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2013 Class

MARC Undergraduate Student Training for Academic Research

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Dawn Marie Guzman

Dawn Marie Guzman was a Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience major at Temple University's College of Science and Technology. She was born and raised in Philadelphia, and is of Mexican decent. She graduated Central High School in Philadelphia in 2004, and after attending SUNY Albany as a Biology major for one year, returned to Philadelphia. She then transferred to Temple from the Community College of Philadelphia in 2010. Here, she began working in Dr. Vinay Parikh's lab, where they investigated the effects of chronic nicotine on reward-based learning and behavioral flexibility in mice.

Now, Dawn is a second year student in the Neuroscience PhD program at UT Austin where she is currently in a lab that uses Caenorhabditis Elegans (worms) to study neurodegenerative diseases and sensory systems.

Melissa Lester

Melissa Lester was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, where she attended St. Athanasius Immaculate Conception School for primary and middle school. After graduating from Cardinal Dougherty High School, she enrolled at Temple University, where she completed a Bachelor of Science in biology and sociology in January 2013. She is currently a research assistant at the Sol Sherry Thrombosis Research Center of the Temple University School of Medicine.

Arianna Lightfoot

I grew up in Bethlehem, PA and attended Liberty High School. I am a Junior in the Biology department working with Dr. Jacqueline Tanaka. In my experiment, I will be using Western Blot analysis in order to test the effects of three antibodies on canine CNGB3 and I will characterize an antibody designed to recognize cCNGB3. An anti-CNGB3 antibody will be helpful in being able to track the location of CNGB3 in the cell. My hope is to find an antibody that works on only canine CNGB3 in order to assist in the analysis of gene therapy treatments with dogs affected with achromotopsia.

Kate Rahbari

Kate Rahbari is currently a postbaccalaureate fellow at National Institutes of Health in the Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) program and the Intramural NIAID Research Opportunities (INRO) program. She works in Peter Sun’s structural immunology laboratory at NIH’s Twinbrook Campus in Rockville, MD.

Kate's project involves studying the broader physiological function of BST-2/tetherin, a protein that was recently identified to play a role in inflammation. Several studies have reported that tetherin inhibits viral release in numerous enveloped viruses such as HIV-1. Conversely, several studies report that tetherin enhances entry and cell-cell spread of virus. The role of tetherin in immune response to virus is debated. However, the broader physiological function of tetherin remains completely unknown. Previous studies in her lab have shown that immune cells exposed to tetherin exhibit a distinct clumping phenotype, suggesting that tetherin may be involved in cell adhesion or activation. Thus, she hypothesizes that the physiological function of tetherin includes cell adhesion and activation of lymphocytes. She will investigate the functional role of tetherin in-vitro by blocking and knocking down tetherin and examining changes in phenotype and function of effector immune cells such as T cells and NK cells. A better understanding of the broader physiological function of tetherin may lead to a better understanding of the role of tetherin in inflammation and immune response to virus.

Kate grew up in West Chester, Pennsylvania where she attended West Chester East High School. She graduated from Temple with a biology degree and will be starting an MD/PhD program in June at University of Illinois at Chicago. Outside of research, Kate enjoys swimming, knitting, listening to music, and playing with puppies.

Katherine Silkaitis

Katherine Silkaitis is a second-year doctoral student at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass. She looks broadly at environmental impacts on gene expression using Drosophila as a model organism. She focuses particularly on the role of heterochromatin, as well as mechanisms of transgenerational inheritance. Katherine plans to take qualifying exams this summer.

Katherine grew up in the Chicago suburbs before heading to the East Coast for college, and she has yet to fully eradicate terms like "pop" from her speech. Time for hobbies is unfortunately scarce these days, but Katherine is fond of looking at trees and is always up for baking, biking, and urban exploration.

Joseph Trout

A Philadelphia native, Joseph Trout attended multiple high schools and eventually graduated from what is now known as Kensington School of Business. He is now a student of New York University's PhD Chemistry program, doing rotations with Bart Kahr and Daniel Turner, both in the Silver Center of NYU. Though he is currently getting lab training for research, there is no specific project yet in progress. Joseph enjoys learning new things and recreational gaming. "Life is good when it’s lived with a well-fed belly."

Uduak Udoeyo

Uduak Udoeyo is currently completing a Masters of Science in Epidemiology at the Drexel School of Public Health. While particularly interested in disease surveillance, she plans to seek ideal analyst or consulting positions in this field for organizations such as the CDC, WHO, and the Department of Public Health.