Graduate Student Research

  •  Abbott Lab
  • Arble Lab
  • Blumenthal Lab
  • Cook Lab
  • Gamble Lab
  • Hristova Lab
  • LaManna Lab
  • Lemoine Lab
  • Manogaran Lab
  • Marshall Lab
  • Mynlieff Lab
  • Petrella Lab
  • St. Maurice Lab
  • Schläppi Lab
  • Schnitzer Lab
  • Sontag Lab
  • Stuart Lab
  • Yang Lab
  • First Year Students

Research in Dr. Allison Abbott's lab focuses on microRNA genes in C. elegans development.

Dr. Abbott is accepting new Ph.D. students into the lab. 

Lu Lu
Lu Lu Research Interest:
miRNAs are short non-coding RNAs with a length of -22 nucleotides that regulate gene expression at post-transcriptional level.  miRNAs have been shown to regulate crucial development and physiological processes. And dysregulation miRNA expression is associated with a wide array of human diseases, including male factor infertility. While studies have suggested that miRNAs play important regulatory roles for producing functional sperm, the specific roles are not well understood. My research aims to address the specific roles of individual miRNA in sperm production and sperm function using C. elegans as model.

Enrolled Fall 2016
B.S. South China Agricultural University

Research in Dr. Deanna Arble's lab focuses on sleep, circadian rhythms, and metabolism.

Dr. Arble is accepting new Ph.D. students into the lab. 

Sarah N. Framnes-DeBoer
Sarah FramnesResearch Interest: 
My research focuses on the neuronal intersection between obesity/diabetes and disordered breathing. The way the brain controls behavior and disease states is an exciting and growing field with many opportunities to advance our basic understanding as well as develop novel treatment strategies. I use preclinical models to uncover candidate brain regions involved in the neuronal mechanisms underlying sleep apnea and obesity-associated disordered breathing.

Enrolled Fall 2017
B.S., Marquette University

Society for Neuroscience, Chicago, IL. 2019.
Experimental Biology, Orlando, FL. 2019
Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA. 2018.

2020-2021 Arthur J. Schmitt Leadership Fellowship
2019-2020 GAANN Fellowship.
2018 Society for Neuroscience- Trainee Professional Development Award


Framnes-DeBoer, S.N., Bakke, E, Yalamanchili, S, Peterson, H, Sandoval, D.A., Seeley, R.J., and Arble, D.M., 2020. Bromocriptine improves glucose tolerance independent of circadian timing, prolactin, and melanocortin-4 receptor. AJP- Endo and Metab. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00325.2019 

Framnes, S.N. and Arble, D.M., 2018. The bidirectional relationship between obstructive sleep apnea and metabolic disease. Frontiers in endocrinology, 9, 440.

Aaron Jones
Aaron JonesResearch Interest: 
Sleep apnea is characterized by a cessation or reduction in breathing during sleep. Individuals with sleep apnea also experience reduced chemosensitivity and ventilatory drive. My research investigates the contributions of metabolism and the circadian clock to the respiratory outcomes associated with sleep apnea.

Enrolled Fall 2018
B.A., Augustana College

ASCB-EMBO, Philadelphia, PA, 2017
Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, 2019
Society for Research on Biological Rhythms Biennial Meeting, Virtual Conference, 2020

2020, SRBR Merit Award

Jones, A.A., and Gehler, S. (2020). Acacetin and Pinostrobin Inhibit Malignant Breast Epithelial Cell Adhesion and Focal Adhesion Formation to Attenuate Cell Migration. Integr Cancer Ther. 19:1534735420918945. 

Research in Dr. Edward Blumenthal's lab focuses on epithelial development and function.

Dr. Blumenthal is accepting new Ph.D. students into the lab. 

Unmila Jhuti
Unmila JhutiResearch Interest: 
My research involves studying the role of an adult lethal gene in Drosophila known as drop dead and its role in neurodegeneration. I am trying to find out the potential role of innate immune system in neurodegeneration. 

Enrolled Fall 2018
B.S., University of Dhaka
M.S., University of Dhaka

Research in Dr. Chelsea Cook's lab focuses on social behavior, neurobiology, and behavioral genetics. 

Dr. Cook is accepting new Ph.D. students into the lab. 

