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Fourth-Year Interns 2011-12




Josh Espinoza
Pursuing a B.S. degree in Biology with a CMB from SDSU

Josh is currently working in Dr. Miles Wilkinson's lab at the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine under the guidance of Dr. Chih-Hong Lou, studying Nonsense Mediated mRNA Decay [NMD] in hESCs. He aspires to a career studying gene regulation, non-coding RNA, and bioinformatics. Josh's SDSU mentor is Dr. Elizabeth Dinsdale who studies ecological metagenomics.





Chelsea Green
Pursuing a B.S. in Chemistry from SDSU

Chelsea will be doing her internship with Dr. Luke Lairson at TSRI, doing research associated with MS, particularly examining the effects of drug-like small molecules on the differentiation of precursor cells into oligodenrocytes. Chelsea's SDSU mentor is Dr. Chris Harrison, an analytical chemist who uses capillary electrophoresis to study separations of various substances.





Kevin Lopez
Pursuing a B.S. in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry from SDSU

During the internship, he will be working in the lab of Dr. Stuart Lipton at the Sanford Burnham Institute for Regenerative Medicine. His research will involve modeling Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) by generating iPSCs from patient fibroblasts. His SDSU mentor is Kathleen McNamara Schroeder.





Cullen Pivaroff
Pursuing his BS in biology at SDSU.

He previously worked in the lab of Dr. Forest Rohwer, on the dimensions of biodiversity; viral dark matter project. He is doing his internship at the Scripps Research Institute with Drs. Louise Laurent & Heather Schultheisz, exploring the regulatory roles of miRNAs in hESC and the apoptosis pathway. His SDSU mentor for the internship will be Dr. Ricardo Zayas who studies regeneration in planeria.





Shahad (Melody) Rahawi
Pursuing B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology

In the lab of Ralph Feuer, her SDSU mentor, Melody found that susceptibility to coxsackievirus infection correlates with proliferation potential seen in neural stem cells. Her internship is in the lab of Dr. Larry Goldstein at UCSD. She will repair genetic mutations in iPSCs derived from Alzheimer's disease patients, generate neural progenitor cells and neurons and characterize the cells for AD-related phenotypes.





Patrick Reilly
Pursing a BS in biology with a CMB emphasis from SDSU

For the internship he will work in Dr. Suana Yuan's lab at UCSD investigating the mutant tau protein's role in synaptic dysfunction in Alzheimer's patients. He was previously in the Sussman lab at SDSU studying the potential regenerative properties of modified bone marrow stem cells in cardiogenesis post myocardial infarction. His SDSU mentor Dr. Natalie Gude works on Notch activity in cardiomyocytes and cardiac progenitor cells.





Cody Smith
Pursuing a B.S. degree in cellular and molecular biology from SDSU

Cody previously worked in the lab of Dr. Gregg Kaluzhny's, his SDSU mentor developing Solar Cell Nanotechnology. He is doing his CIRM internship at CalAsia Pharmaceuticals with Dr. Tayo Fakunle, differentiating iPSC's derived from patients with Parkinson's disease into dopaminergic neurons in order to model PD, as well as, drug development for the disease.





Trishana Smith
Finishing her B.S. in Biology with a minor in Sociology from SDSU

For the internship, trishana will be in Dr. Mana Parast's lab at UCSD, determining if culturing hESCs on placental extra-cellular matrix creates a better environment for cell differentiation into trophoblasts than on the currently used matrigel. She was previously in the Sussman lab. Her SDSU mentor is Dr. Natalie Gude. Her future plans include entering medical school.





Anna Tarabrina
Kinesiology major with a CMB minor

Anna's undergraduate research was in Dr. Chris Glembotski's laboratory working on cardiovascular molecular biology. For the internship Anna will be in the lab of Dr. Fred Gage at the Salk Institute working on the adult central nervous system and its plasticity and adaptability to environmental stimulation with the goal of developing new methods of replacing or enhancing brain and spinal cord tissues lost or damaged due to degenerative disease or trauma. Her SDSU mentor is Dr. Tom Huxford.





Ryan Tingle
Finishing a B.S. in Cell & Molecular Biology at SDSU.

Ryan has and will continue to work in the lab of Dr. Carlos Barbas at the Scripps Research Institute under the mentorship of Drs. Shannon Sirk and Thomas Gaj. The project focuses on protein engineering and molecular evolution strategies to establish a new technology for genome modification utilizing zinc-finger recombinases (ZFRs). The methods developed will enable targeted genetic manipulation of human stem cells for therapeutic purposes. His SDSU mentor for the internship will be Dr. Ricardo Zayas.





