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Recent & Upcoming PhD Thesis Defenses

Upcoming Ph.D. Thesis Defenses

Ujunwa Cynthia Okoye-Okafor "Identification and Functional Study of a Novel Gene (C15ORF65)in Normal and Malignant Hematopoiesis" (mentor, Uli Steidl, Dept. of Cell Biology)
Date: Friday, July 18, 2014
Time: 12 pm
Location: Forchheimer 1st Fl. Lecture Hall,

Ernest Yakob "Characterizing the Role of Mammalian SIDT1 in T Cells" (mentor, Deborah Palliser, Dept. of Microbiology & Immunology)
Date: Friday, July 25, 2014
Time: 1:30 pm
Location: LeFrak Auditorium, Price Center/Block Pavilion

Diana Athonvarangkul "Functional interplay of distinct autophagy (ATG) protein links a-MSH metalbolism to control of food intake" (mentor, Rajat Singh, Dept. of Molecular Pharmacology)
Date: Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Time: 10 am
Location: LeFrak Auditorium, Price Center/Block Pavilion


Ph.D. Thesis Defenses in 2014

Roman Deniskin "Validation and characterization of small molecule inhibitors that target PfENT1 and PvENT1" (mentor, Myles Akabas, Dept. of Physiology & Biophysics)

Caroline Park "The Role of Chaperone mediated Autophagy (CMA) in Genome Maintenance" (mentors, Ana Maria Cuervo, Dept. of Developmental and Molecular Biology; and Yousin Suh, Dept. of Genetics)

Matthew Klein "Investigations into the mechanisms of neuronal proteostasis" (mentors, Pablo Castillo and Bryen Jordan, Dept. of Neuroscience)

Carlos Diaz-Balzac "Genetic analysis of novel loci in the kal-1 pathways" (mentor, Hannes Buelow, Dept. of Genetics)

Brian Beaty "The role of adhesion proteins in regulating tumor cell invasion and metastasis" (mentor, John Condeelis, Dept. of Anatomy & Structural Biology)

Jaime Schneider "Effect of blockage of chaperone-mediated autohagy in vivo" (mentor, Ana Maria Cuervo, Dept. of Developmental and Molecular Biology)


Ph.D. Thesis Defenses in 2013

Matthew Motley "Freedom in Transition: Computational Studies of E. coli MTAN and V. cholerae MTAN" (mentor, Steve Schwartz, Dept. of Physiology & Biophysics)

Corey Keller "The neural origins of the default mode network and resting fMRI" (mentor, Fred Lado, Dept. of Neuroscience)

Jayne Koellhoffer “Intermediates of Filovirus Membrane Fusion Explored Through Antibody Engineering and Protein Design” (mentor, Jon Lai, Dept. of Biochemistry)

Ardy Davarifar “The Role of Anisotropic Heat Flow in LDH” (mentor, Steve Schwartz, Dept. of Physiology & Biophysics)

IJ Frame "Purine Transporters of Malaria Parasites: From Function Determination to Inhibitor Identification" (mentor, Myles Akabas, Dept. of Physiology & Biophysics)

Adi Shemesh "mTORC1 Activation is Reduced in an In Vitro Model of Pompe Disease" (mentor, Jeffrey Pessin, Dept. of Molecular Pharmacology)

Matthew Nicholas "Deciphering the regulation of cytoplasmic dynein's attachment to microtubules: the interplay of force and nucleotide state" (mentor, Arne Gennerich, Dept. of Anatomy & Structural Biology)

Zhenni Zhou "Autocrine EGFR signaling in breast cancer cell invasion and metastasis" (mentor, Jeff Segall, Dept. of Anatomy & Structural Biology)

Lisa Glass "How Does M. tuberculosis gene Rv2623 regulate M. tb growth?" (mentor, John Chan, Dept. of Microbiology & Immunology)

Esther Berko "Genomic and Epigenomic Dysregulation in Autism Spectrum Disorders" (mentor, John Greally, Dept. of Genetics)


Ph.D. Thesis Defenses in 2012

Frank Diaz "Characterization of the Neurogenic Response to Apoptosis of Cortical Glutamatergic Neurons in the Adult Brain" (mentor, Jean Hebert, Dept. of Genetics)

Saurabh Gombar "Systems Biology of Epigenetic Mechanisms: How Epigenetics Influences Robustness" (mentors, Suh and Bergman, Depts. of Genetics and Systems & Computational Biology)

