receptor activation. She also investigated polymerase beta and thymine DNA-glycosylase, and their role in the base excision repair pathway in the Department of Therapeutic Radiology. Transitioning from the academic setting into biotechnology, she worked for two small startup companies gaining experience in proteomics development and high throughput screening.  Wanting exposure to the pharmaceutical industry setting, she joined the Antibody Recovery & Screening team in the Biotherapeutics Department at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceutical Company in 2013. Her current work focuses on hybridoma and B cell technology for the use of recovery of a highly diverse set of antibodies for therapeutic models.

Natalia in labNatalia J. Sumi

Natalia received her M.S. degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology from University of New Haven where she worked as a Research Assistant in the Cancer research group as well as a teaching assistant for the protein biochemistry laboratory course. She also completed a thesis project with Dr. Michael Rossi investigating the role of FOXO3 in inducing apoptosis in breast cancer cells after treatment of MG-132 in combination with Doxorubicin. To gain more experience in cancer research, she joined a team at Yale University as post graduate, where she learned new techniques and had the opportunity to work with drug screening and in vivo models in mice to determinate efficacy of new chemotherapies and study recurrence disease. To become specialized in cancer research, Natalia enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Cancer Biology at USF/Moffitt Cancer Center for the fall 2014.

Akshita DatarAkshita Datar

Akshita received her M.S. degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology from University of New Haven where she worked with Dr. Eva Sapi as a Research Assistant in the Lyme disease research group as well as a teaching assistant for her undergraduate cellular biology laboratory course. Her Master’s thesis “Testing the in vitro effectiveness of medicinal herbal extracts and metal nanoparticles on Borrelia burgdorferi” was published in July 2010. To gain more academic experience post graduation, she joined a team at Yale University, School of Medicine where she got opportunity to work on several projects involving proteomics and molecular biology doing translational research with clinical specimens and in vivo animal survival studies on mice. Extending her interest in Lyme disease research and gaining industry experience, she joined as a Research Assistant at Advanced Laboratory Services, Inc., a clinical lab offering a novel blood culture test for detecting the presence of Borrelia. Besides handling and processing the clinical specimens she is also involved in the research department at this laboratory working on several projects which would expand the testing panel.

Navroop K. DhaliwalNavroop

Navroop graduated from UNH in January 2011 with an M.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology. While attending UNH she was able to work as research and teaching assistant. She completed her research project as a part of the Lyme Disease Research Group with Dr. Eva Sapi. Navroop examined the in vitro susceptibility of Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative organism of Lyme disease to antibiotics. She contributed to three scientific journal publications and poster presentation opportunities at International conferences. As teaching assistant for cellular culture techniques with Dr. Michael Rossi she polished her cell and tissue culture skills. Starting September 2012 Navroop joined the Ph.D. program in the Department of Cell and Systems Biology at the University of Toronto, Canada. She is currently studying dynamic changes in genome folding and transcriptional regulation of KLF4 as the mouse embryonic stem cells begin to exit pluripotency.

Junning HuangJunning Huang

Jun received an M.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from University of New Haven in May of 2012. While at UNH, she worked as a teaching assistant in the undergraduate cellular biology lab course. She also completed a research project with Dr. Michael Rossi investigating the role of MDM2, FOXO3A, p53 and phospho-p53 in colon cancer cells treated with anti-cancer drugs 5-FU and Etoposide. Junning entered the Ph.D. program in the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department at Wesleyan University in September 2012.

Stephanie M. JohansenStephanie Johansen

Stephanie was a double major in Biology (Pre-Med concentration) and Forensic Science as an undergraduate at UNH graduating in 2006. Stephanie worked as a Clinical Virologist at both the VA Medical Center and at Yale New Haven Hospital while earning an M.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology with a certificate in Bioinformatics at UNH in 2013 A poster presentation from her work at the VA is available here. This August she will be entering a  Ph.D. program at LSU Health Science Center in New Orleans studying Microbiology, Immunology, and Parasitology. She expects to study vaccine development and treatments for tropical diseases and viruses.

Namrata PabbatiNamrata Pabbati

Namrata completed her master program in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of New Haven in Jan 2011 with the thesis project “Novel filarial infections in Ixodes scapularis ticks collected from southern Connecticut.” She has presented her research work in the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society conferences Oct, 2009 and Oct. 2010. The experience and knowledge of Lyme and Associated Diseases gained under the supervision of Dr. Eva Sapi helped her obtain a position of Clinical Research Manager at Advanced Laboratory Services where she is involved in developing a blood culture test for Lyme causing bacteria. She is currently involved in refining culture techniques and developing new tests for Lyme and associated diseases.

Pushpa RaoPushpa Rao

Pushpa says "The milestone of my graduate education in United States commenced from the University of New Haven, West Haven, CT." She graduated in 2008 with a Cellular and Molecular Biology. While at UNH, she worked in Dr. Eva Sapi's Lyme Disease Research group, completing a project entitled Comparison of the Effects of NanoSilver and Penicillin on the viability and morphology of Borrelia burgdorferi. In addition, she helped to the standardize protocol to culture the motile forms of B. burgdorferi and also initiated the research project on cyst forms of B. burgdorferi. Pushpa also acquired teaching experience working as a teaching assistant in the mammalian cell culture lab under the guidance of Dr. Michael Rossi. After graduation, she started to work at the Department of Defense, Bethesda, MD as a Research Assistant, followed by time at the University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT. She will be starting to work on her Ph.D. Thesis project in the fall 2013, entitled ‘The Role of T-cells in HSV Immunity & Immunopathology’ at the Oakland University, Michigan.

Venkata Arun TimmarajuArun Timmaraju

Arun is a second year graduate student in the cellular and molecular biology graduate program, he is presently working on his thesis project on the role of integrins in cancer stem cells using two dimensional and three dimensional cell culture models of lung cancer. He persented part of his work in a poster at the 2013 SIVB Symposium. Previously, he has also been a teaching assistant for the graduate cellular and molecular biology laboratory courses.

Victoria Lyn UhlhornVictoria Uhlhorn

Victoria graduated from UNH in May of 2013 with a M.S. degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology. She completed a research project which showed the T47D breast cancer cell line was not an appropriate cell model to analyze metastases via 2D suspension culture. As of August 2013 she will begin her Ph.D. at the New York Medical College in the Interdisciplinary Basic Medical Science program. Attending UNH helped prepare her intellectually and mentally for acceptance into a Ph.D. program after being out of school for 3 years.