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Student Mentors

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  • 2024 Students Mentors

    • Born and raised in the Philippines, Patricia came to the United States in 2013 to pursue further education. She graduated summa cum laude from UCLA in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology; Minor in Biomedical Research. She was awarded highest departmental honors for her senior thesis conducted in the lab of Dr. Stephanie Correa where she helped characterize the transcriptional architecture of the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus using single cell RNA-sequencing and in situ hybridization. After college, she spent two years as a postbac fellow in the lab of Dr. Glenn Merlino at the NIH where she studied the mechanism of cancer organotropism using metastatic melanoma cells in mice. As a future physician scientist, she is passionate about improving the healthcare system and expanding research opportunities in her home country. Outside of school, she enjoys exploring the outdoors, cooking Filipino food, spending afternoons in art museums, and mailing postcards to friends around the world.
    • Research Interests
      • Bacteria, Aerobic
      • Pharmaceutical Preparations
      • Eye Diseases
      • Gram-Negative Bacteria
      • Infections
      • Amoebozoa
      • Diseases
      Rebecca (she/her) was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She pursued her undergraduate studies at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, where she majored in Industrial Microbiology. In her home institution, she worked on screening for pathogenic aerosols in the biology department and identifying environmental fungal interactions with bromeliads. Now, Rebecca is a fourth year Ph.D. candidate in the Microbiology Track of the BBS program. In Dr. Barbara Kazmierczak’s lab, she’s studying Acanthamoeba castellanii - Pseudomonas aeruginosa interactions. In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys pottery and baking.
    • MD-PhD Student

      Daniel A. Colón Ríos was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He graduated in 2018 from Universidad de Puerto Rico - Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez (UPR-RUM) with a major in Chemistry. He subsequently moved to New Haven and joined Dr. Faye Rogers lab as a postgraduate associate, where he studied the cellular response to excessive levels of nucleotide-excision repair (NER)-recognized DNA damage. As a postgraduate associate, he also completed the Yale Cancer Center Cancer Biology Training Program (CBTP) and served as an interpreter at the HAVEN Free Clinic. Daniel is now a fourth year MD-PhD Student in the Glazer Lab studying PARP inhibitor resistance mechanisms. He is an active member of the MSTP Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and continues to be involved in the Student National Medical Association - Latino Medical Student Association (SNMA-LMSA) joint chapter at Yale School of Medicine. Out of academics, Daniel enjoys spending time with friends, playing volleyball, going to the beach, and traveling.
    • Born and raised in London, UK, Kerri came to the United States in 2015 to pursue further education. She graduated from Princeton University in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology and certificate in Global Health Policy. After college, she spent two years as a Research Technician in the lab of Dr. Susan Parkhurst at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer research center where she studied the mechanism of Nuclear Envelope Budding using the Drosophila system.
    • Research Interests
      • Biophysics
      • Mechanotransduction, Cellular
      I grew up in Bronxville, NY and headed south to North Carolina for college. I graduated from Duke University in 2017 with a degree in biomedical engineering (biomechanics and bioelectricity concentrations) and a minor in music. As an undergraduate, I did research in cellular mechanobiology. After graduating, I stayed at Duke and worked in molecular cardiology in Howard Rockman's lab, investigating G-protein coupled receptor biophysics in the heart. Currently, I am a graduate student in Professor Stuart Campbell's lab, where I am studying arrhythmias using iPSC-derived engineered heart tissues. Outside of science, I play the piano (mostly classical, a bit of jazz and musical theater), compose, and enjoy road biking.
    • I grew up in the U.S. Virgin Islands on St. John and went to undergrad at the University of the Virgin Islands on St. Thomas, where I graduated with a B.S. in Biology. I am currently interested in research in tissue engineering here at Yale and would like to pursue a degree in Biomedical Engineering in addition to my medical degree. In terms of hobbies and interests, I enjoy playing tennis and guitar and telling people who see my height and ask about the weather that being 6'5" does not cause colossal microclimate differences.
    • April Pruitt is a second-year PhD student in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program (INP), co-mentored by Ellen Hoffman and Kristen Brennand. She is interested in genetic risk of autism spectrum disorder, sex-specific differences in neurodevelopment, and rare copy number variant disorders that predispose individuals to developmental and psychiatric disorders. She is a Kavli Institute for Neuroscience Scholar and is in the Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP). April obtained a Bachelor's of Science degree in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Psychology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
    • Lauren earned a B.S. in Biology from Xavier University of Louisiana. She is a currently a Ph.D. student in the Genetics Department. She works in Dr. Stefania Nicoli's lab, and her research interests involve RNA localization and local translation in the cardiovascular system.
  • 2023 Student Mentors

