Current Lab Members   |   Lab Alumni 

Postdocs ** Graduate Students ** Undergraduate Students ** Research Assistants ** High School Students

Postdoctoral Fellow Alumni
Abha Ahuja

Abha Ahuja

Abha was a postdoc in the lab from 2011-2012, after having obtained her PhD in Drosophila population genetics with Rama Singh at MacMaster University. Abha contributed to our paper on ovariole number in Drosophila that was published in Developmental Biology. She also conducted a molecular evolution analysis of the oskar gene, which is necessary and sufficient for germ cell formation in D. melanogaster. She returned to the lab in the summer of 2013 to complete this work, which was published in Development, Genes and Evolution. She is currently a Professor at Minerva Schools at KGI.

   
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Frederike Alwes

Frederike was a postdoc in the lab from 2009-2012, after having obtained her PhD in crustaceam embryology under the direction of Gerhard Scholz at the Humboldt University of Berlin. Frederike established and published a complete cell lineage from the earliest stages through to gastrulation of the amphipod crustacean Parhyale hawaiensis, an important model organism in our lab. She also contributed to the Parhyale transcriptome, and to our ongoing work on the regenerative properties and developmental potential of early cleavage blastomeres in Parhyale. Frederike went on to do a postdoc in the Averof lab at the Institut de Genomique Fonctionnelle de Lyon (IGFL) in Lyon, France. She is currently an artisanal cheesemaker in Saulzet-le-Froid, France.

   
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Austen Barnett

Austen was a postdoc in the lab from 2014-2017. Austen performed PhD research in mite evolution and development with Richard Thomas at the Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Working with the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus, Austen studied the role of Hox genes in germ cell specification, and applied RNA-Seq to the problem of axial patterning and germ cell development. Austen is currently an Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at DeSales University.

   
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Joe Deas

Joe was a postdoc n the lab from 2015-2018. Before joining the lab, Joe did his PhD in Entomology with Martha Hunter at the University of Arizona, on how beetles use their eggs as shields against wasps, and a postdoc with Chuck Fox at the University of Kentucky, where he continued work on phenotypic plasticity in beetle egg laying. In our lab, Joe pursued an original project on trans-generational inheritance of environmentally-induced phenotypes, looking at the effects of different diets on various life history traits over three generations of flies. He published this work in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

   
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Tripti Gupta

Tripti was a postdoc in the lab from 2010-2014. She obtained her PhD in molecular genetics with Trudi Schupbach at Princeton University, and was a postdoc working on zebrafish development with Mary Mullins at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine before joining the Extavour lab. Tripti worked on germ cell regeneration in the amphipod crustacean Parhyale hawaiensis, and established techniques for RNA-Seq in this organism. She also worked on germ plasm characterization in Parhyale, showing that a specific region of cytoplasm in fertilized eggs is required for germ cell formation, and published this work in EvoDevo. Tripti is currently a Staff Scientist in the Division of Developmental Biology of the National Insittute for Child Health and Development of the NIH.

   
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Indu Nair

Indu was a postdoc in the lab during 2014. She obtained her PhD in Drosophila developmental genetics with Veronica Rodrigues and K. Vijayraghavan at the National Center for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India. Indu investigated the specification of somatic gonad precursors during embryogenesis, which is the earliest developmental event in ovary establishment in Drosophila species.

   
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Taro Nakamura

Taro was a postdoc in the lab from 2013-2018. He obtained his PhD from Tokushima University, working on early development in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus. While there, he developed the first stable germline transgenesis technique for an orthopteran, using piggyBac transposase to insert genes into the cricket genome. In our lab he worked on a number of different projects related to early development in Gryllus, and published his work in PNAS and Development. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the National Institute for Basic Biology in Okazaki, Japan, in the Divison of Evolutionary Develomental Biology.

