Current Graduate Students in Comparative and Molecular Biosciences

PhD students in Comparative and Molecular Biosciences (CMB) are engaged in research in biomedical sciences at the intersection of animal and human health. Our students study infectious and zoonotic diseases, genetics and genomics, molecular mechanisms of health and disease, virology and bacteriology, among other areas of research.

Ampudia Mesias, Elisabet

Ampudia Mesias, Elisabet

Elisabet Ampudia Mesias 

ampud001@umn.edu

Degrees
M.Sc., Biomedical Sciences, Universidad del Valle, Colombia
B.Sc., Biology, Universidad del Valle, Colombia

Advisers
Dr. Michael Olin & Dr. Liz Pluhar

Research
CD200 can modulate the immune response via immunosuppression of an antitumor responses against brain tumors, particularly glioblastomas, when it engages its inhibitory receptor CD200R1. My research interest is targeting CD200 receptors to overcome the CD200 inhibitory effects and to enhance the antitumor immune response. My main project is to determine the unknown signaling pathways of the activating CD200 receptors induced by the CD200 inhibitors as potential immunotherapies to treat high-grade gliomas.

Publication
Xiong Z, E Ampudia-Mesias, R Shaver, CM Horbinski, CL Moertel & MR Olin (2016). Tumor-derived vaccines containing CD200 inhibit immune activation: implications for immunotherapy. Immunotherapy.Vol. 8:1059-1071.

Presentations
Ampudia-Mesias E, R Shaver, A Stell, Z Xiong, A Hyatt, LM Gagich, and MR Olin. Targeting CD200 Isoform Receptors to Override CD200 Inhibitory Signals. Third Neuro-Oncology Symp, 2016.

Ampudia-Mesias E, R Shaver, Z Xiong, LM Gagich, L Pluhar, and MR Olin. Tumor Derived Vaccines Containing CD200 Inhibits Immune Activation: Implications for Immunotherapy. 30th Ann Pediatric Res Educ Scholarship Symp, 2016.

Anderson, Courtney

Anderson, Courtney

Courtney AndersonCourtney Anderson

and04718@umn.edu

Degrees
M.S., Biomedical Diagnostics, Arizona State University, Tempe
B.S., Animal Science, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Adviser
First Year Research Rotations

Armstrong, Alexandra

Armstrong, Alexandra

Alexandria ArmstrongAlexandra Armstrong

rolan048@umn.edu

Degrees
D.V.M., University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
B.A., Biology, Kenyon College

Adviser
Dr. Cathy Carlson

Research
My area of research interest is bone and cartilage pathology, including developmental diseases such as osteochondrosis, degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis, and novel techniques for cartilage repair utilizing stem cell-derived tissue. I am interested in translational research using animal models that furthers our understanding of both human and animal diseases.

Arnold, Susan

Arnold, Susan

Susan Arnold

Susan Arnold

saarnold@umn.edu

Adviser
Dr. Liz Pluhar

Becklin, Kelsie

Becklin, Kelsie

Kelsie BecklinKelsie Becklin

kbecklin@umn.edu

Degree
B.S. Biology, University of MInnesota Twin Cities

Adviser
Dr. Branden Moriarity

Areas of research interest
My research focuses on generating new models of Ewing sarcoma (ES), an aggressive type of pediatric cancer, using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) and genetic engineering strategies. iPSCs provide a unique opportunity to address some fundamental questions surrounding ES etiology, such as the role genomic context (ancestry) plays on the susceptibility of ES and identifying the cell-of-origin through the development of a novel system, inducing the native translocation.

Coffey, Emily

Coffey, Emily

Emily Coffey

Emily Coffey

coffe099@umn.edu

Adviser
Dr. Eva Furrow

Demos-Davies, Kimberly

Demos-Davies, Kimberly

Kim Demos-DaviesKimberly Demos-Davies

demos027@umn.edu

Dual D.V.M./Ph.D. student, currently in D.V.M. curriculum

Degree
B.A., Biological Sciences, University of Colorado-Boulder

Publications
Demos-Davies, K.M., Ferguson, B.S., Cavasin, M.A., Mahaffey, J.H., Williams, S.M., Spiltoir, J.I., Schuetze, K.B., Horn, T.R., Chen, B., Ferrera, C., Scellini, B., Piroddi, N., Tesi, C., Poggesi, C., Jeong, M.Y., McKinsey, T.A.  HDAC6 Contributes to Pathological Responses of Heart and Skeletal Muscle to Chronic Angiotensin II Signaling.  American J Physiol-Heart Circul Physiol. 307(2):H252-8, 2014.

Stauffer, B.L., Dockstader, K., Russell, G., Hijmans, J., Walker, L., Cecil, M., Demos-Davies K., Medway, A., McKinsey, T.A. and Sucharov, C.C. Transgenic over-expression of YY1 induces pathologic cardiac hypertrophy in a sex –specific manner. Biochem Biophys Res Comm. 462 (2):131-137, 2015.

