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Meet the incoming 2012 class!

Sep 2012 | Michele LeRoux No Comment

Ethan Ahler

Education: University of California, Santa Cruz. Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology. Graduated 2010.

From: San Luis Obispo, CA.

Research Background: Cancer metabolism, host-pathogen interactions.

Research Interests: Cancer biology.

Fun Facts: My siblings and I are adopted from all different countries. I am currently training for my first full marathon.



Michelle Brault

Education: Eastern Washington University, Biology/Chemistry and Biochemistry double major, class of 2010

From: Mukilteo, WA

Research Background: Design and production of lentiviral vectors as part of the Northwest Genome Engineering Consortium; Gene therapy for primary immune deficiencies such as SCID, XLA, and WAS; Rapid production of recombinant protein in mammalian cells using novel chromatin opening element.

Research Interests: Evolutionary biology, pathogen-host interaction, virology

Fun facts: Had an article written by the Sounders’ journalist about my support of the team; worked as a whitewater river guide for three years in college; born and raised in Seattle; loves elephants, mermaids, and daffodils.


Robin Green

Education: Michigan State University, Class of 2012, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology/Biotechnology with a Minor in Computer Science

From: Ann Arbor, MI

Research Background: Mostly I’ve worked on the understanding the structural mechanism and cellular utilization of [FeFe]-hydrogenases as a means to contribute to efforts developing hydrogen as an economical alternative fuel. I’ve also had the opportunity to work as an intern for a pharmaceutical company developing molecular biology assays to assess the effectiveness of emerging alpha-virus vaccine candidates in both animal model and clinical studies.

Research Interest: Understanding of modeling of cellular networks can be applied to rationally engineering microbes to make useful biotechnological products.

Fun Facts: I’ve studied abroad in Mexico and Nicaragua, can solve a Rubik’s Cube, and have a pet rock named Rocky.


Hugh Haddox

Education: University of Colorado, 2012, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
From: Denver, CO
Research background: As an undergrad I studied enzyme evolution in E. coli, relating to how promiscuous enzymes can be recruited by evolution to perform new metabolic roles in the cell.
Research interests: Molecular evolution and microbial diversity.
Fun facts: I like playing soccer and books by PG Wodehouse. I biked the coast of Portugal last summer. I would like more than anything to see an orca whale.



Lori Koch

Education: Ohio State University, 2012, Molecular Genetics and Anthropological Science

From: Cincinnati, OH

Research background: As an undergrad I studied centrosome duplication in human cells.  Specifically my project focused on understanding how centriole biogenesis is regulated through phosphorylation.  

Research interests: mitotic spindle, cell cycle, “selfish” genetic elements and evolution, epigenetic inheritance

Fun facts: I’m a fan of Wes Anderson movies, British television shows, attempting to cook and play guitar (although not at the same time), and I try to limit myself to 1-2 cups of tea a day.  


Lisa Kursel

Eduction: The University of Wisconsin – Madison (graduated May 2010), Music performance and Biology

Research Background: Evolution of maize

Research Interests: RNA processing, splicing and it’s relation to human diseases, stem cells, transcriptional regulation, and much more!

 Fun facts: I play the cello, I’ve met Yo-yo Ma, I climbed the Grand Teton, Longs Peak and the Second Flatiron this summer.


Piero Lamelza

Education: University of California Santa Cruz

From: Los Angeles, CA

Research Background: Studied meiotic chromosome dynamics in C. elegans. Specifically, studying the connection between chromatin modifying enzymes and germline apoptosis.

Research Interests: Molecular evolution and genetic conflict.

Fun Fact: I like hamburgers. A lot. I also like doodling cartoons once in a while.


Kelsey Lynch

Education: Bryn Mawr College, Class of 2011, double major in Biology and Italian Literature

From: Bloomington, IN

Research Background: Heterochromatin and genome stability in Neurospora crassa

Research Interests: chromosome biology, mitosis, gene expression

Fun facts: I taught swimming and diving lessons for six years- see me if you want to learn to dive! I’ve flown on small, private planes more than commercial flights (my dad is a pilot). I wanted to be an architect until I took AP Bio my junior year, and realized just how beautiful science can be.