Marina Watanabe
Pursuing a Biology BS with an emphasis in CMB

Marina will do her CIRM internship in Dr. Inder Verma's lab at the Salk Institute under the guidance of Dr. Quan Zhu, investigating the differences between ES cells, naive iPS cells, and primed iPS cells, particularly heterochromatin. Her previous research was in the lab of Dr. Joseph Ecker under Dr. Liang Song, examining the transcriptional response of Arabidopsis to the gibberellin and abscisic acid signaling pathways. Her SDSU mentor for the internship will be Dr. Sanford Bernstein.



Third-Year Interns 2010-11




Danielle Behr
Currently pursuing a B.S. in Biology from SDSU

Danielle is currently working on her BS in Biology at SdSU. She is doing her internship in Dr. Jeanne Loring's lab at The Scripps Research Institute under the mentorship of Dr. Ileana Slavin. Her research is on the unique non-CpG methylation patterns found within stem cells and the involvement of de novo DNA methyltransferases on the regulation of both CpG and CpA methylation, as well as the implications of these enzymes in human embryonic stem cell differentiation. Danielle's SDSU mentor is Dr. Ricardo Zayas who studies molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying tissue regeneration using Planarians.





Keri Elkins
Currently pursuing a B.S. in Biology with emphasis in Pre-Med from SDSU

Keri is pursuing her B.S. degree in Biology from SDSU, with a Pre-Med emphasis. She will carry out her CIRM Internship in the lab of Dr. Inder Verma at the Salk Institute where she will be working with Dr. Quan Zhu to analyze the dynamics of the cell nucleus and how genes are expressed in somatic cells, naive and primed iPSCs, and ES cells in order to understand these cells and their potential use in therapy or if there are possible dangers in using certain cells. Keri's SDSU mentor is Dr. Elizabeth Dinsdale.





Grady Gastelum
Currently pursuing a B.S. in Cell & Molecular Biology from SDSU

Grady is finishing his B.S. in Cell & Molecular Biology at SDSU. For his CIRM internship he will be working with Dr. Paulina Ordonez, in the lab of Dr. Larry Goldstein at UCSD. His research will be focusing on studying the mechanisms underlying neuronal death in Niemann Pick Type C1 (NPC1) disease, using NPC1 iPS, hESC derived nueral stem cell and neuron cell lines. Grady's SDSU mentor is Dr. Mathias Konstandin, who is a post-doc in the Sussman lab.





Ian Ladran
Completing a double-major in Kinesiology and biology at SDSU

Ian is completing a double-major in Kinesiology and biology at SDSU. He is currently working at the Salk Institute in the laboratory of Dr. Fred Gage, under the tutelage of Dr. Kristen Brennand. Ian is utilizing human induced pluripotent stem cells in order to model neurological disorders, specifically schizophrenia. Ian's SDSU mentor is Dr. Kelly Doran.





Cayla Mason
Currently pursuing a degree in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry from SDSU

Cayla is a pre-medical student at San Diego State University pursuing a degree in chemistry with an emphasis in biochemistry. For her internship, she will be working alongside Dr. Angela Court Recart, in the laboratory of Dr. Catriona Jamieson at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center. Her research will focus on testing treatments for chronic myeloid leukemia using hematopoietic stem cells. Her SDSU mentor will be Dr.Tom Huxford, whose lab studies protein structure using x-ray crystallography.





Kayla Muth
Currently pursuing a B.S. in Biology from SDSU

Kayla is an undergraduate senior pursuing a B.S. degree in Biology from SDSU. During her internship she will be working in the lab of Maike Sander, M.D. at UCSD, with Dr. Wang. Her research will focus on optimizing methods for the derivation of pancreatic beta cells from hESCs. Kayla's mentor at SDSU is Dr. Ricardo Zayas, whose lab works with planarians as a model organism to study cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying tissue regeneration, particularly in the central nervous system.





James Parker
Currently pursuing B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from SDSU

James is a senior pursuing a B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from SDSU. He will carry out his CIRM internship in the Stuart Lipton Lab at the Sanford Burnham Research Institute for Regenerative Medicine. He is researching how certain genetic deletions, known to be linked to autism spectrum disorders, may specifically impair neurogenesis. His SDSU research mentor, Dr. Greg Harris, studies the molecular significance of sphingolipid metabolism in Drosophila.





