Students

Graduate students of the Cell and Developmental Biology program

Sudarshan Iyer

Sudarshan Iyer
B.S.E., biomedical engineering, Arizona State University
Davare Lab

Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, I completed a B.S.E in Biomedical Engineering at Arizona State University in 2015. During that time I was a volunteer researcher at Barrow Neurological Institute under the guidance of Dr. Neil Crawford and worked to develop patient-specific surgical aids and refine a novel spine surgical simulator. I also worked with a neurosurgeon, Dr. Yashar Kalani, to publish unique and complex neurosurgical cases. After graduating from ASU, I matriculated into the M.D./Ph.D program at OHSU and am currently working with Dr. Monika Davare to understand aberrant receptor tyrosine kinase signaling and oncogenic fusion proteins in the context of the ROS1 receptor. My hobbies when I’m not in the lab include music (trained vocalist, budding guitarist), cooking and exploring, both locally and internationally. 

Jason Kent

Jason Kent
B.S., biochemistry, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Heinrich Lab

Jason grew up in Santa Clarita, California and attended Cal Poly SLO where he earned a B.S. in Biochemistry. At Cal Poly, he worked in the lab of Dr. Michael Black investigating the use of prolyl endopeptidases in the treatment of Celiac Disease. In the fall of 2016, Jason joined the Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology, and the lab of Dr. Michael Heinrich in the spring. He is currently studying the biology of mitochondrial dysfunction observed in Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors. 

Matt Pomaville

Matt Pomaville
B.S. biology, California State University, Fresno
Wright Lab

Matt grew up in Fresno, California and attended California State University, Fresno to complete his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. While at Fresno State, Matt worked in the lab of Dr. David Lent exploring the basic elements of learning and memory through a variety of insect models. During his junior year at Fresno State he was selected for an internship with Dr. Brian O’Roak in the Department of Medical and Molecular genetics at OHSU. There he worked on developing a rapid CRISPR/Cas9-based gene editing protocol. Matt is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology in the lab of Dr. Kevin Wright in the Vollum Institute, studying the biological cues which regulate the development and organization of low-threshold mechanoreceptive neurons in mammals. Outside the lab, Matt enjoys skiing, hiking, beer tasting, and board games. 

Saundra Schlesinger

Saundra Schlesinger
B.S., biology, Arizona State University
Schweitzer Lab

Saundra grew up in the Phoenix valley where she received her B.S. in Genetics, Cell, and Developmental Biology from Arizona State University in 2010. As an undergraduate she worked in the lab of Dr. Jon Harrison studying the impact of hypoxia on fruit fly fecundity and growth. After her undergraduate studies she joined the lab of Dr. Peter Chen at the University of Washington as a research technician studying the role of the protein Syndecan-1 in lung cancer and injury. Saundra entered Oregon Health and Science University as a student in the graduate Program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences in 2014. She joined the Cell and Developmental Biology program and lab of Dr. Ronen Schweitzer in 2015 where she now studies the process and mechanisms of tendon elongation during development. When not in the lab she enjoys dancing, sewing, and playing video games.

Sarah Catherine Baker Photo

Sara Cate Baker 
B.S., Biological Sciences, English Literature, University of Notre Dame
M.S., Global Health, Trinity College, Dublin
J. Saugstad Lab

Sarah Catherine Baker grew up in northern Indiana. She received a B.S. in biological sciences, as well as a second degree in English literature, from the University of Notre Dame. As an undergraduate, she worked in the lab of Dr. Robert Stahelin on the biochemistry of Ebola viral infections. She went on to obtain a Master's degree in global health from Trinity College Dublin, conducting research on the epidemiology of malaria in rural Ethiopia. She began her Ph.D. at OHSU in the fall of 2019 and shortly after joined the lab of Dr. Julie Saugstad. Now,  her research focuses on the role of extracellular vesicles in neurodegeneration. Outside of the lab, Sarah Cate is passionate about science policy and has dabbled in science communication.  She also loves traveling, hiking, and all things literature.
 

Colin Coleman Photo

Colin Coleman
B.A., Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado Boulder
I. Martin Lab

Hello, and welcome to my blurb! Please take a seat wherever you want, and would you like some coffee? Tea? Sorry, can you repeat that? I only get 150 words and I’m wasting them on schtick? No need for that tone, but alright then. I received my BA in Cell Biology at the University of Colorado in 2015, after which I wound up working in a neurovirology lab for two years studying the shingles virus (Varicella zoster for you trivia nerds). Tired of stable employment and a livable income, I then decided to pursue my Ph.D. and here I am now, studying Parkinson’s disease with fruit flies. Just between you and me, though, I’m really interested in a career in science communication, but don’t tell my DAC. I’m also a huge board game nerd, I just got one about running a French harbor, and WAIT DON'T SCROLL AWAY.
 