   
Evelyn Schwager

Evelyn Schwager

Evelyn was a postdoc in the lab from 2008-2013, and was the recipient of a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the German Research Foundation (DFG). She obtained her PhD working on spider evolution and development with Wim Damen at the University of Cologne. Evelyn investigated the origin of embryonic germ cells in the spider Parasteatoda tepidariorum, and published this work in Developmental Biology. She also contributed to a number of other projects in the lab, including initial cloning of cricket germ cell markers and our collaboration with Prashant Sharma on harvestmen and scorpion body plan evolution. Evelyn is currently a post-doc in the lab of Jennifer Fish at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

   
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Prashant Sharma

Prashant has collaborated with our lab since the final years of his graduate studies with Gonzalo Giribet. By combining his expertise on the biology and phylogenetics of daddy longlegs with our experience in performing molecular studies of development on non-traditional model systems, we were able to establish Phalangium opilio as the first model laboratory harvestman species for functional genetic studies. Prashant is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

   
John Srouji

John Srouji

During his undergraduate degree in molecular biology at UC Berkeley, John began working in the field of comparative protein function in the lab of Steven Brenner. He then joined our lab in 2008 as a graduate student in the Harvard MCO program. He was co-supervised by Andres Leschziner, and applied biochemistry, structural biology and developmental genetics to understand the function and evolution of the oskar gene in insects. John is currently a Senior Scientist at Neon Therapeutics.

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Graduate Student Alumni

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Ben Ewen-Campen

Ben was an OEB graduate student in the lab from 2008-2014. He was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in support of his PhD work, and he successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis on April 18, 2014 - see photos of the champagne toasts here. Ben worked on germ cell specification in basally branching insects, and on the evolution of the function of the oskar gene. He published his work in Current Biology and BMC Genomics, among other places. Ben was awarded an NRSA postdoctoral fellowship from the NIH to join the lab of Norbert Perrimon at the Harvard Medical School. Ben is also City Councillor of Somerville Ward 3.

Savandara Besse

Savy did research in our lab during 2017, as part of the research component of her Master's in Bioinformatics at the University of Bordeaux. Working with Leo Blondel, she developed discovery and analysis pipelines to help us understand the evolutionary origins and functional changes of the oskar gene in insects. She is currently a PhD candidate in Sebastian Pechmann's lab at the University of Montreal.

   

Diede de Haan

Diede first came to our lab in 2017 as a Master's student in the Erasmus Mundi Mobility European Master in Evolution (MEME) program. She worked with Tarun Kumar to develop a tissue-specific genome modification technique for use in multiple species of Drosophila. She then returned as a research assistant to work on axial patterning in Gryllus bimaculatus. She is currently a PhD candidate in Assaf Gal's lab at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

   
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Seth Donoughe

Seth was an OEB graduate student in the lab from 2011-2018, and defended his PhD thesis on May 2, 2018. Seth had previously obtained his undergraduate degree in Biology from Swarthmore College, and had worked as a research assistant in the lab of Steve DiNardo on planar cell polarity in Drosophila. In our lab, he worked in germ cell development in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus, developed staging tables and embryonic handling tools for Gryllus, and applied lightsheet microscopy to understanding early development in this insect. He also did collaborative work with Sam Church on insect egg sizes and shapes, and with Jordan Hoffman and Chris Rycroft on insect wing vein patterns.He published his PhD work in PNAS, Developmental Biology, and Biology Open. He is currently a postdoc at the University of Chicago working with Ed Munro and Sally Horne-Badovinac, where he is a Fellow in the Chicago Fellows Program and a Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellow.

   
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Delbert Andre Green

Andre was an MCO Graduate Training Program graduate student in the lab from 2008-2014. He was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship in support of his PhD work, and he successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis on April 21, 2014 - see photos of the champagne toasts here. Andre worked on the molecular genetic basis of counting among groups of cell, using interspecific variation in ovariole number among the Drosophilids as a model. He published his PhD work in Developmental Biologyand the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, among other places. Andre was awarded an ASEE/NSF Small Business Postdoctoral Research Diversity Fellow at InnoGenomics Technologies in New Orleans, as well as a postdoctoral research fellowship from the NSF, which he held in the lab of Marcus Kronforst at the University of Chicago. He is currently a University of Michigan President's Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Patricia Wittkopp.

