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PhD Student Thesis Defenses


November 29, 2023
Shang-Jung Cheng
"Interaction of Poly(ADP-ribose) with PARP13 Regulates Stress Granule Maturation and Dynamics"
Anthony Leung

November 3, 2023
Kyler Weingartner
"Investigating Protein Kinase Activation Through the Hippo Pathway Kinase MST2"
Advisor: Jennifer Kavran

July 18, 2023
Benjamin Orris
"Molecular Basis for DNA Repair and RNA Homeostasis Functions of SAMHD1"
Advisor: James Stivers

June 20, 2023
Daniel De Angelis
"Determining the role of metals in Hippo signaling"
Advisor: Jennifer Kavran

June 19, 2023
Bobby Kwan
"The lipoylated H protein is essential for survival of blood-stage Plasmodium falciparum"
Advisor: Sean Prigge


April 5, 2023
Wei Wang
"Systematic analysis of SUMO paralogue-specific functions and a novel SUMO1-dependent pathway for cytosolic protein quality control"
Advisor: Michael Matunis

March 9, 2023
Sharon Patray
"Glycosylation, trafficking, and structural studies in the sporozoite stage of the malaria parasite"
Advisor: Photini Sinnis

October 25, 2022
Gloria Marino Bravante
"Age-dependent loss of HAPLN1 erodes vascular integrity and increases metastasis in melanoma"
Advisor: Ashani Weeraratna

September 16, 2022
Haobo Wang
"Structural basis of noncognate target recognition by a type I CRISPR system"
Advisor: Scott Bailey


May 20, 2022
Michelle Xu
Essential functions of the SMC5/6 complex in mammalian DNA replication

Adviser: Phil Jordan

September 29, 2021
Rebecca Ursin
Viral and host factors mediate influenza vaccine-induced immunity in humans and mouse models

Adviser: Sabra Klein


April 22, 2021
Yue (Harry) Liu
“Novel bacterial genotoxin accelerates colon tumorigenesis”

Adviser: Fengyi Wan

April 7, 2021
Shuo Li
Locations and trafficking of glutamate receptors”
Adviser: Shigeki Watanabe

November 23, 2020
Alisa Atkins
“Genome stability during neurodevelopment: The importance of the structural maintenance of chromosomes complex, SMC5/6”
Adviser: Phil Jordan

November 19, 2020
Danielle M. Bouchard
“Characterizing the SUMO pathway in human health and disease”
Adviser: Michael Matunis

October 29, 2020
Stephen R. Wellard
“Regulation of prophase exit by cell cycle kinases during mammalian spermatogenesis"
Adviser: Phil Jordan

October 7, 2020
Xue (Summer) Xia
“Pathogenic mechanisms of Citrobacter rodentium infection in immunocompromised animals”
Adviser: Fengyi Wan

September 4, 2020
Tianlu Ma
“Regulation of Drosophila oogenesis by neuropeptide signaling”
Adviser: Daniela Drummond-Barbosa

August 21, 2020
Ed Culbertson
“Characterizing transition metal homeostasis at the host-pathogen interface”
Adviser: Valeria Culotta

July 31, 2020
Anita Ramachandran
“Mechanisms of Acquiring Memory for CRISPR-Cas Adaptive Immunity”
Adviser: Scott Bailey

July 28, 2020
Tara Little
“Regulators of Mammalian Meiosis”
Adviser: Phil Jordan


November 12, 2019
Robert Lyle McPherson
"Biochemical and proteomic investigations on the role of ADP-ribosylation in viral infection"
Adviser: Anthony Leung

October 23, 2019
Eric Simko
"RNA secondary structure recognition by paraspeckle protein NonO"
Adviser: Jiou Wang


March 22, 2019
Justin Jacob
"Discovering the presence, regulation, and functions of Keratin 17 in the cell nucleus​​​​"
Adviser: Pierre Coulombe

March 13, 2019
Kaitlin Johnson
"Activation of a transcription-dependent CRISPR-Cas system"
Adviser: Scott Bailey

October 19, 2018
Jessica Hopkins
"Structural determinants of meiotic recombination and checkpoint activation in mammalian germ cells​​​​​​​"
Adviser: Phil Jordan

