Ben Allen, Associate Professor Cell & Developmental Biology
Scott Barolo, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Cell & Developmental Biology
Laura Buttitta, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
I enjoyed reading science fiction as a high school student and became interested in biology as a “pre-med” undergraduate. After a summer of research in a chemistry lab my sophomore year, I decided to abandon my plans for medical school, and apply to graduate school instead. I obtained my Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in Developmental Biology in 2004. I then joined Dr. Bruce Edgar's lab as a postdoctoral researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. There I began using Drosophila (fruit flies) as a model system to study developmental control of cell cycle regulation. My lab at U. Michigan opened in Jan. 2011 and uses Drosophila to study how the cell cycle is regulated during development. I also teach half of the U. Michigan undergraduate Developmental Biology course (Bio 205).
Angela Guo, PhD Candidate-Department of Pathology
I received my bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Chemistry from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. During undergrad, I had the most fun doing research in a lab trying to understand chromatin regulation via the lens of histone post-translational modifications. My initial goal during undergrad wasn’t graduate school but I found the freedom to be curious and possibility of discover so appealing in research. Here at Michigan, I work on understanding how Sirtuin5 protects the cardiovascular system (and the heart in particular) against age and different types of stress. Outside of lab, I’m probably hanging out with friends at a restaurant or playing with my cat, Luna.
Mary Lee, Ph.D. Research Specialist-Cancer Biology
I began doing research as an overenthusiastic undergraduate student. Throughout my scientific journey my research areas have varied in organism and tissue, however, my overarching interest has been gene regulation. Currently, I’m examining the spatial expression of genes during hearing loss and regeneration. When not in lab, I play roller derby with Ann Arbor Roller Derby and spoil my two short-legged dogs.
Anna Shirazyan, PhD Candidate-Cell & Developmental Biology
I am currently a PhD candidate in the Cell and Developmental Biology Department at the University of Michigan. I am extremely interested in adult stem cells and use techniques such as mouse genetics to alter tissues and immunofluorescent microscopy to visualize tissues to see how they are affected. In my spare time I like to read, play video games and terrorize my cat.
Barbara Nelson, PhD Candidate-Cancer Biology
I started working in a lab as an undergrad at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In the lab, I sectioned mouse embryos to image and map progenitor pancreas cells. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2011. After undergrad, I worked as a technician at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in an immunology lab. There I managed the mouse colony and helped with CD4 T cell experiments activated with influenza. Two years later, I moved to a neurobiology lab where I was a lab manager. I maintained the mouse and zebra finch colonies and helped with experiments studying neuron migration and song learning. I started my PhD studies at the University of Michigan in 2015. I work in Dr. Costas Lyssiotis’ lab where I study how cellular metabolism changes in normal pancreas cells to turn them into cancer cells. When not in lab, I like to curl, knit, listen to true crime podcasts, and spend time with my husband and cats.
Mike Scales, PhD Candidate-Cell & Developmental Biology
I first became interested in research while I was an undergrad at the University of California – Davis. I took a genetics lab class during my sophomore year that got me really excited about pursuing research, and I managed to find an internship in a cardiology research lab doing very basic lab techniques. After graduating, I started a job as a research technician studying the mechanisms non-canonical Wnt signaling during mammalian development. I found that I loved doing research full time, but if I wanted to become more independent as a researcher I would need to earn a graduate degree. I joined the Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan in 2015, where I currently study the role of Hedgehog signaling in pancreatic cancer progression. Outside of grad school, I enjoy hiking, gardening, beer brewing, and photography.
Samantha Kemp, PhD Candidate-Department of Pathology
I was a Nutrition major in college and had planned on becoming a dietician. It wasn’t until my first summer as a research assistant that I knew I wanted something very different for my career. I was instantly drawn to the many unanswered questions in science and how I could help in answering them. I work on studying the pre-metastatic niche in pancreatic cancer. Specifically, I look at the role myeloid cells play in establishing the pre-metastatic niche for ultimate tumor cell dissemination and colonization, that will lead to metastatic disease. There are no effective treatments for metastatic disease, and so the hope is to find more effective therapies to reduce metastatic burden in pancreatic cancer patients. When I am not in lab, I spend my time doing yoga and playing with my cat and dog!
Tyler Hoard, 1st year PIBS PhD Student
I spent a large portion of my time as an undergraduate wanting to go into healthcare. As a junior, I made an impulse decision to try doing botany research and instantly fell in love with the process of discovering new information about living organisms through science. I found science much more personally fulfilling than anything I had experienced in healthcare. After two years of botany research, I turned my research interest towards gene regulation in animals while working on my master’s degree. I found this research even more fascinating. As a current Ph.D. student, I am interested in the mechanisms that regulate gene expression during embryonic development and lead to cellular differentiation. When I’m not in lab, I enjoy hiking, going to concerts, and playing trivia.
Lauren Rodenbarger, PhD. Postdoctoral Fellow of Pathology
Like a lot of people, I started college with the intention of applying to medical school. But a successful organic synthesis research project with Dr. George Bennett, PhD at Millikin University showed me that I had a knack for working in the laboratory. I switched gears and went on to get my PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, where I studied the impact of inflammation and the loss of epithelial polarity on the transition of localized to invasive breast cancer. I came to the University of Michigan to continue my research training in the Lombard and Lyssiotis laboratories, where I am studying the role of Sirtuin 5 (SIRT5) in the metabolic reprogramming of melanoma cells. I am currently on the hunt for teaching focused faculty positions at predominantly undergraduate institutions.
Lauren Chaby, PhD. Postdoctoral Fellow-Wayne State University
I have always been fascinated by how behavior changes across contexts, so I obtained a Ph.D. in neuroscience and a M.S. in ecology from Penn State University in 2015. My research focuses on lasting effects of stress during adolescent development on behavior and the brain. I continued my research in a postdoctoral position at the University of Michigan where I learned about models of posttraumatic stress disorder. Currently, I’m a postdoc at Wayne State University where I am investigating lasting effects of adolescent stress on epigenetic regulation of gene expression in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. Stressful experiences can shape the way we express genes in our brains, and these changes can have many downstream effects that regulate behavior. In my free time, I do yoga, spend time with my cat and dog, and pursue delicious food.
I received my Ph.D. in 2017 from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Michigan. My research investigates how mutations in structural proteins called keratins lead to certain types of skin diseases by damaging the skin cells due to dysfunctional mitochondria and elevated reactive oxygen species. I study events, such as changes in the shape and movement of the mitochondria in response to cellular stress using fluorescent microscopy and live cell imaging in order to determine how this effects cell function. When I am not in the lab, I love to do yoga, run and play soccer!