Reid, B.G., Stratton, M.S., Bowers, S., Cavasin, M.A., Demos-Davies K.M., Susano, I., McKinsey, T. A. Discovery of novel small molecule inhibitors of cardiac hypertrophy using high throughput, high content imaging. J Molec Cell Cardiol. 97: 106-113, 2016.

Blakeslee, W.W., Demos-Davies K.M., Lemon, D.D., Lutter, K.M., Cavasin, M.A., Payne, S., Long, C.S., McKinsey, T.A., and Miyamoto, S.D. Histone Deacetylase Adaptation in Single Ventricle Heart Disease and a Young Animal Model of Right Ventricular Hypertrophy. Pediatric Res. 82(4): doi:10.1038/pr.2017.126, 2017.

Jeong, M.Y., Lin, T.H., Wennersten, S.A., Demos-Davies, K.M, Cavasin, M.A., Mahaffey, J.H., Monzani, V., Saripalli, C., Mascagni, P., Reece, T.B., Ambardecker, A.V., Granzier, H.L., Dinarello, C.A. and McKinsey, T.A. Histone Deacetylase Activity Governs Diastolic Dysfunction Through a Non- Genomic Mechanism. Science Transl Med. 10 (427): eaao0144, 2018

Di, Da

Di, Da

Da DiDa Di

ddi@umn.edu

Degree
B.S., Biopharmaceutics, Wuhan University, China

Adviser
Dr. Hinh Ly

Draper, Garrett

Draper, Garrett

Garrett DraperGarrett Draper

drape079@umn.edu

Degree
B.S., Genetics, Cell Biology, & Development, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Adviser
Dr. David Largaespada

Research
The genetic tumor predisposition syndrome Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) results from the inheritance of a mutated copy of NF1, a Ras-GAP tumor suppressor gene. Subsequent loss of the remaining wild-type allele in Schwann lineage cells leads to hyperactive Ras signaling, cell proliferation, and the formation of benign plexiform neurofibromas. These benign tumors can progress to lethal malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs). Although NF1 and other mutations have been associated with MPNST formation, their temporal dependence during Schwann cell development using a human cell model has not been studied. I aim to utilize a model of induced MPNSTs (iMPNSTs) for a better understanding of the timing at which these mutations occur during Schwann cell development to result in MPNSTs.

Durward-Akhurst, Sian

Durward-Akhurst, Sian

Sian Durward-AkhurstSian Durward-Akhurst

durwa004@umn.edu

Degrees
B.V.M.S., Glasgow University
M.S., Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota

Adviser
Dr. Molly McCue

Research
Genetic variation is a key contributor to both health and disease in all species. The focus of my research is to use next-generation sequencing technology to evaluate genetic variation across the equine population and to use this information to assist in the identification of putative functional alleles present in horses with rare but important diseases.

Publications
Finno CJ, Gianino G, Perumbakkam S, Williams Z, Bordbari MH, Gardner KL, Burns E, Peng S, Durward-Akhurst SA, Valberg SJ (2018) A mutation in MYH1 is associated with susceptibility to immune-mediated myositis in Quarter Horses. Skeletal Musclehttps://doi.org/10.1186/s13395-018-0155-0

Durward-Akhurst SA and Valberg S. Immune-mediated muscle diseases in the horse. Vet. Pathol. 2017. doi: 1177?0300985816688755.

Durward-Akhurst SA, Finno CJ, Barnes N, Shivers J, Guo LT, Shelton GD, Valberg SJ. Major Histocompatibility Complex I and II Expression and Lymphocytic Subtypes in Muscle of Horses with Immune-Mediated Myositis. J. Vet. Intern. Med. 30:1313-1231.

Durward-Akhurst SA, Mair TS, Boston R, Dunkel B. Comparison of two antimicrobial regimens on the prevalence of incisional infections after colic surgery. Vet Rec. 2013 Mar 16;172(11):287

Naylor RJ, Durward-Akhurst SA. Use of the Accutrend Plus point-of-care monitor for blood triglyceride measurement in horses. Vet Rec. 2012 Mar 3;170(9):228.