Justin Berger "Major Facilitator Superfamily Domain-containing protein 2a is a novel PPAR-alpha target with roles in body growth, motor function, and lipid metabolism" (mentor, David Silver, Dept. of Biochemistry)

Stefanie Rader Forest "Immunotherapy Targeting Tau Pathology in Alzheimer's Disease-Studies in an Htau Mouse Model" (mentor, Peter Davies, Dept. of Pathology)

Alena Janda "Constant Region Effects on Antibody-Antigen Binding" (mentor, Arturo Casadevall, Dept. of Microbiology & Immunology)

Carlyn Patterson "Adaptation in visual cortex: issues of timescale and hierarchy" (mentor, Adam Kohn, Dept. of Neuroscience)

Grigoriy Gutin "The role of FGF signaling in early embryonic forebrain development" (mentor, Jean Hebert, Dept. of Genetics and Neuroscience)

Robert Tamayev "A novel mouse model of dementia implicates B-secretase, Thr668 of APP, and Tau in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's Disease" (mentor, Luciano D'Adamio, Dept. of Microbiology & Immunology)

Lauren Grinspan "Biophysical and Physiologic Characterization of Thin Filament Cardiomyopathies" (mentor, Jil Tardiff, Dept. of Physiology & Biophysics)

Stephanie Wissig "Spatial and temporal contextual effects in early visual physiology and visual perception" (mentor, Adam Kohn, Dept. of Neuroscience)

Ian Baine "Helios controls IL-2 Expression and Suppressive Capacity in Thymically Derived CD4+/CD25+ Natural Regulatory T Cells" (mentor, Fernando Macian, Dept. of Pathology)

Emily Happy Miller "Elucidating and Inhibiting Endosomal Events in Ebola Virus Entry" (mentor, Kartik Chandran, Dept. of Microbiology & immunology)

Edward Manning "Molecular Modeling of Cardiac Troponin" (mentor, Steve Schwartz, Dept. of Physiology & Biophysics)

Gregory Hoge "Properties of Networks Formed by Electrical Synapses in the Mammalian Brain" (mentors, Alberto Pereda and Pablo Castillo, Dept. of Neuroscience)


Ph.D. Thesis Defenses in 2011

David Gross "Structure-function analysis of fat-storage inducing transmembrane (FIT) proteins in mediating lipid droplet formation" (mentor, David L. Silver, Dept. of Biochemistry)

Yamini Krishnan "Molecular mechanisms regulating HERG potassium channel synthesis and trafficking" (mentor, Thomas McDonald, Dept. of Molecular Pharmacology)

Brian Abe "The role of NFAT1 in tumor-induced CD4+ T cell tolerance" (mentor, Fernando Macian, Dept. of Pathology)

Walter (Chun-Wei) Lai "Characterization of Endoplasmic Reticulum stress in single cells" (mentor, Erik Lee Snapp, Dept. of Anatomy & Structural Biology)

Louisa Steinberg "Parallel coding of what and where in the auditory brainstem of the barn owl" (mentor, Jose Luis Pena, Dept. of Neuroscience)

Vivek Patel "Conserved RNA recognition element identifies ZBP1-operated post-transcriptional regulatory networks" (mentor, Robert Singer, Dept. of Anatomy & Structural Biology)

Jesus Jimenez "Physiological Studies of Familial Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy - Related Mutations in Cardiac Troponin T" (mentor, Jil Tardiff, Dept. of Physiology & Biophysics)

Brian Wengerter "Novel Immunization Strategies: Aptamer-Targeted Antigen Delivery" (mentors, Steve Almo and Matt Levy, Dept. of Biochemistry)

Lee Jacobson "Alum and Leu-Leu-OMe adjuvanted immunity is generated by cathepsin mediated apoptosis" (mentor, Jurgen Brojatsch, Dept. of Microbiology & Immunology)

Jerri Chen "Structure-Function Analysis of C-terminal Interactions Between Cardiac Potassium Channel Subunits KCNQ1 and KCNE1" (mentor, Thomas McDonald, Dept. of Molecular Pharmacology)

Arlene Bravo-Ambrosio "Identification of novel downstream effector molecules of the homeodomain transcription factor, Nkx2.9, that regulate spinal accessory motor neuron development" (mentor, Zaven Kaprielian, Dept. of Neuroscience)

Sarah Schlatterer "Pathological consequences of c-Abl overexpression in mouse brain" (mentor, Peter Davies, Dept. of Pathology)

