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Student Perspectives

brandon berryBrandon Berry

Graduate Student in the Laboratory of Dr. Andrew P. Wojtovich

Hometown: Auburn, NY

Undergraduate: State University of New York Geneseo

Career Plans: I am passionate about mitochondrial biology, and I plan to be an independent investigator to study metabolism and stress resistance to understand human diseases.

Favorite thing about Rochester: The size of the city is great, where it can feel like a quiet suburb or a bustling city, depending on where you decide to go.

Favorite thing about the CMPP Program: The mentoring is excellent, and I am thankful for the freedom to pursue scientific questions that I am passionate about in my laboratory.

Why did you choose URMC: URMC has a friendly, collaborative atmosphere that is great to achieve personal goals that add to a collective mission to become ever better, individually and as a community. 

Where are you now? I am currently finishing my PhD work investigating mechanisms of hypoxia adaptation, and how mitochondria control the metabolic signaling that shapes fundamental stress resistance programs in complex organisms.

CiscoLily Cisco

Graduate Student in the Laboratory of Dr. John D. Lueck

Hometown:  Livonia, NY

Education Background:  BS in Biotechnology and Molecular Bioscience at RIT (with minors in mathematics and chemistry)

What is your research focus? Myotonic Dystrophy

Why the University of Rochester?:  When I started out, my research focus was in RNA and the U of R has some of the best RNA research out there. Additionally, I am close with my family and the U of R is near home. It's a great university with welcoming folks and lots of opportunity for growth.

Favorite thing about the CMPP Program: The people, they are so friendly and kind.

Career Plans: Undecided.  

Favorite thing about Rochester: The dance scene! When I am not in the lab I am swing dancing, specifically Lindy Hop.

DorvalLouben Dorval

Graduate Student in the Laboratory of Dr. Jean M. Bidlack

Hometown:  Port-De-Paix, Haiti​

Undergraduate:  Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale FL

Career Plans:  I plan to work in Industry and eventually go back home.

Favorite thing about Rochester:  All the bike trails and parks, fantastic Summer festivals.

Favorite thing about the CMPP Program: I have made some great friends, a second family.

Why did you choose URMC:  I had a good experience during the interview weekend. I had a feeling the URMC would be a good place to foster learning and growth.

Where are you now? I am now a 5th year student. I am studying the effects of fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) on opioid tolerance development, dependence, and addiction.

HuangKai-Ting Huang

Graduate Student in the Laboratory of Dr. David I. Yule

Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan

Education Background: Bachelor’s degree in Biological Science and Technology, China Medical University, Taiwan

M.S in Molecular and Genomic Medicine, National Tsing-Hua University/National Health Research Institute, Taiwan

What is your research focus?: The effect of mitochondrial bioenergetics and calcium signaling on an autoimmune disorder, Sjogren's Syndrome.

Why the University of Rochester?: The University of Rochester is well-known for their outstanding medical research and devotion to students’ training.

Favorite thing about the CMPP Program: Everyone in the CMPP program is kind and supportive. They are always willing to assist you as much as they can. I like this big family vibe. In addition, the faculty not only do impressive research, but also are attentive to the students’ interests, providing support in developing the skills necessary for their career following graduation.

Career Plans: After graduation, I would like to have training/ experience in industry.

Favorite thing about Rochester: Travel time between any two points in or around the city is twenty minutes and there are lots of things to do in different seasons: During the summer time, there are numerous outdoor activities, such as biking, hiking, kayaking/ canoeing, winery tours and fantastic summer festivals almost every weekend. Apple/pumpkin picking and seeing foliage in the fall. In the winter and spring, skiing and skating definitely are fun activities to experience.

RookMatthew Rook

Graduate Student in the Laboratory of Dr. David M. MacLean

Hometown:  Rochester, New York

Undergraduate: SUNY University at Buffalo

What is your research focus? In my 3rd year, my thesis project investigates the biophysical aspects of Acid-sensing Ion Channels to tease apart how these unique "receptors for protons" are activated by extracellular acidification.

Career Plans: I plan on becoming an independent investigator to study channelopathies, translating structural and biophysical information into the design of efficacious therapeutics.

Why the University of Rochester?: Being from the area, I always held U of R in high regard as a prestigious research university.

Favorite thing about the CMPP Program: ​The diversity of research gives our students a well-rounded background and allows them to choose labs in vastly different fields, due to our numerous primary and secondary faculty appointments.

Favorite thing about Rochester: Garbage plates. While they sound gross, once you have one you'll think the exact opposite.