Awards
University of Washington Summer Institute Scholarship, 2017
Microbial and Plant Genomics Institute Travel Award, 2017
University of Minnesota Council of Graduate Students Career Development Award, 2017
Vaughn Larson Award, College of Veterinary Medicine, 2016
NIH Comparative Medicine and Pathology Training Fellowship, 2016-2019
Morris Animal Foundation Travel Award, 2016
University of Minnesota Council of Graduate Students Travel Scholarship, 2016
NRSP8 Horse Coordinator Fund Travel Award, 2016, 2017
ACVIM Foundation Advanced Clinical Research Training Fellowship, 2015-2016
Veterinary Medicine Travel Award, 2015
Resident Award for Excellence in Clinical and Diagnostic Education, 2013

Emmitt, Nicole

Emmitt, Nicole

Nicole EmmittNicole Emmitt

emmit002@umn.edu

Degrees
D.V.M. in progress, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
M.S., Clinical Embryology & Andrology, Eastern Virginia Medical School
B.S., Animal Science, California State Polytechnic University Pomona

Adviser
Dr. Maxim Cheeran

Area(s) of research interest
My areas of research interest are traumatic brain injury (TBI) and addiction behavior. Mild TBI often has long-term sequela, like an increased risk of depression, PTSD, Alzheimer's Disease, and substance use disorder. In our animal models, we have identified long-term learning deficits after mild TBI that is linked to the inflammatory response to injury. My goal is to understand how a history of TBI alters the response to opiate use, and if the increased vulnerability to addiction can be reversed by altering the inflammatory response in the brain. 

Publications
Martinez, L. A., Gross, K. S., Himmler, B. T., Emmitt, N. L., Peterson, B. M., Zlebnik, N. E., . . . Mermelstein, P. G. (2016). Estradiol facilitation of cocaine self-administration in female rats requires activation of mGluR5. doi:10.1523/ENEURO.0140-16.2016

Estrada, April

Estrada, April

Estrada, AprilApril Estrada

aquin033@umn.edu

Degree
B.S., Animal Science, California State Polytechnic University

Adviser
Dr. Connie Gebhart

Research
Streptococcus suis is associated with meningitis, arthritis, endocarditis, polyserositis, and septicemia in pigs. My major research objective is to investigate the emergence and increased pathogenesis of S. suis, beginning with a transdisciplinary approach to characterize the diversity of S. suis in the U.S. This approach includes the genomic characterization of potential virulence factors involved in S. suis pathogenicity. 

Feser, Colby

Feser, Colby

Colby FeserColby Feser

feser004@umn.edu

CMB Council of Graduate Students Representative

Degree
B.S., Animal Science, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Adviser
Dr. Mark Osborn

Research
My area of interest is in manipulation of CRIPSR-Cas9 systems to drive targeted gene regulation. I am making use of the exceptional targeting ability of the CRIPSR nuclease to co-localize effector domains to target loci thereby modulating downstream gene expression. Collectively, this approach is structured to address unmet needs in the fields of cellular engineering, mammalian cell protein production, and genome editing.

Publications
McDonald-Hyman et al. (2018). The vimentin intermediate filament network restrains regulatory T cell suppression of graft-versus-host disease. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 128(10), 4604-4621. doi: 10.1172/JCI95713. Epub 2018 Aug 14.

Osborn et al. (2018). CRISPR/Cas9-Based Cellular Engineering for Targeted Gene Overexpression. International Journal of Molecular Sciences,19(4), 946. doi:10.3390/ijms19040946

Du et al. Invariant natural killer T cells ameliorate murine chronic GVHD by expanding donor regulatory T cells. Blood. 2017 Jun 8;129(23):3121-3125. doi: 10.1182/blood-2016-11-752444. Epub 2017 Apr 17. PMID: 28416503

Matta et al. Peri-alloHCT IL-33 administration expands recipient T-regulatory cells that protect mice against acute GVHD. Blood. 2016 Jul 21;128(3):427-39. doi: 10.1182/blood-2015-12-684142. Epub 2016 May 24. PMID: 27222477

Garwood, Tyler

Garwood, Tyler

Tyler GarwoodTyler Garwood

garwo010@umn.edu

Degrees
M.S., Wildlife & Fisheries Science, South Dakota State University
B.S., Wildlife Ecology & English, University of Wisconsin - Madison

Adviser
Dr. Tiffany Wolf

Research
To inform management strategies aimed at boosting moose populations, I am utilizing data from RADseq and ddPCR analyses to associate meningeal worm (Parelaphostrongylus tenius) transmission sites with landscape features. I also use metabarcoding techniques to identify immediate gastropod hosts of the meningeal worm. I collaborate extensively with the Grand Portage Indian Reservation biologist, where my samples are collected. 

Geng, Qibin

Geng, Qibin

Qibin GengQibin Geng

qgeng@umn.edu

Degrees
M.S., Microbiology & Virology, Wuhan University, China
B.S., Biotechnology & Biopharmaceutics, Southern Medical Univeristy, China

Adviser
Dr. Fang Li

Research
Currently, I am investigating the structures and functions of coronavirus-surface proteins that mediate receptor recognition and cell entry of viruses. 