Dennis Monks "Mesenchymal-Epithelial Interactions Regulated Tbx1 are Essential for Inner Ear Development" (mentor, Bernice Morrow, Dept. of Genetics)

Maria Kon "Chaperone-Mediated Autophagy and Cancer" (mentor, Ana-Maria Cuervo, Dept. of Developmental and Molecular Biology)

Pamela Boimel "Breast cancer tumor growth, invasion, and metastasis in the tumor microenvironment" (mentor, Jeff Segall, Dept. of Anatomy & Structural Biology)

Sung-Min Park "Roles of Molecular Layer Interneurons in Shaping Purkinje cell Output" (mentor, Kamran Khodakhah, Dept. of Neuroscience)

Keith Hazleton "Purine Salvage as an Antimalarial Target" (mentor, Vern Schramm, Dept. of Biochemistry)

Jo Choi "Determinants of Subcellular Trafficking of Organic Anion Transport protein 1a1(oatp1a10)" (mentor, Allan Wolkoff, Dept. of Anatomy and Structural Biology)

Joy Hazleton "Purinergic Receptors are Required for HIV-1 Infection of Primary Human Macrophages" (mentor, Joan Berman, Dept. of Pathology)

Dan Ishihara "Analysis of the Role of Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome Protein in Macrophage Functions in Inflammation and Tumor Metastasis" (mentor, Diane Cox, Dept. of Anatomy and Structural Biology)

Sandeep Wontakal "Deciphering the Transcriptional Networks Controlled by Two Master Hematopoietic Transcription Factors, GATA-1 and PU.1" (mentor, Arthur Skoultchi, Dept. of Cell Biology)


Ph.D. Thesis Defenses in 2010

Jakub Sroubek "Regulation of hERG channel bio-processing" (mentor, Thomas V. McDonald, Dept. of Molecular Pharmacology)

Joe Sabat "Proximal Control of Inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase" (mentor, Denis Rousseau, Dept. of Physiology and Biophysics)

Evanthia Rousso "Mena Isoforms in Metastatic Progression" (mentor, John Condeelis, Dept. of Anatomy and Structural Biology)

Monika Paroder "Generation of NIS mutants with altered substrate specificity and Na+/Anion stoichiometry: potential therapeutic implications for NIS gene transfer" (mentor, Nancy Carrasco, Dept. of Molecular Pharmacology)

Anthony Wong "Proteolytic Disassembly of the ebolavirus Glycoprotein in Viral Entry" (mentor, Kartik Chandran, Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology

Rishi Parikh "Probing the pore of the prokaryotic proton-gated Cys-loop receptor homologue from Gloeobacter violaceus" (mentor, Myles Akabas, Dept. of Physiology & Biophysics)

Rachel Moore "Cardiac Troponin T Mutations Cause Familial Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy via Disruption of Weak Actomyosin binding and Changes the Resultant Myocellular Mechanics and Caldium Homeostasis" (mentor, Jil Tardiff, Dept. of Physiology & Biophysics)

Nicole McKinnon "Loop Length Matters: Effects Of Truncating The Cytoplasmic M3M4 Loop Of The 5-HT3A Receptors On Channel Function" (mentor, Myles Akabas, Dept. of Physiology & Biophysics)

Julia Manzerova "Ribonucleoside triphosphate reductase: structure and mechanism probed by rapid freeze-quench technique combined with electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy" (mentor, Gary Gerfen, Dept. of Physiology & Biophysics)

Catherine Liu "Mechanisms of Semliki Forest Virus Membrane Fusion: Interactions at the E1 Trimer Core" (mentor, Margaret Kielian, Dept. of Cell Biology)

Marina Khrapunovich Baine "Hallmarks of Molecular Action of Microtubule Stabilizing Agents" (mentor, Susan Horwitz, Dept. of Molecular Pharmacology)

Lorena Hernandez-Tellez “Breast cancer cells on the move: Heregulin and CXCL12 in invasion and metastasis” (mentor, Jeff Segall, Dept. of Anatomy and Structural Biology)

Poh Choo (PC) How “The Role of p115 vesicle tethering protein in Golgi mediated apoptosis signaling” (co-mentors, Chi-Wing Chow and Dennis Shields, Developmental and Molecular Biology)


Ph.D. Thesis Defenses in 2009

George Han “Nitric Oxide Releasing Nanoparticles: Development, Characterization, and Application of a Novel Therapeutic” (mentor, Joel Friedman, Physiology & Biophysics)

