Currently, there are four predoctoral students and two Masters students from the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the Hocking laboratory. Our senior technician, Susan Wilke-Mounts (Senior Technical Associate; Department of Pharmacology and Physiology) brings over 20 years of technical experience to the lab and has extensive knowledge and expertise in protein biochemistry, molecular biology, and methods investigating cell-matrix adhesions. There is typically one undergraduate student and one rotating graduate student in the lab during the year. High school students from the Rochester area have joined us during the summer as part of the UR's community volunteer program.
Three doctoral students and one Master’s student from the Department of Biomedical Engineering have completed their thesis work in the Hocking lab. Two of our graduates hold academic positions – one at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology and the other at Yale University. Our other graduate has also completed her MD and will soon begin her residency at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Several undergraduate students from a variety of schools (including University of Notre Dame, UR, University of Puerto Rico, and Ort Braude College in Israel) have completed independent research projects in our lab and have continued on to graduate studies. Please contact Dr. Hocking for information regarding undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral research opportunities.
Kelley is a native Rochestarian who received a BS in Chemical Engineering and a minor in Biomedical Engineering from Cornell University. She is currently a senior PhD student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering working on a joint project between Dr. Hocking's and Dr. Diane Dalecki's labs. This project involves developing ultrasound as an enabling technology for the fabrication and monitoring of functional tissue-engineered constructs. She has developed a novel method that utilizes ultrasound standing wave fields to organize cells and matrix proteins within 3D collagen gels. Such research has important applications to the field of tissue engineering.
Dan is from Southington, Connecticut and graduated with a BS in Biomedical Engineering from UR. He is presently a senior PhD student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Dan has developed and optimized several small fibronectin matrix mimetics that enhance cell growth and migration, and control ECM fibronectin and collagen assembly. Currently, he is asking whether topical application of optimized matrix mimetics increase the rate of cutaneous wound closure in diabetic mice. We envision the use of fibronectin matrix mimetics as a means to rapidly up-regulate cell function and promote nutritive blood flow to soft tissue wounds and burns.
Carlos is from San Salvador, El Salvador. He graduated from the University of Virginia with a BS in Biomedical Engineering and a BS in Material Science. He is currently a senior PhD student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and is also working towards his MBA at the Simon School of Business. He is the recipient of an individual predoctoral fellowship from the NIH. Carlos is working in conjunction with Dr. Dalecki’s lab studying the biological and acoustic effects of ultrasound on the conformation of fibronectin. He has developed a novel model of tissue self-assembly and is currently assessing how the spatial organization of fibronectin and collagen fibrils affects microtissue shape and cell function.
Jamie is from Buffalo, NY. He graduated from Cornell University in 2009 with a BS in Biological and Environmental Engineering. He is currently a junior PhD student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. His project focuses on how substrate-dependent cues direct fibronectin matrix assembly into either cell-cell or cell-matrix adhesions, to in turn, affects tissue assembly.
Nancie was raised in Southern California. She graduated from the University of California at Davis with a BS in Biomedical Engineering. She is currently working on a thesis Master’s degree in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Her project began with analyzing effects of recombinant matrix mimetics on wound repair and now involves understanding how a cryptic heparin-binding fragment of fibronectin affects cell cycle progression.
A native Buffalonian, Susan made the short trip down the thruway and received both her BA and MS in Biology from UR. She is a Technical Associate and is responsible for constructing many of our recombinant fibronectin and vitronectin fusion proteins. One of her favorite tasks is manipulating DNA to create our Nanonectins as well as full-length wild-type and mutant fibronectin and vitronectin proteins. She has been studying how various mutations to basic amino acids in the heparin binding domain of vitronectin affect its ability to bind to heparin and in turn its functional properties. She has also recently started using fluorescence spectroscopy to monitor unfolding of fibronectin fragments in response to denaturants or physical forces. Susan also keeps the lab running smoothly by ordering our supplies and making sure we are in compliance with university safety policies.
Former Lab Members
Kathy is also from Buffalo, NY. She graduated from Ithaca College with a BA in Biology and soon became the first member of Dr. Hocking’s lab at UR as a technician. While working in the lab, Kathy completed a MS degree in Pharmacology from UR. Her recent work has focused on determining what domains of fibronectin are necessary for differing degrees of integrin activation by using immunofluorescence and cell ELISA assays. Also, she often helps others in the lab with their studies by performing Western blot, growth, migration and immunofluorescence assays related to their projects.
Liqiong Gui, Ph.D.
Liqiong is from Shanghai, China. She graduated from East China University of Science and Technology with both BS and MS degrees in Biomedical Engineering. At the UR, she studied how matrix fibronectin and recombinant matrix mimetics enhance cell spreading and proliferation. Liqiong is now a research assistant scientist at Yale University.
Craig Lefort, Ph.D.
Craig is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology. He received his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia University. While in Dr. Hocking’s lab, Craig studied N-cadherin-containing cell-cell adhesions. He analyzed the effects of matrix fibronectin on cell-cell adhesions, and demonstrated a novel role for tensin in regulating cell-cell junctions. His studies were supported in part by a predoctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association.
Candace Gildner, Ph.D.
Candace was also born and raised in Rochester, NY. She graduated from UR with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and has also completed a MS thesis in Biomedical Engineering at UR. She is currently a student in the MD/PhD program at UR and will complete the requirements for her M.D. in May of 2012. Her studies were supported in part by an individual MD/PhD predoctoral fellowship from the NIH. Candace’s PhD work defined a role for the ECM protein, vitronectin, in regulating the deposition, conformation and physiologic properties of extracellular matrix fibronectin.
Denise C. Hocking, Ph.D.
University of Rochester
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Avenue
Rochester, NY 14642