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CURRENT GRADUATE STUDENTS (2014-2015)

Name & E-mail

Year & Advisor
Academic Background
Research & Personal Statement

Kathleen Bazan

kbazan@mcw.edu

 

1

Sarah Logan

sarahlogan@mcw.edu

 

1

Maribel Marquez

mmarquez@mcw.edu

 

1

Mark Paterson

mpaterso@mcw.edu

 

1

David Jensen

dmjensen@mcw.edu

 

 

2

Liang

Biology - University of Wisconsin-Parkside

My undergraduate education was at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside where I majored in Biology and minored in Chemistry and Philosophy.  After working as a Lab Tech in Dr. Harder’s lab for a year, I joined the Medical College of Wisconsin as a graduate student in Physiology in 2013.  I recently joined the Liang lab, which specializes in studying microRNAs across a variety of disease types and rat models.

 

 

Anna Williams

annwilliams@mcw.edu

 

 

2

Bosnjak

University of Wisconsin-Madison

I completed my undergraduate and Master's studies at UW-Madison. My Master's thesis was titled, "The use of iPSC-derived cardiac progenitor cells for regenerative therapy: current roadblocks to clinical success," under the direction of Dr. Tom Burke. In 2013, I was admitted to the Physiology Ph.D. program at the Medical College of Wisconsin. I am currently working in a stem cell laboratory under the direction of Dr. Zeljko Bosnjak, studying how anesthetic cardioprotection is impaired in diabetes patients, focusing on the role of reactive oxygen species, NO signaling, and mitochondrial fission.

 

 

John Bukowy

jbukowy@mcw.edu

 

 

3

Cowley

I work in Dr. Cowley’s lab, and I am interested in the control of renal blood distribution and its contribution to kidney function. Specifically, I am interested in using observed renal transit times to make predictions of microvascular recruitment within the kidney under varying physiologically relevant states. A goal of this study is to describe the mechanisms that are responsible for the observed control of renal blood distribution. In order to study these mechanisms, I use computational modelling approaches, as well as signal and image processing techniques.

 

 

Marc Casati

mcasati@mcw.edu

 

 

3

Liang

I am a second year graduate student in the Liang Lab. My research is focused on studying the role that microRNAs expressed in the kidney play in the development of hypertension and renal disease. I enjoy using my background in utilizing a variety of gene-editing animal models, combined with molecular techniques, such as qRT-PCR and RNA-seq to understand human physiology.

 

 

Alex Dayton

adayton@mcw.edu

 

 

 

3 [MSTP]

Cowley

I work in Dr. Cowley’s lab, and I am interested in the genetic causes of hypertension. Specifically, I am  interested in predicting the phenotypes of novel knock-out rat strains by creating a gene-gene interaction network and simulating the effects of perturbations within that network. In order to create this network, I use molecular –omics techniques such as RNA-seq, as well as novel Bayesian statistical methods. I am also a member of the Medical Scientist Training Program at the Medical College.

 

 

Eric Exner

eexner@mcw.edu

 

 

3 [MSTP]

Greene

As a member of the Medical Scientist Training Program, the genomic and translational focus of MCW’s physiology department makes it a perfect fit for me.  Under the mentorship of Dr. Andrew Greene, I am studying endothelial progenitor cell physiology and dysfunction in an animal model of autologous stem cell therapy.  While recent graduates from the lab have studied salt-sensitivity, adhesion and engraftment of this cell population, current work is focused on exploring interactions of endothelial progenitor cell with the immune system.  The collaborative environment at MCW has allowed me to explore aspects of this model beyond the immediate expertise of our lab, and access to technologies afforded to us through the Biotechnology and Bioengineering Center ensures that I have the opportunity to gain concrete, practical technical skills.

 

 

Thomas Langer, III

tlanger@mcw.edu

 

 

3

Forster

Graduated in 2009 with a Biology degree from

Wisconsin Lutheran College

I have always had an interest in science and medicine which influenced my decision to major in biology at Wisconsin Lutheran College. As an undergraduate student, I had the opportunity participate in a research project studying induced pluripotent stem cells with a mentor who is a graduate of MCW. This project, as well as other internships and clinical experiences, sparked my desire to continue my education at MCW, in the department of physiology. The focus of my project is studying the neural control of breathing in the lab of Dr. Hubert Forster. I am also part of the CTSI program at MCW. My goal is to pursue a career working to translate research into clinical practice in order to expand our capabilities to provide care for patients. 