   
Billy Hinchen

Billy Hinchen

Billy was a graduate student in the lab from 2006-2008, and obtained his M.Phil from the Zoology Department of the University of Cambridge in 2009. Using a combination of classical and computer-based tools, Billy began our work detailing the cell lineage of the early stages of Parhyale development up to germ band formation. Billy's work contributed to our paper on early Parhyale cell lineage. Billy is currently a science writer at Abcam.

   
Franz Kainz

Franz Kainz

Franz was a graduate student in the lab from 2005-2009, and obtained his Ph.D. from the Zoology Department of the University of Cambridge in 2009. His research aimed to understand the underlying genetic basis of how a repeated body unit or segment forms in the field cricket Gryllus bimaculatus. Franz's paper on the role of Delta in cricket segment patterning was published in Development. He is currently Director of Contract Development at Fresenius-Kabi in Austria.

   

Tamsin Jones

Tamsin was a graduate student in the lab from 2011-2015 in the OEB graduate program. Her research included annotation of arthropod genomes, investigation of germ line gene function in the milkweed bug, and discovery and analysis of oskar orthologues across insect phylogeny. Her work formed the foundation for our later work on the role of horizontal gene transfer in the genesis of the oskar gene. After leaving the lab she became a curator for FlyBase, and then went on to her current post as an HGNC Gene Nomenclature Advisor on the Genome Analysis team at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) in the UK.

   
Arnon Levy

Arnon Levy

Arnon obtained his Ph.D. from the the Department of Philosophy at Harvard in 2010, and also obtained a Masters degree in OEB for work in the lab during 2008 and 2009 on ovariole development in Drosophila. In philosophy of science, his works focuses on the connection between explanation and idealization. He went on to take up a Polonsky postdoctoral fellow at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem, Israel. He is currently a faculty member in the Philosophy Department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

   
Friedemann Linsler

Friedemann Linsler

Friedemann obtained his Masters thesis from the Freie Universität of Berlin, Germany, having performed his Diploma thesis (masters) research in our lab in 2008, and continuing his work as a research fellow in 2009. He studied germ cell migration in Parhyale hawaiensis. He is currently a PhD student with Jordi Casanova at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Barcelona, Spain.

   
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Didem Sarikaya

Didem was an OEB graduate student in the lab from 2009-2014. She was awarded graduate training fellowships from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Fonds de la recherche en sante (FRSQ). She successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis on December 12, 2014 - see photos of the celebratory toasts here. Didem worked on the developmental genetic basis of ovariole number determination in Drosophilid flies, including lab work on Drosophila melanogaster and field work on Hawaiian Drosophilids, for which she was awarded a Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation (DEB-1209570). She published her PhD work in Developmental Biology and PLoS Genetics, among other places. After leaving the lab Didem was awarded an FRSQ postdoctoral fellowship, and joined the labs of David Begun and John Albeck at the University of California, Davis. She is currently a University of California President's Fellow and holds an NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship.

   

Eva van der Heijden

Eva came to the lab as a Master's student in the Erasmus Mundi Mobility European Master in Evolution (MEME) program in 2018. She worked with Tarun Kumar to optimize a protocol for live imaging of developing larval ovaries from Drosophila.

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Undergraduate Student Alumni
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Prince Antwi

Prince worked in our lab during his junior year at Harvard College, where he concentrated in Mathematics with a secondary in Molecular and Cellular Biology. Prince worked with Didem Sarikaya to study the role of the Hippo pathway in Drosophilid ovariole number. During the summer of 2013, his work was supported by the Harvard College Research Program. He is currently pursuing his MD at the Yale School of Medicine.