    • Research Interests
      • Bacteria, Aerobic
      • Pharmaceutical Preparations
      • Eye Diseases
      • Gram-Negative Bacteria
      • Infections
      • Amoebozoa
      • Diseases
      Rebecca (she/her) was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She pursued her undergraduate studies at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, where she majored in Industrial Microbiology. In her home institution, she worked on screening for pathogenic aerosols in the biology department and identifying environmental fungal interactions with bromeliads. Now, Rebecca is a fourth year Ph.D. candidate in the Microbiology Track of the BBS program. In Dr. Barbara Kazmierczak’s lab, she’s studying Acanthamoeba castellanii - Pseudomonas aeruginosa interactions. In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys pottery and baking.
    • MD-PhD Student

      Daniel A. Colón Ríos was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He graduated in 2018 from Universidad de Puerto Rico - Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez (UPR-RUM) with a major in Chemistry. He subsequently moved to New Haven and joined Dr. Faye Rogers lab as a postgraduate associate, where he studied the cellular response to excessive levels of nucleotide-excision repair (NER)-recognized DNA damage. As a postgraduate associate, he also completed the Yale Cancer Center Cancer Biology Training Program (CBTP) and served as an interpreter at the HAVEN Free Clinic. Daniel is now a fourth year MD-PhD Student in the Glazer Lab studying PARP inhibitor resistance mechanisms. He is an active member of the MSTP Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and continues to be involved in the Student National Medical Association - Latino Medical Student Association (SNMA-LMSA) joint chapter at Yale School of Medicine. Out of academics, Daniel enjoys spending time with friends, playing volleyball, going to the beach, and traveling.
    • Elsie graduated from the University of California - Riverside with a B.S. in Biochemistry. As an undergraduate she studied gene regulation with an emphasis on the transcriptional regulation of cell growth, differentiation, and cancer initiation under the mentorship of Dr. Ernest Martinez. After graduating, she spent two years at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine studying brown adipose tissue physiology and the role of macrophage fatty acid oxidation in obesity under the guidance of Dr. Michael J. Wolfgang. Elsie joined the MD/PhD program at the Yale School of Medicine in 2017 and the laboratory of Dr. Vishwa D. Dixit in the Department of Immunology in 2019. She is interested in exploring neuro-immune interactions outside of the central nervous system and in broadly understanding how these interactions might regulate behavior, metabolism, inflammation, and defense against pathogens. At Yale, she has served on the HAVEN Free Clinic leadership board, SNMA/LMSA executive board, and sits on the Committee for Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice (CDISJ). Elsie was born and raised in Long Beach, CA. In her spare time she enjoys reading, art museums, photography, and rock climbing.
    • I grew up in the U.S. Virgin Islands on St. John and went to undergrad at the University of the Virgin Islands on St. Thomas, where I graduated with a B.S. in Biology. I am currently interested in research in tissue engineering here at Yale and would like to pursue a degree in Biomedical Engineering in addition to my medical degree. In terms of hobbies and interests, I enjoy playing tennis and guitar and telling people who see my height and ask about the weather that being 6'5" does not cause colossal microclimate differences.
    • April Pruitt is a second-year PhD student in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program (INP), co-mentored by Ellen Hoffman and Kristen Brennand. She is interested in genetic risk of autism spectrum disorder, sex-specific differences in neurodevelopment, and rare copy number variant disorders that predispose individuals to developmental and psychiatric disorders. She is a Kavli Institute for Neuroscience Scholar and is in the Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP). April obtained a Bachelor's of Science degree in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Psychology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
    • I was born in Calcutta India, and moved to Edison, New Jersey for high school. I then attended Boston University, majoring in Biology and Philosophy. My interest in research began during a summer internship at the Weizmann Institute of Science, where I studied daily changes in mitochondrial numbers. Upon coming back to Boston, I began working on the biochemistry of circadian rhythms at Harvard Medical School, studying the native, endogenous structure and function of the transcription factor responsible for regulating all mammalian cellular circadian rhythms. I also spent a summer at the EPFL in Switzerland investigating robotics and its application in the diagnosis and treatment of psychosis. As an MD-PhD student at Yale, I want to learn how to rigorously think about science and become the best physician that I can be. Outside of school, I love to read philosophy/ethics, eat good food, pursue my love for stand-up comedy, and listen to classic rock.
    • Lauren earned a B.S. in Biology from Xavier University of Louisiana. She is a currently a Ph.D. student in the Genetics Department. She works in Dr. Stefania Nicoli's lab, and her research interests involve RNA localization and local translation in the cardiovascular system.
    • MD, PhD Student, Neuroscience

