Graduate Students

Connor Chu

Starting Year: 2024
Connor Chu

Laboratory Association(s):

https://rojaslab.unl.edu/

Jace Miller

Starting Year: 2024
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Laboratory Association(s):

https://ecostoich.weebly.com/

Andrea Mikulasova

Starting Year: 2023
Andrea Mikulasova

I earned both my bachelor's and master's degrees in Biophysics at Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Republic. My previous work was on Fractal Characteristics of Biological Signals and Nonlinear Dynamics of Vocal Cords. Currently, I am in the process of focussing my future research topic. Besides research, I enjoy popularizing Science, reading, and making art.

Rasel Ahmed

Starting Year:
Rasel Ahmed

I have obtained a Bachelor's degree in Agricultural Science and a Master's degree in Biotechnology from Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh. Before enrolling as a doctoral student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I had gained professional experience as a Biotechnologist at the Basic and Applied Research on Jute (BARJ) project located in Dhaka, Bangladesh. At present, my research is primarily centered on the field of evolutionary genetics and genomics.

Libia Gomez-Trejo

Starting Year: 2023

Program Specialization:

Integrated Plant Biology
Libia Gomez-Trejo

I received my bachelor's degree in Agronomy with a specialization in Plant Health from the Chapingo Autonomous University in Mexico in 2022. After that, I worked for one year at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), where my research project was on elucidating plant pathogen interactions in the tar spot disease of maize. As an undergrad and during my first job experience, I became interested in joining wet lab and computational approaches to better understand biological processes in plants and associated organisms.

Rabia Ahuja

Starting Year: 2023
Rabia Ahuja

Laboratory Association(s):

https://www.glowackalab.com/

I graduated with a master’s degree in plant biology from Oklahoma State University, completing my studies in the summer of 2023. During my academic journey, I developed a keen interest in the dynamic intersection of molecular biology and computational biology. Currently, I am working under the mentorship of Dr. Katarzyna Glowacka. My research primarily revolves around unraveling the mechanisms of chilling tolerance in C4 crops. To tackle this intriguing challenge, I employ the power of both molecular biology and computational techniques.

Nikee Shrestha

Starting Year: 2022

Program Specialization:

Integrated Plant Biology
Nikee Shrestha

Laboratory Association(s):

https://schnablelab.org/

I earned my bachelor's degree in Agricultural Science in 2018, specializing in Plant Breeding, from the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences, Tribhuvan University. I did my internship for a few months in the wheat breeding unit of Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) and learned about traditional breeding of varieties. I came to Oklahoma State University in 2019 and completed a master's degree in plant biology in Spring 2022, where my research focused on quantitative genetics of shattering, a domestication trait in pearl millet.

Waqar Ali

Starting Year: 2023

Program Specialization:

Integrated Plant Biology
Waqar Ali

Laboratory Association(s):

https://schnablelab.org/

I am working with Dr. James Schnable. My research primarily centers on the predictive modeling of maize by leveraging the integration of high-throughput phenotyping and quantitative genetics.

Brittany Schweiger

Starting Year: 2022
Brittany Schweiger

Laboratory Association(s):

http://kievit.unl.edu/

Research Description:

Identifying brain cancer-induced changes in the BBB to promote active nanoparticle delivery.

Lucas Townsend

Starting Year: 2023
Lucas Townsend

I graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor's degree in Microbiology and Genomics/Molecular Genetics, where I found an interest in the human gut microbiome. At UNL I will be researching the gut microbiome, as well as becoming involved in the Nebraska Food for Health Center.

Mahsa Rahnama

Starting Year: 2023
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Ben Vyzourek

Starting Year: 2023
Ben Vyzourek

Laboratory Association(s):

https://pannierlab.unl.edu/

Research Description:

Tissue Engineering Models

I received my B.S. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Biochemistry where I became interested in drug delivery and intercellular communication systems. In 2023, I joined the Complex Biosystems PhD program with intentions to specialize in pathology and biomedical science. Currently, I am a part of the Pannier Lab where I focus on using tissue engineering and Omics approaches to understand embryo-maternal communication through extracellular vesicles in pigs.