   
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Erick X. Bayala Rodriguez

Erick was an undergraduade student from the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao (UPRH). He participated in the Summer Research Opportunities at Harvard (SROH) Program two years in a row: in the summer of 2012 he worked in the lab of Elena Kramer, and in the summer of 2013 he worked with Tripti Gupta in our lab to test and characterize Gal4 and UAS lines in different Drosophilid species. He is a recipient of the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) scholarship. He is currently a PhD student in the Kronforst lab at the University of Chicago.

   

Jose Carranza

Jose joined our lab as a research assistant in the summer of 2017, after having obtained his undergraduate degree in Biology and Aquaculture from the Universidad Nacional del Santa in Peru. when he was awarded a National and International Mobilization Program Fellowship from the Peruvian Organization of Science, Technology and Innovation (CONCYTEC). In our lab he worked with Linda Honaker on the functional evoution of the oskar gene. He is currently a PhD candidate at the National Institute for Basic Biology in Okazaki, Japan.

   
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Kassi Crocker

Kassi was an undergraduate student from Truman State University. During the summer of 2012, she studied the role of the Hippo pathway in Drosophila ovarian development. The Leadership Alliance program supported this summer research opportunity. Kassi completed her undergraduate degree in 2013, majoring in biology with minors in chemistry and psychology. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in genetics in the Boekhoff-Falk lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

   
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Omar Delannoy-Bruno

Omar was an undergraduate biology student from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. During the summer of 2009, he studied the mechanisms of germ line specification in the milkweed bug Oncopeltus fasciatus. The Leadership Alliance and MARC program supported this summer research opportunity. He is currently a PhD student with Jose E. Gacria Arraras at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus.

   
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Rinat Degani

Rinat joined the lab as a summer intern in 2014, and studied the role of FGFR during cricket segment development. Rinat completed her undergraduate degree at Mount Holyoke College in biology and studio art, and is currently a research assistant in the Mager lab at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

   
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Aisha Dorta

Aisha first joined the lab as a summer intern under the Leadership Alliance program in 2011, when she worked with Didem Sarikaya and co-authored a paper on the developmental basis of ovariole number determination in Drosophila. After graduating in biology and physics from Brooklyn College, She joined us again as a Post-baccalaureate Research Scholar from 2014 to 2016, when she resumed work on the ovariole project. Aisha is currently a teacher in Yesan, South Korea.

   
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Ian Dunn

In 2010, his freshman year at Harvard College, Ian worked with Ben Ewen-Campen fixing Oncopeltus fasciatus embryos for in situ hybridization. Ian is currently pursuing his PhD in Chemical Physics at Columbia University.

   

Michael Genecin

Michael was an undergraduate researcher in the lab during the spring of 2016. He worked with Austen Barnett on mechanisms of axial patterning in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus. He is currently doing summer research in neuroscience at the Institute Jacques Monod in Paris, France, and plans to complete his Harvard degree in neuroscience in the 2016-2017 academic year.

   
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Kimberly Johansson

Kim was an undergraduate researcher in the lab from 2014-2015. She began our investigations into the role of Wnt signaling in cricket germ cell specifiation, and completed her Honors thesis on this topic in the spring of 2015. Her work was supported by awards from the Grants-In-Aid of Undergraduate Reserach of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, the Harvard College Research Program, and EDEN. She is pursuing an MD/PhD at Washington University in Saint Louis.

   
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Chiyoung Kim

Chiyoung was a member of the lab during his sophomore year at Harvard College. He worked with Seth Donoughe on creating embryonic holding devices for use in high-throughput imaging. His research in the spring and summer semesters of 2015 was funded by the Harvard College Research Program. Chiyoung is currently completing his degree in electrical engineering and east asian studies.

   
Alessandro Konig

Alessandro Konig

Alessandro worked on Parhyale hawaiensis gonad development during the summer of 2008, when he was an undergraduate student in Molecular Biology at the Karl-Franzens University in Graz, Austria. He went on to complete a Masters in Biotechnology. Alessandro currently works as an application engineer at AVL CONCERTO.

