2022 Discovery PREP Trainees

Group-Pic-w-Directors-2022-2023(Top Row, L. to R.) Co-Director Dr. Candice Askwith, Kiara Bahamonde, Brianna Gardner
(Bottom Row, L. to R.) Sara Justiniano, Lisbeth Disla, Co-Director Dr. Erica Glasper

KBahamondeKiara Bahamonde

I am from Indianapolis, Indiana. I graduated in 2022 from the University of Dayton with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Neuroscience. Through years of playing competitive soccer, I developed an interest in neuroscience and specifically traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and how the brain reacts to an injury. As an undergraduate, I worked in a behavioral neuroscience lab that investigated the role of a calcium regulatory protein that potentially caused behavioral deficits in mice that lack the protein. I joined Discovery PREP to gain more experience in research and professional development before applying to Ph.D. programs.


Lisbeth_DislaLisbeth Disla

I graduated from The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in May of 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology. As an undergraduate, I worked in Dr. Dennis Shevlin’s lab to investigate the genetic variations within and among three different populations of Sporisorium ellisii, a smut fungus and a biographic parasite of Andropogon virginicus, also known as broomsedge. During my undergraduate career, I was also chosen to participate in the Mentored Undergraduate Summer Experience (MUSE). During this time, I worked alongside ecologist, Dr. Curt Elderkin to investigate the genetic difference between different populations of the invasive species Corbicula fluminea. My lab experiences at TCNJ have allowed me to develop various research skills. As I move forward as a Discovery PREP scholar at The Ohio State University, I look to reinforce and enhance those skills, building a solid foundation before applying to Ph.D. programs in Biomedical Science. As a future scientist, my goal is to become part of a scientific lab conducting research focused on eliminating the spread of pathogens that cause infectious diseases worldwide.


BGardnerBrianna Gardner

During my time as an undergraduate student at the University of Connecticut, I had the amazing opportunity to explore my passion for research and discover my primary research interests. I am interested in exploring the interplay between the immune system and the gut microbiome. Before pursuing my PhD, I figured that it is best for me to gain intensive research experience that will prepare me for the challenges I have ahead. This goal led me to the Discovery PREP program here at The Ohio State University. My goal this year is to sharpen my lab techniques, become efficient at reading literature within and outside my discipline, and of course, commit to a PhD program that will allow me to accomplish my long-term goals as a scientist.


Sara_Justiniano-OteroSara Justiniano

I am a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico in Aguadilla with a bachelor’s degree in Natural Sciences with an emphasis in Biomedicine. From a young age, I've been passionate about cellular biology, microbiology, and parasitology, which led me to eagerly seek undergraduate research opportunities. During my undergraduate career, I was a part of three diverse research experiences. During my first experience, I investigated the prevalence of zoonotic helminths in stray dogs and their potential risk to human health. My second undergraduate research focused on the development of an effective method to prevent the inflammation of chronic inflammatory diseases by the influence of the endocannabinoid receptor CB2. My third research experience aimed to create a sustainable agroecological solution to recollect heavy metal pollutants from agricultural soils through the process of Rhizoremediation. Throughout my undergraduate career, I realized that what fueled my interest for research, was the fact that I found it thrilling to gather pieces of information to create a solution to a problem. My experience with undergraduate research and passion for cellular/microbiology evolved into becoming obsessed with microbial pathogenesis and pathogen-host interactions. I joined OSU PREP to gain additional research experience and acquire the skill necessary to excel in a Ph.D. graduate program.

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