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Student Bios

Savannah Moritzky

Savannah MoritzkyPresident
Translational Biomedical Science Representative 

I'm a Ph.D. candidate in the Translational Biomedical Science (TBS) program in the Infection and Immunity: From Molecules to Populations track (IIMP). I am a student in Andrea Sant's lab studying the CD4+ T cell response to influenza vaccination. My undergraduate degree was a B.S. in Biology from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. In my spare time, I volunteer for the Rochester Youth Science Club where we do science experiments with 5th and 6th graders from local schools and I play in an indoor soccer league. I have helped organize the Amerks hockey games, Winter Clothing Drive, Coffee Hours, and ASL Social.
 

Zachary Brehm

Zachary BrehmVice President
Biostatistics Representative

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Biostatistics and Computational Biology department working with Matt McCall. My research is focused on statistical methods for analyzing RNA-seq experiments. Before moving to Rochester, I attended SUNY Potsdam where I received bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics and classical guitar.


Taylor Uccello

Taylor Uccello

Secretary
Immunology, Microbiology, and Virology (IMV) Representative

I am a Ph.D. candidate from the Immunology, Microbiology, and Virology Department and a member of Scott Gerber’s lab. My research includes studying the immune response against colorectal cancer. Before attending the University of Rochester, I earned my bachelor’s degree in biology from Stonehill College. In my spare time, I enjoy rock climbing and horseback riding.


Ashley Peppriell

Ashley PeppriellChief Financial Officer
Toxicology Representative

I am a Ph.D. candidate from the Department of Environmental Medicine and a member of Matthew Rand's lab. We use the fruit fly model organism to investigate mechanisms of developmental toxicity by methylmercury. Before coming to the University of Rochester, I received my B.S. in Biochemistry from SUNY Geneseo. In addition to overseeing our funds, I have planned the annual Brew Tour event with Holly, and managed our monthly coffee hours with Savannah and Anjali.


Holly Beaulac

Holly Beaulac

CGS Representative - SMD Doctoral Programs
Neuroscience Representative

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP). In Dr. Patricia White’s lab, I’m studying the cochlear genes and damage pathways active in noise-induced hearing loss. I previously completed my B.S. at the University of New England (UNE) and M.Sc. at Brandeis University, both degrees in Neuroscience. I’m a doctoral student representative on the Committee for Graduate Studies (CGS) and have helped organize GSS’s annual wine & brewery tours and discussion groups. My additional service includes the Pre-doctoral Organization for the Neurosciences (PONS), UR Women in the Neurosciences (WINS), and the SMD Alumni Ambassadors.
 

MaKenna Cealie

MaKenna Cealie

Neuroscience Representative ​

I’m a Ph.D. student in the Neuroscience program. I work in Ania Majewska’s lab studying the effects of developmental alcohol exposure on glia and neurons. Before attending the University of Rochester, I received a B.A. in Neuroscience and minor in Anthropology from Colgate University.

Wesley Chiang

Holly Beaulac

Biophysics, Structural , and Computational Biology Representative

I am a Ph.D. student in the Biophysics, Structural, and Computational Biology program. Prior to starting my Ph.D. studies, I completed a M.S. in Optics here at the University of Rochester and a B.S. in both Biomedical Engineering and Materials Science from the University of California, Irvine. Currently, I work in the lab of Dr. Todd Krauss to develop quantum dot platforms to hopefully increase the resolution and sensitivity at which single molecule spectroscopic techniques can probe biophysical phenomena.


Brandon Davis

Zachary Brehm

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Representative

I am a Biochemistry Ph.D. student in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program.  I work in Dr. Mitchell O’Connell’s lab.  My work focuses on learning more about optimal gRNA design for efficient Cas13-mediated RNA knockdown in mammalian cells.  


David Delemos

Zachary Brehm

Cellular & Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology Representative

I am a Ph.D. student in the Cellular & Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology program and I am a member of David A. Dean's lab. My research includes exploring the use of electroporation for gene delivery to the lung to treat cystic fibrosis. My undergraduate degree was a B.S. in Chemistry and minor in Biology from SUNY Geneseo in Geneseo, NY.


Erin Gibbons

Erin Gibbons

Immunology, Microbiology, and Virology (IMV) Representative

I am a Ph.D. student in the Immunology, Microbiology, and Virology (IMV) program and a member of Stephen Hammes's lab.  My research focuses on how estrogen, cancer cells, and immune cells work to promote Lymphagioleiomyomatosis (LAM).  Before coming to the U of R, I received degrees in Pathobiology and Biological Sciences from UConn.


Matt Ingalls

Matt Ingalls

Genetics, Development, and Stem Cells Representative 

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biomedical Genetic: Genetics, Development, and Stem Cells Program. As a member of Dr. Catherine Ovitt's lab, I am studying injury response and regeneration of secretory acinar cells in the adult salivary gland. Prior to attending graduate school, I acquired a B.S. in Molecular Biology from Messiah College. As a member of GSS I am passionate about organizing events, raising student issues, and advocating for positive change to promote an inclusive graduate experience. 


Mark (Nick) James

Mark James

Pathology Representative

I’m a Ph.D. student in the Cell Biology of Disease PhD Program in Pathology. In undergrad, I studied biomedical engineering at Boston University. After completing my B.S., I moved to Durham, NC where I worked as a lab technician at Duke University and later worked for United Therapeutics developing methods of recellularization for pulmonary tissue with the goal of creating a tissue-engineered lung. I currently study cartilage cell biology to advance the development of therapeutics to repair and/or regenerate damaged articular cartilage in Dr. Jennifer Jonason's lab.


