Meet Our Doctoral Program Students

Catherine Ade

Catherine Ade

Undergraduate information
Major: B.A. Zoology; B. A. Music Minor: Molecular Biology
Institution: Miami University
Year of graduation: 2010; 2011

Graduate School information
Year of enrollment in the CMB PhD Program: 2011
Current Principle Investigator: Dr. Astrid Engel
Dissertation topic(s): Engineering a designer retroelement; Host-specificity of Line-1

My doctoral training focuses on two main projects.  My first project is to modify the ORF2 protein of the human LINE-1 retroelement so that insertions driven by this altered protein will target specific locations in the human genome.  Several experimental strategies will be evaluated based on engineering the ORF2 protein by fusing it to multiple known DNA binding domains.  The effectiveness of ORF2 fusion protein targeting will be evaluated by analyzing the rescue of individual insertion events of the retrotransposon Alu or through PCR driven next generation sequencing strategies.  The second project consists of evaluating the cellular components that determine the mechanism by which a discrete domain of the LINE-1 ORF1 protein confers host-specific retrotransposition. For this project, a comprehensive approach will be used to evaluate the role of this identified domain on the biological and functional properties of ORF1p, such as protein stability and subcellular localization in host cells that support or inhibit retrotransposition.  Another goal of the project is to attempt to identify the host-specific factors specifically interacting with the identified domain of the ORF1p.  Approaches taken will include co-immunoprecipitation followed by mass spectrometry for protein identification, as well as the use of cell complementation strategies.
Morales ME, Servant G, Ade CM, and Roy-Engel AM. Altering genomic integrity: heavy metal exposure promotes transposable element-mediated damage.
    Biol. Trace Elem. Res. 2015, In press.

Ade, C and Roy-Engel, AM.  SINE retrotransposition: Evaluation of Alu activity and recovery of de novo inserts.
    Methods Mol Biol. 2015, In press.

McDermott CM, Liu D, Ade CM, and Schrader LA.  Estradiol replacement enhances fear memory formation, impairs extinction and reduces COMT expression levels in the hippocampus of ovariectomized female mice.
    Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 2015, 118:167-177.

Ade, C, Roy-Engel, AM, and Deininger, PL.  Alu elements: An intrinsic source of human genome instability. Current Opinion in Virology 2013, Sep 27. pii: S1879-6257(13) 00153-3. doi: 10.1016/j.coviro.2013.09.002. (PMCID: PMC: 3982648).

Ade, CM, MD Boone, and HJ Puglis. The effects of an insecticide and potential predators on green frogs and northern cricket frogs. Journal of Herpetology 2010, 44:591-600.


Chastain Anderson

Chase Anderson

“The diversity of research topics and investigators makes for a dynamic and eclectic forum of ideas and methods.”

Interests/hobbies: Cooking, History and Philosophy of Science and Mathematics, Speculative Fiction

Undergraduate information
Bachelor’s degree: Liberal Arts
Institution: St. John’s College, Santa Fe NM
Year of graduation: 2007

Graduate School information
Master’s degree: Molecular & Cell Biology
Institution: University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson TX
Year of graduation: 2011

Year of enrollment in the CMB PhD Program: 2013
Current Principle Investigator: Shusheng Wang
Dissertation topic(s): Molecular Regulation of Angiogenesis/Vasculogenesis

My current work focuses on understanding the development and pathogenesis of the choroid, a highly specialized vascular bed at the posterior of the eye. Additionally, I have been awarded a fellowship to perform regulatory research on the vascular risks of electronic cigarettes. It is my hope to be able to fuse these two projects into a solid example of how to address pressing vascular health questions in a tissue specific context.