Research in Dr. Tony Gamble's lab focuses on evolutionary processes that generate and maintain biological diversity.

Dr. Gamble is accepting new Ph.D. students into the lab. 

Aaron H. Griffing
Aaron GriffingResearch Interest:
My research uses phylogenies, detailed morphological inspection, and diverse developmental data to study the cellular and molecular mechanisms that lead to morphological novelty and convergence. In particular, I study the evolution of differential regenerative capabilities in geckos and the repeated evolution of gliding morphologies in Asian geckos.

Enrolled Fall 2016
B.A., Hartwick College
M.S., Villanova University



International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology, Prague, Czech Republic, 2019
Evolution, Providence, Rhode Island, USA, 2019
Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Rochester, New York, USA, 2018
Evolution, Portland, Oregon, USA, 2017



2020, Oliver H. Smith Academic Achievement Award
2020, MU Fellowship
2019, Herpetological Association of Africa Best Student Paper 2017–2018
2019, Graduate Student Research Travel Award, Marquette University
2019, Biological Sciences Graduate Student Travel Award, Marquette University
2019, Gans Collection and Charitable Fund Conference Attendance Grant
2019, Johnson’s Wax Summer Research Fellowship, Marquette University
2019, E.E. Williams Research Grant Award, The Herpetologists’ League
2019, Society for Developmental Biology Emerging Models Grant
2019, Richard W. Jobling Distinguished Research Assistantship, Marquette University
2018, Grant-in-Herpetology (Laboratory Research), Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
2018, SSAR Grant in Herpetology for Laboratory Research
2018, SSE Graduate Research Excellence Grant — RC Lewontin Award
2018, SICB Grant in Aid of Research
2017, Forward Thinking Poster Session Jumpstart Award, Marquette University



Griffing AH, Sanger TJ, Matamoros IC, Nielsen SV, Gamble T. 2018. Protocols for husbandry and embryo collection of a parthenogenetic gecko, Lepidodactylus lugubris (Squamata: Gekkonidae). Herpetol Rev 49:230–235.

Griffing AH, Daza JD, DeBoer JC, Bauer AM. 2018. Developmental osteology of the parafrontal bones of the Sphaerodactylidae. Anat Rec 301:581–606.

Paluh DJ, Griffing AH, Bauer AM. 2017. Sheddable armour: Identification of osteoderms in the integument of Geckolepis maculata (Gekkota). Afr J Herpetol 66:12–24.

Griffing AH, Bowerman J, Sessions SK. 2017. Histology reveals testicular oocytes and trematode cysts in the threatened Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa). Northwest Nat 98:24–32.

Griffing AH, DeBoer JC, Campbell PD, Wilson BS, Bauer AM. 2017. Aristelliger praesignis (Jamaican croaking lizard). Maximum Size. Herpetol Rev 48:184–185.

Griffing AH, López-Torres AL, Landestoy MA, Daza JD, Bauer AM. 2016. Aristelliger lar (spotted Caribbean gecko). Communal daytime retreat behavior. Herpetol Rev 47:293–294.

Bernstein JM, Griffing AH, Daza JD, Gamble T, Bauer AM. 2016. Using alien resources: Caribbean dwarf geckos nesting communally in invasive flora. IRCF Reptil Amphib 23:40–43.

Griffing AH, Bauer AM. 2016. Hemidactylus mabouia (wood slave). Geographic Distribution. Herpetol Rev 47:80–81.

Shannon Keating
Shannon KeatingResearch Interest: 
(not yet available)

Info: (not yet available)

Research in Dr. Krassimira Hristova's lab focuses on studying the functional role of microbial communities in contaminated environments. 

Dr. Hristova is accepting new Ph.D. students into the lab. 

Kyle Leistikow
Kyle LeistikowResearch Interest: 
My research interests center around bacterial competitive interactions and how those interactions can be employed as novel antimicrobial strategies. Specifically, our lab is investigating how probiotic Bacillus species disrupt biofilm formation and growth kinetics of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It is well known that many members of the Bacillus subtilis family possess a wide arsenal of natural antagonists, and our research is focusing on how quorum sensing molecules produced by these species interfere with S. aureus biofilm formation and horizontal gene transfer within that biofilm community.