Nazish Jeffery

Nazish Jeffery

Biochemistry Program Representative

I am a Ph.D. candidate from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a member of the Bulger lab. My research focuses on understanding the process of dramatic chromatin condensation prior to enucleation during terminal maturation in erythropoiesis. Before attending the University of Rochester, I earned my Bachelor of Science in Biology from St. John Fisher College. I am the GSS student liaison for the parking office. I also serve on the Commission for Women and Gender Equality in Academia and helped establish the UR Science Policy Initiative. In my spare time I enjoy reading, painting, and hanging out with my friends!


Marielle-Jensen-Battaglia

Marielle-Jensen-BattagliaEpidemiology Representative

I joined the Epidemiology Ph.D. program in 2019 after working as a physical therapist in outpatient, skilled nursing, homecare, and day center settings. I’m also a certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist and American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Credentialed Clinical Instructor. My prior higher education includes a B.S. in Biology and minor in Psychology from Roberts Wesleyan College and a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. I currently work with Dr. Christopher Seplaki on research involving healthy aging, assistive device use, accessibility, and associated health inequities in older adults. For hobbies, I enjoy playing board games, gardening, and running for exercise!
 


Chinmayee Katragadda

Chinmayee KatragaddaHealth Services Research and Policy Representative

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Health Services Research and Policy program. My current work is in health services, policy and outcomes research for cancer care and delivery.


Jennifer Lee

Jennifer- LeeMarriage and Family Therapy Representative

I am a Marriage and Family Therapy Master’s student and a Rochester native. I got my undergraduate degree in Health and Exercise Science from Syracuse University. I currently work at the Center for Community Health and Prevention as a Lifestyle Counselor, working in chronic disease prevention including nutrition, physical activity, smoking cessation, and stress management. In my spare time, I enjoy being outdoors, drawing, and cooking!


Andrew Martin

Holly BeaulacCGS Representative - SMD Master’s Programs
Microbiology, Immunology, and Virology (IMV) Representative

I’m an Immunology Ph.D. candidate in the Yarovinsky Lab. I'm in charge of organizing GSS Game Nights, serve on the Public Safety Board, and represent the interests of Master’s students on the Committee for Graduate Studies. I hold a strong interest in science policy and am involved in UR SPI.


Adrian Moises Molina Vargas 

Adrian Moises Molina VargasGenetics, Development, and Stem Cells Representative

I’m a Ph.D. student in the Genetics, Development, and Stem Cells Program. I am in Dr. Mitch O'Connell's lab, studying how to develop type VI CRISPR-Cas systems as RNA-targeting tools. I earned my bachelor's degree in Health Biology from the University of Alcala (Spain). I also serve as the liaison with the Alliance for Diversity in Science and Engineering (ADSE). In my spare time I enjoy reading, going for walks, and hanging out with my friends.


Mukta Palshikar

Mukta PalshikarBiophysics, Structural, and Computational Biology Representative 

I am a Ph.D. student in the Biophysics, Structural and Computational Biology program. I work in Juilee Thakar's lab. My research includes using dynamic network models to study HIV-associated atherosclerosis. Before coming to Rochester, I studied microbiology and bioinformatics at the University of Pune in India. In my spare time I enjoy hiking and cooking.


Jishyra Serrano

Jishyra SerranoTranslational Biomedical Science Representative 

I am a Ph.D. student in the Translational Biomedical Science (TBS) program, in the Infection and Immunity: from Molecules to Populations (IIMP) track. Before starting my Ph.D., I received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and was part of the 2016-2017 Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) at the University of Rochester. My research interests are maternal health and infectious disease. I am currently the social media coordinator for GSS.


Anjali SinhaAnjali Sinha

Neuroscience Representative

I am a Neuroscience Ph.D. candidate in J. Chris Holt's lab studying the vestibular system of the inner ear. I have helped organize the annual wine tour, poster session, and monthly coffee hours. I am proud to be contributing to student advocacy through GSS!


Mark Stoessel

Daniel SteinerNeuroscience Representative

I am a Neuroscience Ph.D. candidate in the Majewska Lab studying cerebellar microglia and regional differences in microglial signaling pathways. I’m originally from Albany and completed my B.S. in neuroscience at the U of R in 2016. I was a technician in the Goldman Lab for two years before joining the NGP in 2018. Outside of school, I spend my time mountain biking and reading.


Farangis (Fara) Zakusilo

Farangis TolibzodaNeuroscience Representative

I'm a Medical Science Training Program (MSTP) student in the Neuroscience Graduate Program.  I’m currently performing research within the Gorbunova & Seluanov Labs. I study the basics of neurodegeneration and therapeutic approaches to neurodegeneration in naked mole rats.  I help organize the Negative Data Club and am an SMD Alumni Ambassador.


Alexis Zavez

Alexis ZavezBiostatistics Representative

I am a statistics Ph.D. student in the Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology. I received my B.A. in Economics and Statistics from Swarthmore College. My research is on developing measurement error models for situations with multiple observed exposures. I also work on the Seychelles Child Development Study, studying the effect of prenatal mercury on birth outcomes.


GSS Alumni

Graduate Student Society Board

 

  • ​Sydney Simpson, Ph.D. Candidate, President 2018-20
  • Brianna (Shares) Kalicharan, Ph.D., Secretary 2017-19
  • Kelly Hanson, Ph.D., Vice President 2017-19
  • Taylor Moon, Ph.D., President 2017-18
  • Laura Shum, Ph.D., Vice President 2017-18
  • Matthew Payea, Ph.D., President 2015-17
  • Aleta Steevens, Ph.D., Secretary 2015-16
  • Valeriia Sherina, Ph.D., Chief Financial Officer 2017-18
  • Elizabeth Belcher, Ph.D., Graduate Students Raising Families Liaison