Alumni

Timothy “T.J.” Smith, Jr.

Education: B.S. in Biology/Pre-Health, minor in Chemistry from the Cormier Honors College at Longwood University. 

Previous Position: Microbiology/Immunology Ph.D. Student

Current Program/Position: Postdoctoral Fellow in the Laboratory of Chuck Harrell, PhD. in the Department of Pathology at VCU.

PhD Dissertation Research: Development of translational treatments against cancers through the administration of a DNA methyltransferase inhibitor to induce de novo antigen expression, with particular interest in increasing the expression of X-chromosome linked cancer testis antigens. 

Outside lab interests: Sports, reading, board games, the dog (most days), and FOOD!

Carmen Camarena

Education: B.S. in Biological Sciences from California State University San Marcos (2018)

Current Program/Position: Center for Clinical and Translational Research Ph.D. Student at VCU.

Past Lab Position: Center of Health Disparities’ Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) Scholar

Past Lab Project: Treatment of breast cancer with epigenetic modulators.

Leila Takahashi-Ruiz

Education: BS in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Cellular, Molecular, and Genetic Biology; minor in Microbiology. Colorado State University (2018)

Current Program/Position: Integrated Biomedical Sciences PhD program at the University of Texas Health at San Antonio

Past Lab Position: Center of Health Disparities’ Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) Scholar.

Past Lab Project: Benign IgE Provides Protection Against Asthmatic Symptomologies.

Interests: Cooking, hiking, and dogs. I love DOGS!

Jessica Wimberly

Education: Dual Degree, BS in Biology and BA in Spanish BA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Graduated with Honors.

Current Position: M1 Medical Student

Past Lab interests: ADAM17 regulation of Marginal zone B cell development; ADAM10 regulation of ICOS: ICOSL

Interests: CrossFit, my dog Kevin, teaching group exercise courses, and pediatric medicine.

Kayla Keller

Previous Education: BS in Biological Sciences from Shippensburg University

Current Position: Graduated from the Microbiology/Immunology Department with a M.S.

Interests: Mountain biking, fencing, climbing, drawing, and Dungeons and Dragons.

Matthew Rodriguez

Education: Chemistry BS, with a concentration in biochemistry; Forensic Sciences BS, with a concentration in forensic biology; Psychology BS; Virginia Commonwealth University (2019)

Current Position: Studying for the MCAT and working at PPD

Past Lab interests: Role of ADAM10 and ADAM17 in adipocyte biology and immunometabolism.

Interests: Anime, tattoos, piercings, swimming, cosmetology/barbering, music, video gaming, studying for the MCAT.

Sharoon Arshad

Education: B.S. in Bioinformatics, VCU (2019)

Current Position: Awesome super-secret dream job!

Interests: Kicking science butt and taking names. Taking things apart. Rebuilding one working FPLC from two FPLCs.

    Amanda Leonard

Education: B.S. in Biology minor in Anthropology, JMU (2018)

Current Position: Working as a consultant for a power company, helping them keep the environment as a top priority.

Past lab interests: Keeping all of our mouse colonies and genotyping straight with a gentle hand and kind spirit.

   Andrea Luker

Education: B.S. in Biology; VCU, M.S. in Micro/Immuno (2015); VCU, Ph.D. in Micro/Immuno; VCU (2019)

Current Program/Position: Postdoctoral Fellow at the NIH in the Laboratory of Allergic Diseases, Mast Cell Biology Section.

PhD Dissertation Topic: The DNA methyltransferase inhibitor, guadecitabine, targets tumor-induced myelopoiesis and recovers T cell activity to slow tumor growth.

  Joseph C. Lownik

Education: BS in Biochemistry; Beloit College, (2013)

Current VCU MD-PhD Program Student (Matriculated 2013)

PhD in Clinical and Translational Sciences, with a concentration in Cancer and Molecular Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University (defended 12/06/2018; degree will be conferred in 05/2021)

Current Position: M4 medical student; VCU School of Medicine, and working in the lab as many hours as possible.

PhD Dissertation Topic: The Role of ADAM10 and ADAM17 in Humoral and Type 2 Immunity