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Trainees

NIH Biotech Trainees
2019-2020 NIH Biotech Trainees
Picture of Haneen Abusharkh
Haneen Abusharkh
About

I am a first year Chemical Engineering PhD Student working on cartilage tissue engineering under the supervision of Dr. Bernie Van Wie at Washington State University. I got my B.E degree in Chemical and Process Engineering from Sultan Qaboos University in Oman (an ABET accredited program). I am working on the development of bioreactor systems for cell culture. My skills include cell isolation and culture, histological staining, immunofluorescence and calorimetric analyses, experimental design and data analyses.

haneen.abusharkh@wsu.edu

Advisor: Van Wie

Department (mail): CHEBE (6515)

Picture of Laura Ahlers
Laura Ahlers
About

laura.hylden@wsu.edu

Advisor: Goodman

Department (mail): SMB (7520)

Allen
Shannon Allen
About

Shannon C. Allen is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Immunology and Infectious Disease program. She is an NIH Protein Biotechnology Trainee and ARCS scholar interested in studying zoonotic diseases. In 2016, Shannon earned her Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from Middle Tennessee State University. While attending MTSU, Shannon completed an independent honors thesis in chemistry; using bioassay guided fractionation and nuclear magnetic resonance analysis, she isolated, purified, and identified the compound responsible for anti-viral activity in Snapdragon. After graduating, she worked for one year as a quality control technician for Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories in Nashville, TN performing microbiological and environmental testing. The following six months, she worked as a research assistant at East Tennessee State University studying the relationship between hypertension and kidney disease. After completing her Ph.D., Shannon hopes to become a principal investigator at a major university, conducting research and training future microbiologists.

shannon.allen@wsu.edu

Advisor: Kawula

Department (mail): VMP (7520)

Picture of JoJo Avillan
Johannetsy Avillan
About

I am a second year PhD student in the Immunology and Infectious Diseases Program at Washington State University. I earned a B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Puerto Rico in May 2007. I also completed a Medical Technology program from St. Petersburg College. I worked as a microbiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their Division of Healthcare and Quality Promotion’s Antimicrobial Resistance and Characterization Laboratory prior joining WSU. My research interest is focused on antimicrobial resistance, especially studying the fitness cost and/or benefit of antimicrobial resistance genes and their role in the successful establishment and spread of these genes in different environments.  My skills include next generation sequencing, gene knockout, gene cloning, antimicrobial susceptibility testing, bacterial, cell and tissue culture, MALDI-TOF, PFGE, MLVA, assay design and validation, Linux, CLC genomic workbench, and Bionumerics.

johannetsy.avillan@wsu.edu

Advisor: Call

Department (mail): SGAH (7090)

Picture of Jesse Bengtsson
Jesse Bengtsson
About

jesse.bengtsson@wsu.edu

Advisor: Browse

Department (mail): MPS (6340)

Kaitlynne Bohm
Kaitlynne Bohm
About

I am a third year graduate student in the School of Molecular Biosciences at Washington State University. I earned a B.S. in Microbiology from Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI. My undergraduate work looked into the mechanism by which bacteriophage P22 infects its host, Salmonella typhimurium. I am currently working in Dr. John Wyrick’s lab, and am investigating the role of chromatin remodelers in DNA repair following damage from UV light.  My skills include genomic library preparations, PCR, yeast gene knockouts, genomic DNA isolation, alkaline gels, transformations, and human cell culture. After graduating from WSU, I hope to work for a biotechnology company, focusing on the development of cancer therapies.

kaitlynne.bohm@wsu.edu

Advisor: Wyrick

Department (mail): SMB (7520)

LinkedIn

Picture of Nate Boyer
Nate Boyer
About

I am a second year PhD student in the Molecular Plant Sciences program at Washington State University. I graduated from the University of Missouri in May 2017 with degrees in Biology and Philosophy. My background is in genetics, but my primary research interest is in biochemistry and understanding the production of compounds of interest and how these reactions are regulated. I currently work in Dr. John Peters’ lab studying the regulation of nitrogen fixation in Azotobacter vinelandii. My skills include forward genetic screens, genetic field management, plant growth trial design and implementation, PCR-based fine mapping, primer design, molecular cloning, chromatography (HPLC, gravity columns, and affinity), protein purification, experimental design, and trouble-shooting.

nathaniel.boyer@wsu.edu

LinkedIn

Advisor: Peters

Department (mail): MPS(6340)

