Lilian Ameh

I am a third year student studying biology at SDSU. I joined Dr. Sussman’s lab starting in January 2014, because I wanted research experience. I am a pre-med student, so volunteering here would be a great opportunity for me to learn how science works outside of the classroom and how it explains the workings of our body; in this case, specifically, the heart. I have always been curious about how the heart functions, that is why I jumped at the opportunity to work in Dr. Sussman’s lab. I will be applying to medical schools during the Summer of 2014, and I believe the knowledge and experience I will gain from this lab will be useful in my chosen career.

Gwynn Andaya

Gwynn joined the Sussman lab in August 2007 and is currently working towards her masters degree in Biology at SDSU. She received her BS in Biochemistry & Cell Biology at UCSD, and previously worked for 3 years in the Wallace lab at UCI investigating mitochondrial molecular diseases and helped set up the MitoMed clinical lab. Her thesis focuses on the cardioprotective PIM-1 kinase and its role in supporting the protection of mitochondrial integrity by assessing mitochondrial swelling, membrane depolarization, and cytochrome c release.

Daniele Avitabile

I was born in Italy in the city of Rome, where I lived until last year, when I moved to San Diego to join Dr. Sussman’s lab for my post-doctoral fellowship. I’m working on two different projects: the first is about the role of two nucleolar proteins (Nucleostemin and Nucleophosmin) and more in general of the nucleolus, in cardioprotection and heart regeneration.The second, is about the generation of a new reporter mouse expressing two different fluorescent fusion proteins (one is red the other green fluorescent), specifically activated at different stages of the cell cycle in the mouse heart. The mouse model will be very useful by making it easy to detect activated cells in the heart following myocardial infarction or other pathological challenges and to study the paracrine effect of exogenus injected stem cells on the resident cardiac populations.

Patrick Aziz

I am currently an undergraduate student majoring in Biology. I started working in Dr. Sussman’s lab in Fall 2012. I am thrilled to learn and gain valuable research experience in a real laboratory setting. My goal after graduation is to continue my education in medical school. I joined this particular lab because I have always been curious about how working and doing research in a lab would be. The heart has always been an organ that amazes me because it is so critical to survival and has so many functions. My lab tasks include cleaning equipment, autoclaving, aliquoting proteins, making dilution solutions and performing DNA extractions. As each day proceeds, I learn new things and my tasks increase as well. I am also there to assist the graduate students and post-docs with any projects they assign me.

Brandi Bailey

I’ve been a PhD student in Dr. Sussman’s lab since 2006. I work on several different projects involving Cardiac Stem Cells (CSCs). I have found that CSCs isolated from mouse hearts thrive in culture and are very fascinating to manipulate. My first project involves the observation that CSCs isolated from cardiomyocyte-specific transgenic mice will express the transgene that was only supposed to be expressed in functional cardiomyocytes. My second project involves a mouse that has had the Stem Cell Antigen – 1 gene (Sca-1) replaced with GFP. These mice have impaired hearts and impaired stem cells which I believe to be a related phenomenon. The goal of all this stem cell research is to eventually make treatments out of them so you can use your own stem cells as therapy for your heart. Since you would usually not need this treatment until fairly late in life, I am investigating, as my third project, if CSCs isolated from older mice are just as good as those isolated from young adult mice. I enjoy cellular biology and looking at all aspects of cell behavior, and I think that MY cells are the coolest (of course)!

Kristin Bala

I am a 3rd year Cellular and Molecular Biology major at SDSU. I joined Dr. Sussman’s lab in the spring of 2014. I have been exposed to several laboratory techniques since then, and I am eager to further my experience as a volunteer. I am confident that experiences such as these will better prepare me for my ultimate goal of attending Medical School and becoming a physician. I am especially fascinated with oncology and the study of cancerous cells. I believe that the possibilities that stem cell research hold are vast and have the potential to change several aspects of modern medicine. When I am not in school or volunteering, I enjoy staying active and spending time with my friends and family.

Tao Bo

Tao Bo, received her Masters degree from Nankai University, China. She is working in the Sussman Lab as a research assistant. She focuses on performing surgeries for the whole lab.

Peggy Bonine

I joined the lab as Administrative Director for Professor Sussman in August of 2006. My responsibilities vary widely and include coordination and acquisition of research grants, budgetary management of over $2.5 million annually in research funding, purchasing of equipment and supplies, design and execution of multi-day scientific conferences, administrative management and executive level assistance. I am the proud single mom of three daughters who are all in college. In my spare time, I love gourmet cooking and great red wine.

Sebastian Braga

I am currently a senior undergraduate pursuing my goals toward becoming a physician. I graduate this May (2013), and I am looking forward to using my degree in Biology in the near future to help humanity. I have joined Dr. Sussman’s lab to broaden my knowledge and background in Biology. I am enjoying learning the many different aspects of the heart. I am obtaining many new research techniques to utilize, and I am gaining multitudes of experience. I am very excited for what Dr. Sussman’s lab has to offer, and even more excited about some of the new research techniques that I have added to my arsenal. When I’m not in Sussman’s lab, I enjoy going to the beach, sunset dinners, and eating food. But there is not a moment in time where I don’t think about my future career in Biology.

I'Alla Brodie

I started volunteering in Dr. Sussman’s lab in Fall 2010. I am pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. I hope to continue on to Physician’s Assistant school after graduating. My duties in the lab include working in the Vivarium, weaning the mice, and heart freezing. I also assist graduate students with any their research projects.

Zhaokang Cheng

Zhaokang Cheng, received his Ph.D. from Nankai University, China. He is now a postdoctoral researcher in the Sussman Lab. Zhaokang is interested in the nuclear Akt signaling pathway. The Sussman Lab has proven that the nuclear targeting of Akt can protect the heart from pathological remodeling after a heart attack. Thus, Zhaokang’s current task is to dissect the downstream signal transduction system and contribute some clinical implications. His final goal is to promote healthyhearts in humans.

Brett Collins

Near the end of 2007, I joined Dr. Mark Sussman’s laboratory as an undergraduate volunteer. I graduated from SDSU with a B.S. in Biology in May 2009, and I am currently applying for the Master’s program at SDSU for the Fall 2010 semester. In the meantime, I am working as a laboratory technician in Dr. Sussman’s lab. Many of my duties include genotyping, assisting in mouse colony management, getting new undergraduates acquainted with the lab, and helping graduate students with their individual projects.

