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Dissertation Defense Archives

Spring 2019

Luxi Chen

Advisor: Michael Caligiuri & Aharon Freud

“Human Innate Lymphoid Cell Biology and Development”​

Alecia Blaszczack

Autumn 2018

Shaneice Mitchell

Advisors: John Byrd and Rosa Lapalombella

"Nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase as a therapeutic target in AML"​

Lindsay Webb​

webb.jpgAdvisor: Mireia Guerau-de-Arellano

Rachael Hardison

Rachael HardisonAdvisors: Kevin Mason and Sheryl Justice




Summer 2018

Samantha Ohmer

Megan20Duggan.jpgAdvisor: Christopher Walker



Spring 2018

Kelly Regan-Fendt

Zachary Hing

Megan20Duggan.jpgAdvisors: John Byrd and Rosa Lapalombella






Autumn 2017

Summer 2017

Spring 2017

  Linan Wang

Advisor: Michael Freitas

Vivek Chowdhary

David Clever

Megan20Duggan.jpgAdvisor: Larry Schlesinger
T Cell-Intrinsic Oxygen Sensing Regulates Pulmonary Immunity

Megan Duggan

Megan20Duggan.jpgAdvisor: William E. Carson III

Priscilla Do

Advisor: John Byrd

Stephen Bergin

Advisor: Michael Caligiuri

Tatevik Broutian

Advisor: Maura L. Gillison

Andrew Stiff

Advisor: William E. Carson III

Autumn 2016

Nicholas Chesarino

Chesarino_Nicholas.jpgAdvisor: Jacob Yount

Sara Koenig

Advisor: Vidu Garg

Tierra Ware

Advisors: Joanna Groden and Clay Marsh

"Epigenetic and Pten regulation of Longevity Pathways as it Relates to Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and Organismal Aging"


Emily McWilliams

EmilyMcwilliamsPic.jpg Advisors: John Byrd and Natarajan Muthusamy

"Restoring Innate NK-cell Immunity with Antibody Therapeutics in CLL B-Cell Malignancy"


Jeremy Baeten

 JeremyBaeten.jpgAdvisor: Brenda Lilly

"The Roles of the Notch2 and Notch3 Receptors in Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells"


Cynthia Canan

CynthiaWupic.jpg Advisor: Joanne Turner  

Alaina Martinez

  Advisor: Joanna Groden and Jeffrey Parvin    


William Hankey


Hankey-William.jpgAdvisor: Joanna Groden 

Chromatin-associated APC tumor suppressor protein antagonizes canonical WNT repression of the MALL gene


Katherine Hartmann

KateHartmannPortraitresize(1).jpgAdvisor: Sadee Wolfgang



Summer 2016

Cecelia Miller

  miller.jpgAdvisor: John Byrd

"Discovery and Functional Interrogation of Biomarkers Related to Therapeutic Response in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia "

Spring 2016

David Clever

Megan20Duggan.jpgAdvisor: Larry Schlesinger

T Cell-Intrinsic Oxygen Sensing Regulates Pulmonary Immunity
Advisor: John Byrd


Ashley Jackson

Advisor: Kirk Mchugh

Michael Makara

download.jpegAdvisor: Peter Mohler

"Molecular physiology of ankyrin-G in the heart: Critical regulator of excitability and cellular architecture" 



Elizabeth McMichael

McMichael_Elizabeth.jpgAdvisor: William Carson



Komal Rambani

Advisor: Gustavo Leone

"A genome wide screen in C. elegans identifies cell non-autonomous suppressors of oncogenic Ras mediated over-proliferation"


