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Daniela Geba (6th 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

Aisha Siebert (5th 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 (5th 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 (3rd Year)

Elizabeth Belcher Elizabeth 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 (3rd 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 (3rd Year)

Adnan HiradAdnan Hirad did his B.S. in Chemistry at the City University of New York, Lehman College. He did molecular imaging research at the University of Pennsylvania with Dr. Edward Delakatny, helping develop imaging agents for infections of unknown origin and prostate cancer. He has been matriculated in the MD/PhD program at the University of Rochester since 2011. His current interests are in population health and developing diagnostic imaging and blood biomarkers for mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI).

Research Mentor: Jeffrey Bazarian, MD, MPH

E'Lissa Flores (2nd 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 (2nd Year)

SimsKen is a second 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

Solomon Abiola (1st year)

Solomon AbiolaSolomon received his BSE from Princeton University in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and an MS from Carnegie Mellon University in Biomedical Engineering. He then worked at the University of Rochester Medical Center, where he wrote and led an NSF grant using, Node an mHealth application he developed for the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria. With his mentor Dr. Ray Dorsey he also worked on the development of mPower an Apple application to empower Parkinson’s disease patients. Prior to starting his PhD, Solomon did an internship with Merck KGaA developing innovative early stage medical devices. Solomon is a joint-PhD student between the TBS program and Computer Science. His work focuses on novel applications of technology towards preventive health using techniques from big data and artificial intelligence.  

Research Mentors​: Dr. Ray Dorsey, MD, MBA & Prof. Henry Kautz, PhD

Kristen Bush (1st year)

Kristen Bush

Kristen received a BS in Exercise Science for Health Professions from the University of Houston, an MPH in Epidemiology from Texas A&M University, and also worked as an Infection Control Practitioner for over a year before moving to Rochester to pursue her PhD in Translational Biomedical Science. She is currently involved with several projects, one of which involves the statistical analysis of patient flow and ICU readmissions using graph isomorphism and other data visualization techniques. She is also a statistical contributor on a global health project in Puerto Rico focusing on the education of the importance of genetic testing to prevent adverse maternal and child health outcomes. She plans to further her involvement in hospital flow research and apply statistical mapping techniques to track the spread of infectious disease throughout her dissertation research.

Research mentor: Martin Zand, MD, PhD

Zachary Hilt (1st year)

Zachary-HiltZack received his B.S. in Biology with a minor in Philosophy from St. John Fisher College where he graduated cum laude and as a member of the TriBeta Biological Honor Society. His undergraduate research was using the model organism C. elegans to study the function of tubulin gene isotopes on sensory function, motor function and behavior. Zack’s current research interests are studying preclinical models of inflammatory related diseases and immune cellular signaling. He has a future interest in clinical trial related research.

Marhiah Montoya (1st year, IIMP track)

Marhaih MontoyaMarhiah earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She successfully completed her Emergency Medical Technician-Basic training at Methodist Dallas Hospital and, during college, worked as a Medical Assistant at Methodist Family Health Center where she became interested in studying human health and infectious disease. Following graduation she joined the lab of Dr. Patrick Ryan Potts to study the Melanoma Antigen Gene (MAGE) family at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.  There she worked to develop a comprehensive MAGE tissue expression atlas in human and mouse in order to aide in the discovery of biological functions in normal tissue and in cancer. She also created a CRISPR-MAGE Library for future use in controlling expression of MAGE family members to search for phenotypes and elucidate mechanistic roles in normal tissue and in disease. Currently, her research interests involve using biochemistry and molecular biology techniques to identify mechanisms by which parasites or microbes cause disease.

Sandra Ortega (1st year, IIMP track)

Sandra OrtegaSandra received her B.S. in Biology from the University of New Mexico in 2014. Upon completion of her Bachelors degree she was awarded the NIH PREP Fellowship. As an undergraduate her research includes fragment characterization of CytB locus from ancient iguana specimens to direct repatriation efforts for the restoration of endangered and endemic reptiles. Also, the development of a rapid nucleic acid-based assay to detect and characterize 11 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in the beef chain, USDA-NIFA funded STEC project. As a Post-Baccalaureate she worked on the identification of Chlamydia trachomatis vaccination candidates using bacteriophage virus-like particle platforms, EPIC-STI U19 project. She has recently completed her second rotation and is looking forward to beginning her third rotation to study population health at the Center for Community Health.

Jose Perez-Ramos (1st Year)

Jose Perez-RamosJosé is native from the island of Puerto Rico. He has a background in Political Science and Global Health with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the
University of Puerto Rico, Master's Degree in Public Health from the University of Rochester. His research focus is on Maternal and Child health in Latin America using Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) such as mHealth and Social Science theories to empower communities in low and middle income countries. José also serves as a Senior Project Manager for the Clinical and Translational Science Institute's Informatics Group.

Elizabeth Saionz (1st Year)

Elizabeth Saionz

Elizabeth completed her BA in Biological Basis of Behavior at the University of Pennsylvania and began medical school at the University of Rochester in 2012. She completed two years of medical school before obtaining a CTSI Academic Research Track (ART) fellowship, through which she earned an MS in Clinical Investigation researching the etiology of post-concussion syndrome in college athletes. After completion of her MS, Elizabeth joined the Medical Scientist (MD/PhD) Training Program and the TBS graduate program. Her PhD research investigates perceptual training and vision recovery in humans with cortical blindness. She is interested in cortical plasticity with and without training following stroke to primary visual cortex, as well as improving care for patients with vision loss after stroke.

Research Mentor: Krystel Huxlin, 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

Lesley Chapman

Lesley M. Chapman (5th Year)

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

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