In my spare time, I enjoy blaming failed experimental results on Roberto Alvarez or Matt Mason, hanging out with my buddies, and maybe a little PS3 when I get the chance.

Camille Contreras

I am a fourth year undergraduate student at the University of San Diego majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience and minoring in Anthropology. I began volunteering with Dr. Sussman in 2015, seeking to expand upon my laboratory experience, in order to acquire the background necessary for a future career in scientific research. I am excited to build upon my current experience and develop a stronger understanding of lab techniques, procedures and protocols. I hope to use this amazing opportunity as a way to add to the standard of excellence that already exists in Dr. Sussman’s lab and prepare for my future endeavors.

Annina Cooper

Hi there! I am a 3rd year Cell and Molecular Biology student here at SDSU. After my bachelor’s degree, I plan to go to graduate school and pursue a career in genetics. I recently started volunteering in Dr. Sussman’s lab in the summer of 2015, and I am very excited to gain knowledge and experience from such a prestigious cardiac research laboratory and the people who are a part of it. I am excited to learn the research skills and techniques that I will be able to apply to my schooling and, later on, career. When I am not at school or studying, you could find me at the beach, playing volleyball, or tumbling at a local gymnastics gym.

Travis Cottage

I joined the Sussman Lab in 2005 as an undergraduate volunteer where I became an integral part of the lab researching various mechanisms underlying heart disease. After graduation I stayed and received a Masters degree studying the proliferative effects of the Pim-1 kinase on cardiac progenitor cells. That research led me to study chromosomal integrity in progenitor cells and cardiomyocytes. Specifically, how Pim-1 influences telomere length and telomerase activity two very important aspects in cellular homeostasis. Currently, I am seeking a Ph.D., which leaves me with very little spare time, if a Ph.D. is the path you seek, beware.

Jonathan Cubillo

Currently I am being mentored under the guidance of Pearl Quijada, and I am learning valuable bench work and tissue culture techniques. In the future, I plan on gaining more knowledge and skills with surgeries and understanding the different aspects of cardiac research. My biggest dream is to go to medical school and become a cardiologist, which is why I’m so attracted to this lab. All in all, I’m easy to talk to, so come find me.

I joined the lab in November 2012 while pursuing my degree in Biology. and let’s talk science!

Shabana Din

I joined the Sussman lab in 2005 as an undergraduate volunteer. After graduating from UCSD with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, I decided to pursue a M.S. degree in Cell and Molecular Biology in the Sussman Lab. My current research focuses on the effects of Pim-1 on cardiac aging. Global deletion of Pim-1 results in an accumulation of senescent markers within the heart at a relatively young age. Senescent cardiomyocytes do not contribute to the contractile function of the heart and therefore hinder its performance. The goal of my Masters project is to reverse the aging cardiac phenotype by selectively eliminating senescent cardiomyocytes to promote cardiac stem cell regeneration. I will pursue this project further during my Ph.D. I am also the resident fashion consultant as well as the interior decorator for the lab. Some also say that I am the cloning queen…don’t mess with me. MSRI 09!!! Holla!

Nima Dolatabadi

I started in Dr. Sussman’s lab in September of 2009, and I am a senior pursuing my bio-engineering degree. Currently I am working under the supervision of Dr. Voelkers analyzing a new promising protein treatment of myocardial infarction. This work is of great significance since established clinical drugs can only attenuate the progressive deterioration of contractile performance but cannot restore contractile function of failing myocardium. By the way, Team Germany for life!

Mirae Dong

I joined Dr. Sussman’s lab in the Fall of 2013. I am a second year undergraduate student studying Cell and Molecular Biology at SDSU. My goal is to enter a Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. program in the biomedical field after graduation and be able to use the skills I acquire in this lab. I am grateful for this opportunity and excited to gain valuable experience from my time in the lab!

Jeanne Drucks

I am currently a 3rd year undergraduate student at San Diego State. I am majoring in Kinesiology, Athletic Training, and minoring in both Interdisciplinary Studies and Biology. I am just beginning my volunteer journey in Dr. Sussman’s Lab, this Fall 2013 semester. I joined the lab to broaden my understanding in Biology outside of a classroom setting. I believe that when knowledge is obtained through hands-on experiences, its value and relevancy increase. I am very excited and grateful for the opportunity, and I look forward to laying down this fruitful experience as another stepping stone in my journey to becoming a Physician Assistant.

Alexis Dumitrescu

I am a third year undergraduate student majoring in Biology, here, at San Diego State. As an aspiring physician’s assistant, I was extremely excited to join Dr. Sussman’s lab in the fall of 2015. From my time volunteering here, I hope to enhance my knowledge of myocardial research while learning valuable laboratory skills that will assist me in my future endeavors.

Pedram Ebrahimi

I am Pedram Ebrahimi, a new CMB Master Student originally from the bay area. I recently moved from South Carolina, where I worked as a research assistant at the University of South Carolina Pharmacy School. I received my B.A. in Chemistry, in 1996, from Sonoma State University. I worked as a research associate at several pharmaceutical companies such as Amgen, Genentech, and Abgenix, from 1999 to 2008. In June 2009, I received my M.S. in Chemistry. My area of interest is drug discovery using stem cells. I also have a great deal of interest in cardiology, having been a pre-med student as an undergraduate, andthis has been the main reason for me joining Dr. Sussman’s Lab.

Samer Elhamad

I am a third year undergraduate student majoring in Cellular and Molecular Biology at San Diego State University. I am determined and eager to enter Medical School and with hard work, become a Cardiologist. I believe that Dr. Sussman’s Laboratory offers me the opportunity to be a part of prominentand progressive research that can bestow upon me a deeper understanding about the molecular basis of cardiomyopathic disease. In my spare time, I like to watch the sunset and take long walks on the beach.

Jacqueline Emathinger

I am a third year undergraduate student of biology at the university. I recently started working at the Sussman laboratory, and I am excited to gain such invaluable research experience. I am hoping to go to medical school, and I am eager to incorporate the skills I am acquiring in the lab in both my education and future career.

Jeff Filmer

I was born in Seattle, Washington, and I moved down to San Diego to pursue a degree in Biology from San Diego State. I am currently a senior undergraduate majoring in Biology with aspirations of attending dental school upon graduation. A very close friend of mine recently passed away from a heart attack, which inspired me to join this lab in order to obtain a better understanding of how the heart works. This is my first semester volunteering within Dr. Sussman’s lab. I look forward to gaining valuable insight and research experience within this particular field of study.