Steven Scoville

scoville.jpgAdvisor: Michael Caligiuri


Michael Trimarchi

Advisor: Joanna Groden

Parker Woods

ParkerWoodspic.jpgAdvisor: Ian Davis





Autumn 2015

Kyle Caution

Advisor: Amal Amer 

Jacqueline Corry




Sara Johnson

Mary Severin

mary severin.jpg
Advisor: Amy Lovett-Racke



Catherine Waters

Advisor: Kay Huebner


Summer 2015

Advisor: W. James Waldman


Carolyn Paisie

Advisor: Kay Huebner



Spring 2015

Advisor: Ramesh Ganju


helongzhaopic.jpgAdvisor: Ramesh Ganju



Autumn 2014 

Nathan Dissinger

Dissinger-Nathan.jpgAdvisor: Patrick Green 






Adam Rauckhorst 

Advisor: Douglas Pfeiffer 

Estevan A. Santana 

Santana-Estevan.jpgAdvisor: Robert S. Munson 



Elizabeth Stofko-Barrie 

Beth-Stofko.jpgAdvisor: Wolfgang Sadee



Summer 2014 

Spring 2014

Julie Ann Dougherty

Julie-Dougherty-2.jpgAdvisor: Daniel R. Schoenberg



Nima Milani-Nejad 

Nimamilani.jpgAdvisor: Paul M.L. Janssen 


Benjamin R. Nixon 

Nixon-Benjamin.jpgAdvisor: Brandon J. Biesiadecki


James Perry

Advisor: Arnab Chakravarti 



Autumn 2013

Chelsea Bolyard

chelseabolyard.jpgAdvisor: Balveen Kaur



Heather Costello

Heather-Costello.jpgAdvisor: Mark Peeples

"The N500 Glycan of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus F Protein is Required for Fusion, but not for Stabilization or Triggering of the Protein"


Devyn Gillette

PhotoNotAvailable.jpgAdvisor: Susheela Tridandpani



Sean Harshman

Harshman-Sean.jpgAdvisor: Michael A. Freitas

"Characterization of Histone H1 and Extracellular Vesicles by Mass Spectrometry"


Kelly Johnson 

kelly-nye.jpgAdvisor: Traci Wilgus 



Suman Kanji 

Kanji Suman.pngAdvisors: Sujit Basu and Hiranmoy Das


Joanna Marshall

Joanna-Marshall.jpgAdvisor: John S. Gunn



Joseph Ostler

josephostler.jpgAdvisor: Muthu Periasamy 


Caroline Padro

Caroline-Padro.jpgAdvisor: Virginia M. Sanders


Christopher Penton 

chrispenton.jpgAdvisor: Federica Montanaro


Brenda Reader

BrendaReaderresized.jpgAdvisor: John F. Sheridan


Dawn Walker

Dawn-Walker-2.jpgAdvisor: Mark E. Drew


William Willis

Advisor: Art Strauch 

Summer 2013

Edward Briercheck

Advisor: Michael Caliguiri

"Elucidation of the Mechanism by which Phosphatase and Tensin Homologue Deleted on Chromosome Ten (PTEN) Regulates Natural Killer Cell Function"


Joshua Oakes

Advisor: Danilo Perrotti


Ira Racoma

Advisor: Altaf Wani

“Targeting Glioblastoma Survival Signaling: A Novel Mechanism of Action of Thymoquinone”


Nicholas Zorko

Advisor: Michael Caliguiri

“The role of the mixed lineage leukemia partial tandem duplication in acute myeloid leukemogenesis”


Spring 2013

Erin Burns

Erin BurnsAdvisor: Tatiana Oberyzyn

"Men and Women are Not Just From Different Planets: The Role of Sex-Based Differences in the Prevention of Non-Melamona Skin Cancer"


Erin Frey

Erin FreyAdvisor: Candice Askwith

"Acid-Sensing Ion Channels: Targets for Neuropeptide Modulation and Neuronal Damage"


Alena Cristina Jaime-Ramirez

Alena Cristina Jaime-RamirezAdvisor: Bill Carson

"The NK Cell-mediated Anti-tumor Effects of a Folate-conjugated Immunoglobulin are Enhanced by Cytokines”


Samantha McCarty

Reeva AggarwalAdvisor: Matthew D. Ringel

"A Novel Braf Signaling Cascade through p-21 Activated Kinases Regulates Thyroid Cancer Cell Motility"


Pierpaolo Peruzzi

Pierpaolo PeruzziAdvisor: E. Antonio Chiocca and Balveen Kaur

"MiR-128 Controls the Activity of Polycomb Repressor Complexes 1 and 2 in Neural Stem Cells: Implications of its Loss in Gliomagensis"


Joshua C. Saldivar

Reeva AggarwalAdvisor: Kay Huebner

"The Origin of Genome Instability in Cancer: Role of the Fragile Site Gene Product Fhit"


Autumn 2012

Reeva Aggarwal

Reeva AggarwalAdvisor: Hiranmoy Das

"Mechanisms of Human CD34+ Stem Cell-Mediated Regulation of Osteoporosis in a Preclinical Model."


Houda Alachkar

Reeva AggarwalAdvisor: Guido Marcucci

“SPARC Contributes to Leukemia Growth and Aggressive Disease in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)”


Rodney D. Britt Jr.

Rodney BrittAdvisor: Lynette Rogers

"The Role of Cyclooxygenase-2 in Newborn Hyperoxic Lung Injury."