Carolyn Saylor “Antibody-mediated immunity to Cryptococcus neoformans: understanding the role of murine IgG3” (mentor, Arturo Casadevall, Microbiology & Immunology)

Kurt Marsden “NMDA receptor induced potentiation of inhibitory synapses in the hippocampus: identification of a novel GABA-A receptor trafficking pathway mediated by the translocation of CaMKII” (mentor, Reed Carroll, Neuroscience)

Matthew Oser “Cortactin regulates Cofilin and Nck1/N-WASp signaling pathways to control the stages of invadopodium maturation” (mentor, John Condeelis, Anatomy & Structural Biology)

Saumil Gandhi “The Clueless Gene: Stochastic fluctuations prevent coordinated transcription” (mentor, Robert Singer, Anatomy & Structural Biology)

Matthew Tremblay “Analysis of the Potential Role of a Tyrosine Kinase, ARG (ABL2), in Alzheimer’s Disease Pathogenesis” (mentor, Peter Davies, Pathology)

J.R. Exequiel T. (Keng) Pineda “Multiple Timescale Dynamics in Enzyme Catalysis” (mentor, Steven Schwartz, Physiology & Biophysics)

Toni Roberts “The Role of Adhesion Molecules in Hiv-1 Neuropathology” (mentor, Joan Berman, Pathology)

Michelle Yu "Spectroscopic Studies on the Structure and Function of Bovine Heart and Rhodobacter Sphaeroides Cytochrome c Oxidase" (mentor, Denis Rousseau, Physiology & Biophysics)

Reid Thompson “Epigenomic Dysregulation Associated with Intrauterine Growth Restriction and Normal Aging” (co-mentors, John Greally and Nir Barzilai, Genetics)

Lucien C. Alexandre “A PS1 Mutation Linked to Familial Alzheimer’s Disease Induces Neurodevelopmental Abnormalities in Forebrain” (mentor, Mark Mehler, Neuroscience)

Ayana Jordan “Mechanisms of T Helper Cell Suppression by Regulatory T cells” (mentor, Fernando Macian, Pathology)

Mariam Kabir “A Study of Nitric Oxide Synthase from the Bacteria Geobacillus Stearothermophilus, and its implications for mammalian Nitric Oxide Synthase” (mentor, Denis Rousseau, Physiology & Biophysics)

Matthew Sturm “Inhibition and Detection of Ribosome Inactivating Proteins” (mentor, Vern Schramm, Biochemistry)

Agnes Mwakingwe "Development of novel tools for analyzing the host – parasite interaction during the course of malaria infection” (mentor, Kami Kim, Microbiology & Immunology)

Jessie King "Mechanisms of HIV­ Tat Mediated Neurotoxicity" (mentor, Joan Berman, Pathology)


Ph.D. Thesis Defenses in 2008

John Wilson "Study of Protein Structural Disorder by Electron Paramagnetic Resonance" (mentor, Gary Gerfen, Physiology & Biophysics)

Jacob Glass "Species-Specific CG Dinucleotide Clustering and Periodicity: Its Genomic Context, Epigenomic Influences, and Relationship to Human Disease" (mentor, John Greally, Genetics)

Dennis Madrid "Purine Salvage in Plasmodium: From Genetics to Biochemistry" (mentor, Kami Kim, Microbiology & Immunology)

Paul Riegelhaupt "Investigating the Role of the Plasmodium falciparum Equilibrative Nucleoside Transporter 1 in Malaria Physiology and Anti-Malarial Activity" (mentor, Myles Akabas, Physiology and Biophysics)

Rachel Ross "Fatty Acid Sensing in the Brainstem and the Arcuate Nucleus of the Hypothalamus" (mentors, Luciano Rossetti and Gary Schwartz, Molecular Pharmacology)

Fei Li Kuang "Mechanisms of Targeting in Antibody Diversification" (mentor, Matthew Scharff, Cell Biology)

Rebecca Muhle "Virulence Gene Regulation and Expression: Application of Novel Genetic Integration Methods to Studies of the Plasmodium falciparum var Genes Implicated in Devere Malaria" (mentor, David Fidock, Microbiology & Immunology)

Xuan Qiu "Host Immune Responses to Listeria monocytogenes Infection in the Pregnant Mouse" (mentor, Jeff Pollard, Developmental and Molecular Biology)