Kimberlee Fischer

I graduated with a B.S. in Microbiology in 2001 from UCSD. Not being sure what I wanted to do after graduation, I took a job at the Scripps Research Institute where I worked on inhibiting HIV infection in macrophages by inhibiting the expression of CCR5, a key cell surface receptor involved in HIV infection. It was there that I decided I liked science so much that I thought I would endure the pain of graduate school, and the Sussman Lab ;). Here, at what we like to call MSRI (Mark Sussman Research Institute), my thesis project focuses on modification of cardiac stem cells with the cardioprotective gene Pim-1. We are trying to improve the therapeutic potential of stem cells through genetic modification, and thus far have been quite successful! I am also currently working on delineating the functions associated with Pim-1 depending on its subcellular localization. In my very minimal free time, I like to go on vacation!!!! Any spare moment is spent looking at what deal I can grab on Travelzoo. And then I daydream about my travels while in my isoflurane induced euphoria!!!!

Krissy Fisher

I am a 5th year undergraduate biology student. I am originally from Minnesota. I joined the Navy and it brought me to San Diego. After my enlistment of six years I decided to pursue my dream of being a doctor. I have recently started working in the Sussman Laboratory, here, at SDSU, and I am anxious to learn more on a subject that has always fascinated me, stem cells. I am planning on attending Medical School in the Fall of 2014 to warp myself into a Pediatric Oncologist. I am hoping to be able to take the knowledge and techniques I acquire from this lab to establish a deeper understanding of the power of stem cells.

Grady Gastelum

I joined the Sussman lab in spring of 2010 as a volunteer. I am working on my Bachelor’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology right now. A couple of research interests I have are stem cell differentiation and growth, cancer, and virology. I want to go to grad school to get a Ph.D.in biology. Some of my duties in the Sussman lab include tail digestion, running PCR’s, and helping out graduate students and post-doc’s on their individual projects.

Jonah Gevercer

I joined Dr. Sussman’s laboratory in the summer of 2014. I am currently a senior undergraduate studying kinesiology. I am pursuing going to medical school after graduation. I joined this lab to broaden my understanding of biology by getting hands on experience. I’m excited to gain knowledge in a laboratory at the forefront of cardiac research.

Steven Greene

I am a 2nd year biology major with hopes for grad school. I recently joined the Sussman Lab this Fall 2013 Semester and I’m looking forward to the experiences and knowledge I will gain from this lab. I chose the Sussman lab because I am interested in the healing potentials of stemcells. When I finish my education, I hope to use what I gained from my experiences in this lab in other research positions.

Brittany Grover-Sidler

I am currently a 4th year undergraduate student majoring in biology here at SDSU, and I am an aspiring Physician. I just started working as a volunteer but am excited to learn more about cardiac research. I am grateful for having the opportunity to volunteer in Dr. Sussman’s lab and cannot wait to apply all I learn in my education and future career.

Nirmala Hariharan

Hi, I’m a post doc in the Sussman lab, and I joined here just after New Year’s Day, 2011. I am from the beautiful and culturally rich city of Chennai in Southern India. After completing my undergrad at BITS, Pilani, India, I went on to do a PhD in Dr. Junichi Sadoshima’s lab in the department of Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry, NJ (UMDNJ). Now, in the Sussman lab, I am going to be working on the role of micro-RNAs in cardiac progenitor cells and cardiac myocytes. When I figure out more, I will let you know immediately!!

Daniel Hegler

I recently joined the Sussman Lab in May 2014, after I graduated from SDSU with a B.S. in Biology. I am currently interested in attending Pharmacy School while also having the opportunity to do research. My main interest has always been stem cells, and I am excited to learn and experience what the research field has to offer. When not in lab, I can be found either hiking, climbing, at the beach, or playing guitar.

Liz Hernandez

Hi, my name is Liz Hernandez. I am a 4th year student majoring in Biology with aspirations of pursuing an M.D. or M.D./Ph.D. I am from San Diego but I was raised in Mexico. I joined Dr.Sussman’s lab at the beginning of 2015. I am fascinated by and love learning about the heart and the human body. I want to learn the science behind the medicine and learn lab techniques that will help me in my future career. I am currently involved in FSMP (Faculty Student Mentoring Program), and I am a chemistry tutor at Morse High. Besides school and learning, I enjoy meeting great people, dancing and taking naps. My favorite quote is “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby

Wendy Herrera

I am currently in my fourth year at San Diego State, double-majoring in Biology and Political Science. I took an interest in volunteering in Dr. Sussman’s laboratory as I saw that it would be a great opportunity to get hands-on experience outside the classroom and gain practical experience in a research environment. I hope to use what I learn in the lab to prepare me for a career in biomedical research, where I hope to be involved in the development of modern medicine.

Luis Ibarra
luisibarra Hello, my name is Luis Ibarra and I am a pre-medical student who graduated on May 2016 from SDSU with a B.S. in microbiology. My goals are to apply for medical school after finishing a post-bac program. I joined Dr. Sussman’s lab during Spring 2016 and started working under Masters student Sarmistha as my mentor during the following summer. Her project involves working with stem cell fusion and many analytical experiments that determine their characteristics, which will aim toward cardiovascular regenerative medicine. I am very fortunate to have joined this lab and to learn cardiovascular research from my mentor and many other graduate students.
Arisa Iga

My name is Arisa Iga. I am from Japan! I am currently majoring in Biology at SDSU and joined Dr. Sussman’s lab in the Spring of 2015 as a volunteer. I am very interested in the human body, so I am excited to learn everything this the lab has to offer from the fundamentals to new lab techniques. My plan for the future is to work in a Pharmaceutical or a Make-up Company. Everything I learn in the lab will help to build and expand my career future career path.

Anya Joyo

I started volunteering in Mark Sussman’s lab as an undergraduate in spring of 2008. After graduating from SDSU last fall, I was offered a greatopportunity to work as a lab technician. I make a variety of viral vectors for the lab including adenovirus, lentivirus, and non-viral DNA vectors.When I have time, I try to get involved in research projects and learn everything I can! I am thrilled to extend my research experience and workwith such great people!

Eri Joyo

I joined the Sussman lab in June 2010 after graduating from University of California Irvine with a major in Biological Sciences and a minor in Women Studies. Currently, I am working as a research assistant to Dr. Natalie Gude, examining the NOTCH signaling pathway in relation to the heart. Recently, I have been enjoying taking echocardiograms and learning new techniques to assist with surgeries. I am applying for medical school this year and would like to continue participating in translational research to help advance medical treatments for prominent health diseases.