Jerry Akresi

Starting Year: 2023
Jerry Akresi

Laboratory Association(s):

Dr. Yanbin Yin

“I graduated with a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana in 2019 and a master’s degree in food science and technology with a specialization in Bioinformatics from the University of Nebraska in 2023.”

Cassandra Palmer

Starting Year: 2023
Cassandra Palmer

Laboratory Association(s):

Dr. Yufeng Ge

I recieved my B.S. in Bioinformatics from University of Nebraska at Omaha, where I became interested in how to use and incorporate Omics data for space agriculture. My research is focused on identifying, undestanding, and predicting crop growth responses to space conditions.

Sai Subhash M.V.S

Starting Year: 2023
Sai Subhash M.V.S

I began my academic journey with a bachelor's degree in Agricultural Science from V.N.M.K.V, India. During my undergraduate years, what intrigued me most was demonstrating and learning techniques directly from farmers. This interaction deeply influenced my subsequent endeavours. Shortly after graduating, I contributed as a Research Assistant at the Central Tobacco Research Institute - ICAR, where I was involved in a project developing an online fertilizer recommendation system for India's tobacco-growing soils.

Steve Zhang

Starting Year: 2021

Program Specialization:

Systems Analysis
Steve Zhang

I graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Biology with a Specialization in Bioinformatics degree, where I became interested in applying computational methods to large biological datasets and developing methods to quicken the execution. Under Dr. Song, my current research is centered around unicyanobacterial communities, which involves building community metabolic models, identifying factors and species critical to community metabolism, productivity, and stability, and dynamically modeling them.

Mahsa Mohammadi

Starting Year: 2022
Mahsa Mohammadi

Laboratory Association(s):

https://engineering.unl.edu/songlab/

I graduated with a BSc in Biotechnology and, minor in entrepreneurship from University of Tehran, Iran.  

I joined Dr. Hyun-Seob Song's research group in 2022, where my primary focus is on developing innovative approach or tools for Data-Driven modeling. My area of specialization centers on developing new methodologies for modeling the human gut microbiome. 

Fan Huang

Starting Year: 2022

Program Specialization:

Integrated Plant Biology
Fan Huang

Laboratory Association(s):

https://www.unl.edu/cahoonlab/welcome

I graduated with a Bachelor's and Master's degree from Huazhong Agricultural University. I have a relatively rich background in bioinformatics and plant lipid metabolism genetics. Currently, I am working in Edgar Cahoon's laboratory, focusing on carrot polyacetylene biosynthesis and metabolism.

Dinelka Thilakarathne

Starting Year: 2022

Program Specialization:

COBEE
Dinelka Thilakarathne

I graduated with a bachelor's degree (B.Sc.) in Zoology in 2015 and a master's degree (M.Phil.) in Animal Ecology in 2021 from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. My research interests are in Malacology, Animal Ecology, Mathematical modeling and Wildlife Biology. Currently, I am studying how temperature affects predator-prey interactions at the gene level and population level with the aid of Paramecium-Didinium models under Dr. John DeLong in the School of Biological Sciences.

David Obe

Starting Year: 2022

Program Specialization:

Pathology and Biomedical Science
David Obe

Laboratory Association(s):

Mark Wilson Lab

Research Description:

Using protein purification and crystallographic techniques to resolve the structure of wild-type and mutant Thiamin synthase (THI4) a suicide enzyme. The goal is to identify the conformational states of the mutation(s) that improve the enzyme’s lifespan relative to the wild-type

Jensina Davis

Starting Year: 2022

Program Specialization:

Integrated Plant Biology
Jensina Davis

I graduated with a bachelor's degree in Agronomy and Seed Science with a minor in Statistics from Iowa State University, where I became interested in applying data science, statistics and computational methods to agronomic data to improve the sustainability of crop production. Under Dr. Schnable, my current research focuses on understanding the interaction between genetics, the environment, and management practices of hybrid maize, with a specific focus on nitrogen use efficiency.