Wang, S., Anderson, C. “Micromanaging Atherogenesis: Role of MicroRNAs in Atherosclerosis”, Atherosclerosis: Cellular, Molecular & Biochemical Mechanism and Therapy, Ed. by Drs. Hong Wang and Cam Patterson, John Wiley & Sons Inc, in press (projected release April 2015)
Anderson, C., Zhou, Q., Wang, S. (2014). An alkali-burn injury model of corneal neovascularization in the mouse. Journal of Visualized Experiments: JoVE, (86). doi:10.3791/51159

Zhou, Q., Anderson, C., Zhang, H., Li, X., Inglis, F., Jayagopal, A., Wang, S. (2014). Repression of choroidal neovascularization through actin cytoskeleton pathways by microRNA-24. Molecular Therapy: The Journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy, 22(2), 378–389. doi:10.1038/mt.2013.243

Li, X., Zhou, Q., Hanus, J., Anderson, C., Zhang, H., Dellinger, M., Brekken, R., Wang, S. (2013). Inhibition of multiple pathogenic pathways by histone deacetylase inhibitor SAHA in a corneal alkali-burn injury model. Molecular Pharmaceutics, 10(1), 307–318. doi:10.1021/mp300445a

Annie Bowles, MS

Annie Bowles, MS

“The department faculty is very personable making it a comfortable environment for networking, collaborations, and having social events with faculty and students combined.”

Interests/hobbies: painting/arts/crafts, going to music festivals, playing softball

Undergraduate information
Major: Biological Sciences   Minor: Chemistry
Institution: Louisiana State University
Year of graduation: 2008

Graduate School information
Master’s degree: Cell and Molecular Biology
Institution: Tulane University
Year of graduation: 2012
Thesis topic: non-thesis

Year of entry into the CMB department: 2012
Current Principle Investigator: Bruce A. Bunnell, PhD
Dissertation topic(s): Determine the efficacies of adipose-derived stem cell-based therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.

Adipose-derived stem cells (ASC) have demonstrated potent anti-inflammatory and immune-modulatory effects that are beneficial for ameliorating inflammatory and demyelinating diseases. Stromal vascular fraction (SVF) is a novel ASC-based therapy that has yet to be investigated for neurodegenerative diseases. SVF cells, ASCs, and vehicle are administered at critical time points in a disease model for multiple sclerosis. Thereafter, comprehensive analysis of these ASC-based treatments are determined. Additionally, an innovative in vitro priming method is utilized to enhance the anti-inflammatory properties of ASCs which are then used as therapy in the twitcher mouse which is a mouse model for Krabbe’s disease, a lysosomal storage disease. The translational evidence from these studies support the use of stem cell therapeutics for human neurodegenerative diseases.


Bowles AC, Strong AL, Wise RM, Lipschutz RS, Thomas RC, Dutreil MF, Tucker HA, Gimble JM, Bunnell BA. Analysis of Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis Immunopathogenesis and Correlation to Human Multiple Sclerosis. Journal of Neuroimmunology (manuscript submitted)

Bowles AC, Scruggs BA, Bunnell BA. (2014) Mesenchymal stem cell-based therapy in a mouse model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Methods in Molecular Biology, 1213:303-19. PMID: 25173393

Bowles AC, Strong AL, Gimble JM. (2014) Adult Human mesenchymal Stem Cells Delivered via Intra-Articular Injection to the Knee Following Partial medial Meniscectomy. Faculty1000 Prime Recommendation. Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology. Related article PMID: 24430407

Strong AL, Bowles AC, Gimble JM. (2014) Adipose stem cells used to reconstruct 13 cases with cranio-maxillofacial hard-tissue defects. Faculty1000 Prime Recommendation. Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology. Related article PMID: 24558162

Strong AL, Bowles AC, MacCrimmon CP, Lee SJ, Frazier TP, Katz AJ, Gawronska-Kozak B, Bunnell BA, Gimble JM. (2014) Characterization of a murine pressure ulcer model to assess efficacy of adipose-derived stromal cells. Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Global Open, 3(3):e334. PMCID: PMC4387156

Strong AL, Bowles AC, MacCrimmon CP, Frazier TP, Lee SJ, Katz AJ, Gawronska-Kozak B, Bunnell BA, Gimble JM. (2014) Adipose stromal cells repair pressure ulcers in both young and elderly mice: potential role of adipogenesis in skin repair. Stem Cells Translational Medicine, 2015 Apr 21. PMID: 25900728

Frazier TP, Bowles AC, Lee S, Abbott R, Tucker HA, Kaplan D, Wang M, Strong A, Brown Q, Bunnell BA, Gimble JM. Serial Transplantation of CD146- Adipose Stromal/Stem Cells in vivo Utilizing Silk Bioscaffolds. Stem Cells and Development (manuscript submitted).