Tasneem Kassamali

I connected with Dr. Sussman’s Lab in the Fall of 2010. I am a senior whose aspiration is to work in the Pharmacy field. My underlying interest inthe science field has been greatly enriched by this lab! I have learned the importance of sterilization, autoclaving, and the laminar flow hood technique. Other duties include splitting and harvesting cells and running western blots. The project in which I am most interested and have worked on with Pearl,a great graduate student, deals with bone marrow stem cells and infracted heart models. We have looked at the over expression of Pim-1 in the BMCs, based on their surgical potential as a myocardial injection that improves cardiac function to promote remodeling and improve cardiac function. I have worked with other members of the lab as well. For example, I have had the chance to work with Michael looking at another aspect of Pim-1 and different cell confluences.

Mohsin Khan

I am from Lahore, which is one of the largest cities in Pakistan. I did my Ph.D. in Molecular Biology at the National Center of Excellence in Molecular Biology, University of Punjab. I moved to San Diego in January 2010 to join Dr Sussman’s Lab as a postdoctoral fellow. I am working on a project that aims to elucidate the effect of ß-adrenergic signaling on myocardial repair mechanisms. Catecholamine-stimulated adrenergic signaling is one of the most powerful regulators of cardiovascular function and the failing heart is characterized by desensitization and impaired responsiveness of the adrenergic receptor signaling. Understanding the role of adrenergic signaling in the heart may lead to the development of strategies that protect the resident cardiac stem cells and improve the endogenous myocardial repair capability.

Tiffany Khieu
Tiffany_Khieu

Hello everyone! My name is Tiffany Khieu and I recently graduated with a B.S. in Biology from SDSU in December 2015.I have been part of the Sussman lab since August 2014, and am constantly expanding my knowledge on cardiac stem cell research. Furthermore, I am working with Kathleen Broughton to determine the ploidy status of large and small mammal stem cells and how it affects tissue regeneration. My ultimate goal is to earn a PharmD and practice pharmacology to under-served communities. Outside of the lab, I am training for half-marathons, traveling to different cities and states, and being a “foodie”.

Avan Khoshnaw

I am currently an undergraduate student majoring in Biology. I recently started working in Dr. Sussman’s lab, and I am extremely excited to learn and gain valuable research experience. My goal after graduation is to continue my education in medical school. I joined this particular lab because it will be very beneficial for me when I choose my specialty of Cardiology in medical school. Because I am new to the lab, some of the tasks I do include autoclaving, aliquoting proteins, making dilution solutions and performing DNA extractions. I also assist the graduate students and post-docs with any projects they have.

Mathias Konstandin

I worked at the Department of Cardiology at the University Hospital of Heidelberg, in Germany, until I started my post-doc in Dr. Sussman’s lab in October 2009. Stem cell therapy may open up a novel strategy to treat heart failure. The PI3K-Akt-Pim-1 pathway plays a pivotal role in cardiac progenitor cell function regarding apoptosis and proliferation. In my project, novel extracellular stimuli activating this cascade are analyzed.

Danielle Kraemer

I am currently a 4th year undergraduate Biology major, and I am planning on graduating this upcoming Spring of 2014. I am volunteering in Dr. Sussman’slab because I feel the heart is one of the most fascinating organs, and I have always had an interest in its anatomy and physiology. I am also veryexcited to learn about how a research lab operates and gain valuable experience along the way. In the long run, I hope to either become a Physician or a Physician Assistant. I hope to apply the skills I learn in the lab to my current job as a Medical Assistant and any of my future endeavors.

Benito Lau

I joined the Sussman lab in summer of 2010 as a volunteer. I graduated from SDSU with B.S degree in Molecular Biology. My goal is to go to medical school. Some of my duties in the Sussman lab include handling mice, tail digestion, running PCR’s (A LOT OF THIS!!), and helping out graduate students and post-doc’s on their individual projects.

Marinda Le

Hi! My name is Marinda. I am a 3rd year student majoring in Biology with an emphasis in Cellular and Molecular Biology. After attaining my bachelor’s, I plan on applying for graduate school in order to become a physician’s assistant or physical therapist. I recently joined Dr. Sussman’s lab in the summer of 2014. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be able to watch, experience, and constantly acquire new knowledge within the lab. I look forward to experiencing and learning more about different research skills and techniques.

Hanna Leong

I am an undergraduate at SDSU majoring in kinesiology. I plan to graduate in 2016 before pursuing medical school. I joined Dr. Sussman’s research lab because I wanted to learn more about the latest myocardial research, especially after completing anatomy and physiology courses. I find the new technology used to treat patients with cardiomyopathy fascinating, and am eager for the opportunity to get hands-on experience in this lab.

Abraham Lopez

Hello, Everyone! I am a 4th year Biology/Pre-Med student at San Diego State University. After taking an Anatomy and Physiology class this past spring, I discovered my interest for the human body systems and decided to get involved with research to learn more. I recently joined Dr. Sussman’s laboratory in the summer of 2014. I know this is a great opportunity for me to learn different research techniques and skills that I will be able to apply in my career in the near future. My goal is to attend medical school in the Fall of 2016. I want to complete a residency in internal medicine and then complete a fellowship in order to become a G.I. (gastroenterologist) physician.

Michael Lowe

My name is Michael Lowe and I am a fourth year student at San Diego State University. I am currently pursuing a major in Kinesiology along with a minor in Biology. I am hoping to attend medical school in Fall 2017 and I am interested in becoming a surgeon. I am excited for the opportunity to volunteer in Dr. Sussman’s lab and motivated to apply the knowledge I have attained throughout my undergraduate into this lab and my future career.

Nicholas Luis

I am just starting my volunteer experience, here, in the Sussman lab (Spring 2013). I am currently a 4th year Biology major looking into medical schools. Ultimately, my goal is to become a family physician in order to help enable people to live healthy and productive lives. My interest in medicine, along with my family history of heart problems, makes this opportunity very exciting. I look forward to helping out with the meaningful research of this lab. Cheers!

Kimberley Manalo

I started volunteering in Dr. Sussman’s lab in fall 2012. I am a 3rd year biology major. I am interested in either going to dental school or becoming a High school biology teacher. Some of the tasks I do in the lab range from cleaning and autoclaving equipment, making dilution solutions, and aliquoting proteins. Because this is my first semester, most of what I do consists of observing others working and learning from them.

