Walid Aboshahba (2010) is a Graduate Student in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. He graduated from the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey in 2003 with a major in Clinical Laboratory Science. Walid’s burning interest is in immunology and tumor biology, which led him to choose Dr. Sergei Kotenko’s lab for his thesis. There he is currently investigating a newly discovered interferon and its potential antitumor properties. Walid is confident that his studies will contribute to the development of better strategies to treat cancer.
“Having a superb faculty around as a source of support and reference along with a state of the art research facility are great assets in helping develop into a successful scientist.”
Jennifer Bain (2009) is a MD/PhD candidate currently working on her thesis work in the laboratory of Steve Levison in Department of Neurology & Neurosciences. She is studying the neurovascular niche of neural stem cells after perinatal hypoxia-ischemia brain injury. Jen graduated in 2004 from Villanova University with a double major in Biology and the Honors Program, and double minor in Chemistry and Spanish. She was excited about a program that would combine both basic science research and a clinical setting for an all-around integrated training experience. Jen has completed 2 years of medical school and is currently in her 3rd and final year of graduate school, hoping to return to complete the final two years of medical school in the Spring 2009.
Mona Batish (2011) is a graduate student in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, working in the laboratory of Dr. Fred Kramer and Sanjay Tyagi at the Public Health Research Institute Center at New Jersey Medical School. She obtained her masters degree in Microbiology Honors from Panjab University, Chandigarh in India with a major in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. Her work primarily focuses on use of novel techniques to visualize mRNA molecules at single molecule resolution. She is using these methods to understand the mRNA transport to active synapses in hippocampal neurons. Elucidation of mRNA transport in hippocampus can provide vital insights into the process of long-term potentiation that is a cellular model for memory formation. Mona recently presented her work at the 2010 GSA Research Symposium, where she was awarded the prize for best oral presentation. Mona is currently working toward her Ph.D. with a goal of pursuing a career in the field of Neurobiology.
“ The Graduate school offers an excellent environment for learning and overall growth of personality and scientific aptitude.”
Murugabaskar Balan (2010) is a Graduate Student in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. He graduated from Anna University, Tamilnadu in India with a major in Industrial Biotechnology. The diversity of the research labs is only one of the reasons Murugabaskar decided to attend the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Currently, he is working in Dr. Sergei Kotenko’s lab where they are researching interferon lambda receptor knock out mice model. Murugabaskar is currently working toward his Ph.D. with a goal of beginning a career in the field of biomolecular studies.
“This institution provides a serene academic environment for a graduate student, backed with learned faculty from various departments.”
Manuela Buonanno (2012) is a student in the Division of Radiation Research of the Department of Radiology. Her research focuses on how irradiated cells respond adaptively to low doses of ionizing radiation and how they communicate their stress to non-irradiated cells. She recently fulfilled a childhood dream by conducting experiments at NASA. These experiments extended her findings that health risk from low-dose radiation depends on radiation quality. This implies that high-energy particles that astronauts encounter in space are significantly more harmful than the X-rays we experience here on earth. Manuela’s poster earned First Place at NASA’s 19th Annual Space Radiation Investigators’ Workshop. Manuela exposing normal human cells to energetic iron ions (1 GeV/atomic mass unit) at NASA’s Space Radiation Laboratory located at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, NY
Krista Buono (2012) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Laboratory for Regenerative Neurobiology, where she is evaluating the role of LIF in neural stem cell expansion and cell replacement after brain injury. Krista is also the President of the Stem Cell Education Society of UMDNJ-NJMS. She graduated in 2001 from Loyola College in Maryland with a major in Biology and minor in Chemistry. From January 2002 to August 2005, Krista worked at the National Institutions of Health in the Institute of Diabetes, Digestive & Kidney Diseases. There she realized her passion for biomedical research and knew that she wanted to further her education. The Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences program of GSBS-Newark was a perfect match for her because she was undecided about which avenue she wanted to pursue, though she knew she was extremely interested in stem cell research. Krista rotated in several stem cell research labs and found her niche in Dr. Steve Levison’s lab. She’s proud to be the President of the Stem Cell Education Society who’s goals are to educate fellow students, scientists, medical professionals, and the general public on all types of stem cells, eliminate misconceptions and correct misinformation by presenting only scientific facts.
“Going to graduate school is a new adventure in one’s life… I would be more than happy to answer any questions that you may have”
Lisa Canto is a Graduate Student in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She graduated from Seton Hall University in 2002 with a dual degree in Biochemistry and Biology. While attending Seton Hall University Lisa assisted investigated the Restriction Modification System in E. coli and studied the mechanism of triclosan-resistant bacteria. Lisa has also worked in pharmaceutical advertising and in veterinary medicine. Lisa is currently working in Dr. Carol Lutz’s lab where she is researching the mechanism of poly (A) site choice and its role in gene expression. She chose to study in this lab because of Dr. Lutz’s passion for RNA and the need for research in the field. Lisa is currently working toward her Ph.D. with a goal of beginning a career in science education.
“I enjoy being in an environment with such a variety of research interests and faculty with many different perspectives”
Veera D'mello (2009) is a Graduate Student in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. She graduated in 2001 from the University of Mumbai in India with a major in Neuroscience. Veera decided to attend UMDNJ because many of the labs have medically relevant ongoing research. Veera, working towards her Ph.D with Dr. Raymond Birge, is investigating the role of apoptosis and phagocytosis of apoptotic tumor cells in breast cancer progression. She selected Dr. Birge’s lab because the research is focused on a topical and important biomedical question and that the lab employs a variety of molecular and cellular approaches to solve complex problems.
