Tahmina Ahmed1

Tahmina Ahmed
Zhu Lab

Tahmina is originally from Bangladesh, where she obtained a Bachelors degree in Biochemistry and a Masters in Molecular Biology at the University of Dhaka. Now, Tahmina is a PhD candidate in the Department of Biochemistry in the lab of Dr. Jinsong Zhu. Her research focuses uncovering the molecular mechanism of juvenile hormone (JH) in the development and reproduction in Aedes aegypti mosquitos. Outside of the lab, Tahmina enjoys travelling, teaching, and community service.

Ryan Antal
Gillaspy Lab

Aaron Brock

Aaron Brock
Jutras Lab

 

 

Yuan Pu Chiu

Yuan-Pu Chiu "Duke"
Sobrado Lab

My name is Yuan-Pu Chiu or "Duke", I'm from Taipei, Taiwan. Got undergrad degree in science and majored in Biochemistry and Moleculor Biology (BMB) from Pennsylvannia State University (PSU). 

Interested in Drug Discovery and Medicine design.

Like to watch sci-fiction and detective films, follow NBA games and player stats (favorite player: LeBron James). 

Austin Compton

Austin Compton
Tu Lab

Originally raised in the rural counties of Southwest Virginia, Austin came to Virginia Tech for his undergraduate studies as a transfer student from Virginia Highlands Community College with an Associates Degree in Science. At Virginia Tech, he majored in Biochemistry and graduate in 2013 with his BS. Now as a graduate student, Austin is interested in using novel genetic, bioinformatic, and biochemical approaches to understand sex determination in vector mosquitoes in the Tu Lab. The ultimate goal of his research is to develop a novel vector control strategy to stop the spread of mosquito-borne infectious illnesses. Austin also spends his time going on hikes, working out, and watching the Office.

Corrigan

Alex Corrigan
Lahondere Lab

Alex is from Springfield, Virginia. She is currently wrapping up her Bachelors in Biochemistry and Biology from Virginia Tech, as well as pursuing a Masters in Biochemistry. During her time as a graduate student, she is looking to gain new experiences and skills, explore her passions, and prepare for a future career. Outside of the lab, she enjoys caving, hiking, and making chainmaille jewelry and other projects. 

Caitlin Cridland

Caitlin Cridland
Gillaspy Lab

Caitlin is an international graduate student from Perth, Australia. Her undergraduate degree is a BS in Chemistry from Winthrop University. Now at Virginia Tech, Caitlin's research in the Gillapsy Lab focuses on understanding the complex inositol phosphate signaling pathways in model organism Arabidopsis thaliana in response to variable environmental conditions. Outside of the lab, she enjoy playing tennis, going to the beach and watching her favorite AFL (Australian Rules Football) team, the Brisbane Lions. 

Caitlin Cridland

Darcy Davidson
Lemkul Lab

 

Darcy is originally from Reston, Virginia and pursued a BS in Biochemistry from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. She is a PhD candidate in Lemkul Lab and studies Computational Biochemistry. Her research focuses on molecular dynamics simulations of amyloidogenic proteins and how post-tranlational modifications and mutations alter the structure of these proteins. When not in lab, she likes to spend time outdoors, with family, playing with her dogs, or dancing.

Tanner Dehart
Jutras Lab

Diane Eilerts

Diane Eilerts
Vinauger Lab

Diane is originally from San Jose, California. Prior to starting her doctoral degree, she obtained a BS from CSU Chico in Northern California, where she double majored in Biochemistry and Biological Sciences with an emphasis on Cellular and Molecular Biology and minored in Mathematics. After graduating, Diane moved back to the Bay Area to attend San Jose State University, where she obtained her MS in Chemistry, working in the lab of Prof. Alberto A. Rascón, Jr. to complete her thesis project, in which she worked to characterize two Aedes aegypti midgut serine proteases (AaSPII and AaSPIV). In order to further pursue research in disease vector insects, Diane joined the Vinauger Lab, where she uses interdisciplinary research to study vector-host interactions, including host-seeking mechanisms and circadian rhythms in vector insects. In addition to caring for her laboratory mosquitoes, Diane has three cats at home. Outside of the lab, Diane enjoys science fiction, fantasy, and mystery literature and film, theatre, and cooking.

 

Catherine Freed
Gillaspy Lab

Lauren Fryzlewicz
Vinauger Lab

Elisa Gagliano
Sobrado Lab

Elisa is from Albuquerque, New Mexico. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology at UNM, and is currently pursing her master’s degree. In Dr. Brown’s lab, she is studying radical SAM enzymes and their distribution across the tree of life.

Helen Garby

Helen Garby
Slade Lab

Helen is from Northville, Michigan. She earned a Bachelors degree in Biology and Chemistry at Emory University. She has previously worked in industry optimizing immunoassays. She is now on her first year of pursuing a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, intending to return to industry research. Outside of lab, she enjoys spending time outdoors and creating art.