Nixon Niyonzima

Education: Makerere University (Uganda), 2009, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery.  Duke University, 2011, MSc Global Health

From: Kampala, Uganda

Research background: My background is mostly clinical having worked at the Uganda Cancer Institute over the past one year. Most of the patients at the Uganda Cancer Institute have cancers whose etiology is mainly infectious with viruses playing critical role in this etiology.

Research interests: Virology and Viral Oncogenesis

Fun facts: I play soccer and love cricket. I love poetry and read a lot of Victorian Literature.


Susana L. Orozco

Education: UC Berkeley, 2007, Molecular and Cell Biology

From: San Diego, CA

Research Background: dengue virus pathogenesis

Research Interests: host-pathogen interactions, immunology, infectious disease

Fun Facts: I taught middle school science in Oakland for two years; I lived in Mexico for 8 years; I’ve run 4 half-marathons and am training for a full one.


Jack Rose

Education: Stanford University, BS in Biology, 2008; Cambridge University, MPhil in Computational Biology, 2010

From: Wilmette, IL

Research Background: In Branimir Sikic’s lab, I investigated
chemotherapeutic res

istance in breast and ovarian carcinomas. And with Florian Markowetz, I worked on a Bioconductor package for analyzing high-throughput RNAi screens.

Research interests: Integrating novel methods for perturbing cellular systems with quantitative analytical methods, with specific emphasis on applications in cancer biology.

Fun fact: Got into competitive wine tasting while studying in the UK. I started an unofficial (hopefully soon to be official) wine club here at UW.


Sean Shadle

Eduction: Portland State University From: Ashland, Oregon

Research Background: As an undergraduate I studied the heat shock response in a fish species endemic to Antarctica. After graduating in 2010, I worked for two years at Oregon Health and Sciences University studying mammalian development. We were particularly interested in proteins which could maintain ‘stemness’ and dynamic chromatin modifications in pluripotent cells and during develoment.

Research Interests: (generally) RNA splicing, regulation of transcription, high throughput sequencing technologies, epigenetics and development.

Fun Facts: I once participated in a weiner dog parade.




Tiffany Su


Education: University of California, San Diego 2010; Human Biology and Psychology

From: Danville, CA (SF Bay Area)

Research Background: Undergrad lab assistant in Dr. Steve Kay’s lab (2008-2010) working on cloning a putative transcription factor library for Arabidopsis. Post-undergrad, I was a research associate in the labs of Dr. Karen Oegema and Dr. Arshad Desai (2010-2012) and I conducted an imaging screen of ~150 nuclear structure and function gene knockdowns in the C. elegans germline.

Research Interests: cell biology and developmental biology, nothing more specific yet

Fun Facts: I enjoy yoga and I love living near large bodies of water; both are calming for me. I love to read and draw and I enjoy baking when I have the time and ingredients.


  Cheuk Tam

Undergrad institution  Stanford University, Human Biology, 2009

Research background:
1) Adult stem cell regulation in the fly male germline; developmental regulation of the cell cycle in fly male meiosis
2) Neural and hormonal basis of territorial behavior in the African cichlid fish Astatotilapia burtoni

Research interests: 
Ubiquitin, chromatin regulation, stem cells and differentiation

Fun Facts:
  a) I am adept at dissecting fruit fly testes
b) I I met Gandhi’s grandson, Rajmohan Gandhi in a religious studies seminar
c) I have never seen snow before


Lige Tonggu

Education: Tsinghua University 2011,Chemical Engineering and Industrial Bioengineering

University of Washington 2012, Chemical Engineerin

From: Beijing, China

Research Background: Began research with project that synthesized self-assembly temperature-sensitive micelles in sophomore, did a little GFP and AFM in junior, after that finished senior year thesis with in situ polymerization of Single Enzyme Nanogel.  Now enjoy reconstructing membrane proteins to nanodisc for potential structure observations in CryoEM.

Research Interest:Protein structure and functional mechanism.

Fun fact: As a volunteer for Beijing Olympics’ water cube, I have seen Phelps and Dream Team accidentally.

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