Enrolled Fall 2019
B.S., University of Wisconsin - Madison

American Society of Microbiology, Chicago, IL, 2020

Research in Dr. Joe LaManna's lab focuses on community and population ecology.

Dr. LaManna is accepting new Ph.D. students into the lab. 

Madison Sutton
Madison SuttonResearch Interest: 
(not yet available)



Enrolled Fall 2019

Research in Dr. Nate Lemoine's lab focuses trophic ecology and quantitative ecology. 

Dr. Lemoine is accepting new Ph.D. students into the lab.

Research in Dr. Anita Manogaran's lab focuses on protein misfolding and prion biology.

Dr. Manogaran is accepting new Ph.D. students into the lab. 

Adam Knier
Adam KnierResearch Interest: 
The effect of cellular proteostasis pathways on the formation and clearance of amyloidogenic protein. 

Enrolled Fall 2018
B.S., University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

Midwest Yeast Meeting 2019, Evanston, Illinois, 2019

Hannah Buchholz
Hannah BuchholzResearch Interest: 
(not yet available)


Enrolled Fall 2019
B.S. University of Wisconsin - La Crosse


 Research in Dr. Chris Marshall's lab focuses on applied and environmental microbiology.

Dr. Marshall is accepting new Ph.D. students in the lab. 

Sophie Bridwell
Sophie BridwellResearch Interest: 
(not yet available)



Enrolled Fall 2019

Research in Dr. Michelle Mynlieff's lab focuses on ion channels and neuronal function.

Dr. Mynlieff is NOT accepting new Ph.D. students into the lab. 

Michael Hunsberger
Michael HunsbergerResearch Interest: 
 I study the developmental changes in the BK potassium channel in the hippocampus. Particularly how changes in this channels activity, expression level, and isoform composition relate to changes in intrinsic neuronal excitability and seizure susceptibility across early developmental time.molecular techniques.

Enrolled Fall 2016
B.S., University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Neuroscience, Washington D.C, 2017
Neuroscience, San Diego, CA, 2018

2019-2020 Marquette University Fellowship

Research in Dr. Lisa Petrella's lab focuses on chromatin and gene expression responses to temperature in C. elegans.

Dr. Petrella is accepting new Ph.D. students into the lab. 

Nicholas Sepúlveda

Nicholas SepulvedaResearch Interest: 
Sexual reproduction affords many benefits to multicellular organisms, but it has a deeply conserved flaw: fertility is temperature sensitive. I am interested in determining the effects temperature stress has on fertility. Currently, I am examining the temperature sensitive processes in sperm production, migration, and fertilization in Caenorhabditis elegans males. In addition, I am exploring the natural variation in temperature stress response by examining these effects in both the standard laboratory wild type, N2, and wild isolates collected from across the globe. I hope to assemble a comprehensive portrait of the effects temperature stress has on these crucial processes at a cellular and molecular level. 

Enrolled Fall 2017
B.S. Juniata College

Chicago Area Worm Meeting (ChAWM). Chicago, IL, 2018.
Midwest Chromatin and Epigenetics Meeting. Grand Rapids, MI, 2016.
C. elegans International Meeting. Los Angeles, CA, 2015.

U.S. Department of Education GAANN Fellowship 2018-present
NIH Diversity Supplement Grant, 2014- 2016

Research in Dr. Martin St. Maurice's lab focuses on structural biology and enzymology.

Dr. St. Maurice is accepting new Ph.D. students into the lab. 

Nick Schneider
Nick SchneiderResearch Interest: 
My research focuses on finding potent and selective small molecule effectors for the metabolic enzyme pyruvate carboxylase (PC) through both structure-based drug design and high-throughput screening approaches. The impetus for this research is that there are currently no known pharmalogical agents that are both highly selective and potent for PC. PC contributes to glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in pancreatic beta cells and glucose production in gluconeogenic tissues such as the liver and kidneys.  It has been shown that pancreatic PC activity is elevated in the pre-diabetic state, which is thought to be consequent to further elevation of resting blood glucose. We aim to provide a better approach to researching the involvement of PC in pre-diabetes using small molecule effectors. 

