Fifteen new students are eager to explore diverse research interests as they begin the Ph.D. in Biological Sciences program
This August the Department of Biological Sciences welcomed 15 new Ph.D. students. The class, one of the largest in the history of the department, begins the program with diverse research interests in mind.
Many of the new students are planning on focusing their research in the field of neuroscience. Ken Hovis hopes to expand his education by concentrating on memory formation and plasticity. Corey Flynn wants to answer systems-level and network-level questions. Melissa Witzberger, who researched muscle development as an undergraduate, is trying to find her niche between research in cell biology and neuroscience. Marguerite Matthews has been doing neuroscience research since high school, and hopes to study neurogenesis. Bistra Iordanova is interested in using imaging techniques to view human behavior on the brain. Kristen Yankura enjoys neuroscience and is confident that she will discover her research interest through lab rotations. Deepak Kana Kadayakkara wants to learn about the mechanisms and degrees of plasticity in adult and developing brains.
Cell biology, along with its applications to the study of human function, is also a popular concentration. Robert Bowers is interested in biological processes and how they function within a cell. Nina Senutovitch is passionate about understanding infectious diseases, and hopes to learn the basic mechanisms and pathways that microorganisms use to propagate disease in the body. Christopher Fried, who conducted field research as an undergraduate, wants to continue learning what makes cells work.
The remaining students are enthusiastic about other facets of biological research. Shu Ying Kwan is excited to begin learning about tissue engineering, molecular biology and genetics. Michael Chen wants to work in the field of genetics, specifically bioinformatics. Tara Sharma is interested in the genetics of human disease, particularly cancer. Connor Murphy, whose research interests are evolving, plans to study molecular structures and how they relate to function. And Maureen Stolzer is intrigued by research in computational biology, specifically functional diversity of vertebrate genomes.
The students will soon begin a series of three lab rotations, which will give them a chance to learn more about the department's faculty as well as research being conducted in the faculty labs. After completing their lab rotations, the new students will select a Research Advisor, marking the beginning of their doctoral research at Carnegie Mellon.