Alen Putros
Currently pursuing B.S. in Biology from SDSU

Alen will graduate in 2013 with a BS in Biology. During his CIRM internship, Alen will be working in Dr. Carlos Barbas' lab at Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. His project involves the identification of genetic and epigenetic factors essential for direct conversation of human fibroblast to neurons of cortical lineages and characterization of human neurons by genomic and functional methods. Is SDSU mentor is Dr. Chris Glembotski.





Arra Revilla
Currently pursuing B.S.Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry from SDSU

Arra is an undergraduate senior pursuing a B.S. degree in Chemistry with emphasis in Biochemistry at San Diego State University. She will be working under the guidance of Dr. Jessica Young in Dr. Larry Goldstein's lab at University of California, San Diego. She will be examining whether modification of SORL1 expression will rescue and/or induce an Ab phenotype in human neurons and characterizing endogenous SORL1 induction in neural stem cells. Arra's SDSU mentor is Dr. Bob Zeller who studies the development of the central and peripheral nervous systems in the ascidian Ciona intestinalis.





Lindsay Southgate
Currently pursuing degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Physical Therapy from SDSU

Lindsay is a fourth year pre-medical student pursing a degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Physical Therapy. For her internship, she will be working in Dr. Richard Milner's laboratory at The Scripps Research Institute, and will be studying the role of brain endothelial cells on laminin expression in order to determine if the brain endothelial cells play a role in the regulation of the neural stem cell niche. Lindsay's SDSU mentor is Dr. Ralph Feuer who studies coxsackie virus B3 and its effects on different neurological diseases.





Katia-Suarez Berumen
Currently pursuing MS in Cell and Molecular Biology from SDSU

Katia Suarez is a first year graduate student, pursuing her MS in cell and molecular biology. She is currently working with Dr. Jennifer Lowe in Dr. Sylvia Evan's lab at UCSD, working with cardiac stem cells. Her home mentor is Dr. Kim Finley who works with Drosophila studying the nervous system.



Second-Year Interns 2009-10




Jeff Bernitz
Currently pursuing a B.S. in Biology from SDSU

Jeff is an undergraduate senior pursuing a B.S. degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology and Japanese. He will be doing his CIRM internship at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in the Muller-Sieburg and Reynolds labs. For his project, he will be developing a system to specifically manipulate hematopoietic stem cell gene expression for the purpose of studying the role of transcription factors in hematopoiesis. Jeff's SDSU mentor is Dr. Roland Wolkowicz who studies the viral-host interaction of HIV-I and the Hepatitis C Virus.





Nima Dolatabadi
Pursuing a BS in Bio-Engineering from SDSU

Nima is a senior pursuing his bio-engineering degree at SDSU. For his internship, he will be working in Dr. Stuart Lipton's lab at Sanford-Burnham, using genetically modified neural stem cells over-expressing the transcription-factor MEF2C and assessing the differentiation and integration of this cell line into the transplanted host using optogenetics. Nima's SDSU mentor is Dr. Mirko Voelkers in the Sussman laboratory who studies S100 proteins and their connection to AKT/PIM in the cardiac context and in novel AKT downstream targets.





Kelley Fracchia
Currently pursuing a B.S. in Biology from SDSU

Kelley is an undergraduate senior pursuing a B.S. degree in Biology from SDSU. She will be working with Dr. Jack Wang, in the Loring lab at TSRI. Her research will be centered on understanding the unique protein-glycosylation patterns found within cancer and stem cells. Kelley'. SDSU mentor is Dr. Chris Glembotski who studies the integration of molecular biology, biochemistry, and physiology signaling pathways that protect the heart.





Samantha Larkin
Pursuing a B.S. in Biology from SDSU

Samantha is pursuing her B.S. in Biology from SDSU, with a Pre-Med emphasis. She will carry out her CIRM Internship in the lab of Dr. Fred Gage at the Salk Institute, where she will study the molecular mechanisms of Schizophrenia and the defining characteristics of Schizophrenic neurons using cell-based human models. Samantha's SDSU mentor is Dr. Chris Glembotski who studies signaling pathways that protect the heart from ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury.