Hailey Mason

I started volunteering in Dr. Sussman’s lab in Fall 2012. I am pursing a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. I plan to go to Physician’s Assistant school after I graduate to pursue my Masters. I am currently a junior, and my lab tasks include cleaning equipment, autoclaving, aliquoting proteins, and making dilution solutions. I am also there to assist the graduate students and post-docs with any projects they assign me.

Michael McGregor

Newly admitted MCB Master’s student.

Education: Bachelor’s of Science in Bioengineering from UC Berkeley.

Research Interests: Genetics, stem cell growth and differentiation, tissue engineering, aging… Oh yeah, and the heart is pretty cool too.

Thesis Project Pending: I can neither confirm nor deny what I’m working on now, but I can assure you it’s down right awesome.

Amy Malhowski

Amy graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Smith College in 2005. Prior to entering the SDSU-UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in the Fall of 2009, she worked as a Research Assistant in Dr. Geraldine Finlay’s laboratory at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA. Her first rotation as a graduate student is through the Sussman lab. Her research project revolves around examining the expression of mTORC1 targets in genetically modified cardiac progenitor cells in response to differentiation stimuli.

When she is not in the lab, Amy enjoys exploring sunny San Diego…and misses Boston’s public transportation! Go Red Sox!

Matt Mason

Mitochondria structural dynamics play a critical role in mitochondrial inheritance during mitosis, bioenergetics and the maintenance of healthy membrane potential. In mammalian cells, fusion and fission of the inner and outer mitochondrial membrane are thought to be effected by pro-fusion (e.g. Opa1, Mfn1/2) or pro-fission (e.g. Drp1, Fis1) proteins. During apoptosis the mitochondrial network fragments and recent evidence suggests that Drp1 dependent fragmentation participates in the apoptotic process and that is inhibition reduces apoptosis. It is possible that fragmented mitochondria morphology plays a critical role in the mitochondrial viability under cellular stress induced by myocardial infarction (MI) and subsequent reperfusion (I/R) in the heart. My project centers on determining the role of the pro-fission protein Drp1 in cellular and mouse models of cardiac injury. Furthermore, activation of Injury Salvage Kinases (RISK) such as Akt and Erk1/2 at the time of reperfusion has repeatedly been shown to confer powerful cardioprotection following I/R injury. The serine/threonine kinase Pim-1 has recently been shown to be a critically effective downstream effector of Akt’s cardioprotective signaling and our lab has demonstrated that activation of Pim-1 in vitro and in mouse models of hypertrophy, infarction, and ischemia/reperfusion injury enhances cardiomyocyte survival through inhibition of intrinsic mitochondrial apoptotic pathways. Such pro-survival kinases may also inhibit the mitochondrial fragmentation during necrotic or apoptotic stress.

Dani Michel

I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Biology from SDSU in May 2012. I started volunteering in the lab in December 2011 and, after my graduation, I became an employed lab assistant. I have learned to do DNA isolation’s, protein purifications, western blots, PCRs, RT-PCRs, and genotyping. My other responsibilities include mouse handling, breeding, and maintaining the vivarium. Soon, I will also have the opportunity to learn and perform mouse surgeries applying the myocardial infarction model.

Sadia Mohsin

I was working at the National Center of Excellence in Molecular Biology, University of Punjab in Dr Riazuddin’s Laboratory where I also did my Ph.D. in Molecular Biology. I joined Dr Sussman’s Lab in January 2010 as a postdoctoral fellow. I am working on a very interesting project that involves the isolation of cardiac stem cells from human heart samples. Furthermore, human cardiac stem cells are being genetically modified to express Pim-1 kinase to enhance their potential to repair a failing heart.

Danny Morrad

I joined Dr. Sussman’s lab in 2011 as a volunteer and I hope to start working on a graduate student project soon. I am studying for a B.S. degree in Cell and Molecular Biology at SDSU and plan on graduating in 2012 to continue on to medical school. I am currently helping with performing PCRs, making buffer solutions, and helping with anything else that needs to be done in the lab. I decided to volunteer in this lab because I work outside of SDSU with myocardial infarctions and I felt that this lab could benefit me in many ways.

Maryam Moshref

I received my B.Sc. in Cell and Molecular Biology from North Tehran Azad University. I was a visiting student at the B.C. Cancer Agency in Vancouver, Canada where I worked on a student project on Cytotoxicity of Natural Killer cells against an MN1-overexpressing AML cell line. As a research assistant in Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute I focused on translational medicine while concurrently completing courses towards my Masters at SDSU. I joined the Sussman Lab in February 2014 for my Masters thesis. I am trying to show that different phases of cardiomyocyte cell cycle in the fluorescence ubiquitination cell cycle indicator (FUCCI) system are detectable by Flow-Cytometry. There are many exciting projects in Sussman Lab. Come join us!!

Lauren Neidig

I joined the lab in Fall 2009 and have spent the past two years working with doctoral student Travis Cottage on his work on telomere preservation and telomerase activity in cardiac progenitor cells. Particularly, I have been studying the role of Pim-1 on telomeres in murine hearts during development.I will be attending Veterinary School at Western University of Health Sciences in Fall 2011 and look forward to pursuing a career in LaboratoryAnimal Medicine and Veterinary Research.

Jonathan Nguyen

I joined Dr. Sussman’s laboratory in the Spring of 2011. I am pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. I have had the pleasure of working under multiple graduate students. I am interested in pursuing a Master’s Degree and then applying to a PharmD program. In the past years that I have volunteered in the laboratory, I have learned many useful techniques that could be applied in future research studies. Volunteering in this laboratory has given me an opportunity to be involved in an exciting field of study.

Nathalie Nguyen

Hi everyone! I joined Dr. Sussman’s lab in July 2013 as a post-doc fellow. I have a Ph.D. degree in Pharmacology from the University of Sherbrooke (in Quebec, Canada). I have a background in calcium signaling, and I want to extend my knowledge in the cardiac context, especially with CPCs. My project focuses on the mTOR signaling pathway and, if you want to learn more, you are more than welcome to send me an email or to come visit the lab!