Erin Helms Photo

Erin Helms
B.S. Biology, Pacific University
M. Sherman Lab

Erin grew up in a small town on the Oregon coast. While attending Pacific University she interned in the Clark Lab, studying the effects of mitochondrial deletions on C. elegan lifespan. During her junior year, she was accepted as a Murdock scholar. As a part of this program, she interned at Oregon Health and Science University in the Anand Lab. Here she studied the impact of microRNAs on the tumor microenvironment. Graduating with a Bachelors's in Biology she continued as a Murdock Scholar in the Anand Lab the following summer. Erin joined OHSU Program in Cellular and Molecular biosciences in 2017. The following spring she became a member of Mara Sherman’s Lab where she studies the stromal impact on pancreatic cancer. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her dog, hiking, and reading. 
 

Lauren Miller Photo

Lauren Miller
B.S., Biochemistry, Portland State University
A. Nechiporuk Lab
 
Lauren grew up in Oregon and graduated from Portland State University, where she received her BS in Biochemistry. At Portland State, Lauren worked with Dr. Jeff Singer investigating the role of the E3 ubiquitin ligase CUL3 in the proteasomal degradation of the neuronal scaffold protein SHANK3. After completing her undergraduate studies, Lauren worked as a Research Assistant in the Ellison and McCormick Labs at OHSU, where she studied renal salt regulation in the distal nephron of the kidney and its influence on blood pressure. Currently, Lauren is pursuing her Ph.D. in Alex Nechiporuk’s lab where she studies molecular mechanisms of axon extension during sensory nervous system development. Outside of the lab, Lauren enjoys cooking, hiking, and playing with her dogs – a golden retriever named Teal and a malamute named Whammy.
 

Alec Peters Photo

Alec Peters 
B.S., Biochemistry/Biophysics, Oregon State University
B.S., Bioresource Research, Oregon State University
L. Sherman Lab

Alec was an undergraduate researcher at Oregon State where he generated histone methyltransferase and acetylase knockout strains using homologous recombination. This work formed the basis of his Honors thesis and will be submitted for publication. In 2014, he joined Xiaolin Nan’s lab at OHSU, where he used CRISPR to knock out genes in NIH-3T3 cells as well as many quantitative molecular biology and cell culture techniques to study dynamics of Ras dimerization as a driver for Raf and PI3K pathway activation.
Alec is now a graduate student in Dr. Larry Sherman’s lab on the OHSU West Campus where he studies extracellular matrix remodeling in the healthy and diseased central nervous system. His focus is on the extracellular matrix glycosaminoglycan hyaluronic acid, and how different sizes of hyaluronic acid influence processes such as oligodendrocyte progenitor cell differentiation.
 

Benjamin Woodruff Photo

Benjamin Woodruff 
B.S., Cellular and Molecular Biology, Humboldt State University
A. Nechiporuk Lab

Ben Woodruff lived most of his life in Humboldt County, CA. There, he attended and graduated from Humboldt State University with a Bachelor of Science in Cellular and Molecular Biology and a minor in Chemistry. After undergrad, Ben spent two years at Stanford University in Dr. Stefan Heller’s lab researching stem cell biology and regeneration as they relate to inner ear biology. Ben is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology at OHSU. In March of 2020, Ben joined the lab of Dr. Alex Nechiporuk where he researches the earliest stages of peripheral nervous system development and utilizes zebrafish as a model organism. Ben enjoys video games, taking care of his bonsai trees, science fiction, camping, and trying different restaurants and cuisines.