      Elizabeth is an MD/PhD student from a suburb of Chicago, IL. She attended the University of Chicago where she received a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Biology. She joined the Thinakaran lab, a neurobiology lab, where she studied the role of Rab35 GTPase in modulating APP processing in Alzheimer's Disease in a cellular model. Currently, she is co-mentored by Drs. Amy Arnsten and Lauren Sansing and is studying how neuronal calcium dysregulation contributes to the region-specific vulnerabilities seen in Alzheimer’s Disease. Outside of the lab, she is interested in policy surrounding drug pricing and end-of-life care as well as teaching point of care ultrasound to medical students. She is an avid learner of foreign languages and loves to travel to learn about new cultures. She is also part of the Citations (Yale Graduate and Professional Student A Capella), has served as MSC president (2017-2018), Yale Health Professions Christian Fellowship, and loves desserts & all things Broadway.
  • 2022 Student Mentors

    • Hannah grew up in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan and graduated with a B.S. in Neuroscience from Michigan State University in 2016. She spent her summers between school doing research and exploring new places, including a study abroad research experience in Dusseldorf, Germany and an internship at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. After graduating, she spent two years in Baltimore, Maryland working as a post-baccalaureate at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In Geoff Schoenbaum's lab, she worked full time studying the role of dopamine in associative learning in rats.  She became involved in the community through her work with the Baltimore Needle Exchange program and as a case manager at a free community health clinic. Hannah joined the MD-PhD program at Yale in the Summer of 2018 where she completed her first graduate school rotation through the START Program. She has since become heavily involved in the addiction medicine and psychiatry communities at Yale; she was part of the inaugural cohort of REACH (Recognizing and Eliminating disparities in Addiction through Culturally-informed Healthcare) Scholars and leads the medical school's branch of the Addiction Medicine Collaborative. She is highly involved in the MD-PhD program as a student council rep and through her work with admissions. Hannah will join Jess Cardin's lab in Fall of 2020 to complete her PhD in Neuroscience. Hannah enjoys baking, is a life-long cat lover, recently adopted two adorable pet rats, loves to travel, and is hoping to pick up her violin again one of these days.
    • MD-PhD Student