Jaeger, Anna

Jaeger, Anna

Anna Jaeger

Anna Jaeger

ajaeger@umn.edu

Adviser
Dr. Matthew Aliota

Jahan, Nusrat

Jahan, Nusrat

JahanNusrat Jahan

jahan036@umn.edu

Degrees
M.S., Cell and Molecular Biology, St. Cloud State University
B.S., Microbiology, North South University, Bangladesh

Adviser
Dr. Peter Larsen

Research
My research explores the molecular epidemiology of zoonotic foodborne pathogens and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the rodent pests from food animal operations and urban premises.

Johnson, Abigail

Johnson, Abigail

Abigail JohnsonAbigail Johnson

joh09451@umn.edu

Degrees
M.S., Immunology, University of Cincinnati
B.S., Animal Science, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Adviser
Dr. Tim Johnson

Korpela, Derek

Korpela, Derek

Derek KorpelaDerek Korpela

korp0033@umn.edu

Degrees
D.V.M., University of Minnesota
B.S., Veterinary Science, University of Minnesota

Advisers
Dr. Erin Dickerson & Dr. Michael Murtaugh

Research
The research topics that I am focused on are hemangiosarcomas in canines and angiosarcomas in humans, as well as head and neck carcinomas in felines and humans. In particular, with hemangiosarcomas and angiosarcomas I am interested in the metabolic drivers of cellular replication and the influences of the tumor microenvironment on tumor cell mitochondrial function. Additionally, with the head and neck carcinoma research, I am examining the function of glucose/glutamine uptake and the ability to disrupt fuel sources as a therapeutic option.

Larson, Christina

Larson, Christina

Larson, ChristinaChristina Larson

larsoncm@umn.edu

Degrees
D.V.M., University of Minnesota
B.A., Biology, University of Minnesota-Morris

Adviser
Dr. Carolyn Fairbanks

Research
The lab's research focus is the spinal neurotransmission of pain and mechanisms underlying hyperalgesia, analgesia, chronic pain, opioid-induced tolerance and opioid addiction. Work utilizes behavioral, electrophysiological, immunocytochemical, and molecular techniques. We seek to develop a novel class of spinally-delivered drugs to reverse rather than alleviate the effects of chronic pain, and to create more potent opioid drugs that lack the central nervous system side effects such as respiratory depression or addictive potential.

Awards
MVMA Power of Ten Leadership Program, 2016-17
AVMA Future Leaders Program, 2016
NIH Comparative Medicine and Pathology Training Fellowship 2017-20

Li, Manci

Li, Manci

Manci Li

Manci Li

li000021@umn.edu

Adviser
Dr. Kent Reed- 1st year rotation

Luong, Nhungoc

Luong, Nhungoc

Nhungoc Ti LuongNhungoc Luong

luong044@umn.edu

Degree
B.S., Biology, Concordia University, Saint Paul

Adviser
Dr. Julie Olson & Dr. Michael Murtaugh

Research
Exosomes are nanovesicles secreted from most cell types and constantly taken up by other cells, thus mediating intercellular communication. Exosomes can contain a wide range of materials including mRNAs, miRNAs, and proteins. My research focuses on the exosomes secreted from microglia during viral infection of the central nervous system (CNS) and how they might contribute to the pathogenesis of demyelinating disease such as human multiple sclerosis.

Publications
Singh, A., Mor , S.K., Jindal, N., Patnayak, D., Sobhy, N.M., Luong, N., Goyal, S.M. (2016). Detection and molecular characterization of astroviruses in turkeys. Archives of Virology 

Aboubakr, HA., Nauertz, A., Luong, N., Agrawal, S., El-Sohaimy, S.A., Youssef, M.M., Goyal, S.M. (2016). In vitro antiviral activity of clove and ginger aqueous extracts against feline calicivirus, a surrogate to human norovirus. Journal of Food Protection.

Presentations
Luong, N. and Olson, JK. (2018) Exosomes secreted by microglia during virus-induced demyelinating disease contribute to viral persistence and neuroinflammation. ASV Meeting, Bethesda, MD (Oral)

Luong, N. and Olson, JK. (2018) Exosomes secreted by microglia during virus-induced demyelinating disease contribute to neuroinflammation. Institute of Molecular Virology Symposium, Minneapolis, MN (Oral)

Luong, N. and Olson, JK. (2017). Role of exosomes secreted from microglia in demyelinating disease. Wis-e-sota, Lacrosse, WI. (Oral)

Luong, N. and Olson, JK. (2017). Role of exosomes from microglia secreted by microglia in virus-induced demyelinating disease. PNI retreat, Saint Paul, MN. (Oral)

Luong, N. and Olson, JK. (2017). Exosomes secreted from virus- infected microglia can activate an inflammatory response in the central nervous system. CVM Point of Research, Saint Paul, MN. (Poster)

Luong, N and Olson, JK (2017). Exosomes from virus-infected microglia can activate an inflammatory response in the central nervous system. Amer. Assn. for Immunol. Conference, Washington, D.C.