Zhang X, Bowles AC, Semon JA, Scruggs BA, Zhang S, Strong AL, Gimble JM, Bunnell BA. (2014) Autologous Transplantation of Adipose-derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Lacks Efficacy for the Treatment of Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis. PLoS One, 9(1):e85007 PMID: 24465465

Strong AL, Ohlstein JF, Biagas BA, Rhodes LV, Pei DT, Tucker A, Llamas C, Bowles AC, Dutreil MF, Zhang S, Gimble JM, Burow ME, Bunnell BA. (2014) Leptin produced by obese ASCs enhances proliferation and metastasis of estrogen receptor positive breast cancers. Breast Cancer Res (manuscript in preparation).

Scruggs BA, Bowles AC, Zhang X, Semon JA, Kyzar EJ, Myers L, Kalueff AV, Bunnell BA. (2013) High-throughput screening of stem cell therapy for globoid cell leukodystrophy using automated neurophenotyping of twitcher mice. Behavioural Brain Research, 236(1): 35-47. PMID: 22951180

Scruggs BA, Zhang X, Bowles AC, Gold PA, Semon JA, Fisher-Perkins JM, Zhang S, Bonvillian RW, Myers L, Li SC, Kalueff AV, Bunnell BA. (2013) Multipotent Stromal Cells Alleviate Inflammation, Neuropathology, and Symptoms Associated with Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy in the Twitcher Mouse. Stem Cells, 31(8):1523-34. PMID: 23606584

Scruggs BA, Semon JA, Zhang X, Zhang S, Bowles AC, Pandey AC, Imhof KM, Kalueff AV, Gimble JM, Bunnell BA. (2013) Age of donor reduces the ability of human adipose-derived stem cells to alleviate symptoms in the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis mouse model. Stem Cells Translation Medicine, 2(10):797-807. PMID: 24018793

Chun Chen

Chun ChenStarted Fall 2010
BS, University of Science and Technology, China
Laboratory: Dr. Jeff Tasker


Fading Chen

Fading ChenEntered Fall 2009
BMT, S.E. University, China
Laboratory: Dr. Ben Hall


Angela Crist

Angela Crist

“It’s great being a graduate student in such a small and diverse department. It’s given me the opportunity to experience new types of science and collaborate with some wonderful people.”

Interests/hobbies: Scuba Diving, Kayaking, Taking my dog to the dog park

Undergraduate information
Major:  Biology  Minor: Political Science
Institution: University of North Florida 
Year of graduation: 2013

Graduate School information
Year of enrollment in the CMB PhD Program: 2014
Current Principle Investigator: Stryder Meadows, PhD
Dissertation topic(s): The Molecular Mechanisms of Arteriovenous Malformations

My focus is on understanding the molecular mechanisms of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) which will allow us to develop therapies for patients with AVM related diseases such as HHT. 

von Roemeling CA, Marlow LA, Pinkerton AB, Crist A, Miller J, Tun HW, Smallridge RC, Copland JA. (2015) Aberrant Lipid Metabolism in Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinoma Reveals Stearoyl CoA Desaturase 1 as a Novel Therapeutic Target. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 100(5):E697-709. PMID: 25675381


Michael Cypress

“The CMB department has given me the opportunity to explore different research areas that interest me, and has supported me as I’ve forged my path and started my scientific career.”

Interests/hobbies: Music, camping, cooking

Undergraduate information
Major: B.S. Biological Sciences - Molecular Genetics
 B.S. Mathematics
Institution: University of Rochester
Year of graduation: 2010

Graduate School information
Year of enrollment in the CMB PhD Program: 2011
Current Principle Investigator: L. Gabriel Navar, PhD

Dissertation topic(s): Intrarenal renin-angiotensin system, diabetic nephropathy, SGLT2 inhibition

Activation of the intrarenal renin-angiotensin system is a major contributing factor to the development of diabetic kidney disease. My research is focused on the regulation of angiotensinogen (AGT) in the proximal tubule during hyperglycemic conditions. Glucose is reabsorbed in the proximal tubules via sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2). We are elucidating the role of SGLT2-mediated glucose uptake in the upregulation of intrarenal AGT observed during diabetes.