      Daniel A. Colón Ríos was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He graduated in 2018 from Universidad de Puerto Rico - Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez (UPR-RUM) with a major in Chemistry. He subsequently moved to New Haven and joined Dr. Faye Rogers lab as a postgraduate associate, where he studied the cellular response to excessive levels of nucleotide-excision repair (NER)-recognized DNA damage. As a postgraduate associate, he also completed the Yale Cancer Center Cancer Biology Training Program (CBTP) and served as an interpreter at the HAVEN Free Clinic. Daniel is now a fourth year MD-PhD Student in the Glazer Lab studying PARP inhibitor resistance mechanisms. He is an active member of the MSTP Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and continues to be involved in the Student National Medical Association - Latino Medical Student Association (SNMA-LMSA) joint chapter at Yale School of Medicine. Out of academics, Daniel enjoys spending time with friends, playing volleyball, going to the beach, and traveling.
    • Elsie graduated from the University of California - Riverside with a B.S. in Biochemistry. As an undergraduate she studied gene regulation with an emphasis on the transcriptional regulation of cell growth, differentiation, and cancer initiation under the mentorship of Dr. Ernest Martinez. After graduating, she spent two years at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine studying brown adipose tissue physiology and the role of macrophage fatty acid oxidation in obesity under the guidance of Dr. Michael J. Wolfgang. Elsie joined the MD/PhD program at the Yale School of Medicine in 2017 and the laboratory of Dr. Vishwa D. Dixit in the Department of Immunology in 2019. She is interested in exploring neuro-immune interactions outside of the central nervous system and in broadly understanding how these interactions might regulate behavior, metabolism, inflammation, and defense against pathogens. At Yale, she has served on the HAVEN Free Clinic leadership board, SNMA/LMSA executive board, and sits on the Committee for Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice (CDISJ). Elsie was born and raised in Long Beach, CA. In her spare time she enjoys reading, art museums, photography, and rock climbing.
    • I grew up in the U.S. Virgin Islands on St. John and went to undergrad at the University of the Virgin Islands on St. Thomas, where I graduated with a B.S. in Biology. I am currently interested in research in tissue engineering here at Yale and would like to pursue a degree in Biomedical Engineering in addition to my medical degree. In terms of hobbies and interests, I enjoy playing tennis and guitar and telling people who see my height and ask about the weather that being 6'5" does not cause colossal microclimate differences.
    • Kevin has been researching host-microbe interactions since beginning of his research career at California State Univ. - Los Angeles studying the effect of host antimicrobial peptides on Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm formation to his current position at Yale studying the mechanisms of host cell biology manipulation by Legionella pneumophila under the direction of Dr. Craig R. Roy. He is fascinated about the biogenesis of autophagosomes and how Legionella pneumophila effectively interferes with this process. One of the things he appreciates the most about Yale are the faculty, staff, and fellow trainees that support him in pursuing the research that he enjoys. When outside the laboratory, Kevin enjoys a range of activities from karaoke, working out, to exploring the variety of restaurants around New Haven and Connecticut.
    • April Pruitt is a second-year PhD student in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program (INP), co-mentored by Ellen Hoffman and Kristen Brennand. She is interested in genetic risk of autism spectrum disorder, sex-specific differences in neurodevelopment, and rare copy number variant disorders that predispose individuals to developmental and psychiatric disorders. She is a Kavli Institute for Neuroscience Scholar and is in the Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP). April obtained a Bachelor's of Science degree in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Psychology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
    • I was born in Calcutta India, and moved to Edison, New Jersey for high school. I then attended Boston University, majoring in Biology and Philosophy. My interest in research began during a summer internship at the Weizmann Institute of Science, where I studied daily changes in mitochondrial numbers. Upon coming back to Boston, I began working on the biochemistry of circadian rhythms at Harvard Medical School, studying the native, endogenous structure and function of the transcription factor responsible for regulating all mammalian cellular circadian rhythms. I also spent a summer at the EPFL in Switzerland investigating robotics and its application in the diagnosis and treatment of psychosis. As an MD-PhD student at Yale, I want to learn how to rigorously think about science and become the best physician that I can be. Outside of school, I love to read philosophy/ethics, eat good food, pursue my love for stand-up comedy, and listen to classic rock.
  • 2021 Student Mentors

