GSS Executive Board

The Graduate Student Society (GSS) Executive Board members serving for the 2012-13 academic year are listed below. Please contact us at

2012-2013 GSS Executive Board Members

Lesley Chapman

Lesley Chapman

I am a third year graduate student in the Translational Biomedical Sciences (TBS) Program. Before moving to Rochester, I completed my undergraduate studies at Duke University in 2008 and received a BS degree in Biology. While at Duke I studied malaria, and I am currently studying the role of platelets in malaria progression with Dr. Craig Morrell’s in the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute. Last year, I served as the GSS Department Representative for the TBS Program, and I am currently serving as the secretary for the GSS Executive Board. My goal is to help graduate students stay informed about new exciting student-focused events that are both fun and informative!


Iris Chen

Iris ChenI am originally from Taiwan and moved to Rochester for a PhD in Statistics after graduated from Columbia University with a MS in Biostatistics. Under the supervision of Dr. Hulin Wu, I have been developing methods and algorithms for identifying dynamic gene regulatory networks using high-dimensional state space models and differential equations. In my final year in the program, I am very happy and excited to be a part of GSS Board and help graduate students progress and succeed!





Ryan Dawes

Ryan Dawes

I'm originally from Belgrade, Maine, a small town about hour from where I went to school for my undergraduate, the University of Maine. While at the University of Maine, I majored in Biology and worked on a several projects including my thesis project, the development of a biomimetic, actin-supported phospholipid bilayer for use in studying non-classical protein export. I joined the Neuroscience Graduate Program here at the University of Rochester last Fall, and I have recently joined the laboratory of Dr. Ed Brown, where I study the effects of psychological stress and increased sympathetic nervous system activation on breast cancer growth and progression. This is my first year on the GSS Board, and I'm looking forward to working with faculty members and fellow graduate students to develop programs and events that benefit us both personally and professionally.


Sara Knowlden

Sara Knowlden

I grew up in Clifton Park, NY and graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) with a BS in Biotechnology in 2006. After graduating, I obtained a position at the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and worked in a pharmacokinetic group searching for new biotherapeutic drugs. I later decided to further my education and moved back to Rochester to earn a PhD in Immunology. I am currently a fourth year graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Steve Georas and I'm studying the effects of lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) and autotaxin on T cell homing and recirculation. I am excited to be a part of GSS this year and look forward to us accomplishing great things!



Melissa Martin

Melissa Martin

Originally from Connecticut, I received my B.S. in Biology from Stonehill College in Massachusetts in 2009.  After graduation, I worked in a laboratory at Yale University's School of Public Health, working towards understanding the epidemiology of microbial infections.  In 2010, I moved to Rochester and joined the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology Department's Ph.D. program, in which I am currently a third-year student in Dr. Eric Small's lab at the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute.  My projects focus on understanding the mechanisms underlying pathologic cardiac remodeling and identifying potential therapeutic targets in the treatment of heart failure.  I decided to join GSS board to increase the student body involvement in professional and philanthropic activities, and I am looking forward to this year's events!

Mike Moses

Mike MosesI grew up in Geneva, NY and attended Clarkson University for my undergraduate studies in Biochemistry. While there, I completed an independent research project on HPV and cervical cancer and discovered my passion for cancer-related biomedical research. I came to Rochester for a PhD in Pathology after graduating from Clarkson and have been studying the molecular mechanisms of prostate cancer progression. For the past year, I have been a member of the Department of Pathology Student Council and decided to join GSS to further develop it as a professional organization aimed at helping current graduate students progress in terms of academic, social, philanthropic, and professional development. Please do not hesistate to contact us with any suggestions!



Jennifer Stripay

Jennifer StripayI received my BS in Biology with a concentration in Neuroscience from The Pennsylvania State University in 2009. During my tenure there, I worked in the Neuropharmacology lab of Dr. Byron Jones, was a member of the University's Ballet Company, and was involved in the philanthropic efforts of the Penn State Dance Marathon. After graduation, I spent two years at the University of Pittsburgh working with Dr. Matthew Rosengart and Dr. Paul Robbins as an independent research scientist. I am currently a second year student in the Neuroscience Graduate Program working in the lab of Dr. Mark Noble investigating potential novel therapeutic targets in glioblastoma multiforme. I joined GSS as a first year student with the hope of promoting academic and professional development opportunities. I have recently assumed the position of Graduate Student Representative to the SMD Alumni Council and am looking forward to promoting the needs and concerns of graduate students, with the goal of securing financial support and networking opportunities for our community of students. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions, concerns, or ideas!

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