Luong, N and Olson, JK (2017). Exosomes from virus-infected microglia can activate an inflammatory response in the central nervous system. Amer. Assn. for Virol. Meeting, Madison, WI. 

Luong, N., Penm, S., and Olson, JK. (2016). Exosomes can transfer viral components between cells. iCOMOS 2nd Conference, Minnesota

Luong, N., Trudeau, M.,Verma, H., Mor, S.K., Erber, J., Goyal, S.M. (2014). Cultivation and molecular characterization of U.S. strains of porcine sapelovirus. Leman Swine Conference

Awards
American Society for Virology Student Travel Award, 2018
Development Initiative Grant sponsored by Coca-Cola, 2018
Student Service Fees Event Grant, 2018
Amer. Soc. for Virol. Student Travel Award, 2017
Amer. Assn. of Immunol. Laboratory Travel Grant, 2017
NIDA PharmacoNeuroImmunology Fellowship, 2016-2018

Matson, Anders

Matson, Anders

Anders MatsonAnders Matson

matso198@umn.edu

Degree
B.S., Biology, Augsburg College

Adviser
Dr. Chris Burlak

Area(s) of research interest
My research interests are genetic engineering and transplant immunology.  My research is currently focused on the use of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to create a porcine organ donor that elicits a lower immune response from humans as compared to non-genetically engineered donors.   This research allows me to explore the efficiency of the CRISPR Cas9 system and the potential for off target mutations.  This work has resulted in the ability to characterize and optimize CRIPSR efficiency at gene-targeting sites.  Characterization of the genetically engineered porcine donors involves pre-transplant immunologic screening that determines the potential for immune rejection between the non-human primate recipient and porcine donor.  My research also includes post-transplant immunologic monitoring of the xenograft recipients.  While we have made great progress in genetic engineering, the islet cells we transplant still under go an eventual immune assault.  I work with our immune monitoring team to unravel the complexities of B and T cell activation in response to xenografts.

Munsey, Anna

Munsey, Anna

Munsey, AnnaAnna Munsey

munse010@umn.edu

Degrees
D.V.M., University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.A., Biology, University of Virginia

Advisers
Dr. Andres Perez & Dr. Kim VanderWaal

Research
My research is focused on understanding the epidemiology of foot-and-mouth disease in endemic countries.

Murphy, Hannah

Murphy, Hannah

Hannah Murphy

Hannah Murphy

murp1625@umn.edu

Advisers
Dr. Yuying Liang and Dr. Hinh Ly

Norton, Elaine

Norton, Elaine

Elaine NortonElaine Norton

norto253@umn.edu

Degrees
M.S., Biomedical Sciences, Auburn University
D.V.M., Colorado State University
B.S., Arizona State University Tempe

Adviser
Dr. Molly McCue

Research
Equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) is a metabolic derangement in horses defined by increased insulin resistance and has been described as an animal model for type two diabetes in humans. The focus of my research is using genome-wide association studies and next-generation sequencing technologies to look at associations between known EMS phenotypes, metabolic derangements, and breed susceptibility to identify genes and putative functional alleles associated with EMS and laminitis risk, using Welsh Ponies and Morgans as a model population.

Awards
NIH Comparative Medicine and Pathology Training Fellowship, 2013-2016

Oppler, Scott

Oppler, Scott

Scott Hunter Oppler

opple001@umn.edu

Dual D.V.M./Ph.D. student, currently in D.V.M. curriculum

Degree
B.S., Biology & Psychology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Areas of research interest
My area of research interest is metabolic diseases, especially Type 1 diabetes, and the refinement of animal models used in the transitional research to study them. I am interested in translational research that helps advance the development of novel and optimization of current therapies for these diseases.

Oram, Marissa

Oram, Marissa

Marissa OramMarissa Oram

oramx003@umn.edu

Degree
B.A., Chemistry, College of St. Benedict

Adviser
Dr. Anja-Katrin Bielinsky

Research
Genome instability is a major driver of cancer genome evolution. Replication stress is the primary source of genome instability when stalled replication forks are processed into DNA double strand breaks. Cancer cells live under chronic replication stress and, therefore, they must have adopted replication stress tolerance pathways. We hypothesize that replication stress tolerance can also lead to drug resistance making effective cancer therapies unattainable. We have shown that the yeast ubiquitin ligase, Slx5/8, promotes replication stress tolerance by allowing cells to enter mitosis with under replicated DNA. Now, we want to understand the role of the mammalian ortholog, RING finger protein 4 (RNF4), in response to replication stress. This research will lead to a better mechanistic understanding of replication stress tolerance and chemoresistance which could reveal potential anti-cancer drug targets.