Nicky Nguyen

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, but raised in San Diego, I am reluctant to be surrounded by such beautiful cities. I am currently an undergraduate junior majoring in Microbiology. The field of science has been an awe-inspiring subject for me since I was in grade school. The ability to accurately describe the functions of the Universe followed by scientific applications to better humanity is truly one of the most precious things we can do. I feel that becoming a part of Dr. Sussman’s exciting research lab will not only do just that, but it will also give insight and lab experience for the field of science. After graduation, I plan on working in a clinical lab setting. I am honored to participate in such a great cause.

Ben Norman

My name is Ben Norman, and I am a 3rd year student at SDSU majoring in Biology. Before joining Dr. Sussman’s lab, I was unsure what I wanted to do after graduation, so I joined to get experience working in a laboratory to determine if it was something I wanted to pursue. I’m grateful for the guidance provided, and I look forward to continuing to learn the practices and techniques used.

Lucy Ormachea

I graduated from SDSU in 2012. I work in the Sussman Lab as a lab technician. My main job is to generate all the viral vectors for the lab including adenovirus, lentivirus, and AAV9 virus. Also, I take care of the Neonatal Rat Cardiac Myocyte Prep and soon will learn how to perform surgeries. If you are looking for me, I’ll be in Tissue Culture.

Kyle Park

I am currently a senior undergraduate student majoring in Cellular and Molecular Biology. I plan to graduate in May 2014, and I am looking forward to using my degree to continue my education in medical school, particularly in the field of Osteopathy. I joined this lab because I was a USA amateur boxer. We always had our heart rates checked before boxing matches, so I was very curious about how the heart worked as a young teenager. I look forward to utilizing what Dr. Sussman’s lab has to offer and learn more about this field. This is going to be my first semester inthis lab so I am looking forward to the experience I will gain from this lab!

Christina Payne
Christina_Payne

Hi! My name is Christina Payne. I graduated Spring 2016 with a B.S. in Biology. I have been in the lab for about 2 years now and I have learned so much. I am very fortunate to work under Natalie Gude and my primary focus has been on the agonistic activity of nanoshells in primary immune cells. If you need to find me I’ll either be hiding in the Gude corner or getting chocolate from Natalia’s office. 🙂

Jeff Pepper

I joined Dr. Sussman’s lab this previous summer of 2013, and I am currently an undergraduate student going into my last year at state. I was previously majoring in Bioengineering but after volunteering in Sussman’s lab and being immersed in the interesting environment of stem cells, I switched my major to Cellular and Molecular Biology. I couldn’t be more excited for the semester to begin and to start refining my lab techniques and learning valuable research practices. My future goals include being able to work with stem cells on various diseases, as I believe the possibilities of helping people with stem cells are endless!

Linda Petrosyan

I am a 4th year undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. I recently joined Dr. Sussman’s laboratory in fall of 2014. I am very excited to learn research techniques and contribute to the experiments. I am already learning so much from all of the researchers in this lab. I cannot wait to see what this lab has in store for me!

Melissa Pierce

I am currently a third year Kinesiology major at San Diego State University, with an emphasis in Physical Therapy. Upon graduating with my Bachelor’s, I want to pursue a Doctorate of Physical Therapy with a dual degree in Occupational Therapy. I recently started volunteering in Dr. Sussman’s lab to gain research experience and to learn more about the heart. I have always been fascinated with the different systems of the body and studying how they work together. I am very excited about the hands-on experience and opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge I acquire toward my future goals.

Raluca Pimenta

I am the lab’s Program Coordinator. I recently relocated from Orange County, where I worked as a Contract Administrator for the County of Orange, Health Care Agency. This is my first experience working in a university environment, and I am looking forward to new learning opportunities.

Pearl Quijada

I joined the Sussman lab in 2008 after completing my undergraduate degree from the University of California, Riverside with a B.S. in Biology. After 2.5 years in Dr. Sussman’s laboratory I successfully defended by Master’s Thesis in the area of Cell and Molecular Biology with an emphasis in Physiology in 2010 from San Diego State University. During my Masters I received a NIH funded diversity supplement to support my work with genetically enhanced bone marrow derived stem cells to mitigate myocardial repair after infarction injury, which lead to my first author manuscript published in Circulation Research. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment…I continued my cardiovascular research training at San Diego State with Dr. Sussman by enrolling in the Joint Doctoral Program with the University of California, San Diego. I currently work with stem cell related projects involving c-kit+ cardiac progenitor cells, c-kit+ bone marrow cells and mesenchymal stem cells. My dissertation projects involve enhancing stem cell characteristics such as proliferation, survival, commitment and engraftment after delivery in the heart to collectively improve exogenous and endogenous cardiac regeneration in acute injury model. I have general interests in basic cell biology as well as translational approaches to apply stem cells in a disease setting. My skill sets involve echocardiography, performing microsurgeries, cell culture, protein and RNA analysis and confocal microscopy. Local San Diego based foundations such as the Rees-Stealy Research Foundation and the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists as well as the NIH (R01 and F31) and the AHA (pre-doctoral and travel grants) national agencies support my Ph.D. research work. Outside the laboratory, I enjoy music concerts and festivals, the SDSU ARC Recreation Center, going in and out of practicing veganism, and compulsively organizing and cleaning.

Mercedes Quintana

I joined Sussman’s lab early the Spring of 2011. I am a second year student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry. My goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences and join the academic research field in a near future. Currently, I am in training meaning I am able to watch closely all of the graduate students’ research in the lab and learn new techniques when possible which I find an amazing experience.

Patrick Reilly

I started in Dr. Sussman’s lab in Spring 2011 as a volunteer performing routine lab duties. I am a senior working towards a B.S. in Molecular Cell Biology and plan on continuing my education in medical school. I expect to learn a great deal about lab research techniques, practices, and daily life as a researcher.

Brandon Rodgers

I joined Dr. Sussman’s lab in Fall 2010. I am a volunteer while pursuing my BS in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry. My goal is to go to Medical school for either surgery or anesthesiology. I help the graduate students and post-docs with whatever they need like: PCRs, making gels, making buffers on occasion, helping with mice, anything along those lines.

Timothy Rodriggs

Hi there! I am currently a 4th year undergraduate pursuing a degree in Biology. I joined Dr. Sussman’s lab in the Fall of 2013. I have always hada profound interest in human body systems, especially at a cellular level. When I first learned of the research being performed in this lab, I knewit was something I wanted to be a part of. My long term goal is to become a family medicine physician. I am excited for the challenges ahead andgrateful for the opportunity to grow as a scientist. When I am not in the lab, I enjoy spending my free time playing the piano and hurting myroommates’ ears with my terrible singing.