Chiara Leroy
Currently pursuing a B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology

Chiara is pursuing her B.S. degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology from SDSU. She will be graduating May 2011. For her CIRM internship, she will be working at Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute in Dr. Pamela Itkin-Ansari's lab. Dr. Itkin-Ansari's lab is interested in the encapsulation of insulin expressing stem cells as a therapy for diabetes and genetic regulation of Id3 in human pancreatic cancer. Chiara's SDSU mentor is Dr. Chris Glembotski who studies the integration of molecular biology, biochemistry, and physiology signaling pathways that protect the heart.





Seema Patel
Currently pursuing a B.S. in Biology from SDSU

Seema is pursuing her B.S. degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology and a minor in Psychology at San Diego State University with an expected graduation date of June 2012. She is currently working in Dr. Jeanne Loring's lab at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA with Dr. Louise Laurent. Her project involves the reprogramming and characterization of monocytes. Seema's SDSU mentor is Dr. Chris Glembotski who studies signaling pathways that protect the heart.





Lydia Rojas
Pursuing a B.S. in Chemistry from SDSU

Lydia is a senior at SDSU pursuing a B. S. in Chemistry. Lydia will be doing her CIRM internship in the lab of Dr. Barbara Ranscht at Sanford/Burnham in La Jolla. The lab studies the molecular interactions between oligodendrocytes during developmental myelination and remyelination. Lydia's SDSU Mentor is Dr. Diane Smith who studies different mechanistic paths through which electron and proton transfer can be coupled together in reversible organic redox reactions.





Sam Sances
Completing a B.S. in Biochemistry at SDSU

Sam is finishing his B.S. in Chemistry, with an emphasis in Biochemistry, at SDSU. For his CIRM internship, he will be working in the lab of Dr. Stuart Lipton Lab located at Sanford|Burnham . Working with Dr. Shing Fai Chan, Sam will be utilizing stem cell models to screen for small molecules that manipulate expression of endogenous transcription factor MEF2C for use in a novel therapy for Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and other neurodegenerative diseases. Sam's SDSU mentor is Dr. Natalie Gude in the Sussman laboratory who works on manipulating Notch activity in cardiomyocytes and cardiac progenitor cells.





Shannon Waltz
Currently pursuing a B.S. in Biology from SDSU

Shannon Waltz is currently working towards a BS in Biology and a BA in Dance at SDSU. For her CIRM internship, she is working in Jeanne Loring's lab at The Scripps Research Institute. She is working directly with Dr. Ibon Garitaonandia on the role that different culture conditions have on the genetic stability of human embryonic stem cells and also working on the generation of induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells from ALS patients. Shannon's SDSU mentor is Dr. Chris Glembotski who studies signaling pathways that protect the heart from ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury.





Daniel Williams
Completing a B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biolog. at SDSU

Daniel is finishing up his final classes in pursuit of a B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from SDSU. His CIRM internship will be conducted under the guidance of Dr. Jessica Young in Dr. Larry Goldstein's lab at UCSD. He will be generating iPS cells from a line of sporadic Alzheimer's disease (SAD) patient fibroblasts. Focusing primarily on genetic variant SNP haplotypes involving the receptor SORL1 and subsequent APP processing, he is hoping to contribute to the development of an accurate SAD disease model. Daniel's SDSU mentor is Dr. Chris Glembotski who studies signaling pathways directed toward cardio protection.



First-Year Interns 2008-09




Erica Campau
Currently Pursing a B.S. Degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology

Erica graduated in May 2010 with a BS in Biology from SDSU with an emphasis in cellular and molecular biology. During her internship Erica has been working with Erica has been working with Sherman Ku, a graduate student in the lab of Dr. Joel Gottesfeld at TSRI. She has been using human iPSC's to study human neurodegenerative diseases, specifically Friedrich's Ataxia. As a result of her work, Erica is third author on a recent publication in Cell Stem Cell, "Friedreich's Ataxia Induced Pluripotent Stem CellsModel Intergenerational GAA,TTC Triplet Repeat Instability.. Erica will remain working in the Gottesfeld lab as a research technician.





Melissa Carillo
Second Year of the Cell and Molecular Biology M.S. Program

Melissa is in her third and final year of the MS in Cell and Molecular Biology program at SDSU. During her internship Melissa has been working in Dr. Ulrich Mueller's lab at TSRI. She has been designing constructs to be used to disrupt gene function. They have been used for electroporations which have revealed a probable phenotype in the developing murine cortex. Melissa will continue her thesis work in the Mueller lab. Her future plans include taking the next step in a scientific education and working toward her PhD.