November 7, 2018
Elizabeth Alexander
"The ubiquitin-like protein, Ubiquitin 2 bridges protein and RNA homeostasis at stress granules in ALS/FTD"
Adviser: Jiou Wang


August 15, 2018
Yajuan Guo
"Roles of Keratin 14-Dependant Disulfide Bonding in Skin Epithelia in vivo"
Adviser: Pierre Coulombe

July 20, 2018
Hana' Odeh
"Characterizing the regulation and function of the SUMO-specific isopeptidase SENP2"
Adviser: Michael Matunis

July 11, 2018
Christina Vivelo
"Global analysis of ADP- ribosylation substrates and a case study of Poly(ADP-ribose) dependent Ubiquitination"
Adviser: Anthony Leung

June 6, 2018
Abigail Zieman
"A role for keratin 16 in the regulation of terminal differentiation and homeostasis in glabrous epidermis"
Adviser: Pierre Coulombe

February 9, 2018
Grace Hwang
"The roles of SMC5/6 in mammalian germ cell genome maintenance"
Adviser: Phil Jordan

December 12, 2017
Christine Lee
"Characterization of the SUMO Pathway in Regulating Mitotic Progression"
Adviser: Michael Matunis


June 28, 2017
Fengrong Wang
"Insight into the role of the keratin cytoskeleton during collective epithelial cell migration"
Adviser: Pierre Coulombe

June 7, 2017
Chynna Broxton
"SOD Enzymes in a Human Fungal Pathogen: Oxidative Stress Protection Versus Cell Signaling"
Adviser: Valeria Culotta

March 24, 2017
Nicole Parker
"Regulation of Spermatogonial Stem Cells in the Mature Mouse Testis"
Adviser: William Wright

November 10, 2016
Xin Sun
"Role of Sam68 in DNA Damage Responses and Tumorigenesis"
Adviser: Fengyi Wan


August 4, 2016
Eric Wier
"Acute bacterial infection promotes colon tumorigenesis"
Adviser: Fengyi Wan

June 27, 2016
Dolly Singh
"Understanding the role of Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) in regulating stem and progenitor spermatogonia in adult mice and men"
Adviser: William Wright

May 26, 2016
Kate Laws
"Physiological control of Drosophila ovarian stem cell lineages"
Adviser: Daniela Drummond-Barbosa

April 18, 2016
Lauren McGinnis
"Proteins that mediate coordination of the cell cortex and the meiotic spindle in mammalian oocytes: insights into cellular factors affecting successful reproduction"
Adviser: Janice Evans

January 8, 2016
Mike Estrella
"Nucleic Acid Degradation by the CRISPR Type III-B Complex "
Adviser: Scott Bailey

December 14, 2015
Hongfan (Cathy) Chen
"CRISPR-Cas: How bacteria target foreign DNA "
Adviser: Scott Bailey

December 9, 2015
Daisy Colón-López
"Antibody-mediated inhibitor design against Plasmodium invasion "
Adviser: Jürgen Bosch

September 4, 2015
Andrea Hodgson
"Selective Inhibition of NF-kB Signaling by A/E Pathogens "
Adviser: Fengyi Wan


July 22, 2015
Cissy Li
"Candida albicans Superoxide Dismutases as Part of an Adaptive Response to Copper During Infection"
Adviser: Valeria Culotta

June 25, 2015
Katherine Reiter
"Wrestling with Malaria characterizing SUMOylation in Plasmodium falciparum"
Adviser: Michael Matunis

June 10, 2015
Casey Daniels
"Mass spectrometry based proteomics for the study of ADP-Ribosylation"
Adviser: Anthony Leung

December 16, 2014
Hyo Lee
"Cytoskeletal regulation of cortical mechanics in mammalian eggs"
Adviser: Janice Evans

October 31, 2014
Mindy Graham
"Targeting the human androgen receptor gene with platinated triplex-forming oligonucleotides"
Adviser: Paul Miller

August 6, 2014
Lauren Matthews
"Cell Cycle Regulation During Mammalian Female Meiosis Characterization of the MASTL-ENSA/ARPP19 Pathway in Mouse Oocytes"
Adviser: Janice Evans