 

 

Shauna Rasmussen

shrasmussen@mcw.edu

 

 

3

Geurts

Pharmacology & Toxicology - University of Wisconsin-Madison

I am a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I earned a B.S in Pharmacology & Toxicology, with a second major in Biology. I joined the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Physiology Graduate program in the summer of 2012, and the Basic and Translational Science Ph.D. program in the summer of 2013. Currently, I am a second year graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Aron Geurts, where my research is focused on generating a rat liver xenotransplantation model by generating the Fah -/- Il2rg -/- Rag-1-/- rat.  This model will be extremely useful to several different areas of research, such as organ regeneration and pharmaceuticals. It will also allow us to further investigate human liver diseases that are difficult to study in living individuals and other animal models. Upon completion of these programs, I hope to find a post-doctoral position that will further advance my knowledge and skills within the field of physiology. Subsequently, I would like to return to academia and obtain a part time research and teaching position. This will allow me to continue my passion for research while influencing the next generation of scientists.

 

 

Timothy Stodola

tstodola@mcw.edu

 

 

3

Greene/Liang

Graduated in 1998 with a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota

I graduated from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in 1998 with a B.S. in Chemistry. At the University of Minnesota, I worked in the lab of Dr. David Andow, where we studied predator/prey relations among insects in agricultural ecosystems. We also modeled and studied the evolution of resistance in pest insects to the Cry insecticidal toxins engineered into genetically modified corn.  One project that was especially exciting was working with a diverse group of labs, mostly in Europe, that studied the genetics, molecular biology and in-field and lab population screening for Cry1Ab resistance.  After this, I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Greene as a technician, and continued to study problems from a physiology and genomics perspective.  These experiences excited me to go back to school at MCW due to their high-quality research and multidisciplinary focus.

 

 

Maria Angeles Baker

mabaker@mcw.edu

 

4

Liang

B.S. Clinical Laboratory Science, Univeristy of Wisconsin Milwaukee May 2000, MBA University of Wisconsin Milwaukee December 2008

My undergraduate studies were at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee where I was the class president of the then Clinical Laboratory Science Program, now known as the Biomedical Science program. I graduated in 2000, and after passing the ASCP Board of Registry exam, I was an instructor for the same program for 3 years while also working at the Columbia Hospital laboratory. In 2008, I completed my MBA also from UW-Milwaukee and got moved to a laboratory administration position at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin laboratory.  In 2011, I was admitted into the Physiology Ph.D. Program at the Medical College of Wisconsin.  At MCW, I joined Dr. Mingyu Liang’s laboratory where we focus on microRNA and the role microRNAs play in kidney disease and hypertension. I enjoy being able to combine the whole animal physiology approach with molecular biology techniques in my work. At the end of my first year of graduate work I was accepted into the Basic and Translational Science program in which my goal is to enhance my scientific training and complement my clinical background.

 

 

Andrea Lowing

anlowing@mcw.edu

 

 

4

Staruschenko

Graduated in 2011 from Grand Valley State University with a B.S. in Biomedical Science

I graduated in 2011 from Grand Valley State University with a B.S. in Biomedical Science.  While in my undergrad, I had the opportunity to work under Dr. Sylvester, performing isolated ring studies and looking at the effects of different drugs on vascular tone.  After graduation, I joined the physiology department here at the Medical College of Wisconsin and joined Dr. Staruschenko’s laboratory.  My current research is looking more closely at purinergic signaling in the kidney in both a hypertensive and diabetic rat model.

 

 

Madeleine Puissant

mpuissant@mcw.edu

 

 

4

Hodges

One of the major aims of the Hodges lab is to examine the mechanisms of peripheral and central respiratory control, particularly the ability to sense and respond to CO2 (chemosensitivity). We employ a variety of animal models: in-bred, out-bred, and transgenic, as well a wide range of techniques including whole animal physiology, electrophysiology, qPCR, RNA-seq, cell culturing, immunohistochemistry, and FACS.