Osum, Sara

Osum, Sara

Sara IsaksonSara Isakson

isaks047@umn.edu

Degrees
D.V.M., University of Minnesota
B.S., Biological Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz

Adviser
Dr. David Largaespada

Research
Neurofibromatosis Type I (NF1) is a common tumor predisposition syndrome characterized by a variety of debilitating clinical manifestations. Many mouse models have been developed to better understand the disease, but none of these models display the complexity of disease seen in humans. In partnership with the biotechnology company Recombinetics, Inc., we have developed a novel swine model of NF1 that fully recapitulates the human disease. I am working to characterize the disease phenotype in these genetically engineered pigs with the goal of using them as a preclinical model to better inform treatment strategies for human NF1 patients. I am also using genetically engineered human Schwann cell lines to elucidate the precise cell signaling aberrations associated with peripheral nerve tumors in NF1 patients. This research will ideally lead to the development of novel therapies to be further tested in our preclinical models.

Publications
Isakson, S. H., Katzman, S. D., & Hoyer, K. K. (2012). Spontaneous Autoimmunity in the Absence of IL-2 Is Driven by Uncontrolled Dendritic Cells. The Journal of Immunology, 189(4), 1585 LP-1593.

Katzman, S. D., Hoyer, K. K., Dooms, H., Gratz, I. K., Rosenblum, M. D., Paw, J. S., Isakson, S.H., Abbas, A. K. (2011). Opposing functions of IL-2 and IL-7 in the regulation of immune responses. Cytokine, 56(1), 116–121.

Presentations
Isakson, SH, Coutts, A, William, K, et al. A porcine model of neurofibromatosis type I-associated nervous system tumors. Soc. Neuro-Oncology Annual Scientific Meeting, San Francisco, CA. Nov. 2017

Isakson SH, Malhotra D, Jenkins, MK. Qualitative effects of thymic atrophy on self-reactive CD4+ T cells. UMN CVM Research Days, St. Paul, MN. October 2014.

Isakson SH, Malhotra D, Jenkins, MK. Qualitative effects of thymic atrophy on self-reactive CD4+ T cells. Merial-NIH Veterinary Scholars Symposium, Ithaca, NY. August 2014.

Awards
Brain Tumor Program Travel Award, 2017
CMB Student Travel Award, 2017
NIH Comparative Medicine and Pathology Training Fellowship, 2017
First Place Poster Presentation Points of Pride Research Day October 2014
Merial-NIH Summer Scholars Award 2014

Phung, Gwen

Phung, Gwen

Gwen Phung

Gwen Phung

phung036@umn.edu

Adviser
Dr. Kent Reed- 1st year rotation

Pope, Emily

Pope, Emily

Emily PopeEmily Pope

popex102@umn.edu 

Dual D.V.M./Ph.D. student, currently in D.V.M. curriculum

Degree
B.S., Animal Science, University of Minnesota

Advisers
Dr. David Largaespada & Dr. Liz Pluhar

Research
Osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone tumor in both humans and dogs. This type of cancer has a high propensity for metastasis to the lungs and the presence of macrometastases on diagnosis causes overall survival to drop precipitously. My research interest is in discovering the genetic changes allowing these pulmonary metastases to resist treatment with chemotherapy and evade the natural immune system, using Sleeping Beauty accelerated osteosarcoma cells in immunodeficient and immunocompetent mouse models.

Presentations
Pope, E., Kurata, M., Shu, J., Sarver, A., Temiz, N., Hudson, W., Slipek, N., Yuan, W., Seshagiri, S., Largaespada, D.  A forward genetic screen for drivers of mammary tumorigenesis and progression in the context of PI3K hyperactivation.  Univ. MN College of Veterinary Medicine Comparative Oncology Seminar, August 2017.

Awards
Al Weber DVM/PhD Fellowship, 2017
First Place Poster Presentation, CVM Points of Pride Research Day, 2017

Quintana, Ruth

Quintana, Ruth

Ruth Quintana

Ruth Quintana

rquintan@umn.edu

Degree
B.S., Biology, University of Puerto Rico Piedras

Adviser
Dr. Alonso Guedes

Area of research interest
My current research focuses on neuro-immune interactions relevant for chronic pain and opioid mechanisms. Specifically, we study the role of calcium signaling in glia and its involvement in nociception, opioid antinociception and opioid tolerance using mouse models of chronic pain. 

Robbins, Gabrielle

Robbins, Gabrielle

Gabrielle RobbinsGabrielle Robbins

robbi264@umn.edu

Dual D.V.M./Ph.D. student, currently in D.V.M. curriculum

Degree
B.S., Animal Science, North Carolina State University Raleigh

Smeester, Branden

Smeester, Branden

Branden SmeesterBranden Smeester

smees001@umn.edu

Degree
B.S., Biology, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Advisers
Dr. Branden Moriarity & Dr. David Largaespada

Research
I aim to develop an understanding of the genes and pathways that control osteosarcomagenesis and metastasis. One of the major obstacles facing osteosarcoma (OSA) research is the lack of targeted therapies to treat human and animal osteosarcoma patients. While some genes have been definitively implicated in osteosarcoma, it is quite difficult to determine which are actually causing osteosarcoma development, progression and metastasis without functional validation and mechanistic study. I am utilizing cutting-edge genome engineering tools such as the PiggyBac/Sleeping Beauty (PB/SB) and CRISPR nuclease systems to target candidate osteosarcoma cancer genes identified for the first time via a forward genetic screen.