Luke Roi

I am a 4th year pre-medical undergraduate student majoring in Foods and Nutrition. I am eager to learn new biological research techniques and develop a hands-on understanding of the important role research plays in advancing scientific understanding, especially as it relates to human health. I hope to gain valuable knowledge and experience while working in the lab that I can apply as an undergraduate at San Diego State University and in the future as a physician. When I’m not in the lab I enjoy engaging in a wide range of activities including snowboarding, camping, going to the beach, working out, and learning more about human health and wellness. It is this insatiable curiosity that drives me to further explore the laboratory setting and one day become a practicing physician.

Jake Ruby

Hi all! My name is Jake. I joined Dr. Sussman’s lab in July of 2014 because I wanted to put my hands and mind to work on some of the incredible research I have read about. The fall of 2014 will be my fourth and final year as a Biology major at SDSU. Soon, I will apply to graduate programs in Cell and Molecular Biology. I hope to have a career in biomedical research and maybe one day a professorship.

Hazel Salunga

Hello! My name is Hazel Salunga recent graduate from SDSU with a degree in Biology. I’ve spent the last three years in Mark’s lab, evolving from volunteer, summer intern, and now a full-time research assistant. In 2014, I worked with doctoral student Pearl Quijada and participated in a project which focused on the ability of stem cell fusions to rescue myocardial infarctions. My participation in the project has granted me the opportunity to learn challenging lab techniques for in vivo studies. As a result, I now specialize in conducting microsurgical such as retroperfusions, hemodynamics, and induction of a myocardial infarction to create and study a pathologically challenged heart model. Also, I’ve mastered the technique of doppler and transthoracic echocardiography. Aside from this, I oversee the undergraduate volunteers and ensure they fulfill their lab duties as well as encourage them to actively participate in opportunities to further their research experience.

Outside of lab, you can catch me hiking Cowles Mt. or at a local café studying for the MCAT or applying to graduate programs. Now, enough about me! See you around the lab.

Kaitlen Samse

I joined the Sussman lab in 2009 as an undergraduate volunteer. After graduating from SDSU in December of 2010 with a B.S. in Microbiology, I decided to return to SDSU to pursue my M.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology. I am currently working with Nirmala Hariharan in the lab until I decide on a topic for my Master’s project.

Tamara Sarafijanovic

Hi! My name is Tamara, and I’m currently an undergrad Biology student at SDSU. I am interested in various research fields such as cancer cells and stem-cells. I want to gain experience in a lab environment and learn more about our body — how it functions down to the cells! I am excited to gain more knowledge from this lab with some hands on experience.

Sailay Siddiqi

I joined Dr. Sussman’s lab four years ago when I was a medical student. I took a year off and moved to San Diego for research. Ever since, I became addicted to science. After one year of hard work, stress, and a lot of humor in this lab, I moved back to the Netherlands to finish my Medical degree. But, I just wanted to come back!! So, I did. I came back for my PhD. I have been in the lab for a couple of months now. My project is based on in vivo imaging of stem cells resident in the heart. We are interested in studying the behavior of stem cells in living animals rather than making predictions based on in vitro assays. What I love about this project is that it suits my personality. I don’t trust, I need to know….

Working in Dr. Sussman’s lab is practicing science in a very serious and yet a very, very fun way. You should come by some time if you are fun, if you are boring, don’t bother.

Monica Sliwa
Monica-Sliwa

I was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and became a proud U.S. citizen in 2015. Currently, I am a second year
student majoring in Cellular and Molecular Biology. Aside from school, I work parttime at Walmart, tutor at El Cajon Valley High School, and help promote Achieve High Points. Even though my parents and two younger siblings count on my support, I still find time to enjoy my hobbies. I make time to draw, sing, play guitar and piano, and record songs I wrote myself. I usually perform at school events, like open mic nights, and graduation ceremonies. My ultimate goal and my passion is to become a successful and helpful physician who will offer the time and the knowledge to the people who need assistance. I am very excited and eager to start volunteering in Dr. Sussman’s lab to gain experience in the medical field. This will be my first research and laboratory experience outside of a classroom, and I am very sure that I will gain skills and knowledge that will help me in the process of achieving my goal.

Kathryn Smith

My name is Katie. I am a 4th year Psychology/Pre-Med student. I am excited to be a part of the research, here, in the Sussman Lab, and find this type of research to be very interesting. I plan to become a doctor and hope to begin medical school by Fall of 2015. I am excited to apply what I learn in the Sussman Lab to my education and career.

Trishana Smith

Trish is my name and harvesting hearts is my game. I joined Dr. Sussman’s lab in August of 2010 looking to dive deeper into my scientific interests. I am a junior pursuing a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Sociology with the ultimate goal being to become a love doctor (cardiac surgeon). I am currently working under the amazing miracle, Dr. Voelkers, trying to prove the therapeutic effect of Pras40, an endogenous MTORC1 inhibitor that can play a huge role in the manipulation of cell growth in myocytes. Through this lab I have solidified my belief that cardiovascular science is the path I want to be on.

Balaji Sundararaman

I joined Dr. Sussman’s lab in Feb 2009 as a Masters student. Previously, I was working at Dr. Sujatha Narayanan’s lab at the Tuberculosis Research Centre, Chennai, India on mycobacterial gene regulation. I graduated in Biotechnology from the Government College of Technology, Anna University, Coimbatore in 2006. Here, at the Mark Sussman Research Institute (MSRI), I am working on the Immortal Strand hypothesis. When a stem cell divides, it asymmetrically partitions its genetic material. The daughter-cell-to-become the self-renewing cell will receive the “old” strand, or the “immortal strand”, and the daughter-cell-to-become to a differentiated cell will receive a newly synthesized DNA strand. It is proposed that stem cells do this to limit the mutations accumulating during DNA replication in self-renewing stem cells. I am studying to find a correlation between the epigenetic regulation of cell fate determination and immortal strands.

Haruhiro Toko

I am from Japan. I joined the Sussman Lab in February 2010. I am interested in the mechanism of failing hearts. Activation of Akt in cytosol finally induces cardiac dysfunction, but the activation only in the nucleus continues to have protective effects on the heart. I would like to find out the mechanism to keep the activation of Akt only in the nucleus.

Sylvia Truffa

I’m from Rome, the Italian capital! I moved to San Diego last year. I’m a technician and my role in the Sussman Lab is to generate and grow all the viral vectors that are used for in the Lab’s different research areas. More specifically, I’m working on Adenoviral and Lentiviral vectors and learning how to design new vectors.