My dissertation work focuses on the molecular determinants of CO2/pH chemosensitivity in a specific neuron population; the serotonergic (5-HT) medullary raphe neurons. I use a novel transgenic animal containing an eGFP-tag on all 5-HT neurons to separate out this specific population to study the molecular and genetic underpinnings of the intrinsic ability of these cells to sense changing pH/CO2 and how that might relate to differences in hypercapnic sensitivity across age and strains of rats.  Understanding these mechanisms can help us begin to understand central respiratory control pathologies like SIDS, sleep apnea, congenital central hypoventilation syndrome, and COPD.

 

 

Brittany Wade

bwade@mcw.edu

 

 

4+

Mattson

Northern Illinois University

During my undergraduate years at Northern Illinois University, I developed a strong interest in the physiological aspects of science. I obtained various internships and research projects, including one here at MCW, studying vascular reactivity. The experience was very rewarding and educational. After that internship, I knew MCW would be a great place for me to attend graduate school. Currently, I am a member of Dr. David Mattson’s lab, performing studies that investigate the role of immune cells, specifically T lymphocytes, in the pathogenesis of hypertension and renal disease.

 

 

Bradley Endres

bendres@mcw.edu

 

4+

Geurts

Graduated in 2010 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a B.S. in Biochemistry

As a graduate student in Dr. Aron Geurts’ lab, my research has been driven by the application of gene engineering technology to study the involvement of genes in complex diseases. Over the past few years, I have been investigating the contribution of a GWAS-nominated gene to the pathogenesis of salt-sensitive hypertension by mutating the gene in our salt-sensitive hypertensive rat model by zinc-finger nuclease mutagenesis. Using our mutant rat model, our goal has been to elucidate the functional mechanisms leading to hypertension and translate our findings in order to better understand and treat human hypertension.

 

Link to publications on PubMed

Danielle Twaroski

dtwaroski@mcw.edu

 

4+

Bosnjak

Graduated in 2009 from University of Wisconsin River Falls with B.S. in Biochemistry and a minor in Biology.

I am currently a 4th year graduate student in Dr. Zeljko Bosnjak’s lab. The focus of my thesis is on understanding the phenomenon of anesthetic-induced neurotoxicity of the developing brain. Many studies in a variety of animal models have shown that anesthetics, when administered early in life, can lead to death of the neurons and glial cells, as well as possible cognitive delays later in life. This has raised many concerns regarding the use of anesthetics in the pediatric population as millions of children are exposed every year to anesthetic agents for imaging or surgical purposes. However, very few studies have been performed in a human model and it remains uncertain whether anesthetics induce toxicity in young children. I am studying the effects of the commonly used intravenous anesthetic agent, propofol on human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived neurons. I have shown that propofol can induce significant cell death in the hESC-derived neurons and am working to better understand the mechanisms by which this occurs. Specifically, I am interested in understanding the role of the mitochondria and microRNAs in the observed toxicity. I am very interested in better understanding the effects of anesthetics on the developing human brain and the mechanisms by which these anesthetics induce toxicity in order to develop potential protective strategies that may mitigate the toxicity. 

Jessica Olson

jeolson@mcw.edu

 

4+

Bosnjak

Graduated in 2007 from Northern Illinois University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences; 2011 with an M.S. in Virology

My undergraduate and Master's studies were at Northern Illinois University, where I completed a thesis titled, "On novel methods of engineering antiviral resistance: Expression of brome mosaic virus subgenomic RNA3a in transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana plants" under the direction of Dr. Jozef Bujarski. In 2010, I was admitted to the Physiology Ph.D. program at the Medical College of Wisconsin. I am currently working towards the completion of my dissertation titled, "MicroRNAs as Novel Mediators of Anesthetic Cardioprotection" in the stem cell laboratory of Dr. Zeljko Bosnjak. Additionally, I serve as a member of the Graduate Student Association, the Women in Science Advisory Committee and as Graduate Outreach Representative for the student body. I have enjoyed my experience in Physiology because of the intense training in effective scientific writing techniques, presentation skills, and leadership qualities critical for success as a competitive scientific researcher.