Trevor Gale
B.S. Degree in Biology

Trevor is in his second year in the MS in Biology program at SDSU, with an emphasis in Microbiology. During his internship, Trevor worked with Dr. David Routenberg, in the lab of Tobin Dickerson at TSRI, generating leukocytes that will ultimately be used in a micro-fluidic device that mimics host immune response to foreign infectious entities. He was also instrumental in developing the device. Trevor will continue his thesis work in the Dickerson lab on the bacterial pathogen, Mycobacterium ulcerans, the etiological agent of Buruli Ulcer, with the goal of graduating in May 2012.





Nicholas Glembotski
Pursuing B.S. in Mechanical Engineering

Nick graduated in December 2009 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. During his internship Nick worked with Dr. Tsaiwee Olee, in the lab of Dr. Evan Snyder at Sanford/Burnham. There he has been working on developing stem cell therapies for the treatment of cartilaginous defects and osteoarthritis, including developing delivery techniques for chondrogenic cells to repopulate degenerated areas of cartilage. Nick has recently started the MS in Bioengineering program at SDSU. He will continue to work with Dr. Olee as a research technician and to complete his thesis.





Chelsea Kidwell
Senior Pursuing B.S. in Biology

Chelsea graduated in May 2010 with a BS in Biology from SDSU. Chelsea has been working with Dr. Paulina Ordonez, in the lab of Dr. Larry Goldstein at UCSD, using hESCs to study mechanisms of disease in a childhood lysosomal storage disorder called Niemann-Pick Type C. Chelsea will remain in the Goldstein lab, as a staff research associate, to continue with this research. Her future plans include entering graduate school (doctoral) in Fall 2011.





Robert Lacharite
Completing B.S. in Kinesiology and a B.S. in Biology

Robert graduated in May 2010 with a BS in both Biology and Kinesiology. During his internship he worked with Dr. Jack Wang, in the lab of Dr. Jeanne Loring at TSRI. The goal of Robert's research has been to elucidate the functional importance of OCT4 and NANOG pseudogenes in maintaining pluripotency of ESCs and iPSCs. Robert began Pharmacy school at Oregon State University in September.





Yanelli Nuñez
Majoring in Biology with a Minor in Public Health

Yanelli will graduate in May 2011 with a BS in Biology and a minor in Public Health. She did her CIRM internship in UCSD with Dr. Alysson Muotri with a focus in the modeling of autistic disorder using a stem cell approach, specifically, the differentiation of patient specific iPSCs into neurons and neuron progenitor cells as well as the phenotypical and functional analysis of neuronal differentiated cells. Recently, Yanelli was accepted into the S-STEM program, and this program will continue sponsoring her research in Dr. Muotri's laboratory. Her long-term goals are to enter an MD/PhD combined program.





Warren Plaisted
Pursuing B.S. Degree in Biology

Warren graduated in December 2009 with a BS in Biology. For his internship, Warren has been working with Jessica Rusert, a Ph.D. student, in the lab of Dr. Larry Goldstein at UCSD. He has been assessing whether hESCs can be manipulated to generate reliable, easily reproduced in vitro and in vivo models for studying development and progression of chronic myeloid leukemia. Warren will also remain in the Goldstein Lab, as a research associate, working with Dr. Paulina Ordonez and Chelsea Kidwell (a fellow intern). His future plans include entering graduate school (doctoral) in Fall 2011.





Christine Thorton
Master's Student in Cell and Molecular Biology Program

Christine is entering her second year in the MS in Cell and Molecular Biology program at SDSU. During her internship she has been working with Dr. Masanao Tsuda, a post doc in the lab of Dr. Mark Mercola at Sanford/Burnham. The study she has been generating a primary screen for chemical activators of ATF6-inducible protein, GRP78, and assessing mESC differentiation with the addition of these activators. Christine will complete her Master's degre. through a collaboration in the Mercola lab at Sanford/Burnham and the Glembotski lab at SDSU.





Aryan Zarrabi
Pursing B.S. Degree in Biology

Aryan will graduate in December 2010 with a BS in Biology. During his internship Aryan has been working with Dr. Ke Wei, in Dr. Pilar Ruiz-Lozano's lab at Sanford/Burnham. He has been working on the timing of heart specific tissue development in the mouse model. Aryan's future plans include entering an MD program and treating populations in underserved locations.

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