 

Aleksei Gendrom

Aleksei Gendron
Allen Lab

Aleksei is a Mexican/Canadian international student who was born and raised in Mexico City. He moved to Scottsdale Arizona in 8th grade, were he learned English, played hockey, and attended high school. He then moved to Spokane, Washington to obtain a BS in Biology from Gonzaga University. His current work focuses on studying the biochemistry of methanogenic archaea. More specifically, he studies modified cofactors of Methyl Coenzyme M reductase, the enzyme that catalyzes the last step of methanogenesis, as well as the involvement of this enzyme in the reverse reaction (anaerobic oxidation of methane) performed by anaerobic methanotrophs. Outside of lab Aleksei enjoys sports, house music, languages, and traveling. 

Christian Heryakusuma

Christian Heryakusuma
Mukhopadhyay Lab (GBCB)

Christian is from Bandung, Indonesia. He earned a B.S. degree in Chemistry with research experience and thesis in biochemistry from the Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB). His undergraduate research was on Hepatitis B surface antigen with the goal of developing diagnostic tools. In Dr. Biswarup Mukhopadhyay's lab, he focuses on redox metabolism of methanogenic archaea that foster their communication with other microorganisms within a gut microbiome, which in turn affects the host’s physiology. He is captivated with this research because a clear understanding of the process involved in the biochemical communication among gut microorganisms will open the doorway to the discovery of new concepts in health and disease such as autoimmune disorders, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

Sydney Johnson

Sydney Johnson
Slade Lab

"Originally from New Hampshire, Sydney obtained her bachelor's in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology, in her home state. Since then, she worked in industry for a year and then came to VT to pursue her PhD! Her research interests include biochemical pathways indicated in human disease, enzymology and drug discovery. When she's not in lab or class she enjoys skiing, hiking and playing sports." 

Bella Khairunisa

Bela Khairunisa
Mukhopadhyay Lab (GBCB)

Bela is from Indonesia and earned a Bachelors degree in Biology at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB). In Dr. Biswarup Mukhopadhyay's lab, she focuses on redox communication within the bovine rumen microbiome important for feed efficiency. Bela’s research interest is heavily influenced by genomics research and analyzing the data with computational tools. With free time, she enjoys cooking and travelling.

Kelsie King
Brown Lab

Jiapeng Liu

Jiapeng Liu
Klemba Lab

Jiapeng is originally from China and got his bachelor degree in biotechnology and master in biology both in Harbin Institute of Technology, China. He is interested in the cause and treatment of disease and now he is in Dr. Klemba’s lab focusing on the antimalaria medicine. Outside of the lab, he enjoys reading, traveling and cooking.

Mari Martinez

Marisela (Mari) Martinez
Jutras Lab

 

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Jing Liang

Didier Mena
Helm Lab

Didier came to Virginia Tech from Costa Rica where he earned a Bachelors degree in Biotechnology Engineering at the Costa Rican Institute of Technology. He consequently got his Masters degree in Biochemistry in the Sobrado Lab at Virginia Tech. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Biochemistry in the Helm lab, where he studies proteomics and metabolomics of biological processes related to cow nutrition and milk synthesis. 

Mecaila McClune
Allen Lab

Justin McKenney
Allen Lab

Julia Montgomery

Julia Montgomery
Jutras Lab

Julia is originally from Manorville, New York. She completed her B.S. in Chemistry with a focus in Biochemistry from St. Joseph's College in Patchogue, New York. Her drive to integrate biology and chemistry led her to Virginia Tech to pursue a Ph.D. in Biochemistry. Her research interests include drug discovery, biophysics, and microbiology. Outside of the lab, Julia enjoys making music, hiking, and working with animals. 

Mary Mullins
Slade Lab

Tam Nguyen

Tam Nguyen
 
Slade Lab

My love for research first started at the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse. Coming to college, I had a clear purpose of pursuing fashion design. However, it did not take long after taking more biology, microbiology and chemistry courses as my general education requirements, I found my true passion for science and gained more confidence to participate in undergraduate research. My undergraduate research was mainly on platelet production regulation with the emphasis on the G-protein Rap1b. The goal was to better understand factors that regulate megakaryocyte survival and maturation to eventually develop better diagnosis for abnormal platelet numbers. I am excited to continue my passion here at Virginia Tech. I am a first-year student and I wish to gain more insights into characterization of specific proteins of interest and development of candidate drugs to combat certain infectious diseases. Outside of the lab, I practice powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting. I also enjoy spending time outdoors, cooking, trying out new restaurants and watching college and professional sports.

Olivia Park

Olivia Park

Olivia Park is originally from Blacksburg, VA. She finished her undergraduate degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After graduating from UIUC she worked at Color Genomics in Burlingame, CA for about 2 years. She is currently pursuing her non-thesis Master's.. 

Brian Ratnasinghe
Lemkul Lab

Joanna Reinhold

Joanna Reinhold
Lahondere Lab

Joanna is from Charleston, South Carolina and received her undergraduate degree in Biology from Wake Forest University. Now that she joined the Lahondere lab at Virginia Tech, Joanna studies the host-seeking behavior, feeding mechanisms, and pathogen transmission of the mosquito Culex territans, which feeds primarily on frogs. Outside of the lab, she enjoys hiking, hanging out with her pets, and working on her art. 