    • Student Coordinator

      Paola Figueroa-Delgado (she/her/ella) grew up in a small rural town in Puerto Rico and graduated with a B.S. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras. During her first years as an undergrad, she served as a research mentor to pre-college students at the Arecibo Observatory Space Academy conducting research in astronomy, physics, engineering, biology and chemistry. Half-way through her undergrad she conducted clinical research with a Neuropathologist at the University of Puerto Rico Medical School, which helped her define her interests toward conducting neuroscience research. During her last two years of undergrad, Paola was an NIH BP-ENDURE Fellow, which provided training in Neuroscience for individuals of underrepresented and low-income backgrounds. She worked in identifying molecular and cellular mechanisms that promote nervous system regeneration in the sea cucumber H. glaberrima and developed an in vitro culture system for radial nerve cord explants. In the Summer of her junior year, she participated in the Department of Molecular Biology and Lewis Sigler Institute Summer Undergraduate Research Program at Princeton University as an summer intern. Under the mentorship of Dr. Elizabeth Gavis, she worked on identifying the role of the canonical Wnt-pathway in regulating neuron morphology. Throughout her undergraduate degree, she led and participated on various initiatives to promote and increase diversity in STEM. Paola is now a PhD candidate at the Department of Cell Biology in the Yogev laboratory. She currently studies the underlying cell-biological mechanisms that regulate dendrite-specific pruning. In her free time, she enjoys game-nights and dinners with friends, going on a run, binge-watching series, taking a day or weekend trip to New York or Boston, and volunteering.
    • Peer Mentor

      Hannah was born and raised in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan and will forever be a Midwesterner at heart. Always interested in psychology and science, Hannah discovered her love for neuroscience as an undergrad at Michigan State University. While there, she worked for several years in a lab studying a neuropeptide involved in feeding and motivation. She spent her summers pursuing various research opportunities, including a study abroad in Germany researching protein trafficking in a diabetes institute and an internship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) studying neural regeneration after injury. After graduating, Hannah moved to Baltimore, Maryland where she worked as a postbac at the National Institute in Drug Abuse studying the neural circuits of associative learning and decision making. During these two formative years in Baltimore she volunteered at a free community health clinic and on a needle exchange van, both helping to confirm her undeniable need for a patient-facing career. Hannah is now a rising 4th year MD-PhD student in the Neuroscience Department in Jessica Cardin’s lab. Her research investigates cortex-wide neural plasticity during learning and decision making.  She is also active in the addiction medicine and psychiatry communities, works as a student provider at a primary care clinic, and holds various leadership positions. In her free time, Hannah enjoys traveling, hiking, baking, and spending quality time with her two cats.
    • Peer Mentor

      Research Interests
      • Bacteria, Aerobic
      • Pharmaceutical Preparations
      • Eye Diseases
      • Gram-Negative Bacteria
      • Infections
      • Amoebozoa
      • Diseases
      Rebecca was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She pursued her undergraduate studies at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, where she majored in Industrial Microbiology. In her home institution, she worked on screening for pathogenic aerosols in the biology department and identifying environmental fungal interactions with bromeliads. Her first summer internship experience was with BioMed SURF in 2018, where she worked in Dr. Barbara Kazmierczak’s lab. Here, she studied the identification of amoebicidal compounds produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa with activity against Acanthamoeba castellanii. The end goal of this project is to find potential therapeutics for patients with Acanthamoeba infections through natural product drug discovery. Now, Rebecca has finished up her first year as a PhD student in the Microbiology Track of the BBS program. She recently joined Dr. Barbara Kazmierczak’s lab where she’ll be studying amoeba- Pseudomonas aeruginosa interactions, with the aim to understand how Pseudomonas mechanistically causes cell death. In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys making art & crafts, hanging out with friends and baking.
    • Peer Mentor