Enrolled Fall 2019
B.S., Marquette University

Midwest Enzyme Chemistry Conference, Chicago, IL, 2019

Amanda J. Laseke
Amanda LasekeResearch Interest: 
I am interested in domain communication and movement of the biotin dependent enzyme, pyruvate carboxylase. I investigate conformational changes through biophysical, structural and kinetic approaches. My research works towards understanding the coordination of catalysis in multifunctional enzymes.   

Enrolled Fall 2018
B.S. University of Wisconsin-Madison

Midwest Enzyme Chemistry Conference. Chicago, IL, 2019

Research in Dr. Michael Schläppi's lab focuses on cold tolerance and flowering time regulation in plants.

Dr. Schläppi is accepting new Ph.D. students into the lab. 

Naoki Shimoyama
Naoki ShimoyamaResearch Interest: 
All respiring organisms must deal with oxidative stress both from within its cells and from the surrounding environment. Better understanding of how organisms react to and deal with changes in oxidative stress may help to develop new rice cultivars that can mitigate the effects of environmental stressors.​ My current research is focused on studying the role of oxidative stress in the mechanisms that confer cold tolerance in rice.

Info: not yet available

Nasim Maghboli Balasjin
Nasim Maghboli BalasjinResearch Interest: 
I am working on cold tolerant rice root microbiome and I am trying to find differences between cold tolerant and non-cold tolerant rice root microbiome. In the proposed research we aim to identify positive root-microbiome interactions that promote cold tolerance in rice. To the best of our knowledge, the root microbiome in rice has not been thoroughly studied and there is a lack of studies investigating the influence of psychrophilic rice-associated rhizoplane and endosphere bacteria on the growth and genes of the rice plants through phosphate solubilization in cold conditions. This study offers a basic understanding of microbiome-plant relationships during temperature stress, potentially unlocking improved rice growth in cold environments. This could potentially expand the agricultural range of the world’s most important staple crop. 

Enrolled Fall 2017
B.S. Islamic Azad University, Tehran-Medical branch
M.S. Alzahra University

Mohammadi, N. Maghboli Balasjin, Isolation and Molecular Identification of Fungi from Cyrus the Great Tomb Stones, Iranian Journal of Microbiology, Volume: 6, No. 5, 361-370. 2014

Mohammadi, N. Maghboli Balasjin, Fungi as a biodeteriorant of Pasargadae stone monuments, Iranian Biological Magazine, Volume: 28, No. 2, 290-298. 2014

Huy Minh Phan
Huy PhanResearch Interest: 
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced in multiple metabolic pathways in plants. During stress, like cold, ROS begins to accumulate. This serves as a double-edge sword: a prerequisite for activating defense mechanisms, and a cause for deregulation of cellular processes, leading to apoptosis. To scavenge ROS, plants utilize antioxidants, both enzymatic and non-enzymatic. Asian rice consists of two subspecies: cold-sensitive INDICA and cold-tolerant JAPONICA. It is known that antioxidants help plants confer stress tolerance. However, it is not known whether the interaction between ROS and antioxidants in these two sub-species contribute to their ability to survive cold stress. My research focuses on:
(1) Identifying cold tolerance genes using different antioxidant activities as main parameters,
(2) Investigating the interaction between ROS and antioxidants in regulating plant survivability under cold
(3) Evaluating previously mapped candidate genes for cold tolerance in different plant systems: rice, mustard, and tobacco via genetic modification

Enrolled Fall 2018
B.S. Marquette University

Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need Fellowship 2019-2020

Shi, Y., Phan, H., Liu, Y., Cao, S., Zhang, Z., Chu, C., & Schläppi, M. R. (2020). Glycosyltransferase OsUGT90A1 helps protect the plasma membrane during chilling stress in rice. Journal of experimental botany, 71(9), 2723-2739.

 Research in Dr. Stefan Schnitzer's lab focuses on plant community ecology and tropical forest ecology.

Dr. Schnitzer is accepting new Ph.D. students into the lab. 

Felipe Mello
Felipe MelloResearch Interest: 
I’m interested in the mechanisms driving plant's abundance and distribution in tropical forests and its implications for conservation and ecological restoration. For my dissertation, I aim to understand how liana and tree's functional traits varies along environmental gradients and if that can explain the distribution and abundance of these plants. The results from my study might be used to inform management actions in disturbed forest fragments with high liana densities. 