Publications
Smeester, BA, Lee JH, Beitz, AJ.  Influence of social interaction on nociceptive-induced changes in locomotor activity in a mouse model of acute inflammatory pain: use of novel thermal assays.  Brain Res. Bull. 2017 134:47-54. PMID: 28652168 PMCID: PMC5597466

Smeester BA, O’Brien EE, Michlitsch KS, Lee JH, Beitz AJ. The relationship of bone-tumor-induced spinal cord astrocyte activation and aromatase expression to mechanical hyperalgesia and cold hypersensitivity in intact female and ovariectomized mice. Neuroscience. 2016 Jun 2;324:344-54. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2016.03.030. Epub 2016 Mar 16. PMID: 26995084

O'Brien EE, Smeester BA, Michlitsch KS, Lee JH, Beitz AJ. Colocalization of aromatase in spinal cord astrocytes: Differences in expression and relationship to mechanical and thermal hyperalgesia in murine models of a painful and a non-painful bone tumor. Neuroscience. 2015 Aug 20;301:235-45. PubMed PMID: 26071956; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4504775.

Smeester BA, Lunzer MM, Akgün E, Beitz AJ, Portoghese PS. Targeting putative mu opioid/metabotropic glutamate receptor-5 heteromers produces potent antinociception in a chronic murine bone cancer model. Eur J Pharmacol. 2014 Nov 15;743:48-52. PubMed PMID: 25239072; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4259840.

Akgün E, Javed MI, Lunzer MM, Smeester BA, Beitz AJ, Portoghese PS. Ligands that interact with putative MOR-mGluR5 heteromer in mice with inflammatory pain produce potent antinociception. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jul 9;110(28):11595-9. PubMed PMID: 23798416; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3710855.

Presentations
Smeester BA, Wolf NK, Weg MT, Largaespada DA, Moriarity BS. "Validation of Candidate Osteosarcoma genes using the CRISPR System." Conference on Transposition and Genome Engineering (2015). Nara, Japan. Invited Speaker.

Awards
NIH T32 Musculoskeletal Training Grant Renewal, 2017
Member, AAAS/Science Program for Excellence in Science, 2017
Randy Shaver Research and Community Fund Co-Awardee, 2017
Honorable Mention, CVM Points of Pride Research Day Poster Presentation, 2016
Center for Genome Engineering (CGE) Travel Award, 2016, 2017
NIH T32 Musculoskeletal Training Grant Awardee, 2016​-2019
Comparative and Molecular Biosciences (CMB) Travel Award, 2015, 2017

Smith, Emily

Smith, Emily

Emily SmithEmily Smith

smit8380@umn.edu

Degrees
M.P.H., Epidemiology, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
B.A., Biology & History, University of Missouri Columbia

Adviser
Dr. Tim Johnson

Research
My research focuses on the ecology, evolution, and epidemiology of Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale (ORT) in turkeys. I use comparative genomics to identify similarities and differences across ORT strains that will allow us to develop more effective autogenous vaccines.

Steinhoff, Magie

Steinhoff, Magie

Maggie SteinhoffMagie Steinhoff

stei1258@umn.edu

Degrees
M.B.S., Biological Sciences, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
B.S., Animal Sciences, University of Missouri - Columbia

Adviser
Dr. Chris Burlak

Areas of research interest
My research at the Schulze Diabetes Institute is focused on altering surface glycan expression of porcine cells through genetic engineering. Our goal is to produce a donor organ that is less immunoreactive when used in xenotransplantation. Specifically, my goal is to increase the level of ɑ2,6 sialylation on pig cells to inhibit activation of human B cells in response to porcine cells.  

