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NMB PhD Current Student Profiles

The Nutritional and Metabolic Biology PhD program in the Institute of Human Nutrition draws students from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences.  Here are the profiles of the current student body:

 

Second-year NMB students

Danielle Baum graduated from New York University with a degree in Nutrition and Chemistry. She is now working with mentor Dieter Egli, PhD.

Esther Cynn, MS, graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Biological Sciences and Chemistry. She recently completed her MS in nutrition at the Institute of Human Nutrition.  She has joined Kelley Yan, MD, PhD's lab in the Genetics and Development department.

Molly Gallop graduated cum laude with a degree in Biology from Carleton College. She is now in Anthony Ferrante, MD, PhD's lab.

Eva Leung graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Human Biology, Health, and Society. Eva is working in Michael Shen, PhD's lab in the Genetics and Development department. 

Madeleine Nemchek completed her degree in Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology: Dietetics from the University of California at Berkeley. She is working in Yiping Han, PhD's lab in the College of Dental Medicine at CUMC.

Kirstin Tamucci graduated from Fordham University with a degree in Chemistry. She is now in IHN Director Richard Deckelbaum, MD's lab.

 

 

Third-year NMB students

Alexa Abdelaziz graduated magna cum laude from Rutgers University, with a degree in Materials Engineering and has been working in Dr. Angela Christiano's lab. 

Frank Cusimano, MS graduated from Southern Methodist University with degrees in Biology and Chemistry, and completed an MS in Biotechnology at Johns Hopkins University. He recently joined Dr. Harris Wang's lab. 

 Xueting Li, MS is a graduate of the University of California - Berkeley with a degree in Public Health. She recently completed the one-year master’s program in nutrition in the Institute of Human Nutrition. She is now part of Dr. William Blaner's lab. 

Alyssa Shearer is Clemson graduate with a degree in Genetics and recently joined Dr. Benjamin Tycko's lab at the Institute of Cancer Genetics. 

Gregory Wiessner graduated from Gustavus University with a degree in Biology. He is now working under the guidance of Dr. Cathy Mendelsohn. 

 

Fourth-year NMB students

Rishi Agrawal, MA graduated from Pennsylvania State University with degrees in Biochemistry and Toxicology.  He is working with IHN Director Richard Deckelbaum, MD, studying the effects of acute omega-3 fatty acid treatment on mitochondrial dysfunction following traumatic brain injury.

Stephen Flaherty, MA graduated from Boston College with a degree in Biochemistry. He is working in Anthony Ferrante, MD, PhD’s lab on a novel mechanism for cellular lipid sensing.

Christian Garcia, MA graduated from University of California - San Diego. He is working with mentor Edward Owusu-Ansah, PhD on mitochondria complex 1 assembly in drosophila.

Sarah Gibeley, MA is an alumna from Boston University; she is working in mentor Henry Ginsberg, MD’s lab studying ApoB and DBAT inhibition for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia and liver steatosis.

Cierra Sing, MS, MA pursued a master’s degree in Molecular Microbiology at Johns Hopkins University before beginning her NMB training. She is working in Liza Pon, PhD’s lab, focusing on actin and aging.

Jeewon So, MA is an alumna from Colgate University, and is working with mentor YiPing Han, PhD on the mechanism of fusobacterium nucleatum in intrauterine infection.

Yi-Ting Tsai, MS, MA graduated from Fu-Jen Catholic University in Taiwan with a master’s degree in Biology. He is working with in Stephen Tsang, MD, PhD’s lab, focusing on gene-editing therapy on retinal degradation.

  

Fifth-year students

Kathryn Birkenbach, MA, MPhil is mentored by Rudolph Leibel, MD and Nathaniel Sawtell, PhD; her research is investigating mechanisms of cerebellar involvement in feeding behavior and metabolic regulation. She is a graduate of Duke University with a degree in Chemistry.

Ethan Edwin, MA, MPhil is working with mentor Anthony Ferrante, MD, PhD on the ontogeny and function of adipose tissue macrophages. He graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Biochemistry.

Bryan Gonzalez, MA, MPhil is mentored by Dietrich Egli, PhD and Rudolph Leibel, MD. His research “Stem cell-derived beta-cells to model Diabetes due to HNF1a deficiency” was presented at the IHN’s 2015 Wu Lecture, where he was selected as one of two recipients of the Marija Chouinard Award for Outstanding Research Presentation.  He is a graduate of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, with a master's degree in Medical Biology.

Steven Shikhel, MA, MPhil is doing research in Stavroula Kousteni, PhD’s lab on the role of osteoblast derived Lipocalin 2 on energy metabolism. He graduated from Rutgers University in 2012 with a degree in Exercise Science and Sport Studies.

 

Sixth-year students

Samuel Lee, MA, MPhil graduated from Columbia University’s School of Engineering, and is working with mentors  Rebecca Haeusler, PhD and Domenico Accili, MD on insulin regulation of reverse cholesterol transport.

Diego Scerbo, MA, MPhil is doing research with mentor Ira Goldberg, MD on the role of hematopoietic KLF5 in metabolic disorders.  He is a graduate of Drew University with a degree in Biochemistry and Microbiology.

Elizabeth Stivison, MA, MPhil graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. Her mentor is Liza Pon, PhD and she is doing research on the adaptation to loss of mitochondrial DNA in yeast.

Katherine Xu, MS, MA, MPhil is a Duke University graduate working with mentor Jonathan Barasch, MD, PhD. She is studying the cellular and genetic basis of the kidney’s response to injury and infection. She completed her master’s degree in Nutrition at the Institute of Human Nutrition prior to beginning her NMB training.

Changyu Zhu, MA, MPhil is working with mentor Utpal Pajvani, MD, PhD. His presentation at the IHN’s 2015 Wu Lecture on “The roles of Notch signaling in the pathogenesis of Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis” was awarded the Marija Chouinard Award for Outstanding Research Presentation. He graduated from Peking University, China in 2012 with a degree in Biological Sciences.

Alicja Skowronski, MA, MPhil is an alumna of Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She is mentored by Rudolph Leibel, MD, and is doing research on body weight regulation.

 

Recently Completed Dissertations

Alicja Skowronski, PhD ('17)  is an alumna of Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She was mentored by Rudolph Leibel, MD and successfully defended her thesis "The role of leptin in body weight regulation" this summer.

 

 Lisa Burnett, PhD (‘16) is a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University Medical Center. Her thesis: ‘‘The Role of SNORD116 in Prader-Willi Syndrome’’, was sponsored by mentor Rudolph Leibel, MD.

 Giselle Dominguez Gutierrez, PhD (‘16) completed her thesis ‘‘Maintenance of beta cell identity and function’’, under the guidance of mentor Lori Sussel, PhD.

 Jaclyn Lerea, PhD (‘16) is a postdoctoral fellow of Nutrition Translation at Nestle Health Science. Her thesis ‘‘Early internvention in a mouse model of childhood’’ was supervised by Lori Zeltser, PhD.

 Yuxi Lin, PhD (‘16) is a postdoctoral fellow at UCSF-Mission Bay. Her thesis: ‘‘Role of lysosomes in nonshivering thermogenesis’’; was done under the guidance of Anthony Ferrante MD, PhD.

 

 

 

 

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