“There is great support for international students UMDNJ; The strong Graduate Student Association helps graduate students come together.”
Michael Kurnellas (2009) is an Integrative Neuroscience student who is working in the laboratory of Dr. Stella Elkabes in the Department of Neurology and Neuroscience. He is currently investigating the role of plasma membrane calcium ATPase 2 (PMCA2) in neuronal and axonal pathology in the spinal cord and cerebellum. Michael graduated from Drew University in 2000 with a degree in Neuroscience and a love for research. After graduating, he spent two years working in laboratories at Monell Chemical Sciences Center in Philadelphia, PA. His passion for neuroscience research motivated him to pursue, first a M.S. degree and then a Ph.D. at UMDNJ. During his time in Dr. Elkabes’ laboratory, he has contributed to several publications, earned two awards (INS Minisymposium Best Poster Presentation, 2003; the Dean Morris Schaffer Endowed Scholarship Award, 2007), and he is the recipient of a 3 year NIH predoctoral fellowship.
Amanda Fakira (2012) a graduate student in the Integrative Neuroscience Program, currently working collaboratively with Dr. Stella Elkabes in the Department of Neurology and Neurosciences and with Dr. Vanessa Routh in Pharmacology and Physiology. She is examining calcium signaling in the cerebellum with a focus on the plasma membrane calcium ATPase isoform 2 - a calcium extrusion pump highly expressed in Purkinje cells. She employs a synergistic approach including use of whole cell electrophysiology, calcium imaging and molecular techniques. A graduate of SUNY Stony Brook, on Long Island, NY, in 2003, her interests in cellular neurophysiology were piqued during her work at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She was appointed as a fellow to the competitive T32 NRSA “Training for Integrative Neuroscience in Health and Disease” in her third year. Amanda has presented her work at the Society for Neuroscience annual meetings as well as an invited speaker at the 2008 Society of General Physiologist meeting at the prestigious MBL in Woods Hole, MA.
Shyam Patel (2011) is a 4th year MD/PhD student working under the mentorship of Dr. Pranela Rameshwar, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology. His thesis research focuses on mechanisms of breast cancer dormancy in the bone marrow. He examines the protective role of mesenchymal stem cells and regulatory T-cells. Shyam believes that a particular subset of breast cancer cells can be protected by mesenchymal stem cells. A major part of his thesis is focused on identifying this subset. The research is significant as it could bring an understanding of the breast cancer protection during current treatments, leading to novel treatments.
Shyam graduated from Drexel University in 2006 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and first became interested in cancer biology as a junior. He plans to pursue a career as a physician scientist in the field of oncology. The combined program with the graduate school is the major method by which he can obtain the required training for a career in academic medicine.
“The GSBS at UMDNJ provides a supportive environment and wonderful opportunities for students who have a genuine interest in academic medicine.”
Rivka Stone (2011) is a MD/Ph.D. Student in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. She graduated in 2005 from New Jersey Institute of Technology with a major in Biomedical Engineering. Rivka is currently working in Dr. Barnes’ lab where they are researching the role of IRF-5 in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). She is working towards her Ph.D. in Biochemistry with a concentration in Immunology.
“The student body is friendly and supportive, and the faculty is always willing to devote time to helping students.”
Stephanie Troy (2011) is a Graduate Student in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology working in the laboratory of Dr. Andrew P. Thomas. She is investigating the role of fructose in modifying the hypothalamic regulation of glucose homeostasis - an important question in view of the prevalence of high fructose corn syrup in many processed foods. Before joining GSBS at NJMS, Stephanie obtained a Master's in Nutrition, Energy Metabolism & Signaling from the University Denis Diderot (Paris, France), where she worked with Dr. Fabrizio Andreelli on the role of insulin sensitivity in murine models of obesity after bariatric surgery. Her work led to a key article published in Cell Metabolism (Troy et al., Cell Metab. 8:201-211;2008). Her passion for research in Physiology led her to pursue her PhD at UMDNJ, where she has added to her repertoire of research skills, neuronal cell culture, calcium imaging and biochemical analyses. Her studies of the central actions of fructose are breaking new ground, and may point to a new mechanism for the principle of "empty calories." Stephanie recently presented her work at the 2009 GSA Research Symposium, where she was awarded the prize for best oral presentation.
“Being a foreign student at the UMDNJ will stay in my memory as one of the most wonderful experience on both personal and professional aspects. I came ino the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology with a very poor English understanding and without knowing anybody. But I learned that friendship and solidarity are two major strengths of this Department.”
Joeseph Vitale (2012) is Graduate Student in the Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine Department who is working under Dr. Diego Fraidenraich’s mentorship. For his thesis research, he is focusing on the paracrine effects of both embryonic stem and induced pluripotent stem cells in their respective rescues of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in mice. He graduated from Montclair State University with his B.A. in both Biochemistry and Psychology. Joseph also served as the Graduate Student Association President for one year.
“If you’re looking to make the transition from an over-achieving student to a successful Biomedical Scientist, UMDNJ will be a perfect fit for you. “