Barsheshet A, Goldenberg I, O-uchi J, … Cypress MW, et al. Mutations in Cytoplasmic Loops of the KCNQ1 Channel and the Risk of Life-Threatening Events: Implications for Mutation-Specific Response to Beta-Blocker Therapy in Type-1 Long QT Syndrome. Circulation. 2012, March 28.


Drew Davidson

Drew Davidson“The faculty and staff create a really supportive and inclusive environment.”

Personal information
Interests/hobbies: In my spare time I enjoy cooking with my wife, trail running with my dog, and reading about US and world history.

Undergraduate information
Major: Biology  
Institution: Lyon College
Year of graduation: 2013

Graduate School information
Year of enrollment in the CMB PhD Program: 2013
Current Principle Investigator: Ricardo Mostany, PhD
Dissertation topic(s): The impact of aging on the motor cortex

The primary motor cortex is the part of the brain that communicates with the spinal cord to drive voluntary muscle action. My research is focused on understanding how aging impacts the information processing ability of neurons in this area of the brain.


Wen Han

Wen HanStarted Fall 2010
BS, Nanjing Normal University, China
Laboratory: Dr. Frank Jones


Dainan Li, MS

Dainan Li, MS

Undergraduate information
Major: Biotechnology   
Institution: Beijing Normal University
Year of graduation: 2012

Graduate School information
Master’s degree: Biotechnology
Institution: Georgetown University
Year of graduation: 2013
Thesis topic: Low-dose Radiation Effects on T Cell Response Through Altering PI3K-Akt Pathway and Glucose Metabolism in Aging Mice

Year of enrollment in the CMB PhD Program: 2014
Current Principle Investigator: Dr. Huang, Hai (rotation)


Grant Weiss, MS

Grant Weiss

“I enjoy working in a friendly, professional department that still knows how to have a good time.”

Personal information
Interests/hobbies: I am interested in intercellular trafficking and stress related neuroscience. My non-science hobbies include learning Japanese/watching anime, bicycling, and electronic/indie music. I also enjoy the unique social interactions in online games.

Undergraduate information
Major:  Biochemistry   Minor: Biology
Institution: California State University, Northridge
Year of graduation: 2009

Graduate School information
Master’s degree: Biology 
Institution: California State University, Northridge
Year of graduation: 2013
Legionella pneumophila ARF-GAP

Year of enrollment in the CMB PhD Program: 2013
Current Principle Investigator: Dr. Jeffrey Tasker
Dissertation topic(s): Glucocorticoid induced plastic feedback in the hypothalamus

My research currently focuses on the effects that glucocorticoids, a main stress hormone, can have on neurotransmitter receptors. I examine the rapid effects of glucocorticoids on adrenergic receptor internalization and desensitization. I hope to combine research using cell culture imaging and acute brain slice electrophysiology to get a unique perspective on neuroendocrine cell physiology.


Wenduo Ye

wenduoStarted Fall 2010
MS, BS, Xiamen University, China
Laboratory: Dr. YiPing Chen


Yi Yu

“The faculty and staff members in CMB really would like to create an environment that fosters learning through both classroom and laboratory experience. This provides students with broad exposure into research.”

Undergraduate information
Major:  medicine  
Institution: Xiangya School of Medicine
Year of graduation: 2013

Graduate School information
Year of enrollment in the CMB PhD Program: 2013
Current Principle Investigator: Erik Flemington
Dissertation topic(s): Epstein-Barr Virus

Accumulating evidence indicates that lncRNAs, small RNA which has the length of more than 200bp, are important regulators in almost all the aspects of gene expression.   Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), a member of  the Herpes family, can encode small non-coding RNAs and utilize cellular pathways to facilitate their life cycle. Strand-specific RNA-seq shows the EBV latency origin of replication(OriP) may function in the nucleus and may play a role in regulating cellular gene expression and viral DNA replication.


Yihui Zhang

“Professors are nice and help me a lot.”

Undergraduate information
Major: Basic Medical Science
Institution: Southern Medical University
Year of graduation: 2012

Graduate School information
Year of enrollment in the CMB PhD Program: 2012
Current Principle Investigator: Hai Huang, PhD
Dissertation topic(s): Functions of ion channels in calyx of Held

My study focuses on the ion channels expressed in the calyx of Held, and how they control the synaptic transmission.


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