Elizabeth Campbell
Elizabeth Campbell
About

Elizabeth Campbell is a first year PhD student, NIH Protein Biotechnology Trainee, and ARCS fellow in the Immunology and Infectious Diseases Program at Washington State University. She earned a Combined Honors Bachelors of Science (biology) and Music (vocal) from Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada. She completed her undergraduate research with Professors Song Lee and Scott Halperin at the Canadian Center of Vaccinology. Her project focused on characterizing a protein-based oral mucosal vaccine against Bordetella pertussis, and antigen-targeting as a method to enhance the immune response to vaccine antigen in the oral cavity. Elizabeth also participated in the Research Experience for Undergraduates summer program at Harvard University, MA, in Professor David Weitz’s lab.  She worked on engineering and characterizing polymer-shelled microcapsules via the microfluidic technique to encapsulate enzymes for detergent dispersions. Her contributions to the project lead to a publication and patent submission. Elizabeth also worked at BASF, a chemical company in Wyandotte, MI, where she helped develop a research platform on the interaction between bio-active materials and detergent formulations, and contributed to the development of an application test for bacteria removal from textiles. Elizabeth will be starting at Washington State University rotating with three professors and working on various projects before deciding where her thesis work will be conducted. Upon graduation, she hopes to start her career in the research and development branch of the biotechnological industry. In her free time Elizabeth enjoys traveling, and outdoor activities such as skiing, sailing, or canoe tripping.

elizabeth.m.campbell@wsu.edu

Advisor: Celli

Department (mail): SGAH (7090)

Jessica Carder
Jessica Carder
About

Jessica is a first-year graduate student in the Physical Chemistry division. She received her BS in physics from Central Washington University with a minor in mathematics and an emphasis in biophysics. During her time as an undergraduate, her research focused on designing in vitro experiments to study the locomotion and dynamics of molecular motors found in nerve cell axons using a variety of techniques, including fluorescence microscopy and single particle tracking. She also spent the summer of 2016 at Vanderbilt University working as an intern for the Biomedical Engineering department, where she designed microfluidic chips to be used for toxin mechanism-of-action studies for the Department of Defense. Currently, she is a part of the NIH Protein Biotechnology Training program at WSU, which will focus her graduate research into studying protein interactions using various spectroscopy techniques.

jessica.carder@wsu.edu

LinkedIn

Advisor: Brozik

Department(mail): CHEM(4630)

 

Picture of Ryan Christian
Ryan Christian
About

ryan_christian@wsu.edu

Advisor: Dhingra

Department (mail): MPS (6340)

Picture of Alex Cotto
Alex Cotto-Rosario
About

I am Alexis Cotto-Rosario, second year PhD student in the Immunology and Infectious Diseases program at Washington State University. I am part of Dr. Jean Celli’s team in the Paul G. Allen Center of Global Animal Health. My current project focuses on characterizing Brucella effector proteins to elucidate their role in brucellosis pathogenesis. My research interests include hostpathogen interaction, pathogenesis and pathogen immune evasion. My previous experience includes two years researching potential anti-malarial compound at the University of Puerto Rico, and team-based epidemiological research at the CDC. I am skilled in light microscopy, confocal microscopy, immunofluorescence, immunoblotting, immunoprecipitation, tissue culture, bacterial culture, and molecular cloning. I aspire to continue learning and improving my skills in a professional environment.

a.cotto-rosario@wsu.edu

Advisor: Celli

Department (mail): SGAH (7090)

Madeline Dennis
About

madeline.dennis2@wsu.edu

Advisor: Rotations

Department (mail):  SMB (7520)

Kelly Deobald
Kelly Deobald
About

kelly.deobald@wsu.edu

Advisor: Rotations

Department (mail): VMP 7040

 

Rachel Detar
Rachael DeTar
About

rachael.detar@wsu.edu

Advisor: Kirchoff/Kunz

Department (mail): MPS (6340)

Picture of Sedelia Dominguez
Sedelia Dominguez
About

I am a second-year graduate student in the School of Molecular Sciences at Washington State University, an NIH Protein Biotechnology Trainee and an ARCS Seattle Chapter recipient. I earned a B.S. degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from St. John’s University in Queens, NY. My undergraduate work at St. John’s University focused on Leishmania species and trypanosomes, both arthropod born protozoan parasites. I am currently in the laboratory of Dr. Tom Kawula studying how a bacterial pathogen, Francisella tularensis, interacts with the host. My skills include PCR, molecular cloning, DNA/RNA extraction, SDS-PAGE, western blot, immunofluorescence microscopy, and primary cell tissue culture. After graduating from WSU, I would like to do research in an industry setting, focusing on preventative and therapeutic approaches to pathogenic infections.

