Celebrating BMB Graduates
Please join us in our celebration as we highlight our BMB graduates.
The profiles are sectioned by degree type:
Doctor of Philosophy
Mentor: Ravinder Reddy, PhD
Thesis Title: Imaging Glutamate in the Human Brain at Ultra-High Magnetic Field: Advances and Applications
Mentor Comment: Abby is one of the outstanding graduate students from my group. Her thesis deals with the development of novel Magnetic Resonance Imaging/Spectroscopy technologies for measuring glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter and metabolic intermediate, in the human brain. Some of the original MR technologies she developed potentially will have widespread applications in studying metabolic underpinnings of therapeutic interventions and mechanisms of a host of diseases. She takes an out-of-the-box thinking approach to research and has a well-rounded background in N/MR physics and image processing and analyses. She is endowed with excellent presentation skills and presented her work at multiple international conferences.
Mentor: Ben Garcia, PhD
Thesis Title: Investigating the Role of Histone H2A Proteolysis During Stem Cell Differentiation
Mentor Comment: Mariel was a pleasure to have in the lab, as she always brought a very positive attitude and worked hard on her projects. She really learned at an accelerated rate, and took ownership of her project in ways that really stood out. Mariel was on the level of an independent postdoc by the time she defended.
Mentor: Donita Brady, PhD
Thesis Title: Identifying a Novel Vunerability at the Intersection of Copper Homeostasis and Glycolytic Metabolism in Hepatocellular Carcinoma
Post-PhD Plans: Medical Writer, PRECISIONscientia
Mentor: Lawrence (Skip) Brass, MD, PhD
Thesis Title: Regulators of G Protein Signaling Modulate Platelet Function to Impact Normal Physiology and the Hemostatic Response
Post PhD Plans: Scientific Advisor, Riverside Law, LLP
Mentor: Maureen Murphy, PhD
Thesis Title: Elucidating the Role of the African-Centric P47S Variant of TP53 in Metabolism and Ferroptosis
Mentor Comment: Keerthana was my first graduate student from Penn, and boy did I get lucky. She was incredibly hard working, patient with me as a mentor, and she had an inexhaustible supply of curiosity and enthusiasm that got us both through the trials and tribulations, to produce a remarkable thesis of which I am proud. She is very much missed by the Murphy lab!
Mentor: Ben Garcia, PhD
Thesis Title: Mass Spectrometry Methods for Enhanced Analysis of Epigenetic and Epitranscriptomic Modifications
Mentor Comment: Kevin attacks scientific problems with precision and accuracy that rivals his analytical measurements. You can always count on Kevin to bring a strong methodical approach to his projects, which often ended with the critical data needed to inform for the next steps.
Mentor: Jim Shorter, PhD
Saul Winegrad Dissertation Award
Thesis Title: Therapeutic Genetic Variation Revealed in Diverse HSP104 Homologs
Post PhD Plans: Postdoctoral Fellow in the Priyanka Narayan Lab in the Human Disease Section at the National Institutes of Health.
Mentor Comment: Zach March is a truly exceptional young scientist. He is erudite, skillful, shrewd, and displays huge grit. He has done great things in his Ph.D. and is a very bright prospect indeed.
Mentors: Erika Holzbaur, PhD, and Michael Ostap, PhD
Thesis Title: Kinesin-4 Motor Teams Effectively Navigate Dendritic Microtubule Arrays via Track Switching and Regulation of Microtubule Dynamics
Mentor Comment: Erin Masucci is an outstanding young scientist - she is a fearless researcher and a generous teacher, mentor, and team member. It has been a true joy to work with Erin over the years, watching her growth as an independent scientist. Erin will be missed, but we wish her all the best in the next exciting stages of her scientific career.
Mentor: Joseph Baur, PhD
Thesis Title: Control of Systemic Lipid Metabolism by Adipocyte mTOR Signaling
Post-PhD plans: Postdoctoral Fellow, Yale University School of Medicine
Mentor: Anish Patel, PhD
Thesis Title: Microtubule Arrays via Track Switching and Regulation of Microtubule Dynamics
Post PhD Plans: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania
Mentor Comment: Of the many qualities that make Nick an excellent researcher, the most striking are the independence with which he operates, his creativity, and the fearlessness he displays in pursuing challenging problems. Nick is a skilled practitioner of statistical mechanics, molecular simulations, free energy calculations and machine learning, and by expertly wielding these tools, he has made important contributions in characterizing protein hydrophobicity and predicting protein interactions. It has been an absolute pleasure to see Nick grow from a passionate researcher to a thoughtful leader and role model for younger graduate students.
Mentor: Roberto Bonasio, PhD
Thesis Title: Investigation of RNA-protein interactions in PRC2 function and development of a high-throughput SARS-CoV-2 testing platform
Mentor Comment: Robert made important contributions to the field of RNA-mediated regulation of chromatin functions and those contributions speak for themselves. In addition, Robert is the best lab citizen ever, incredibly generous with his time and advice. Perhaps the best example of Robert's generosity was his willingness to help with the COVID testing efforts at Penn in the middle of his second major thesis project. Thanks Robert and enjoy your well-deserved Ph.D.!
Mentor: Alessandro Gardini, PhD
Thesis Title: The Integrator Complex: A Multi-Tool for Metazoan Transcription