Recent PhD Graduates

Congratulations to our PhD alums!

2019-2020 PhD Graduates

Chris Rupert.

Chris Rupert
Defense: July 21, 2020
Advisor: Rusche
Thesis title: "A role for the deacetylase Hst1 in carbon source dependent filamentation in the pathogenic yeast C. parapsilosis
Current position: postdoctoral fellow, Roswell Park Cancer Institute

Rupkatha Banerjee.

Rupkatha Banerjee
Defense: July 6, 2020
Advisor: Gunawardena
Thesis title: "Regulation of molecular motors by glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) and presenilin (PS) during axonal transport”
Current position: Postdoctoral associate in the lab of Ronald Davis at Scripps Research, Florida.

Heather Williams.

Heather Williams
Defense: April 14, 2020
Advisor: Dittmar
Thesis title: "From microbiota to macroecology: Three levels of purple martin ecology"

Shaunna Phipps.

Shaunna Phipps
Defense: February 27, 2020
Advisor: Bisson
Thesis title: The role of sodium transport in salt tolerance in two species of Chara.

Skyler Resendez, PhD.

Skyler Resendez, PhD
Defense: January 8, 2020
Advisor: Gokcumen
Thesis title: "Identifying and Analyzing Human Genetic Variation through a Key Example in the Growth Hormone Receptor Gene”


Debarghya Dutta Banik, Phd.

Debarghya Dutta Banik, PhD
Defense: December 3, 2019
Advisor: Medler
Thesis title: “Function of TRPM4 and PLCbeta3 in Taste Cell Signaling”

2018-2019 PhD Graduates


Ozgur Taskent, PhD
Defense: July 26, 2019
Advisor: Gokcumen
Thesis title: “A Genetic Record of Admixture Between Humans and Ancient Hominins”

Richoo Bijoo Davis.

Richoo Bijoo Davis, PhD
Defense: May 13, 2019
Advisor: Yu
Thesis title: "Protein Arginine Methylation Facilitates Environmental Adaptation in Budding Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae"
Placement: Postdoctoral Fellow at the UB Department of Physics with Dr. Priya Banerjee

Jacky Chow, PhD.

Jacky Chow, PhD
Defense date: January 20, 2019
Advisor: Cullen
Thesis title: "Exploring the role of signaling networks in regulating fungal foraging responses"
Placement: Postdoctoral Fellow at Roswell Park Cancer Center with Dr. Jason Muhitch

Yen-Lung Onta Lin, PhD.

Yen-Lung Onta Lin, PhD
Defense date: January 9, 2019
Advisor: Gokcumen
Thesis title: "In search of the adaptive roles of genomic structural variants in the human genome"
Placement: Postdoctoral fellow at University of Chicago with Luis Barreiro

Rachel Bowman, PhD.

Rachel Bowman, PhD
Defense date: November 1, 2018
Advisor: Gollnick
Thesis title: "The Role of the Triphosphatase Domain of the Vaccinia Capping Enzyme During Early Gene Transcription Termination."
Placement: Senior scientist at Frontier Science and Technology, Amherst, NY

Dianxiong Zou, PhD.

Dianxiong Zou, PhD
Defense date: October 30, 2018
Advisor: Hennessey
Thesis title: "Characterization of a Seven-transmembrane Protein and a Putative Ligand with Respect to Behavior and Iron Uptake in Tetrahymena thermophila"
Placement: Postdoctoral fellow at Texas A&M



2017-2018 PhD Graduates

Sukanya Basu, PhD
Defense: August 17, 2018
Advisor: Paul Cullen
Thesis: "The role of polarity proteins in regulating MAP kinase pathways in Saccharomyces cerevisiae."
Position: Postdoc with Drs. Erik Knudsen and Agnieszka Witkiewicz at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Kimberly Farr, PhD
Defense: July 27, 2018
Thesis: "The Influence of Genomic Organization on the Diversity of Angiosperms"
Advisor: Bisson
Xiaowen Zhuang, PhD
Defense: July 16, 2018
Thesis: "Activity-dependent changes at the auditory nerve synapse"
Advisor: Xu-Friedman
Position: Postdoctoral fellow at Texas A&M University

Duo (Erica) Xu, PhD
Defense: April 19, 2018
Thesis: "Evolution of a salivary mucin, MUC7"|
Advisor: Gokcumen
Position: Postdoc with Dr. Ekta Khurana at Weill Cornell Medicine

Joe White, PhD
Defense: February 1, 2018
Thesis: "Identification of Potential HTT-Rab Axonal Transport Complexes"
Advisor: Gunawardena
Position: Postdoc with Dr. Albert LaSpada at Duke University
Yankun Gao, PhD
Defense: January 8, 2018
Thesis: "The Role of WT1 and BASP1 in the Development and Maintenance of the Posterior Tase Field"
Advisor: Medler, Roberts
Position: Enrolled in data science program at University of Rochester

Bhavana Muddukrishna, PhD

Defense: November 17, 2017

Thesis: “Dissecting a Role for Protein Arginine Methylation in pre-mRNA Splicing”
Advisor: Yu
Position: Scientist at Cepheid, San Jose CA

Ashleigh Hanner, PhD
Defense: August 4, 2017
Thesis: “The Yeast Heterochromatin Protein Sir3 Evolved in the AAA+ Base Subdomain after Subfunctionalization”
Advisor: Rusche
Position: Postdoc with Dr. Myung Hee Park at NIH, Inst Dental & Craniofacial Medicine

Christopher Mure, PhD

Defense: July 24, 2017
Thesis: “The rbcL mRNA binding protein RLSB is a bundle-sheath-specific, positive regulator of rbcL gene expression in C4 Plants”Advisor: Berry

Kristen Humphrey, PhD

Defense: June 19, 2017
Thesis: “Sirtuin deacetylases couple nutrient availability to gene expression”
Advisor: Rusche
Position: Postdoc, Roswell Park Cancer Institute