Current Students

Daniela Geba (5th Year)

Daniela Geba

Daniela obtained her MD degree from the Grigore T. Popa University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Iasi, Romania and received training in epidemiology at University at Buffalo. Her research interest is in the broad area of cardiovascular disease, with a focus on diabetes mellitus.


Research Mentor:  Ann Dozier, PhD

Lesley M. Chapman (5th Year)

Lesley Chapman

Lesley obtained her B.S. degree in Biology at Duke University.  She completed an undergraduate research project in the Duke University Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy where she became interested in the genetics of infectious disease. She is pursuing her Ph.D. in the Basic Research Track, and is currently working in the laboratory of Craig Morrell, D.V.M., Ph.D.


Research Mentor: Craig Morrell, DVM, PhD

Aisha Siebert (4th Year)

Aisha Siebert

Aisha completed her Masters of Public Health (MPH) at Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health with a focus in Toxicology and Molecular Epidemiology in gene-environment interaction.  Her previous research included studies of prenatal polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)-induced genotoxicity as well as nutritional deficiency and epigenetic regulation of the retinoblastoma (Rb) gene cascade. Aisha is an MD-PhD student and completed two years of medical school before joining the TBS PhD program.  She is currently researching specific mechanisms of epigenetic regulation of gene expression, including environmental determinants and imprinting.  Her lab is working to characterize the metabolic effects of specific venom proteins produced by Nasonia species.  Potential medical applications of this research include utility as pesticides and specific inhibitors of conserved metabolic pathways implicated in human disease pathogenesis.  


Research Mentor: Jack Werren, PhD

Molly Jaynes (4th Year)

Molly Jaynes

Molly received her BA in violin from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.  Her interests in the prevention and treatment of musician injuries led her to a research project on focal dystonia in professional instrumentalists.


Research Mentor: Jonathan Mink, MD, PhD

Elizabeth Belcher (2nd Year)

Elizabeth BelcherElizabeth obtained her B.S. degree in Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, graduating summa cum laude. She was awarded a Conte Center for the Neuroscience of Mental Disorders Undergraduate Fellowship and completed an undergraduate thesis project at the Translational Neuroscience Program. After graduation she continued schizophrenia research while working in a clinical cognitive neuroscience lab. Her current interests involve the study of Psychoneuroimmunology. She looks forward to starting lab rotations as part of the Translational Biomedical Science Program.


Research Mentor: John Olschowka, PhD & Kerry O'Banion, MD, PhD


Laura Shum (2nd Year)

Laura ShumLaura earned her B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from the State University of New York at Brockport, where she began researching cell migration in pre-adipocytes. She then spent three years at the University of Colorado Medical School working in the molecular biology lab of the Department of Orthopaedics. To continue her interest in bone and cartilage, she will be pursuing lab rotations within the Center for Musculoskeletal Research at the University of Rochester.


Research Mentor: Roman Eliseev, MD, PhD



Adnan Hirad (2nd Year)

Research Mentor: Jeffrey Bazarian, MD, MPH

E'Lissa Flores (1st Year)

Flores E'Lissa received her B.S. in Biological Science from Stony Brook University in 2011. At Stony Brook University, she conducted undergraduate research on retrovirus assembly as an NIH MARC Fellow. E’Lissa was later awarded the NIH PREP (post-baccalaureate) Fellowship to conduct research on certain environmental toxicants and their potential ability to induce adipogenesis, at the University of Rochester in 2013. Currently, E'Lissa’s research interests are immune dysfunctions and their involvement in pathogenesis of a disease.


Research Mentor: Richard Phipps, PhD



Kenneth Sims (1st Year)

SimsKen is a first year student in the TBS program. He completed his B.S. degree in Bioengineering from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  He then worked as an engineer at Merck & Co., Inc. for several years where he specialized in various technology roles supporting multiple aspects of vaccine manufacturing.  Ken also completed his Masters in Molecular Medicine from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during his time working in industry.  Ken's research interests are in vaccine development and the application of novel vaccine delivery methods to increase vaccine effectiveness through improved immune responses.  Ken is completing his lab rotations in labs focused on drug delivery and vaccine development.


Research Mentor: Danielle Benoit, PhD


Abeer Abu Zeitone

Abeer Abu Zeitone, PhD

Abeer obtained her B.S degree in Pharmacy and M.S degree in Clinical Pharmacy at the University of Jordan. She is pursuing her PhD in the Clinical Research Track, studying Long QT syndrome (LQTS) which is an inherited cardiac channelopathy disease. Her translational biomedical research project involves utilizing the clinical information obtained from LQTS patients to investigate and find effective strategies to treat and reduce the risk of cardiac events in this group of patients.


Research Mentor:  Arthur J Moss, MD

Carolyn Glass

Carolyn Glass, MD, PhD

Carolyn Glass obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and graduated with a Neuroscience degree, Cum Laude. She initially trained as a Physician Assistant in Neurology at the Baylor College of Medicine (M.S. Degree) and decided to pursue medical school four years later at the University of Texas Medical Branch where she graduated with her MD degree with Magna Cum Laude research distinction. She was one of six residents nationally who was accepted into an integrated vascular surgery program. After four years of vascular surgery training at the University of Rochester Medical Center, she decided to pursue her passion for basic science by matriculating into the CTSI Translational Biomedical Science PhD Program. Her current area of research involves identifying critical genes using high-throughput sequencing in the hematopoietic system.

Research Mentor: Archibald Perkins, MD, PhD

Cindi Lewis

Cindi Lewis, PhD

Cindi obtained her BSc. degree in Biotechnology at Claflin University, followed by a year in the field of Cancer Biology Genomics at the Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic. She has opted to focus on the clinical to community scope of translational research. She has worked with Dr. Nancy Chin on two research projects: a qualitative study with AIDS Care in the community of Rochester to investigate HIV+ patient experiences with services provided by this organization; and a study that established a sustained partnership between UR and the Health Department of Leh, (Ladakh, India) for initiating and maintaining programs to reduce tobacco usage in the community of Leh. She has also worked in Spanish Harlem, NYC with the National Development and Research Institute (NDRI), under the direction of Dr. James McMahon to examine the experiences of HIV+ heterosexual men in coping with their diagnosis. Her involvement in these projects have solidified her resolve to work with vulnerable populations in the area of improving access to care, quality of services rendered and delivering culturally appropriate health and science information to improve health outcomes.

For her dissertation, Cindi is working as part of a community outreach group directed by the UR HIV Vaccine Trials Network clinical research site. She has selected to work on the informed consent process in order to improve the understandability of the informed consent process for a wider cross section of individuals under the direction of Dr. Michael Keefer and Dr. Amina Alio.


Research Mentor: Amina Alio, PhD