Name Year Degree Track Mentor (s) Last Known Position 
Chris Cheng 2019 Ph.D Philip Streeter OHSU
Anna Mammel 2019 Ph.D Fred Robinson Fred Hutch
Sweta Ravisankar 2020 Ph.D Jon Hennebold & Shawn Chavez OHSU
 Name Year Degree Track Mentor Last Known Position
Courtney Betts 2018  Ph.D. Pepper Schedin OHSU
Brittany Daughtry 2018  Ph.D. Shawn L. Chavez OHSU
Quinn Roth-Carter 2018 Ph.D. David Jacoby OHSU
Amber Bannon 2017 Ph.D.  Michael Heinrich Disease Area Manager, Oncology Resource Group
Laura D. Healy 2017 Ph.D.  Owen McCarty  Postdoc Researcher, Scrips Research Institute
Yuhan Wang 2017  Ph.D.  Markus Grompe Janelia Research Campus, Postdoc
Bora Lee 2016  Ph.D.  Jae Lee  Postdoctoral Researcher, OHSU
Aaron Wortham 2016 M.S.  Molly Kulesz-Martin OHSU, Researcher, Enns Lab
Derek K. Zachman 2016 M.D., Ph.D. William Fleming Residency, Duke University, North Carolina
Kang Wang 2015  Ph.D.  John Adelman  Postdoctoral Researcher, OHSU
 Name Year Degree Track Mentor Last Known Position
Asako Itakura (Hayakawa)  2014 Ph.D. Owen McCarty Medical Scientific Expert, Novartis
Ashley Kamimae-Lanning  2014 Ph.D. Peter Kurre  Postdoc Scientist, MRC Lab Molecular Biology
Alison Macleod  2014 Ph.D. Michael Heinrich Research Analyst,BioMedical Insights
Matthew McCarroll  2014 Ph.D. Alex Nechiporuk UCSF, Postdoc Fellow
Branden Tarlow  2014 M.D., Ph.D. Markus Grompe Internal Med Resident, UT Southwestern Med Ctr
Andrew Terker  2014 M.D., Ph.D. David Ellison Resident, Vanderbilt UMC
Christal Worthen 2014  Ph.D. Caroline Enns Scientist, Universal Cell
Huilan Yao 2014 Ph.D. Gail Mandel Biomarket at H3 Biomedicine, Scientific Investigator 
Katelyn Mae Atkins 2013  M.D., Ph.D. Gary Thomas Harvard Radiation Oncology Program 
Rachel Clemens Grisham 2013 Ph.D. Teresa Nicolson Commercial Innovation Manager, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space
Nathan Donley 2013 Ph.D. Matt Thayer Senior Scientist, Center for BioDiversity
Weike Mo 2013 Ph.D. Teresa Nicolson Freelance Consultant, Clinical Lab Consulting, LLC
Kathryn Van Hook 2013 Ph.D. Charles D. Lopez Visiting Assitant Prof, Univ of Portland
Jinzhi Wang 2013 Ph.D. Peter Mayinger Washington University in St. Louis, Senior Scientist
Name Year Degree Track Mentor (s) Last Known Position 
Vincent T. Bicocca 2012 Ph.D. Brian Druker Postdoc Fellow, University of Oregon 
Theodore P. Braun 2012 M.D., Ph.D. Joseph Weiss/Daniel Marks Fellow, OHSU, Hem/Onc
Trevor Levin 2012 Ph.D. Melissa Wong Chief Executive Officer, Urology Diagnostics
Nicole Paulk 2012 Ph.D. Markus Grompe Assistant Adj. Professor, University of California, SF 
Gregory D. Scott 2012 M.D., Ph.D. David Jacoby Resident, Stanford 
Zhongya (Roger) Wang 2012 Ph.D. Markus Grompe Senior Scientist, Intellia Therapeutics
Ruth Aroon White 2012 M.D., Ph.D. MD/PhD program, OHSU
Liangqu Xie 2012  Ph.D. Postdoc Fellow, UC Berkeley
Chao Zhang 2012 Ph.D. Roger Cone/Alex Nechiporuk Postdoc Research Fellow, Vanderbilt
Katannya Kapeli 2011 Ph.D. Peter Hurlin
Melanie B. Laederich 2011 Ph.D.
Yun Xin Lim 2011 M.S. Amanda McCullough 
 Julia Maxson 2011 Ph.D. Caroline Enns OHSU, Assistant Professor 
 Ruth White 2011 M.D., Ph.D. Xiao-Jing Wang Columbia University Medical Center, Clinical 
Name Year Degree Track Mentor (s) Last Known Position 
Chelsea Bahney (Shields) 2010 M.D., Ph.D. Brian Johnstone Assistant Professor, UCSF, Orthopedic Trauma Institute
Sophia Bornstein 2010 M.D., Ph.D. Director of the Division of Translational Research, Assistant Professor, OHSU
Kristina E. Hoot-Young 2010 M.D., Ph.D.
Chang Liu 2010 Ph.D. Phil Stork
Mizuho Mimoto 2010 M.D., Ph.D. Jan Christian
Anne E. Powell 2010 Ph.D. Melissa Wong
Philip Owens 2009 Ph.D. Assistant Professor, University of Colorado
Daniel W. Sherbenou 2009 M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Professor, University of Colorado
Nicole A. Vasilevsky 2009 Ph.D. Andy Weinberg
Jeff Y. Chen 2008 M.D., Ph.D. Joseph Weiss Internist, St. Charles Medical Center, Bend, OR 
Thomas Matthew Coate 2008 Ph.D. Philip Copenhaver Assistant Professor, Georgetown University 
Gokhan Dalgin 2007 Ph.D. Jan Christian Staff Scientist, University of Chicago
Sandra L. Fernandez 2007 M.S. Peter Hurlin
Sean Nathaniel Wolfson 2007 M.S. Teresa Nicolson