July 30, 2014
Xia Feng
"Roles of Disulfide Bonding In the Assembly, Organization, and Dynamics of Keratin Intermediate Filaments in Epidermal Keratinocytes"
Adviser: Pierre Coulombe


February 21, 2014
David Alvarado
"Assessing the Contribution of Self-Organization of Keratin Intermediate Filaments to their Biological Functions In Vivo"
Adviser: Pierre Coulombe

December 18, 2013
Margaret Dayhoff-Brannigan
"Identifying Novel Genes Involved in Amino Acid Sensing."
Adviser: Marie Hardwick

December 17, 2013
Ulli Hain
"Autophagy in Plasmodium? Insights, Intrigue, and Inhibition."
Adviser: Jürgen Bosch

September 23, 2013
Caelin Potts
"Characterizing the Roles of Sumoylation in Mitosis through Substrate Identification and an Analysis of the SUMO Isopeptidases, SENP1 and SENP2."
Adviser: Michael Matunis

September 6, 2013
Allen Baron
"The Dual Nature of Reactive Oxygen Species: Regulation of pH Homeostasis and Survival in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae by ROS Damage and Signaling."
Adviser: Valeria Culotta


July 19, 2012
Stephen Slocum
"The Impact of Amplified Nrf2 Signaling on Liver Regeneration and High Fat Diet-Induced Obesity"
Adviser: Thomas Kensler

February 5, 2012
Teegan Delli-Bovi
"Cofactor Metabolism in Malaria Parasites"
Adviser: Sean Prigge

November 1, 2012
Jolyn Gisselberg
"Iron Sulfur Cluster Metabolism in the Apicoplast and Plasmodium falciparum"
Adviser: Sean Prigge

October 26, 2012
Heather Newman
"Characterizing SUMO function in Saccharomyces cerevisiae using a versatile library of synthetic mutants"
Adviser: Michael Matunis

October 11, 2012
Xiaoou Pan
"Regulation of skin keratin by site-specific phosphorylation"
Adviser: Pierre Coulombe

August 22, 2012
Matthew Beattie
"Redox Biology and the Aging Leydig Cell"
Adviser: Barry Zirkin

August 1, 2012
Juliane Lessard
"The perception of danger: Keratin 16 regulates alarmin expression in response to epidermal barrier challenges"
Adviser: Pierre Coulombe

July 23, 2012
Brian Roelofs
"Post-Translational Modification of Bcl-xL Orchestrates Non-Canonical Functions"
Adviser: J. Marie Hardwick

March 6, 2012
Jianmei Zhu
"Regulation and Function of BLM SUMOylation During DNA Damage Response"
Adviser: Michael Matunis


September 14, 2011
Jeremy Rotty
"Keratin 6 regulates Src activity: Implications for cell biology, wound healing, and tumorigenesis"
Adviser: Pierre Coulombe

September 13, 2011
Abena S. Agyeman
"Establishing Candidate Biomarkers to Determine the Pharmacodynamic Action of Sulforaphane in the Breast"
Adviser: Thomas Kensler


May 31, 2011
Erin L. Stanley
"Leydig cell stem/progenitor cells in neonatal, adult and aged testes"
Adviser: Barry Zirkin

February 11, 2011
Ronald J. Stamper
"Regulation of the Biosynthesis of Glycosylphosphatidylinositol Anchors in Saccharomyces cerevisiae by the small G-protein Ras2"
Adviser: Valeria Culotta

December 10, 2010
Sara E. Beese
"Regulation of the Fps1 glycerol channel in Saccharomyces cerevisiae"
Adviser: David Levin

December 3, 2010
Patrick G. Shaw
"Proteomic Profiling of Epigenetic Signaling and Malignant Progression in Breast Cancer"
Adviser: Nancy Davidson

October 7, 2010
Jacqueline D. Goeres
"Investigating the Dynamic Interactions of SENP2 at Nuclear Pore Complexes and Kinetochores"
Adviser: Michael Matunis

September 14, 2010
Erica Hlavin Bell
"Effects of Cross-link Structure on Replication-independent DNA Interstrand Cross-link Repair in Mammalian Cells"
Adviser: Paul Miller

September 3, 2010
Michael Smeaton
"Interstrand cross-links are repaired in a distortion-dependent manner"
Adviser: Paul Miller