Enrolled Spring 2016
M.S., Universidade de Sao Paulo


GARCIA-LEON, M.M.; IZQUIERDO, L.M.; MELLO, F.N.A.; POWERS, J.S.; SCHNITZER, S.A. 2017. Lianas reduce community-level canopy tree reproduction in a Panamanian forest. JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, v. 105, p. 1-9.

 COLLETTA, G.D.S.; CASTRO, V.A.; CABRAL, T.E.; DIOGO, F.N.; JEFERSON, I.; FLORES, T. B.; COELHO, R.L.; MORENO, V.S.; SALINO, A.F.; PINHO, M.A.; IVANAUSKAS, N. M.; TAMASHIRO, J.Y.; LIBONI, A.P.; NETO, A.C.R.; VIRILLO, C.B.; DELFINI, C.F.; POTASCHEFF, C.M.; BRAGA, D.P.; PEREZ OLIVEIRA, D.B.; CASTILLO-DÍAZ, D.C.; MELLO, F.N.A.; FLORIDO, F.G.; FAGUNDES, I.C.; RIGON, J.; KUNTZ, J. et al. 2016. Vascular flora of the Legado das Águas, Reserva Votorantim, municipalities of Tapiraí, Miracatú and Juquiá, São Paulo, Brazil. CHECK LIST, JOURNAL OF SPICIES LIST AND DISTRIBUTION, v. 12, p. 2020.

CÉSAR, R. G.; HOLL, K. D.; GIRÃO, V. J.; MELLO, F. N. A.; VIDAL, E.; ALVES, M. C.; BRANCALION, P.H.S. 2016. Evaluating climber cutting as a strategy to restore degraded tropical forests. Biological Conservation, v. 201, p. 309-313.

VIANI, R. A. G.; MELLO, F. N. A.; CHI, I. E.; BRANCALION, P. H. S. 2015. A new focus for ecological restoration: management of degraded forest remnants in fragmented landscapes. GLPNEWS, v. 12, p. 1.

ATTANASIO, C. M.; CARLINI-GARCIA, L. A.; MELLO, F. N. A. 2015. Métodos para Restauração de Florestas de Brejo Degradadas. PESQUISA & TECNOLOGIA, v. 12, p. 1-6.

2016 National Council for Scientific and Technological Development – CNPq, Brazil. Science without Borders PhD Fellowship 2016 – 2018. 
2015 Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development – Government of Canada. Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program Scholarship.
2013 Coordination of Improvement of Higher Level Personnel – CAPES, Brazil. M.Sc. Fellowship 2013 – 2015. 

2017 World Conference on Ecological Restoration, (Society for Ecological Restoration), Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil.

David DeFilippis
David DeFilippisResearch Interest:
Community Ecology, Environmental Engineering, Plant response to and creation of environment, Embedded systems development for environmental sensors.


Enrolled Fall 2016
B.S., University of WI Milwaukee
Associates degree in welding and metallurgy
Associates degree in Class 8 diesel mechanics
ASE certified class 8 diesel mechanic

Research in Dr. Emily Sontag's lab focuses on protein misfolding and disease. 

Dr. Sontag is accepting new Ph.D. students into the lab. 

Research in Dr. Rosemary Stuart's lab focuses on mitochondrial biogenesis and function.

Dr. Stuart is NOT accepting new Ph.D. students into the lab. 

Jessica Anderson
Jessica AndersonResearch Interest: 
(not yet available)


Enrolled Fall 2015
B.S. Utah State University

Research in Dr. Pinfen Yang's lab focuses on the control of flagellar motility.

Dr. Yang is accepting new Ph.D. students into the lab. 

Cole Doolittle

Enrolled Fall 2020
B.S. Olivet Nazarene University

Richard Melton

Enrolled Fall 2020
B.S. Clemson University
M.S. Clemson University

Justine Nguyen

Enrolled Fall 2020
B.S. Loyola University - Chicago

Kristen Quaglia

Enrolled Fall 2020
B.S. University of Minnesota

Claire Radtke

Enrolled Fall 2020
B.S. Lake Superior State University

Sarah Rolli

Enrolled Fall 2020
B.S. University of Wisconsin - Madison

Ethan Rose

Enrolled Fall 2020
B.S. Iowa State University

Kathryn Sullivan

Enrolled Fall 2020
B.S. University of Maryland