   
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Davys Lopez

Davys joined our lab after finishing his undergraduate degree at the University of Florida, where he was introduced to Evo-Devo working in the lab of Marty Cohn. As a Post-baccalaureate Research Scholar, Davys worked on the function of the oskar gene in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus from 2014 to 2016. He is currently a PhD candidate in the Mann lab at Columbia University.

 

   
Elisabeth Maritschnegg

Elisabeth Maritschnegg

Elisabeth worked on Parhyale hawaiensis gonad development during the summer of 2008, when she was an undergraduate student in Molecular Biology at the Karl-Franzens University in Graz, Austria. She is currently pursuing a postdoc at the Medical University of Vienna.

   
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Yue Meng

Yue was a member of the lab from 2012-2014, while she was an undergraduate at Harvard College concentrating in OEB. She kept all of our animal cultures alive, happy, and producing lots of embryos, and also pursued her own independent projects working with Evelyn Schwager on germ cell biology in spiders. Her research since the spring semester of 2012 was funded by the Harvard College Research Program. She graduated in May 2014 and is currently a medical student at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine.

   
Chiamaka Nwakeze

Chiamaka Nwakeze

Chiamaka worked in the Extavour Lab during the spring semester of 2008, her sophomore year at Harvard, with Franz Kainz on cricket segmentation.  She graduated in May 2010 with a degree in Neurobiology. She is currently a research technician in the Maniatis lab at Columbia University Medical Center.

   
Ana Roda

Ana R. Nast

Ana worked in the Extavour lab during her sophomore through senior years at Harvard College, where she concentrated in OEB and computer science. Ana worked on the crustaceanParhyale hawaiensis and created a video protocol and manuscript describing for manual ablation of single cells in early embryos of this species. Her video protocol and the accompanying manuscript have been accepted for publication by The Journal of Visualized Experiments. Her research was partly supported by the Harvard College Research Program. Ana is currently an Administrative Assistant at NastLaw LLC.

   
 

Katherine O’Leary

Katherine worked in the lab during the spring of 2008, in her first year of undergraduate study at Harvard University. She was invaluable in helping maintain the large cricket colony in the lab.

   
Chris Probert

Chris Probert
Chris was an undergraduate biology and computer science student from the University of California San Diego who worked in the lab during the summer of 2012. Chris worked with Ben Ewen-Campen on characterizing the roles of FGF signaling during embryogenesis of Gryllus bimaculatus. After leaving the lab, Chris worked for Illumina while completing his undergraduate degree, and for Google after his graduation. He is currently a PhD student at Stanford University.

   

Sophia Ramsey

Jen joined the lab during the summer of 2016 just after completing her freshman year at Harvard College. She worked with Arpita Kulkarni on various aspects of nervous system development in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus. Sophia is currently sophomore at Harvard College concentrating in Integrative Biology.

   
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Jennifer Rodriguez

Jen joined the lab during the 2013-2014 academic year, while she was a junior at Harvard College. She worked with Andre Green to develop molecular regagents to detect insulin signaling pathway activity in fruit flies, and to develop protocols for measuring reproductive output in Drosophila suzukii. Jen is currently a graduate student at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

   
Trieu Ton

Trieu Ton

Trieu joined the lab in the summer of 2008, following her freshman year at Harvard College, and participated in a prooject on germ cell fate determination in Parhyale hawaiensis embryos through to the summer prior to her senior year. Shereceived support from the Harvard College Research Program and the Museum of Comparative Zoology Grants-In-Aid of Undergraduate Research during her time in the lab. She graduated from Harvard in May 2011. Trieu is currently a user reseracher for Balluun in Foster City, CA, and plans to attend medical school in the future.

