University of California, Riverside

Division of Biomedical Sciences



Our Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Students


Meet Our Students

Kelly Atkinson

Kelly Atkinson
B.S., Azusa Pacific University, 2014
M.S., Western University Health Sciences, 2016

Seema Tiwari-Woodruff's Lab

Neurodegeneration, Neuroscience

Tasha Barr

Tasha Barr
B.S., University of California, Davis, 2013

Ilhem Messaoudi’s lab

My research in the Messaoudi laboratory focuses on the impact of alcohol on gut-resident T-cell homeostasis and the microbial composition of the gut mucosa. Chronic alcohol consumption results in impaired cytokine production, however the exact mechanisms underlying this dysregulation have yet to be elucidated. We also use next generation sequencing methods in order to characterize the impact of alcohol on mucosal gene expression. These studies are critical to our understanding of alcohol-induced gut dysregulation and the mammalian immune system.

Alex Corches

Alex Corches
B.S., University of California, Irvine, 2012

Ed Korzus’ lab

I am currently investigating fear memory specificity by attempting to map neuronal populations in brain regions such as the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and amygdala to identify how distinct neurons are activated during aversive vs. safe stimuli.

Stephanie Guardado

Stephanie Guardado
B.S., California Polytechnic University, Pomona, 2013
M.S. California Polytechnic University, Pomona, 2016

Sachiko Yamanaka's Lab

Cancer cell biology, chronic inflammatory and autoimmune disease, drug design and vaccine development, microbiology, parasitology and vector borne diseases.

Luis Jimenez

Luis Jimenez
B.S., California Lutheran University, 2012

Wenwan Zhong’s lab

I'm currently working on applying asymmetrical flow field-flow fractionation (AF4) to studying biological molecule interactions, specifically nucleic acid and protein interactions. AF4 is an open-channel separation technique that eliminates interference from column packing to the non-covalently bound complex and could potentially be applied for study of macromolecular interaction.

Hawra Karim

Hawra Karim
B.S., California State University, Los Angeles, 2010
M.S., California State University, Los Angeles, 2014

Seema Tiwari-Woodruff’s lab

My overall interest is in understanding how the dysregulation of the immune system affects central nervous system homeostasis to bring about neurological pathologies. Currently, my research in the Tiwari-Woodruff lab focuses on elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying autoimmune demyelinating disorders like multiple sclerosis. I am investigating the mechanisms of demyelination induced neurodegeneration and novel therapeutic interventions aimed at inducing remyelination/neuroprotection.

Stephanie King

Stephanie King
B.S. University of California, Riverside, 2011

Declan McCole’s lab

My research focuses on elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying inflammatory bowel disease with particular emphasis on dysfunctional chloride secretion of the intestinal and colonic epithelium.

Nancy Lainez

Nancy Lainez
B.S., California State University, Los Angeles, 2013

Djurdjica Coss’ lab

My research focuses on a cross talk between reproductive hypothalamic circuits and inflammatory signals, specifically how inflammation affects reproductive function. GnRH and gonadotropin hormone levels are influenced by an increase in inflammatory cytokine levels in the hypothalamus. With the growing epidemic of obesity in the United States, in women of child bearing age, we are interested in elucidating how obesity impacts reproductive fitness. We are approaching obesity as a chronic low grade inflammatory state, and investigate the molecular mechanisms by which inflammatory cytokines affect hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. Using immortalized hypothalamic neuronal cell line I will elucidate the signaling pathways used by cytokines to regulate the expression of GnRH. In vivo studies involve characterizing gene expression of GnRH and proinflamatory cytokines in hypothalamus, pituitary, and gonads of high fat diet mice. Delineating the mechanisms that control GnRH and gonadotropin gene expression will aid in overcoming infertility issues associated with obesity.

Tyler Landrith

Tyler Landrith
B.S., University of California, Davis, 2009
M.P.H., Emory University, 2012

Emma Wilson’s lab

My current research in the Wilson laboratory focuses on understanding the role of T-cells recruited to the brain during chronic Toxoplasma gondii infection, particularly the population of T cells exhibiting memory phenotypes. The role of immunological memory during chronic T. gondii infection, where the parasite is controlled but never cleared, is not well understood. My current focus involves characterizing the populations present at the chronic stage that exhibit memory phenotypes, testing their role in controlling parasite re-activation, and understanding the signals that contribute to their generation, development, and maintenance in the brain.