Treeful, Amy

Treeful, Amy

Amy TreefulAmy Treeful

tree0002@umn.edu

Degrees
M.S., Comparative and Molecular Biosciences, University of Minnesota
B.S., Biology, University of Minnesota
B.A., East Asian Studies, University of Minnesota

Adviser
Dr. Steven Friedenberg

Research
Hypoadrenocorticism, also known as Autoimmune Addison's Disease (AAD), is a life-threatening organ specific autoimmune disease of high prevalence in Standard Poodles, Portuguese Water Dogs, and English Cocker Spaniels. Currently, there is no early screening test to predict onset of AAD in these high risk populations and as many as ~30% of cases are diagnosed during an Addisonian crisis at which point risk of death from hypervolemic shock and hyperkalemia is high. My research focuses on identifying genetic markers and biomarkers in the form of antiadrenocortical antibodies that associate with AAD and may be developed into an early screening tool

Publications
Treeful, A.E., Rendahl, A.K., Friedenberg, S.G., DLA class II haplotypes show sex-specific associations with primary hypoadrenocorticism in Standard Poodle dogs.  Immunogenetics.  On-line 09 April 2019.  Doi: 10.1007/s00251-019-01113-0

Steven G. Friedenberg, Daniella Vansteenkiste, Oriana Yost, Amy E. Treeful, Kathryn M. Meurs, Debra A. Tokarz, Natasha J. Olby. A de novo mutation in the EXT2 gene associated with osteochondromatosis in a litter of American Staffordshire Terriers. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. (2018). Feb 27.

Cummings, C., Walder, J., Treeful, A., Jemmerson, R., (2006). Serum leucine-rich alpha-2 glycoprotein 1 binds cytochrome c and inhibits antibody detection of the apoptotic marker in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Apoptosis. 11 (7), 1121-9.

McNiel, EA., Madrill, NJ., Treeful, AE., Buoen, LC., Weber, AF. (2006). Comparison of cytogenetics and polymerase chain reaction based detection of the amelogenin gene polymorphism for the diagnosis of freemartinism in cattle. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation. 18(5), 469-72.

Jemmerson, R., LaPlante, B., Treeful, A., (2002). The Release of Intact Monomeric Cytochrome c from Apoptotic and Necrotic Cells. Cell Death and Differentiation. 9(5), 538-48.

Presentations
Treeful, AE, Rendahl, AK, Friedenberg, SG. Sex-specific DLA Class II haplotypes are associated with primary hypoadrenocorticism in Standard Poodle dogs.  2019 American Association of Immunologists (AAI) Annual Meeting, San Diego, California.
 
Treeful, AE, Rendahl, AK, Friedenberg, SG. Sex-specific DLA Class II haplotypes are associated with primary hypoadrenocorticism in Standard Poodle dogs.  2018 University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine Points of Pride Research Day.
 
Awards
Joanne Schmidt O'Brien/Bee Hanlon Research Fellow, 2019-2020
Member, AAAS/Science Program for Excellence in Science, 2019
Comparative and Molecular Biosciences (CMB) Travel Award, 2019

Truckenbrod, Emily

Truckenbrod, Emily

Emily TruckenbrodEmily Truckenbrod

truck018@umn.edu

Degrees
D.V.M., Cornell University
B.S., Biology, Iowa State University

Adviser
Dr. Stephen Jameson

Research
I am interested in understanding the mechanisms governing peripheral immune tolerance to self. Defining these mechanisms is critical for optimal prevention and treatment of autoimmune disease and for safely and effectively triggering a directed autoimmune response against tumor-associated self-antigens. To clarify these mechanisms, we are using a mouse model to examine the CD8+ T cell response to a melanocyte/melanoma-associated enzyme.

Awards
NIH Comparative Medicine and Pathology Training Fellowship
WTS Thorp Memorial Scholarship

Wanner, Nicole

Wanner, Nicole

Nicole WannerNicole Wanner

wann0046@umn.edu

Degrees
D.V.M., University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
B.A., Biology, Lawrence University

Adviser
Dr. Chris Faulk

Area of research interest
My area of research interest is epigenetic gene regulation, including epigenetic biomarkers of health and disease and how the epigenome changes in response to environmental input. Epigenetic marks such as DNA methylation can affect gene expression in ways that are both responsive to the environment and, in some cases, heritable between generations. My thesis work is focused on understanding the epigenetic actions of cannabidiol (CBD), the primary non-psychoactive component of cannabis, using the Agouti viable yellow (Avy) environmental biosensor mouse model. 

Witschen, Patrice

Witschen, Patrice

Patrice WitschenPatrice Witschen

witsc004@umn.edu

Degrees
D.V.M., University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
B.S., Biology, University of Minnesota - Duluth

Adviser
Dr. Kaylee Schwertfeger

Yang, Huixin

Yang, Huixin

Huixin YangHuixin Yang

yang5928@umn.edu

Degree
B.S., Veterinary Medicine, Nanjing Agricultural University

Adviser
Dr. Lou Mansky

Research
My research mainly focuses on the molecular and structural nature of HIV particle assembly. I am interested in virus particle biogenesis and use a combination of traditional and sophisticated state-of-the-art experimental approaches.  This work will reveal potential new targets for developing antiviral compounds.

Young, Jordan

Young, Jordan

Jordan YoungJordan Young

youn1620@umn.edu

Degrees
D.V.M., University of Minnesota
B.S., Biology, Purdue University

Adviser
Dr. Cheryl Dvorak