Jonathan Tsoni Peled "Cyclin D3 and Msh6 in Germinal Center Formation and Lymphomagenesis" (mentor, Matthew Scharff, Cell Biology)

Lauren Ojalvo "Elucidation of Gene Expression Signatures from Mouse Mammary Tumor Associated Macrophages" (mentor, Jeffrey Pollard, Developmental and Molecular Biology)

Shennan Weiss "Sensorimotor integration in the Mauthner cell system and the role of inhibition" (mentors, Don Faber & Thomas Preuss, Neuroscience)

Stefan M. Muehlbauer "Caspase-1 Controls Anthrax Lethal Toxin-Mediated Cell Lysis And Disease Progression In Rodent Models" (mentor, Jürgen Brojatsch, Microbiology & Immunology)

Xiaoling Guo "PTP1B inhibition, catalysis, and physiological substrates" (mentor, Zhong-Yin Zhang, Molecular Pharmacology)

Dmitriy Kedrin "Dissecting the early steps of the metastatic cascade using pharmacologicand imaging approaches" (mentor, Jeff Segall, Anatomy and Structural Biology)

Ron Rice "The differential effects of myosin heavy chain isoforms in myofilament activation in Troponin-T related cardiomyopathy in vivo" (mentor, Jil Tardiff, Physiology & Biophysics)

Ji Young Lee “Maternal lupus: congenital cortical impairment and offspring sex ratio imbalance” (mentor, Betty Diamond, Microbiology & Immunology)

Benjamin Samelson-Jones "Structure-Function Studies of Indoleamine 2,3-Dioxygenase Activity and Regulation" (mentor, Syun Ru-Yeh, Physiology & Biophysics)

Alexander Harris "My Synapse Runneth Over: Extrasynaptic NMDA Receptors in Neural Transmission and Plasticity" (mentor, Diana Pettit, Neuroscience)

Alexis Scherl "Elucidating the Role of Caveolin-1 in Postnatal Lung" (mentor, Michael Lisanti, Molecular Pharmacology)


Ph.D. Thesis Defenses in 2007

David Liebelt "Investigating the Plasmodium falciparum Chloroquine Resistance Transporter in a Heterologous Expression System" (mentor, Myles Akabas, Physiology & Biophysics)

Mark Stahl "Roles for Cyclin D1 and O-fucose in Notch signaling" (mentor, Pamela Stanley, Cell Biology)

Lisa J. McReynolds "Specificity of Smad Signaling during Hematopoiesis" (mentor, Todd Evans, Developmental & Molecular Biology)

Shana Marmon "Investigating the role of caveolin-1 in acute inflammation" (mentor, Michael Lisanti, Molecular Pharmacology)

Sean McBride "Modeling Human Memory Disorders in Drosophila melanogaster and the Restoration of Memory in these Models by Pharmacological Treatments." (mentor, Thomas McDonald, Molecular Pharmacology)

Stephanie Valderramos "Investigations into the Genetic Basis of Plasmodium falciparum Resistance to Antimalarial Drugs" (mentor, David Fidock, Microbiol & Immunol.)

Joseph Hinchey "Mechanisms regulating the CD8+ T cell response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis" (mentor, Steven Porcelli, Microbiol & Immunol.)

Paul (P.J.) Maglione "How B cells shape the immune response against Mycobacterium tuberculosis" (mentor, John Chan, Microbiol & Immunol.)

Sean Campbell "The Role of TWEAK/Fn14 Interaction in Antibody Induced Glomerulonephritis" (mentor, Chaim Putterman, Microbiol & Immunol.)

Rossanna Pezo "Transcription Site Profiling in Colon Cancer" (mentor, Robert Singer, Anatomy & Structural Biology)

Kyle Lapidus "Physiological Effects of ZBP1" (mentor, Robert Singer, Anatomy & Structural Biology)

Evan Braunstein "Investigation of the role of Tbx1, an essential T-box gene, in the mesoderm during embryogenesis" (mentor, Bernice Morrow, Molecular Genetics)

Boris Heifets "Endocannabinoids and the persistent loss of inhibition at central synapses" (mentor, Pablo Castillo, Neuroscience)

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Matthew NicholasEinstein became my top choice after my first visit here. Both the students and faculty were uncommonly happy and excited about their research and the institution. I was especially impressed by the strong emphasis on the basic sciences. This was one of the few places my interviewers did not seem puzzled by how a physics major might contribute to biology.

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