Sedelia.dominguez@wsu.edu

Advisor: Kawula

Department (mail): SGAH (7090)

LinkedIn

Brendan Fraser-Hevlin
Brenden Fraser-Helvin
About
Picture of Katrina Gianopulos
Katrina Gianopulos
About

I am a third year PhD candidate in Molecular Biosciences at Washington State University. I graduated from Sonoma State University of California in May 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology. My background thus far is in molecular and cellular biology but my primary interest is in infectious diseases and immunology. I am currently investigating Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) entry into cells by looking at the role of HSV-1 envelope glycoprotein C and the HSV-1 ANG mutant virus. My skills include cell culture: bacterial and eukaryotic, PCR, dot blot assay, DNA isolation, cell-cell fusion assay, plaque assay.

katrina.gianopulos@wsu.edu

Advisor: Nicola

Department (mail): VMP(7040)

Picture of Amber Hughes
Amber Hughes
About

My name is Amber (Hughes) Brown. I did my Undergrad at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, FL, earning a Bachelor’s in Science in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. I am currently a 4th year PhD candidate in the School of Molecular Biosciences at Washington State University. My current research focuses on cancer genetics, specifically in breast cancer. I am a knowledgeable innovator with expertise in molecular biological techniques resulting in the development of a new fluorescent assay to measure enzyme activity in breast cancer samples. My work has potential applications in clinical diagnostics and possible cancer therapeutics.

I also have strong leadership skills with emphasis on cross departmental communications resulting in the successful planning of numerous events at the WSU campus including the WSU NIH Protein Biotech Symposium and various departmental fundraisers, which lead to over $1500 raised for the American Cancer Society.

My technical skills include: molecular cloning, western analysis, gel electrophoresis, cell culture, qRT-PCR, DNA & RNA isolation, experimental design, and troubleshooting.

amber.hughes@wsu.edu

Advisor: Roberts

Department (mail): SMB (7520)

Brandon Johnson
About

brandon.johnson4@wsu.edu

Advisor: Rotations

Department (mail): IBC (6340)

Joanna Hurtado
Joanna Hurtado
About

I am a second year graduate student in the School of Molecular Biosciences at Washington State University and an NIH Protein Biotechnology Trainee. I earned my B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from California State University, Northridge. As an undergraduate, my research focused on studying the molecular basis of apoptosis in leukemia cells to improve or develop new therapeutic techniques. After graduating, I worked at Kite Pharma as a Cell Therapy Specialist, engineering T-cells for cancer therapeutics. I am currently working in Dr. Rey Carabeo’s laboratory studying how a bacterial pathogen, Chlamydia trachomatis, interacts with the host for nutrition acquisition. My skills include GMP/SOP training, mammalian and bacterial cell culture, western blotting, transfections/ transformations, DNA/ RNA isolation, and immunofluorescence microscopy. After graduating from WSU, I would like to work in a biopharmaceutical company focusing on innovative medicines that will improve patient well-being.

joanna.hurtado@wsu.edu

LinkedIn

Advisor: Carabeo

Department(mail): SMB(7520)

 

Brianna Jones
Brianne Jones
About

brianne.jones@wsu.edu

Advisor: Rotations

Department (mail): SMB (7050)

Picture of Lydia Lam
Lydia Lam
About

I am a third year Ph.D. student in the School of Molecular Biosciences at Washington State University with five years of laboratory experience. My previous experience was with CRISPR targeted transcriptional activation of heat-shock protein in fruit flies. I am currently studying the transcriptional regulation of heat-shock proteins by hypoxia and cell-density in tumors. My goal is to aid in the discovery, development, and production of innovative medicines that will improve patient well-being. I am interested in employing my technical competence and abilities in the biopharmaceutical industry and in learning and developing new skills to gain functional experience.

lydialam12@wsu.edu

Advisor: Shelden

Department (mail): SMB (7520)

LinkedIn

Cody Lauritsen
About

cody.lauritsen@wsu.edu

Advisor: Rotations

Department (mail): SMB (7520)