      Daisy Duan (she/her/hers) was born and raised in Brooklyn, NYC, a daughter to two hard working Chinese immigrant parents. She grew up loving the arts, from drawing to painting to creative writing. It was not until attending high school and taking physical sciences classes Daisy was fascinated with how biology and physics concepts could be combined to help us understand biological phenomena. With the help from her scientific advisors and mentors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Bronx Science, and American Museum of Natural History, Daisy was given the incredible opportunity to first conduct research by the end of 9th grade. Since then, she feels inclined to always pay it forward given the chance: giving feedback on scientific writing pieces and applications, and making aware STEM opportunities to students coming from similarly disadvantaged backgrounds. Upon graduating from Johns Hopkins with degrees in Biophysics and Applied Math & Stats, Daisy became the first in her family to not only finish high school but college. Now at Yale University, Daisy is a rising third year Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry Ph.D. student in Dr. Anthony Koleske's lab. Her thesis project focuses on elucidating the mechanism by which a tyrosine kinase impacts microtubule dynamics to regulate cellular morphogenesis and migration. Outside of the lab, Daisy loves to explore new cities, hike, and cook with friends in her spare time.
    • Peer Mentor

      Justin was born in Atlanta, Georgia but moved to the rural town of Georgia for high school. He then attended Yale College and majored in Molecular Biochemistry and Biophysics. There, he had the opportunity to participate in the Yale STARS program which gave him his first opportunity to do research and study the effects of hypoglycemia on the brain. From his time in lab and extracurricular activities shadowing and volunteering in different clinical settings, he became interested in pursuing an MD/PhD program.  Justin is now a 6th year MD/PhD student in the Immunobiology department in Jordan Pober’s lab. Here, he studies how B cells transmigrate to sites of inflammation in solid organ transplants. When Justin is not in lab, you can find him binge-watching shows, doing pottery, or cooking
    • Peer Mentor

      Alyssa Mitson-Salazar is an eighth-year MD/PhD student at Yale. Originally from the rural farm town of Manassa, Colorado, she attended Yale College as a QuestBridge Scholar and studied molecular, cellular, and developmental biology. Thanks to a program similar to BioMed Amgen she spent three years in a lab studying DNA damage repair. Outside of science she choreographed for her dance group and tutored biology. Upon graduating, Alyssa worked as an IRTA postbaccalaureate fellow at the National Institutes of Health for two years, where she studied human Th2 cells in allergic disease. She returned to Yale in 2014 to pursue an MD/PhD. In the laboratory of Dr. Ruslan Medzhitov, Alyssa studies the role of regulatory T cells in intestinal homeostasis and allergic inflammation. Outside of science, she enjoys dancing, eating tacos, gardening, hiking Connecticut state parks, and playing with her two cats.
    • Peer Mentor

      Kevin was born in the Philippines and moved to Los Angeles, CA when he was 10 years old. Through various programs such as NIH-RISE and CIRM at California State University – Los Angeles, he studied Microbiology and Biochemistry for his B.S. and M.S. degrees, respectively, and researched topics such as the role host defense peptides play in preventing the formation of bacterial biofilms and the therapeutic potential of placental stem cells. At Yale, he joined a Cell Biology laboratory but recently switched laboratories during his 3rd year (2020-21) to study Legionella pneumophila pathogenesis in the laboratory of Dr. Craig Roy. Throughout the week, you can likely catch Kevin on a jog, playing tennis, or spending his grad school stipend at various restaurants around New Haven. But most especially, he will 100% be at the local karaoke bar on Friday nights.
  • Student Peer Mentors 2019