Pedro Villamin

I am a 4th year undergrad student of Biology at the university. I recently joined Dr. Sussman’s lab in Summer 2015. I am pursuing Pharmacy School and I am eager to learn not only cardiac research and stem cells, but also how to work in the lab itself. My hobbies include writing, making music, and meditating.

Marlo Villanueva

I am a junior majoring in Biology at San Diego State University. I am very interested in the field of stem cells and would like to learn more about them. I believe there is a true future for regenerative medicine with the use of stem cells. I plan on attending graduate school to earn a Pd.D. in Microbiology. I love to help people in need and hope that I may be able to contribute to other’s wellness. My career goal is to become an exceptional researcher to find ways to utilize stem cells in various diseases.

Jose Manuel Villicana

I am a Class of 2015 science student pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology. I started volunteering for Dr. Sussman’s lab in the Summer of 2013. My goal and aspiration is to become a medical doctor, specialize in cardiology, and perhaps become a heart surgeon. Because of this, the emphasis of the study of hearts is what really drew me into this lab. I am very excited to have this research experience, and I hope to learn and obtain as much as I can from it. I have a passion for science and medicine, and I am extremely dedicated to my work and my studies. In my free time I enjoy relaxing, reading and playing sports. I hope that this lab is a great stepping stone in my education and that it helps to propel me one step closer to my goals.

Mirko Völkers

I joined the Sussman Lab in September 2009. I received my M.D. in 2006 in Heidelberg, Germany, and met Dr. Sussman at a Conference in 2008. He convinced me that his Lab is the best in the world and that San Diego is a great place to improve my bicycle skills. Therefore, I decided to move to San Diego for my Post-Doc fellowship. In my spare time I’m interested in S100 Proteins and their connection to AKT/PIM in the cardiac context and in novel AKT downstream targets.

Devin Walker

I joined the Sussman team in Fall of 2010 as a volunteer. I am working on my Bachelor’s degree in Biology as a pre-med student. I plan to apply to medical school in the summer of 2012. Some of my research interests include tail digestion, running PCR’s, and helping any of the graduate students on their individual projects. The lab has been amazing so far and I have learned so much. I look forward to continuing work in the Sussman lab and learning much more.

Aryan Zarrabi

I started in Mark Sussman’s lab in the spring of ’08 under the supervision of Daniele Avitabile, a post-doc in the lab. I was introduced to all sorts of fascinating new research methods as Daniele and I tried to decipher the roles of the nucleolar proteins NS and NPM. Working in the Sussman lab was the best experience of my academic career and helped me land a paid internship at the Sanford-Burnham Medical research center, but sometimes failing experiments made me want to scream.

Bevan Johnson, Lucy Ormachea, Luis Ornelas, and Kathleen Wallach

I started volunteering in the Sussman Lab during the Spring 2011 semester to expand my knowledge of science beyond the classroom. I am a senior studying Biology with minors in Chemistry and Religious Studies. I am fortunate to work under the mentorship of Shabana Din, from whom I have already learned so much. The study includes the effect of Pim on myocardial senescence. Over expression of Pim is believed to antagonize myocardial aging, while genetic deletion of Pim leads to premature myocardial aging. I assist by isolating DNA and RNA, preparing qPCR’s, running western blots, cloning, performing immunohistochemistry, and much more. The lab has a great atmosphere with fun people to work around. My ultimate goal is to apply to medical school and be able to integrate basic science in order to advance clinical therapies.

I joined the Sussman lab in the Spring of 2011. I am a senior in Biology finishing up my pre-requisites for medical school. Over the summer I began working under the mentorship of Dr. Haruhiro Toko, where I was fortunate enough to observe surgeries including myocardial infarctions and retroperfusions. I am able to apply my anatomy and physiology knowledge to the techniques used in this lab such as Western Blots, Confocal Microscopy, Immunohistochemistry and general lab duties. I enjoy the professional and social aspects of the lab because they make for an easy learning environment.

I joined the Sussman lab in Fall of 2010. I am a senior majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology and minoring in Psychology. I began working under the mentorship of postdoctoral fellows Dr. Sadia Mohsin and Dr. Mohsin Khan, where I have been able to contribute to their research projects. These projects include the modification of human cardiac stem cells to express Pim-1 Kinase to augment their potential to repair a failing heart and investigation of the effects of the ß-adrenergic system on CPC proliferation and survival. I am fortunate to be gaining such great experience working in Dr. Sussman’s lab while being able to apply my classroom knowledge. I will be able to apply this knowledge and experience to my future studies in graduate school.


Bevan Johnson, Kathleen Wallach, Lucy Ormachea and Luis Ornelas
Bevan Johnson
Lucy Ormachea
Kathleen Wallach
Megan Weitzel

I am the lab’s Program Coordinator. I did my graduate work at Michigan State University in Higher Education Administration. I have been working for SDSU for almost three years now, mainly in student affairs, and currently for Dr. Sussman. I am excited to be a part of such a wonderful lab and successful project.

Rachel Wong

I’m a 4th year Biology student hoping to go to Veterinary School. I joined Dr. Sussman’s lab in March of 2014. I have learned a lot of techniques in this lab and plan to learn more. I hope to be able to apply the knowledge from this lab in school and in my future.

Batool Youhenna
batoolpic Hello! My name is Batool Youhenna. I joined Dr. Sussman’s lab in July 2016. I am originally from Iraq. I have been in the United States for seven years and I went to Cuyamaca and Grossmont College majoring in biology. Then, I have decided to complete my Baccalaureate degree in Biology because this is what I have always wanted to do. I applied at San Diego State University and when I got accepted I felt that I am one step closer to achieving one of my goals which is to have an excellent education that would allow me to pursue a career in research and to have a chance to be a part of discovering a cure that will help many people. I intend to continue my education by attending graduate school and furthering my knowledge in cellular and molecular biology. My ultimate goal is to become a physician researcher wherein I can treat patients and make them feel comfortable when they visit a doctor. I joined Dr. Sussman’s lab because doing research will allow me to gain more experience and meet new people with diverse background. I can use those experiences to widen my understanding of how to be a better physician researcher.
On my free time, I like to go hiking, biking, swimming, and watch movies. I definitely would want to travel and I might do that when I am done with school.
The laboratory staff circa 2005.