Picture of Matt Marcec
Matthew Marcec
About

matthew.marcec@wsu.edu

Advisor: Tanaka

Department (mail): MPS (6340)

Colleen Monahan
About

colleen.monahan@wsu.edu

Advisor: Rotations

Department (mail): VMP (7040)

MD Monzurul Anoy
MD Monzurul-Anoy
About
Picture of Korinn Murphy
Korinn Murphy
About

korinn.murphy@wsu.edu

Advisor: Carabeo

Department (mail): SMB (7520)

Picture of Paul Olatunji
Feyisola (Paul) Olatunji
About

I am third year PhD candidate in the Organic Chemistry Division of the Department of Chemistry at Washington State University. My research involve the design, synthesis and evaluation of double prodrug scaffold of L-Dopa for controlled release application and Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA) Small molecule drug conjugate as a targeted treatment for prostate cancer. Some of my specific skills are organic synthesis with an emphasis on organophosphorus and peptidomimetic compounds, chromatography (TLC, Column and Flash Chromatography, HPLC) and NMR.

feyisola.olatunji@wsu.edu

Advisor: Berkman

Department (mail): CHEM (4630)

Alice Olson
Alice Ruth Olson
About

I am a second year PhD Student in the Molecular Plant Sciences program, working under the supervision of Dr. Helmut Kirchhoff at Washington State University.  I completed my undergraduate at University of Wisconsin – Stout in 2016 with a degree in Environmental Sciences. In my current work I investigate lipid-protein interactions in the thylakoid membranes in order to gain a more fundamental understanding of photosynthetic light harvesting. My specialties include light spectroscopy, electron microscopy, TLC, gas chromatography, procedural isolation of lipids, and statistical analysis.

Alice.Olson@wsu.edu

Advisor: Kirchhoff

Department (mail): MPS (6340)

Quan Phan
Quan Phan
About

quan.phan@wsu.edu

Advisor: Rotations

Department (mail): SMB (7520)

Picture of Nick Pokorzynski
Nicholas Pokorzynski
About

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Molecular Biosciences at WSU. My research interests focus on the molecular mechanisms deployed by bacterial pathogens to evade host defenses and proliferate to cause disease. Specifically, I study the pathogen Chlamydia trachomatis, the leading cause of bacterial sexually-transmitted infections and infection-derived blindness worldwide. My research has revealed a novel mechanism of gene regulation in this pathogen that coordinates the bacterial response to host induced stress. I have experience in mammalian and bacterial cell culture, and various standard molecular techniques (e.g. PCR, immunoblot, etc.). I have developed and optimized several assays, including in vitro protein-DNA interaction and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. I look forward to using these skills to address research needs in your company!

n.pokorzynski@wsu.edu

LinkedIn

Advisor: Carabeo

Department (mail): SMB (7520)

Picture of Matthew Romero
Matthew Romero
About

I am a second-year PhD student in the School of Molecular Biosciences at Washington State University. I obtained my M.S. at Texas Tech University in 2017, where I isolated bacterial toxins from pathogenic bacteria and studied their effect on targeted cells. In this work I purified and characterized protein and did immunofluorescent microscopy, flow cytometry, ELISA and immunoblotting. I am fascinated by the unique strategies pathogens use during infection and the equally resourceful methods used by the body to prevent disease. As such, I am currently investigating the tools used by chlamydia to invade cells, establish a niche and acquire resources from its host.

matthew.d.romero@wsu.edu

Advisor: Carabeo

Miguel Rosas
Miguel Rosas
About

miguel.rosas2@wsu.edu

Advisor: Rotations

Department (mail): MPS (6340)

Austin Ross
About

austin.ross@wsu.edu

Advisor: Rotations

Department (mail): MPS (6340)

Eduardo Sanchez
Eduardo Sanchez
About

I am a first year PhD student in the Chemical Engineering Program at Washington State University working on bioelectrochemical systems in Dr. Haluk Beyenal research group. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico. Currently I am working on the development of a redox flow battery to improve the efficiency reducing the size. My skills include Biofilm analysis and electrode building (macro and micro).

eduardo.j.sanchez@wsu.edu

Advisor: Beyenal

Department (mail): CHEBE (6515)

Picture of Amelia Silva
Amelia Silva
About

I am a research assistant in the Vadyvaloo lab and a trainee in the NIH Protein Biotechnology Training Program at Washington State University. Our lab looks to understand Yersinia pestis, the bacterial agent of plague, in its ability to adapt and create biofilm which provides the foundation of efficient transmission of the pathogen by fleas to animals. My project focuses on characterizing the global regulator protein, CsrA, to uncover the detailed molecular role in regulating biofilm production and transmission upon Yersinia pestis’ response to nutrient availability. These findings may lead to future strategic development of potential targets that interrupt disease maintenance and transmission cycles of plague.

