San Diego State University - Minds that move the world

Meet the Lab's Volunteers

Lilian Ameh

I am a third year student studying biology at SDSU. I joined Dr. Sussmanís 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. Sussmanís 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.

Kristin Bala

I am a 3rd year Cellular and Molecular Biology major at SDSU. I joined Dr. Sussmanís 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.

Jonathan Cubillo

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

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. Sussmanís Laboratory offers me the opportunity to be a part of prominent and 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.

Fareheh Firouzi

I graduated with Masters in Cell and Developmental Biology in 2012. I joined Dr. Sussmanís Laboratory as a volunteer starting in May 2014. I am planning to start my PhD in the fall of 2015. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to work in this lab with amazing projects and wonderful people. The knowledge and experience I am gaining in the lab will help me better understand this exciting field of study and choose the best direction toward continuing my education.

Jonah Gevercer

I joined Dr. Sussmanís 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. Iím 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 stem cells. 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.

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.

Kelli Ilves

I started volunteering at Dr. Sussmanís laboratory in June 2014 to gain experience from a world leading cardiac research laboratory as a prospective graduate student. Previously, I received a BSc in Gene Technology from Tallinn University of Technology, where I conducted research in Dr. Teet Vellingís laboratory. Currently, I am working on optimizing quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization protocol combined with immunohistochemistry. It is a great honor to learn from and work among the brilliant and professional people who make up Dr. Sussmanís laboratory.

Tiffany Khieu

Hi! My name is Tiffany and I'm currently a senior at SDSU majoring in Biology. I'm studying to become a Pharmacist. I have always been interested in medicine at the molecular level and how it affects the body. I hope to greatly contribute to this lab and learn along the way!

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. Sussmanís 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.

Natalie Navarrete

My name is Natalie Navarrete, third year at SDSU. I was looking for an opportunity to expand my experience in a laboratory environment and working as a volunteer in Dr. Sussman's team made that possible. I expect to develop many skills working alongside graduate students who are pursuing a similar path as me.

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.

Kristine Nguyen

I joined the Sussman lab in the summer of 2014, and I am currently an undergrad majoring in biology. I am volunteering to find out more about research opportunities that are available. I have learned lots of fundamental skills in the lab and am slowly building more experience each day. I have been enjoying the environment and working with everyone in the lab, everyone brings new knowledge and is extremely helpful. Other than working as a volunteer, I enjoy playing video games, sewing, and going to various conventions!

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. Sussmanís 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.

Christina Payne

Hi! My name is Christina Payne, and I started volunteering in Dr. Sussman's lab in Spring 2014. I am majoring in Biology and Kinesiology with an emphasis in Physical Therapy. Since I took anatomy, I have been interested in the heart and would like to learn more about it. I joined the lab to gain research experience and to learn more lab techniques, so I can apply them in the future.

Linda Petrosyan

I am a 4th year undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Biology. I recently joined Dr. Sussman's laboratory in the 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.

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 Iím 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.

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.

Rachel Wong

Iím a 4th year Biology student hoping to go to Veterinary School. I joined Dr. Sussmanís 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.†