 

Michael Richter

Starting Year: 2019

Program Specialization:

Integrated Plant Biology
Michael Richter

Laboratory Association(s):

https://plantpathology.unl.edu/richard-wilson

Michael obtained his biotechnology undergraduate degree at the Brandenburgische-Technische Universität Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU) in Senftenberg, Germany. In his last year before graduation, he completed two research internships at UNL, Lincoln, NE and Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan. To pursue further education, Michael then entered UNL as a Ph.D. student under Dr. Richard Wilson where he works on the rice blast fungus, Magnaporthe oryzae.

Zhikai Yang

Starting Year: 2018

Program Specialization:

Systems Analysis
Zhikai Yang

Laboratory Association(s):

https://jyanglab.com/

Research Description:

Quantitative Genetics

I am Zhikai Yang, a grad student majoring in quantitative genetics and my research is utilizing multi-omics data to predict phenotype of corn and give a hint of the underlying molecular mechanism that contribute to the phenotype.

Carlos Riera-Ruiz

Starting Year: 2021
Carlos Riera-Ruiz

Carlos is a PhD candidate in CBIO. Originally from Ecuador, Carlos came to the US through a Fulbright Scholarship, where he received training in biology and biochemistry. Now he aspires to pioneer new technologies for forensic science. Specifically, he aims to establish connections between criminals and crime scenes, even when forensic samples are highly degraded. In his free time, Carlos enjoys playing tennis and volleyball, developing his guitar and drawing skills, and having BBQs with friends.

Michael Tross

Starting Year: 2019

Program Specialization:

Integrated Plant Biology
Michael Tross

Laboratory Association(s):

Dr. James Schnable

Research Description:

Employing computational tools, algorithms and deep learning methods for high throughput plant phenotyping.
Utilize statistical algorithms to perform quantitative genetics tasks on maize and sorghum populations.

He hails from the small town of Sandy Point, located on the small island of St.Kitts within the Caribbean region.

Yu Shi

Starting Year: 2017

Program Specialization:

Systems Analysis
Yu Shi

Laboratory Association(s):

Dr. Chi Zhang

Dianna Morris

Starting Year: 2015

Program Specialization:

Systems Analysis
Dianna Morris

Laboratory Association(s):

Dr. Rajib Saha

Dianna Morris is a PhD candidate in Dr. Rajib Saha's Systems and Synthetic Biology Lab housed within the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department. Her research entails building predictive metabolic models and implementing engineering strategies to improve industrial applications of non-model bacteria. Particularly, her research focuses on Paraburkholderia sacchari, a natural producer of biodegradable plastics. She also enjoys creating activities and participating in outreach events to introduce kids of all ages to this area of science.

Fangyi Li

Starting Year: 2019
Fangyi Li

Laboratory Association(s):

Dr. Rebecca Roston and Dr. James Schnable

Research Description:

Currently, my research focuses on the association between the specific phenotype and cold tolerance in sorghum, for example, the association between a type of lipid and cold tolerance. The research relies on computational biology.

Armando Lerma Fuentes

Starting Year: 2020

Program Specialization:

Microbial Interactions
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Aimee Kessell

Starting Year: 2017

Program Specialization:

Systems Analysis
Aimee Kessell

Laboratory Association(s):

Dr. Hyun-Seob Song

Research Description:

Currently working with Dr. Song in Biological Systems Engineering, where she works on constraint-based modeling through linear programming on microbial communities in the soil and gut.

I am originally from St. Lucia, and when I am not researching I am usually finding a new tea to drink or in the kitchen baking and possibly missing the beach. 

Hongyu Jin

Starting Year: 2019

Program Specialization:

Integrated Plant Biology
Hongyu Jin

Laboratory Association(s):

Dr. James Schnable

Research Description:

I am interested in utilizing and optimizing high throughput phenotyping and genomics tools to reveal biology questions of crops.

 

Alison Neujahr

Starting Year: 2020

Program Specialization:

Microbial Interactions
Alison Neujahr

Alison is a PhD candidate in Dr. Samodha Fernandos lab housed in the Animal Science Department. Her research entails mitigating infectious diseases in production livestock and investigating alternative methods for prophylactic antibiotic usage. She also manages the Non-Ruminant Research Lab within the Animal Science building where she enjoys mentoring and teaching both graduate and undergraduate students.