My skills include DNA cloning, biofilm quantification assays, metabolite extraction, glycogen accumulation quantification, flea infections, Westerns, and qRT-PCR. I recently attended the 2018 American Society for Microbiology Northwest Branch Conference (Portland, OR), the 1st Research Symposium for the Center for Health in the Human Ecosystem (University of Idaho) and the 18th Annual College of Veterinary Medicine Student Research Symposium (Washington State University). Outside of research, I serve as a senator for College of Veterinary Medicine and a committee member of the American Microbiology Society WSU chapter.

 

I am interested in a biotechnology internship that will enable me to continue developing skills in molecular genetic techniques within microbial or eukaryotic organisms to better understand disease and host interaction.

 

amelia.silva@wsu.edu

Advisor: Vadyvaloo

Department (mail): SGAH (7090)

Picture of Garry Smith
Garry Smith
About

I am a third-year Ph. D. student in Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering at Washington State University, where I also received my Bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering with minors in Mathematics and Chemistry. I study leiomodin (Lmod), a muscle protein essential to the proper formation of thin filaments in sarcomeres, and its interactions with tropomyosin (Tpm) and actin, the two main proteins of the thin filament. I use nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and molecular dynamics simulations to determine structures of Lmod/Tpm and Lmod/actin binding interfaces and circular dichroism spectroscopy to establish their affinities. Other techniques that are critical to my work include affinity chromatography, HPLC, non-denaturing PAGE, pyrene-actin polymerization assay, and F-actin cosedimentation assay.

garry.smith@wsu.edu

LinkedIn

Advisor: Kostyukova

Department (mail): CHEBE (6515)

Picture of Maggie Smith
Marguerite (Maggie) Smith
About

marguerite.smith@wsu.edu

Advisor: Haseltine

Department (mail): SMB (7520)

Joel Sowders
About
Chasity Trammel
Chasity Trammel
About

chasity.trammel@wsu.edu

Advisor: Goodman

Department (mail): SMB (7520)

Brittany Vandenberg
Brittany Vandenberg
About

brittany.vandenberg@wsu.edu

Advisor: Rotations

Department (mail): SMB (7520)

Picture of Joel Velasco
Joel Velasco
About

I am a first year PhD student in the Molecular Plant Sciences Program at Washington State University. I graduated from Boise State University in May 2017 with a B.S. in Biology with a botany emphasis. I have a military and communications background. My undergraduate research focused on how water stress impacts the symbiotic associations of plants and microbes. My current research interests focus on elucidating the biosynthetic pathways through which plants synthesize unique and valuable chemicals. My work has potential applications in pharmacy, energy, and materials. My skills include: genetic screening, RNA sequencing, molecular cloning, chromatography (GC,

ion exchange and affinity), protein purification, experimental design, and troubleshooting.

joel.velasco@wsu.edu

Advisor: Gang

Department (mail): MPS (6340)

Kaitlin Witherell
Kaitlin Witherell
About

I am a third year PhD candidate in the Immunology and Infectious Disease program at Washington State University. I am an ARCS fellow, a Poncin fellow, and an NIH Protein Biotechnology Trainee. I graduated from University of California Davis with a BS in Microbiology in June 2016. For my thesis I am currently working with the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center on how antimicrobial peptides combined with last line antibiotics, such as colistin, can kill colistin and multidrug resistant bacteria. My skills include protein and plasmid purification, bacterial cloning, western blotting, pulsed field gel electrophoresis, tissue culture, blood smears, fecal floats, and antimicrobial susceptibility testing. I have worked for a variety of academic (Washington State University, UC Davis, UC Berkley) and industry (Comparative Pathology Laboratory, Biolog Inc., Blaze Bioscience Inc.) laboratories. I would like to continue work on antibiotic resistance in an industry setting. I did my summer internship at Blaze Bioscience Inc. in May-July 2018.

kaitlin.witherell@wsu.edu

Advisor: Knodler

Department (mail): VMP (7040)