   
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Nia Walker

Nia was a member of the lab during her sophomore year at Harvard College. She worked with Tamsin Jones on the expression of neuroblast genes during cricket embryogenesis. Her research in the spring semester of 2014 was funded by the Harvard College Research Program. Nia completed her degree in OEB with a secondary field in English in 2016. She is currently a Marine Biology and Conservation Science Researcher at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

   
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Larry Zhang

Larry was a member of the lab during his freshman year at Harvard College. He worked with Seth Donoughe on creating customated computational pipelines for cluster-based analysis of high-throughput imaging data. His research in the spring semester of 2015 was funded by the Harvard College Research Program. Larry is currently completing his degree in computer science and biomedical engineering.

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Research Assistant Alumni
   
Abel Assefa

Nat Clarke

Nat was a research assistant in the lab in the fall of 2011. Nat worked on cricket germ cell biology with Ben Ewen-Campen, and on the evolutionary history of the germ line developmental gene oskar. Nat's work in the lab contributed to a paper on germ cell formation in crickets that was published in Current Biology. Nat's undergraduate research at Whitman College, "Fitness benefits of climate change for a temperate ectotherm: effects of nighttime warming on reproduction," was published in the Journal of Experimental Biology. He completed his PhD in Chris Lowe's lab at Stanford University and is currently a postdoc in the Martin lab at MIT.

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Winnie Belai

Winnie was a research assistant in the lab from 2014-2015. She matinained all of our animal cultures and was responsible for overall lab organization and inventory maintenance. She is currently pursuing graduate work at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

   
Abel Assefa

Abel Assefa

Abel was a research assistant in the lab who worked on Drosophila ovarian morphogenesis from 2008-2009, after obtaining his BSc in physics from Grinnell College. Abel's work contributed to a paper on ovariole number in Drosophila that was published in Developmental Biology. Abel went on to attend Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University and is now a general surgeon.

   
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Victor Zeng

Victor was a research assistant in the lab who worked on our transcriptome and other high-throughput sequencing projects from 2010-20012, after obtaining his BSc in biotechnology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). Victor designed custom tools for de novo assembly and merging sequence data from different platforms, did the bulk of the analysis for our Parhyale, Gryllus and Achaearanea transcriptomes, and built our Assembled Searchable Giant Arthropod Read Database (ASGARD) (see the paper in Database). He is currently consulting on bioinformatics research for several groups, and working as a scientist for Petridi.sh.

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High School Student Alumni
   

Rakeyah Ahsan

Rakeyah was our cricket care specialist during the summer after she graduated from Ringe and Latin High School. She is now pursuing her undergraduate degree at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

   
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Vasanth Chandrasekhar

Vasanth was a high school student in the lab during the summers of 2007 and 2008 who worked on gonad development in Parhyale hawaiensis. He went on to complete an undergraduate degree in neuroscience at the University of Delaware. He is currently a research associate in the Kontaridis lab at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA, studying the molecular basis of cardiac development and disease.

   

Amber Shaw

Amber Shaw, from Manchester-by-the-Sea, came to our lab in the summer of 2016 before her senior year at Manchester-Essex High School. She came to our lab through the Manchester-Essex Authentic Science Research Program and interned with Postdoc Austen Barnett, assisting Austen in his research on anterior-posterior patterning in Gryllus bimaculatus.

   
Gabi Walters

Gabi Walters

Gabi was the lab zookeeper from June to December of 2010, while she was a senior at Acton-Boxborough Regional High School. Gabi went on to obtain an undergraduate degree from Cornell University in gender studies and economics, and is currently a Clinic Assistant at Boulder Valley Women's Health Center.

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Other Alumni
   
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LeManuel Lee Bitsoi

Lee was an Associate of our lab for many years. His research has examined success factors of people of color in STEM training and careers, with a focus during his doctoral dissertation on Native American men's experiences at Harvard College. Before and during his association with our lab, he served in administrative and faculty positions at Harvard University, Dartmouth College, Georgetown University and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He is currently the Chief Diversity Officer at Stony Brook University.