April Renee Sandy Gocha

April Renee Sandy GochaAdvisor: Joanna Groden

"Mechanisms of alternative telomere elongation in human cancer cells ."



Jill Green

Jill GreenAdvisor: Kirk Mykytyn

"Characterization of Neuronal Primary Cilia in Cellular Homeostasis and Disease."



Sean Little

Sean LittleAdvisor: Jonathan P. Davis

"The Role of Troponin C in the Heart."



Chris Lucas

Chris LucasAdvisor: Virginia M. Sanders

"Prohibitins and the Cytoplasmic Domain of CD86 Cooperate to Mediate CD86 Signaling in B Lymphocytes."


Ananth Narayanan

Ananth NarayananAdvisor: Petra Schmalbrock

"Pharmacological Modulation of Functional Connectivity in Neuropsychological Disorders."


Steve Roof

Reeva AggarwalAdvisor: Mark T. Ziolo

“Neuronal Nitric Oxide Synthase Signaling Contributes to the Beneficial Cardiac Effects of Exercise”


Nikki Seagraves

   Advisor: Kim McBride

Jessica Suboticki

    Advisor: Paul Janssen 

Summer 2012

Joshua Cyktor

Joshua CyktorAdvisor: Joanne Turner

"Immune Correlates of Resistance and Susceptibility to Tuberculosis."


Xun Lan

Xun LanAdvisor: Victor Jin

"Uncover Transcription Factor Networks by Integrating One Dimensional 'Omics and Three Dimensional Chromatin Structure."


Richard Price

Richard PriceAdvisor: E. Antonio C​hiocca

"The Role of Cytomegalovirus in Glioblastoma and Rhabdomyosarcoma."


Spring 2012

Adam Bevan

Adam BevanAdvisor: Brian K. Kaspar

"AAV-based approaches for modeling and treating spinal muscular atrophy."



Patrick Grierson

Patrick GriersonAdvisor: Joanna Groden

"The BLM helicase facilitates RNA polymerase I-mediated ribosomal RNA transcription."


Kaylan Haizlip

Advisor: Paul Janssen

“Manipulations and Alterations of the Force-Frequency Response in Isolated Cardiac Muscle”


Alison Lyon

Alison LyonAdvisor: Christine E. Beattie

"Generation and Analysis of Motor Neuron Disease Models in Zebrafish."



Carolyn Marion

Carolyn MarionAdvisor: Samantha King

"Modification and Utilization of Carbohydrates by Streptococcus pneumoniae."


Susan McClory

Susan McCloryAdvisor: Michael Caligiuri

"Extrathymic T cell development in the human tonsil."


Sarwish Rafiq

Sarwish RafiqAdvisor: John C. Byrd

"Evaluation of Antibody-based Therapeutics for B cell Malignancies."



Levy Reyes

Levy Austin ReyesAdvisor: Jay L. Zweier

"New Mechanisms for Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase Dysfunction in the Isolated Rat Heart."



Kenny Roman

Kenny RomanAdvisor: Robert Stephens

"GLT-1 Over-Expression Attenuates Bladder and Colonic Nociception By Either Pharmacological or Gene Therapy Approach"



Neha Singhal

Neha SinghalAdvisor: Paul T. Martin

"Distinct roles of synaptic GalNAc transferases, Galgt1 and Galgt2, in muscle biology."


Sarah Stevens

Sarah StevensAdvisor: Loren E. Wold

"Calcium and Cancer: Implications for Cardiovascular Function and Disease."


Fatemeh Talebian

Fatemeh TalebianAdvisor: Xue-Feng Bai

CD200-CD200R Interaction in Tumor Immunity

Winter 2012

Rebecca Allen

Rebecca AllenAdvisor: John Sheridan

"Macrophage microbicidal activity is enhanced by stressor-exposure."

Bryan Anthony

Bryan AnthonyAdvisor: Gregg Hadley

"The Role of CD103 Expression in Promoting Intestinal Graft Versus Host Disease."


Kristen Smith

Kristen SmithAdvisor: Caroline Whitacre

"MicroRNAs in multiple sclerosis: a study of the effects on T cell trafficking and effector function."



Autumn 2011

Huizi Chen

Huizi ChenAdvisor: Gustavo Leone

"Atypical E2Fs link mammalian endocycle control to cancer."


Gina Mavrikis Cox

Gina CoxAdvisor: Caroline C. Whitacre

"Macrophage migration inhibitory factor: a study of the effects on the central nervous system microenvironment autoimmune encephalomyelitis."