    • Student Coordinator

      MD/PhD Student, Therapeutic Radiology

      Originally from New York state, Alanna attended Dartmouth College where she majored in Neuroscience and studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In college, she worked as a student intern for Dartmouth College Health Services, was vice president of her sorority, Alpha Phi, and had a brief stint on the Dartmouth Women’s Rugby team. Her research in college included studying the relationship between social context and emotional processing, as well as the role of thyroid hormone in brain development. After graduation, to help her figure out her career goals, Alanna spent two years working at the National Institutes of Health as a postbaccalaureate IRTA fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Veronica Alvarez, where she studied dopamine signaling and drug addiction. Her time at the NIH confirmed her desire to pursue a career in science and in medicine.Alanna is now a sixth-year MD/PhD student in Dr. Peter Glazer’s lab. While she was originally interested in pursuing a career in neuroscience, she now studies cancer biology and is particularly interested in targeting DNA repair as a form of cancer therapy. Outside of the lab, she has worked at HAVEN Free Clinic, a student-run primary clinic in New Haven. In her free time, she enjoys salsa dancing, rock climbing, traveling, crossword puzzles, and reading.
    • Peer Mentor

      Pathways to Science Program Manager

      Rick grew up in Palatka, Florida and attended the University of South Florida, majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology. During undergrad, Rick interned at Draper Laboratory, researching microfluidic in vitro cell culture systems for both the brain and liver. His senior thesis involved determining the conditions necessary for long term primary liver cell culture that allowed for study of malarial liver infections. Rick was heavily involved in the service organization Rotary International while at USF. After graduation, he worked as a Preclinical Staff Scientist at Intezyne Technologies, evaluating the in vitro and in vivo efficacy of a novel drug delivery technology for cancer therapeutics. Rick is a rising fifth year PhD student in Dr. Marina Picciotto’s lab, investigating the effect of acetylcholine on appetitive learning in mice. He spends his free time forging relationships between graduate student groups and New Haven neighborhood leaders by bringing science activities to community events, gardening, walking his two cats, and playing board/card/video games.
    • Peer Mentor

      Originally from a small rural town in Puerto Rico, Paola graduated with a B.S. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras. During her first years as an undergrad, she served as a research mentor to pre-college students at the Arecibo Observatory Space Academy conducting research in astronomy, physics, engineering, biology and chemistry. Half-way through her undergrad she conducted clinical research with a Neuropathologist at the University of Puerto Rico Medical School, which helped her define her interests toward pursuing a career in neuroscience research. During her last two years of undergrad, Paola was a fellow of an NIH BP-ENDURE Research Program at her institution, which provided training in Neuroscience for individuals of underrepresented and low-income backgrounds. She worked in identifying molecular and cellular mechanisms that promote nervous system regeneration in the sea cucumber H. glaberrima. In the Summer of her junior year, she participated in the Department of Molecular Biology and Lewis Sigler Institute Summer Undergraduate Research Program at Princeton University as an intern. Under the mentorship of Dr. Elizabeth Gavis, she worked on identifying the role of the canonical Wnt-pathway in regulating neuron morphology. Throughout her undergraduate degree, she led and participated on various initiatives to promote and increase diversity in STE(A)M. Paola has now finished her first-year as a PhD student in the Yogev laboratory, studying the underlying mechanisms that regulate dendrite-specific pruning. In her free time, she enjoys game-nights with friends, going on a run, binge-watching series, taking a day or weekend trip to New York or Boston, and volunteering.
    • Peer Mentor