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Megan Richardson

Megan Richardson
Zhu Lab

Megan is from Virginia Beach, Virginia and earned her BS in Biochemistry from Virginia Tech. Megan is now in the lab of Dr. Jinsong Zhu, where she studies mosquito reproduction and physiology at the genetic level. Her work focuses on the juvenile hormone signaling pathway, which is crucial for metamorphosis, and on the endosymbiont Wolbachia for their roles as potential vector control strategies. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, hiking, baking, and watching classic movies like Full Metal Jacket.

Alexa Salsbury

Alexa Salsbury
Lemkul Lab

Alexa is originally from Delta, OH and did her undergraduate studies at Eastern Michigan University where she earned a B.S. in Biochemistry with Honors. After working in industry for a year, she joined our Biochemistry Department and Dr. Justin Lemkul's lab. Her graduate research project applies the CHARMM and Drude force fields to model noncanonical nucleic acids, specifically G-quadruplexes, and better understand folding pathways, conformational ensembles, and targeting GQs for drug design. While away from the computer, she spends times with her dogs, enjoys biking and hiking in the area, and is an avid fan of college and professional athletics. GO HOKIES! More information on research and credentials is available @https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Alexa_Salsbury .

Blake Sanders

Blake Sanders
Slade Lab

Blake expertly summarizes his backstory and current research.

“My enthusiasm for science, but most importantly for research, first took root at the small, private liberal arts school of Mars Hill College. Although I began my undergraduate education with a clear, defined purpose of majoring in biology and minoring in pre-professional studies for a career path as a medical doctor, it did not take long after my microbiology course to realize that I had some underlying passion and excitement for what the naked eye could not see. After receiving my BS in Biology, I continued this new-found love for bacteria by following the mountains up to earn my MS in Molecular Biology at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC where I studied the effect of transport systems on biofilm formation in the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. I am excited to be following my passion here at Virginia Tech in the Slade Lab where he wants to make an impact on the microbiology and cancer field. I am a second-year student and my research focuses on studying and characterizing the roles of embedded and secreted outer membrane of Fusobacterium nucleatum in infection, signaling, and disease most importantly colorectal cancer.”

Amanda Sharp

Amanda Sharp
Brown / Bevan Lab

Amanda is originally from Northern California. She completed her bachelor's studies at Virginia Tech in Biochemistry. As a master's student in the Bevan and Brown Lab, she is involved in interdisciplinary research focusing on biochemistry and computer science through molecular modeling, docking, and dynamic simulation development. Her research aims to explore protein kinase druggability for pharmaceutical design. 

 

Ariana Umana

Ariana Umana
Slade Lab

Originally from San Jose in Costa Rica, Ariana earned her Bachelors degree in Biotechnology Engineering at Technological Institute of Costa Rica. She says that she discovered her love for research while doing an internship at Virginia Tech.  Ariana focuses her current research on determining and studying the roles of bacterial outer membrane proteins and secreted proteins of Fusobacterium nucleatum in infection, signaling, and inflammatory diseases like colorectal cancer.

Forde Upshur

Forde Upshur
Lahondere Lab

Forde Upshur is a Biochemistry Master's student at Virginia Tech. He also recently graduated from Virginia Tech in the spring of 2018 with a Bachelor's in Biochemistry and a minor in Chemistry. He did undergraduate research at UVa under the supervision of Dr. Brown, working to develop a promoter database for the entire human genome. Forde is looking to gain a diverse array of experience and knowledge during his time as a graduate student, particularly in the fields of biochemistry, chemistry, and behavioral ecology. He also plays guitar and sings and is currently in the process of starting a band.  

Morgen VanderGiessen

Morgen VanderGiessen
Lahondere Lab

Morgen is originally from Virginia Beach, VA and completed her undergraduate B.S. in Biochemistry at Virginia Tech. As an undergraduate, she found a passion for chemical ecology investigating mosquito interactions in the Vinauger and Lahondère Laboratories. Currently, she is pursuing a MSc. in Dr. Clement Vinauger’s lab focusing on the effect of chemicals related to human personal health on mosquito-host interactions. Outside of the lab she enjoys taking her dog, Pebbles, for walks and enjoying beautiful Blacksburg, VA.

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Hannah Valentino

Hannah Valentino
Sobrado Lab

Hannah is originally from upstate New York graduating with a B.S. in biochemistry from SUNY Oswego in 2016. She is in her third year and works in Dr. Pablo Sobrado's lab. Her research focuses on the characterization of flavin dependent enzymes involved in natural product biosynthesis. 

Nicole Wynne

Nicole Wynne
Vinauger Lab

Nicole is originally from Marcellus, New York and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Mansfield University in Pennsylvania. In the Vinauger lab, Nicole studies the sensory and behavioral mechanisms underlying vector-host interactions in mosquitoes. Outside of lab she enjoys playing sports, traveling, and watching her favorite football team, the Philadelphia Eagles.