Dennis Horvath

Dennis HorvathAdvisor: Sheryl Justice

"The Impact of Phagocyte-UPEC Interactions Upon Pathogenesis of Urinary Tract Infections."


Summer 2011

Besma Abbaoui

Besma AbbaouismallerAdvisor: Steven Clinton

“Broccoli Isothiocyanates as Chemopreventive Agents and Epigenetic Modulators of Bladder Cancer”

Dustin Donnelly

Dustin DonnellyAdvisor: Denis Guttridge

“Tailoring the heterogeneous macrophage response to spinal cord injury towards neuroprotection"


Sara Fischer

Sara FischerAdvisor: Clay Marsh

“Electrospun Nanofiber Scaffolds as a Model of the Lung Microenvironment in Pulmonary Fibrosis”


Bethany Mundy

Bethany MundyAdvisor: William Carson

“Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells in Tumor Immunology”


Alan Smith

Alan SmithAdvisor: Amy Lovett-Racke​

“IL-23 Receptor Expression and Effects of Signaling on T Cell Encephalitogenicity”


Georgia Triantafillou

Georgia TriantafillouAdvisor: John Byrd

"CD74 Targeted Nanoparticles as Dexamethasone Delivery System for B lymphoid Malignancies"

Jessica Williams

Jessica WilliamsAdvisor: Caroline Whitacre

“Pregnancy-associated Effects on Immune Modulation and Neuroprotection in a Model of Multiple Sclerosis: Role of T Cells and Serum Exosomes”


Dan Xu

Dan XuAdvisor: Christopher Walker

“Cellular Immunity in Adeno-Associated Virus Mediated Gene Therapy”


Spring 2011.

Jordan Jensen

Jordan JensenAdvisor: Jeffrey Kuret

"Development of Tau-Selective Imaging Agents for Improved Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Tauopathies"


Olga Malykhina

Olga MalykhinaAdvisor: Mark Peeples

Christopher J. Traynham

Christopher TraynhamAdvisor: Mark T. Ziolo

"Effects of Neuronal Nitric Oxide Synthase Signaling on Myocyte Contractile Function"


Winter 2011

Shante Williams

Advisors: Sean Lawler and Antonio Chiocca

"The Role of Glycogen Synthase Kinase3 Inhibitors in Brain Tumor Migration and Invasion"


Autumn 2010

Stephanie Cush

Advisor: Emilio Flano

"Generation and Function of CD8 T Cell Memory to γ-Herpesviral Infection"


Chad Groer

Advisors: Laura Bohn and Wolfgang Sadee

"Agonist-Selective Regulation of the Mu Opioid Receptor by βarrestins"

Mark Hanke

Advisor: John Sheridan

"Sympathetic Nervous System Mediated Alterations in the Immunological and Behavioral Effects of Social Defeat"


Sarah May Herman

Advisor: John Byrd

"Manipulation of Kinase Signaling in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: The effect on Disease state"


Anna Kwilas

Advisor: Mark Peeples

"Respiratory Syncytial Virus Based Vectors for the Treatment of Cystic Fibrosis"

Robert Moyer

Advisor: Wolfgang Sadee

"Exploration of Functional Genetic Variants in Candidate Genes for Psychiatric Disorders"



Amber Nagy

Advisor: James Waldman

"Characterization and Interaction of Nanoparticles in Biological Systems"


Susan Richards

Advisor: John Gunn

"PhoPQ- and PmrAB-mediated LPS Modification and Cationic Antimicrobial Peptide Resistance in Salmonella enterica Serovars Typhimurium and Typhi"


Summer 2010

Sasha Beyer

Advisor: Sissy Jhiang

"Modulation of Cell Surface Sodium Iodide Symporter Expression and Activity in Breast Cancer"


Jordan Gladman

Advisor: Dawn Chandler

"Understanding RNA Splicing to Fight Spinal Muscular Atrophy"



Spring 2010

Jessica L. Buescher

Advisor: Christopher Phiel

"Structure-Function Analysis of GSK-3 Isoforms"


Melinda C.C. Dunn

Advisor: James Waldman

"Inhibition of Respiratory Syncytial Virus in Vitro and In Vivo by the Experimental Immunosuppressive Agent Leflunomide"


Amanda M. Haidet

Advisor: Brian Kaspar

"Gene Therapy for Neuromuscular Disorders"


Sanjida Saklayen

Advisor: Howard Gu

"Effects of Propranolol on Cognition and Eye Contact in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)"