      Graduate Student, Cell Biology

      Ian was born and raised in San Marcos, Texas before pursuing a degree in Neuroscience at The University of Texas at Dallas. There, Ian worked on validating vagus nerve stimulation as a therapeutic adjunct to classical cognitive behavioral therapy, specifically for the treatment of an animal model of posttraumatic stress disorder. Then, as a part of a joint fellowship program with UT Southwestern Medical Center, Ian completed his honors thesis in the lab of Peter Douglas, studying the role of heat shock response in maintaining intestinal cytoskeletal integrity and longevity in C. elegans nematodes. Ian was also an active peer mentor in the UTD peer-led team learning program, primarily tutoring general chemistry and physics. Ian is now a second year PhD student in the Cell Biology department in Daniel Colón-Ramos’ lab. There, he studies the supramolecular organization of glycolytic proteins in C. elegans neurons and seeks to understand their role in fundamental physiological processes. He is also on the editorial board for the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine and is a track leader for the Yale BBS Diversity Inclusion Collective. In his free time, Ian likes playing board games with friends, playing & watching basketball, and birdwatching.
    • Peer Mentor

      Originally from South Florida, Sydney attended Harvard College where she majored in History and Science. In college, she volunteered with Peer Health Exchange teaching health education to Boston high school students. This work inspired her senior thesis, which focused on the history of Battered Woman Syndrome. After graduation, she spent two years as a research assistant to Dr. Michael Nair-Collins, a philosopher at Florida State University College of Medicine, where she studied public attitudes towards brain death and organ donation. During this time, she also volunteered with the Red Cross, among many things, teaching kindergarteners about germs and hand-washing. This pull towards teaching, health, and research inspired her to pursue a career combining all three.Sydney is now a fourth year MD-PhD student in the Program for History of Science and Medicine. Her research investigates how a social ill - violence, for example - becomes a diagnosable medical condition. When she is not reading or in the archives, you can probably find her knitting.
    • Peer Mentor

      Originally from the rural farming town of Manassa, Colorado, Alyssa’s not quite sure how she ended up at Yale for undergrad. After adjusting to *the city* and *the East Coast*, she decided to study biology. Thanks to a program similar to BioMed SURF she spent three years in a lab studying DNA damage repair. Outside of science she choreographed for her dance group, tutored biology, and was a Freshmen Counselor. Although she knew she loved science, Alyssa was unsure whether to pursue a PhD, MD, or MD/PhD when she graduated. She consequently decided to spend two years working as an IRTA postbaccalaureate fellow at the National Institutes of Health, where she studied human Th2 cells in allergic disease. Alyssa’s experiences at the NIH not only confirmed her desire to pursue an MD/PhD, but also fostered her love for the immune system. She is now a fourth-year MD/PhD student in the Medzhitov laboratory, studying the initiation and regulation of Allergic inflammation. Outside of science, Alyssa enjoys dancing, eating tacos, hiking Connecticut state parks, and playing with her two cats.
    • Peer Mentor

      Lorenzo Rakesh Sewanan (Renz) was born to Guyanese parents in Suriname, a small Caribbean country. At the age of 16, he and part of his family moved to Jamaica, Queens, New York, where he attended the local public high school Hillcrest for his junior and senior years. Due to a fortunate series of circumstances, he was awarded a Questbridge National Questbridge National Match Scholarship to Trinity College, a small liberal arts institution in Hartford, Connecticut, and was the first person in his family to finish high school and to attend college. At Trinity College, he majored in Physics and in Mechanical Engineering, with a minor in Writing and Rhetoric and completing premedical courses, in addition to studying abroad in Asia and Australia. While at Trinity, he was involved in a variety of activities from teaching, mentoring, literacy outreach, and science outreach. While an underg-raduate, he conducted research on the neuroethology of the weakly electric fish Apteronotus leptorhynchus, computational modeling to understand cardiac contractile function, and spent two summers studying intervertebral disc degeneration at the Feinstein Institute and was there exposed to the concept of the physician-scientist. Currently, he is a seventh year MD/PhD student, completing his thesis research on cardiac biomechanics, tissue engineering, and human cardiomyopathy in the lab of Stuart G. Campbell in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He plans to specialize in cardiovascular medicine and pursue a career as physician-scientist. His leisure time activities include happy hours, cooking, gaming, writing, and reading.