 


Nathan Rudemiller

nrudemiller@mcw.edu

 

4+

Mattson

Graduated in 2008 from Auburn University with a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences

I received my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences from Auburn University in 2008.  A short time after graduating, I began to miss the academic environment.  With a broad, yet simple, knowledge of the sciences, I joined the Physiology department at MCW as a graduate student in 2010.  With no research experience prior to joining the graduate program, I was amazed at how rewarding scientific research is and amazed at how much enjoyment I get from overcoming the intellectual hurdles of designing and performing experiments and, most importantly, interpreting the results. My current research aims to better understand the relationship between the immune system and hypertension.  There is a well-established role for inflammation in experimental models of hypertension, and human data implicating immune mechanisms in hypertension continue to emerge.  Utilizing our hypertensive model, the Dahl SS rat, we combine whole animal experimentation and cutting-edge molecular techniques to elucidate immune mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of hypertension.

Bryce Schuler

bschuler@mcw.edu

 

4+

Jacob

Graduated in 2009 from Lawrence University with a B.A. in Biology

I grew up in a small town in northwestern Wisconsin called Prairie Farm where I attempted to prepare for an eventual career in the sciences by working as a nursing assistant in the local nursing home. My interests in science and medicine led me to pursue my undergraduate studies at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. My research at Lawrence focused on characterizing the contribution of the immune response to the common cold virus in exacerbating asthma symptoms and was vital in leading me to the realization that I wanted to pursue medical research as a part of my future career. To that end, I am currently a physiology graduate student in the Medical Scientist Training Program and my research focuses on utilizing whole genome sequencing (WGS) as a means of uncovering genetic etiologies of two specific disease phenotypes as well as adapting WGS analysis pipelines for use in several different Mendelian inheritance models. Being a graduate student in the department of physiology has afforded me the opportunity to determine how pathological genetic variation leads to dysfunction of tissues and organ systems, allowing for a more complete characterization of genetic pathologies. This work has solidified an interest in clinical genetics as well as helped me identify the need for additional research that strives to complete the annotation of the human genome in respect to Mendelian genetic disorders and I hope to incorporate these interrelated fields in my future career.   

 

 

Nan Cher Yeo

nyeo@mcw.edu

 

4+

Jacob

Graduated in 2010 from University of the Ozarks, AR, with a B.S. in Biology and Chemistry minor

I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Ozarks, majoring in Biology. During college, I worked for Dr. Sean Coleman who studied the role of yeast transcriptional factors in oxidative stress regulation. My project specifically studied the transcriptional activator Yap1p and Glutathione S-Transferase activity in redox homeostasis. In 2009, I participated in the SPUR summer research program and worked for Dr. Mingyu Liang in the Dept. of Physiology at MCW. My project was to study the expression of microRNA-29b (miR-29b) in the kidney of the normotensive SD and hypertensive SS rats in response to high-salt diet using RT-PCR. After college, in 2010, I joined the graduate program at the Dept. of Physiology at MCW, and am currently a member of the Jacob lab. My work focuses on dissecting the genetic factors that underlie progressive renal injury using the Fawn-Hooded Hypertensive rat strain. To achieve this goal, we perform positional cloning of QTL that affect renal function and combine with genetic sequence information to identify candidate genes that contribute to renal impairments.

 

 

Clarissa Muere

cmuere@mcw.edu

 

 

4+

Forster

University of Toronto, 2008, B.S. specializing in Neuroscience

As a student in the Neuroscience Co-op Program at the University of Toronto, I was involved in both laboratory and clinical research.  At the university's Department of Physiology, I conducted pilot studies on Drosophila melanogaster larvae investigating mutational dosage effects on locomotory behaviour.  As a clinical research assistant at West Park Healthcare Centre, I worked with a multi-disciplinary respiratory research team.  Our subject population was COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) patients. 

Academics and the pursuit of knowledge have always been important to me, and so graduate studies were a natural choice.  Here at the Department of Physiology at MCW, I hope to contribute to its legacy of world-class research as a student in Dr. Forster's lab studying respiratory neurobiology.

 

 








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