Winter 2010

Victoria Best

Advisor: Christopher Walker

"Ongoing Cellular Responses to Transgene Products Encoded by Recombinant Adeno-Associated Virus (RAAV)"


Troy Cline

Advisor: Joan Durbin

"Innate Immune Mechanisms of Controlling Respiratory Virus Infection"


Jason M. Dahlman

Advisor: Dennis Guttridge

"Investigating the Molecular Mechanisms Involved in Skeletal Muscle Development: NF-kB and Skeletal Myogenesis"


Amy Dworkin

Advisor: Amanda Toland

"Environmental and Genetic Contributions of Susceptibility to Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma"


Ene Raig Fairchild

Advisor: William Carson

"Differential Expression of MicroRNAs in Melanoma"


Sohee Kim

Advisor: Jeff Kuret

"Computational modeling in Alzheimer's disease"

Kathryn J. Kitzmiller

Advisor: C. Yung Yu

"Variation of Complement Factor H and Mannan Binding Lectin in Systemic and Vascular Immune-Mediated Diseases"


Benjamin A.T. Rodriguez

Advisor: Tim Huang

"Estrogen represses target genes through epigenetic modification of proximal and distal elements"

Chris Woldford

Advisor: Tsonwin Hai

"The Roles of ATF3, an Adaptive Response gene, in Cancer Development and Metastasis"


Autumn 2009

Corey Clay

 Advisor: Larry Schlesinger

Chalonda Handy

 Advisor: Brian Kaspar 

Anuradha Kalyanasundaram

 Advisor: Muthu Periasamy

Holly Moose

 Advisor: Heithem El-Hodiri

Krithika Selvarajan

Advisor: Sampath Parthasarathy

"Adherent and Non Adherent Macrophages in Cell Survival and Death"



Inimary Toby

Advisor: Leif Nelin

"Activation of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor and Stimulation of Arginase in Pulmonary Hypertension"


Summer 2009

Anna Eiring

 Advisor: Danilo Perrotti

Christopher I. Karanfilov

Advisor: Alan Litsky

"Ion Implantation of Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene"

Preeyal Kotadiya

Advisor: Beth Lee

Jessica Suboticki

Advisor: Paul Janssen 

Jennifer J. Stanke

Advisor: Andy Fischer

"Beyond Neuronal Replacement: Embryonic Retinal Cells Protect Mature Retinal Neurons"


Jessica Suboticki

Advisor: Paul Janssen 

Spring 2009

Brian L. Bell

Advisor: John Gunn

"Regulation of Virulence Gene Transcripts by the Francisella Orphan Response Regulator PmrA"

Amanda Michelle Beltramini

Advisor: Vijay Pancholi

"Eukaryotic-like serine/threonine kinase signaling in Staphylococcus aureus"


Edward Chang

Advisor: Jeff Kuret

"Role of Tau Protein in Neurodegenerative Disorders"

Robert Crawford

Advisor: John Gunn

"Chronic Carriage of Salmonella: Biofilms and Gallstones"


Jennifer M. Curry

Advisor: Clay Marsh

"Microenvironment Effects on Angiogenesis"

Nitisha Hiranandan

Advisor: Paul Janssen

"Imapact of Reperfusion Injury on Heart"

Aaron Kithcart

Advisor: Caroline Whitacre

"Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor: A Key Mediator of Inflammatory Disease"

Mark J. Kohr

Advisor: Mark Ziolo

"Modulation of Cardiac Contraction by Reactive Nitrogen Species"


Jaclyn Walisa McAlees

Advisor: Virginia Sanders

"Allergic asthma and the regulation of IgE production by B lymphocytes"


Erin K. Rottinghaus

Advisor: Joanne Turner

"Pulmonary Innate Immune Mechanisms in Old Mice"


Winter 2009

Kristin M. Ackerman

Advisor: Robert Boyd

"Zebrafish Neuronal Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors:Cloning, Expression, and Functional Analysis"

F Jason Duncan

Advisor: Tatiana Oberyszyn



Kristen M. Raehal M.A.

Advisor: Laura Bohn

"Opioid-Induced Side Effects in Beta-Arrestin2 and G Protein Coupled Receptor Kinase Knockout Mice"

Yee Wu

  Advisor: Chack Yung

Autumn 2008

James M. Pauff


"Structure-Function Studies of Xanthine Oxidoreductase"


Brian C. Wulff

Advisor: Tatiana Oberyszyn

"Effects of Therapeutic Immunosuppressants on UVB Induced Inflammation and Skin Carcinogenesis in a Murine Model" ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​