Andrew Lapato

Andrew Lapato
B.S., Portland State University, 2012

Seema Tiwari-Woodruff's Lab

Although traditionally considered an immune privileged environment, evidence increasingly suggests that the CNS and immune system actively communicate.  My interest is in disentangling how leukocytes, neurons, and glia interact in homeostasis and disease to produce neurological and psychiatric pathology such as epilepsy, depression, and anxiety.

John Macbeth

John Macbeth
B.S., Pepperdine University, 2014

Ansel Hsaio's Lab

My research interests include elucidating the mechanisms of host-pathogen innate immunity as related to commensal or opportunistic pathogens. Recently, as part of the Messaoudi lab, I studied gene expression in filoviruses. Also, in the McCole lab, I helped characterize the barrier function of intestinal epithelial cells missing PTPN2.

Abdullah Madany

Abdullah Madany
B.S., California State University, Los Angeles, 2011

Monica Carson’s lab

Jessica Noll

Jessica Noll
B.S., Manchester University, 2016

Byron Ford's Lab

Cancer cell biology, developmental disorders, drug design and vaccine development, microbiology, parasitology and vector borne diseases, neurodegeneration.

Pedro Antonio Perez

Pedro Antonio Perez Gonzalez
B.S., Whittier College, 2013

Nick DiPatrizio's Lab

Allison Peterson

Allison Peterson
B.S., California State University, Long Beach, 2015

Rotating Student



Kelly Radecki

Kelly Radecki
B.S., California State University, Long Beach, 2015

Ameae Walker's Lab

Cancer cell biology, chronic inflammatory and autoimmune disease, cytokine, chemokine and endocrine biology in health and disease.

Maham Rais

Maham Rais
B.S., Howard University, 2014

Iryna Ethell's Lab

Cancer cell biology, chronic inflammatory and autoimmune disease, cytokine, chemokine and endocrine biology in health and disease, developmental disorders, drug design and vaccine development, microbiology, parasitology and vector borne diseases, mucosal physiology, signal transduction and receptor biology.

Andrea Rivera

Andrea Rivera
B.S., University of California, Los Angeles, 2012

Ilhem Messaoudi’s lab

My current research in the Messaoudi laboratory centers on understanding the modulation of immune responses by acute RNA viruses. My first research project focuses on characterizing the role of microRNAs in modulating host immune response to influenza A viruses. My second research project focuses on defining how filoviruses interact and evade host innate immune responses.

Anica Sayoc

Anica Sayoc
B.S., California State University, Long Beach, 2011

Declan McCole’s lab

I am working under the guidance of Dr. Declan McCole to elucidate the consequences of defects in protein tyrosine phosphatase non-receptor type 2 (PTPN2) for the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The proposed project will identify signaling defects that occur in JAK and STAT signaling pathways in intestinal epithelial cells lacking PTPN2, and how this contributes to barrier defects through modification of tight junction proteins. Our findings may pinpoint potential targets for therapeutic intervention that could be used to treat patients with PTPN2 defects, thus contributing to a personalized medicine approach to treat IBD.

Parima Udompholkul

Parima Udompholkul
B.S., University of California, Los Angeles, 2009
M.S., San Diego State University, 2016

Maurizio Pellecchia's lab

Cancer cell biology, drug design and vaccine development.

Edward Vizcarra

Edward Vizcarra
B.S., University of California, San Diego, 2014

Rotating Student

Erin Walch

Erin Walch
B.A., Smith College, 2016

Todd A. Fiacco’s lab

Chronic inflammatory and autoimmune disease, mucosal physiology, neurodegeneration.

Mark Wiley

Mark Wiley
B.S., University of Mount Union, 2016

Nick DiPatrizio's Lab

Cancer cell biology, chronic inflammatory and autoimmune disease, drug design and vaccine development, microbiology, parasitology and vector borne diseases.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Division of Biomedical Sciences
UC Riverside School of Medicine
2608 School of Medicine Education Building

Tel: (951) 827-5470

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