2022 Spotlight Archive

The Spotlight series was created in 2009 as a way of building camaraderie in our department and as a way of communicating our unique departmental culture to prospective students and visitors. Featuring current graduate students, postdoctoral associates, technical staff, and administrative staff it showcases the broad interests and talent of our many department members. In April of 2015, we launched our first online version.

Louise He

December 2022

In the Meyer Lab, I am involved in the development of bioplastics that can biodegrade in the ocean to prevent marine plastic pollution. Using the first of its kind bacterial 3D printer developed by Dr. Meyer and members of our lab, I am creating engineered living bacterial cells that contain PHB-degrading bacteria. Living materials that are 3D-printed degrade their surrounding bioplastic structures at tunable and programmable rates.

Continue reading

Jinghong (James) Tang

November 2022

Using Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly) as a model system, I am studying the function of a transcriptional factor, the Heat Shock Factor, in animal development. We aim to solve the question of why this protein can regulate different transcriptional programs supporting different cellular contexts including malignant state, normal development, heat shock, and cell death.

Continue reading

Jeremy Summers

October 2022

I’m currently researching population dynamics in the Federally Threatened Florida-Scrub Jay. This research includes the demographic and fitness consequences of increased isolation in a well-preserved population as surrounding populations decline. I hope my work can inform conservation efforts and answer questions on how populations respond to species decline.

Continue reading

Ruiyue (Tanya) Tan

September 2022

I am currently working in Sina Ghaemmaghami’s lab. I am using a mass spectrometry-based approach to assess the effect of the ribosome on the folding stability of nascent polypeptides during the course of translation.

Continue reading

Kyle van Tienhoven

August 2022

In the Fu lab we have multiple projects running at one time. I have a hand in many of the projects, but my focus is on the role of DALRD3 and its integral function in neurodevelopment. This branches off a project done by Jenna Lentini, which was published in Nature. Needless to say, I am very excited about carrying on this work in the in vivo system!

Continue reading

Caroline Benec

July 2022

I work as a project assistant for The Ward Project in The Minckley Lab. The Project seeks to digitalize and compile a database of natural specimens, taxidermy and correspondence circa 1862. One hundred and fifty years since Rochester professor of biology Henry Ward collected, staged and sold individual and collections of specimens in cabinets to universities and museums, we are tracing how the scientific names have changed, where the specimens and cabinets have gone, and more broadly, the role of Ward’s Natural Science Establishment in the promulgation of the study of natural history. We are virtually rebuilding the University of Rochester’s contribution to the growth of natural history museums.

Continue reading

Maxwell Zacher

June 2022

I study mechanisms of cancer resistance and longevity in long-living mammal species, particularly the bowhead whale. My focus is on tumor suppressors, DNA repair, and genomic stability.

Continue reading

Diego Ocampo

May 2022

I am currently studying the patterns of divergence in genomic, morphometric, and behavioral traits between different populations of a Neotropical bird species, and how birds of different populations interact and maybe hybridize in areas in which they get into secondary contact. In short, my research explores the role of variation in plumage color and song in driving the processes of hybridization/diversification that could lead to the formation of new species.

Continue reading

Chenghong Deng

April 2022

I am rotating in Dr. Caripizo’s lab. I am working to understand pancreatic cancer. The pancreas is one of the most common places to spread cancer and pancreatic cancer is an aggressive cancer. 

Continue reading

Patricia DiGiorgio

March 2022

I work as the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Continue reading

Matthew Lindsay

February 2022

I study meiotic drivers -- selfish genetic elements that are able to unfairly bias inheritance so that they are inherited far more often than they should be, and spread through populations. My research focusses on investigating which factors allow a meiotic driver to spread through a population, or how populations are able to stop selfish drivers from spreading. I specifically study the Segregation Distorter meiotic drive system in Drosophila melanogaster, using genetic engineering and large-scale fly experiments to investigate what stops populations from evolving immunity to the selfish Segregation Distorter.

Continue reading

Anne Benraiss

January 2022

I am currently working in the Bergstralh Lab, studying spindle orientation in Drosophila epithelial cells. When cells divide, a group of proteins guide the mitotic spindle into its correct position. We seek to understand how these proteins work together to attain this position in epithelial tissues, where cells divide symmetrically to give rise to two identical daughter cells.

Continue reading